Pages and Pause

By TERESA HAMMOND
At the start of this year I challenged myself to read more books. Yes, you read that right; ‘challenged.’

I learned early on that resolutions fail me. The notion of writing a list with that word at the top and not completing it, demoralizing. Now a challenge, that’s my kind of talk. I rise to show the world (and myself) all that is possible in this big, beautiful world.

So why books? Simple. I – like many others – recognized I was spending way too much time with my nose in my phone marveling at the photos and words of others via social media. Everything is good in moderation. I’d tipped that scale too far. I also have a love of our local library book sale and have found my book case bursting with titles I have yet to read. Perhaps it was time.

I set my goal at four books. I love a challenge, but I’m also a realist.

I recognized life as an active, single mom juggling personal, as well as kid activities and family time keeps my plate full … four seemed doable. It was also more than I’d read the previous year so it was a number which represented achievement and growth.

As a side note, it seems worth mentioning I’m an old school reader. I like turning a page, looking to the back to see how many pages it holds and placing a bookmark in the place of my stop. Depending on the book, my bookmark might be a photo of my kids, a card from a friend or a keepsake of some sort. In short, I like to make my time reading as personal as possible. I mean, why not? It’s designated time we take to allow ourselves to both pause and escape a bit.

To make the challenge even more fun and a bit more tangible I decided to create a stack of the books I’ve completed.

I’m happy to report, just five months in I’ve completed seven books. One I enjoyed so much I actually read it twice. To say I’m pleased with my progress, and what I’ve gained as a result, would be an understatement.

It all began with a first choice. As I turned to my brimming bookcase at year end I wondered where to start. Typically speaking, my genre of choice will come as little surprise: self-help and fitness occupy a solid shelf, as do fiction and a few autobiographies.

Financial advisor and well known author Suze Orman seemed like a good place to start. Her wisdom shared in “The Courage To Be Rich,” helped me re-evaluate as well as shape some key financial decisions for the coming year. It also kept me intrigued and excited about the challenge I had taken on.

The book I chose to read twice is likely not one many have heard of, yet it offered me tremendous wisdom in the way of spiritual growth. “Perfectly Imperfect,” by Baron Baptiste was both powerful and enlightening. I’ve been a sporadic yogi of Baptiste Yoga for close to five years. The practice of this yoga style has done more for my psyche and heart than my body and that’s truly a good thing.

I’ll likely read that book and maybe one other again before year end.

The point here is simple; challenges are set to encourage growth not stress. Stressing over if I would have time to read, since I had set the goal would be counterproductive and unhealthy. Lastly, it’s never too late or too early to challenge yourself or set a goal. As summer comes before us, find some time to pause. Grab a book, a refreshing drink, place your feet up and breathe. The pages are just waiting for you. Enjoy the escape and …
cheers!

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