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Life Is Full of Sweet Spots: An Exploration…
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Life Is Full of Sweet Spots: An Exploration of Joy

by Mary O'Connor

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The only genre I believe fits the book the best is, self-help. Mary O'Connor has done plenty of research on how our body responds to being in nature, by absorbing it all in using all five senses.

Twenty minutes is all it takes to appreciate all that the Earth has to offer, according to Professors Rachel and Stephen Kaplan at University of Michigan. It's surprising to me, that it only takes twenty minutes to have nature produce a relaxing affect on the body. Studies have been done that prove different elements of nature (i.e. scent of pine trees, touch of prickly pinecones, taste of fresh forest air, the sound of birds and insects all around you) have a deep connection to relaxation.

Mary O'Connor will go over many different cultures concept of enjoying nature, such as the Japanese. The Japanese have a special way of enjoying nature and all that is green, it's called shinrin-yoku, which means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or " forest bathing"

She will also go over different locations of nature that you can visit and how to get the most out of your experience at each location. She gives many examples of what you can do like searching for seashells on the beach, or create your own personal flower garden.

It's a great book for those who are looking for a more natural way to find relaxation in your life. This is such a great guide, it can meet everyone's needs. I'm excited to start some of the techniques I have read about in my own life. Thanks Mary O'Connor, I give this book 5/5. ( )
  lizasarusrex | Jun 23, 2013 |
Mary O'Connor has gathered personal stories, quotes, photographs and other resources on what brings us joy. She starts the book with an exploration of the joys of nature found in earth, sea, and sky. The next section of the book explores the joys found in our senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. She concludes with an exploration of the joys that affect our minds and souls. Here she discusses wonder, giving, and the spirituality of life. I loved the book from the very beginning and enjoyed it even more as I continued to the end.

This book is a definite keeper. I read it from cover to cover but plan to revisit it often by just opening to any page in the book and revisiting what many of the contributors had to share about joy. There are also internet resources at the end of the book that I'm looking forward to exploring.

I have marked many passages throughout the book. Here are just a few that I want to remember.

Emperor Claudius II in 270 A.D. outlawed marriage by young men to imporove the quality of his soldiers. He felt that marriage caused too many distractions. The Roman priest Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies and was executed for treachery. (p. 117)

Tammy Hendricks creates pictures and bears from remnants of fabric taken from clothing, blankets, and other memorabilia belonging to babies, children and adults who passed away. Tammy brings joy to others through her endeavors and also experiences joy and fulfillment within herself. (p. 119)

Mary O'Connor mentions Laura Bridgman who became deaf and blind in 1829 as the result of scarlet fever. I recently read the book that Mary mentions about this inspirational young woman called She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman Deaf-Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander. (p. 122)

O'Connor discusses C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. "But lest we begin to think that the content of fantasy-imagination, surprise, awe, and ultimately wonder-is the privince of children, we may be relieved to know that this is just not so." Lewis explained that his stories were intended for "the adult, the child, and the child within the adult." (p. 146)

Tracy Kane creates ". . . tiny little houses in quiet places hidden away from the road." They might be found ". . . tucked back into the base of an old gnarled tree or possibly sheltered under a lichen-covered rock." Tracy is an author and illustrator. (p. 147) I must remind myself to look up her books.

I loved the words and thoughs of Robert (Sidewalk Sam) Guilleman. One example was "Nobody tells us that basically we're a good, happy, healthy nation of Americans who feel beauty and delicacy in daily life and find joy in daily life. But if we would just pause and realize that we have so much to be thankful for, so much to be happy about, it would change the way we went through the day." (p. 154) Sidewalk Sam's story is one of inspiration. After an accident left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, he continued with efforts that have brought the joy of art to thousands of others.

Another contributor to the book, Marilyn Douglass, suggested that the "Best way to experience joy is to give of yourself to others." (p. 165) Marilyn is assisted in her efforts as a certified hospice caregiver by a yellow lab named Ranger who has been trained in Animal Assisted Therapy.

Marilyn explains that "Hospice work basically deals with the five stages of the end of life-denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance and actual transition. Probably the most common response is an element of spirituality-a relationship or a diversion that helps take the suffering individual to a different place." (p. 166)

Marilyn uses music to comfort patients needing hospice care. "We know that the last two senses to leave the body are hearing and touch. So we will sing into the ear and touch the body while we are singing these songs and it just has a tremendous powerful effect, physically as well as spiritually. (p. 167)

I highly recommend Life is Full of Sweet Spots: An Exploration of Joy to all readers and suggest that it would make a wonderful gift for friends as well. It is a powerhouse of inspirational thoughts and experiences. ( )
  Winnemucca | May 26, 2013 |
This is one of those books you want to savor with a fine cup of tea or a dark sweet chocolate. One that leaves you to connect with the finer points of life so easily missed in the fast pace, rat race. It is obvious the writer put a great deal of joyful energy through each thought provoking paragraph. So, place this novel at your bedside or your bathtub….fill it with bubbles and rest in Mary O’Connor’s thoughtful words and those she interviews. I think you will easily share in their joy and possibly find your own. ( )
  Sherry_Rummler | May 22, 2013 |
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