My 3 Things - January 2016

1. LISTENING: Ben Webster's version of "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning"
Basically, I'm obsessed with figuring out how to play my guitar the way Ben Webster played saxophone. Webster's version of "Wee Small Hours" is the song that stopped me in my tracks and started me on this quixotic path. I've listened to it almost everyday for a year now. I played it for my Mom as I was sitting with her in the wee small hours of her final mornings. 

 

2. READING: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
I've been meaning to read When Things Fall Apart for a long time now, and I finally did. A close friend read and recommended it about two years ago. I almost bought it on at least two occasions since then. At last, the universe intervened.  It appeared in my mailbox, sent by a friend who had cared for and lost a parent to cancer.  As the saying goes, "If it is for you, it won't go by you."

This book contains radical advice: instead of avoiding fear, impermanence, and change, practice accepting these things. Chodron encourages us to "stay on the brink," stay with tough feelings like sadness or frustration. Instead of seeking a solution, remain in a state of unknowing. Don't try to fix things. Try letting go. After all, we really don't know how life will unfold: "We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know ... No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, to just be there, to become familiar with fear." Doing so opens up a space for change and peace. 

 

3. PERUSING: Other people's 2015 reading lists
I read 96 books in 2015. To do that, I keep a list of books I want to read and I'm always hungry for suggestions. I subscribe to more than a few book-related email newsletters, and it's de rigueur for each one to have a "best of 2015" list. When these lists come out I pay attention and fill my well.

There are the usual suspects, of course: The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and Brain Pickings.

Here are three more "Best of 2015" reading lists I enjoyed:

QUESTION / COMMENT: What book/s did you read in 2015 that changed you? 
Let me know in the comments below!