RISING STRONG by Brene’ Brown

Here is an introduction to the book we will be reading for May.  All are invited to join us even if you have not read the book.

We will be meeting this month on May 11th and 25th at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd.

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

The Self Illusion – by Bruce Hood

Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty and-humor.” -David Eagleman, author of Incognito and Sum

This month’s gatherings will be hosted by Helen Griffin on April 13th and 27th at 2pm at 1370 Armstrong Dr.

TheSelf Illusion is about the science of self-the truth behind the illusion that we all share, that we exist as individuals inside our bodies and are in control of our own thoughts and behaviours. Recent developments in neuroscience tell us that we consist of a multitude of unconscious mechanisms interpreting the world, yet we are largely under the influence of those around us. We are not the individuals we think we are. The truth-that our self is a narrative our brain creates-may startle those of us who fervently believe that we are in full control of who we are and what we do.

Bruce Hood, a world-renowned expert on the brain, reaches deep into our evolutionary past to find out what makes us tick. He reveals fascinating original research about child development and ultimately takes us inside our own heads to explain how and why we act the way we do, even in the new frontier of Twitter and Facebook.The Self Illusionis a highly accessible, often entertaining and ultimately provocative book about the nature of you, yourself and I

 

When Breath Becomes Air.  By Paul Kalanithi

All are invited to join us at our March book club meetings, which will be on the 9th and 23rd at 2 pm at the home of Joan Higginson, 86 Auburn St.

This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

APRIL 2016: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING BY NAOMI KLEIN

The non-fiction book club will be meeting in April at the home of Isobel Knowles, 1690 Cherryhill Road, on the 14th and 28th at 2pm.  Our book at that  time will be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. “This is the new environmentalism . . . and it has a powerful...

March 2016: The Impossible Will Take a Little While, by Paul Rogat Loeb

Our book this month is “The Impossible Will Take a Little While” by Paul Rogat Loeb. What keeps us going when times get tough? How have the leaders and unsung heroes of world-changing political movements persevered in the face of cynicism, fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds?

January 2016: Unlikely Utopia, by Michael Adams

The January meetings of the book club will be January 8th and 22nd at 2pm at the home of Ed Adams, 1042 Oriole Dr. Our book this month is Unlikely Utopia by Michael Adams. Around the world, sectarian tensions divide societies, sometimes erupting into violent...

November 2015: The Art of Stillness, by Pico Iyer

Our book this month is The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, by Pico Iver. It considers the unexpected adventure of staying put, and reveals a counterintuitive truth: the more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.