Bookish

3 Days 3 Quotes Tag: Day 1

I’ve been tagged by Kathy from Pages Below the Vaulted Sky in the 3 Days 3 Quotes Tag.

Kathy writes passionate, extremely well-thought-out as well as funny reviews. Her posts also address diversity topics and I sincerely recommend checking her blog out if it is not known to you yet. 🙂 Thank you Kathy for the tag. ❤️

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day

Day 1

vulnerability quoteDr Brené BrownRising Strong


Some of you may know how much I love Dr Brown’s work.

Her books always make me cry. They are told via relatable stories, which deeply resonate with me.

Vulnerability is, as Brown says, the first thing we seek in others, and usually the last one we are willing to show them.

Vulnerability is for example:

  • picking up a phone to hear our medical test’s results
  • saying ‘I love you’ for the first time
  • seeing our child growing up and knowing we cannot protect her / him all the time
  • telling our partner we need help
  • opening up that fragile part of us that is usually so well guarded…

Vulnerability connects us, it brings us closer. It is never ever our weakness, in fact it is one of our biggest strengths.


Fancy giving it a go?

Don’t feel pressurised to participate though. 🙂

And anyone else who would like to do this tag. You’re It!


Fancy sharing a favourite quote of yours with me?

And what do you think of this quote? 

Non Fiction

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

the year of less

I have been following Cait Flandersblog for a while and had to read her book as I find her writing as well as topics she chooses to discuss extremely interesting. According her own words: Cait Flanders paid off $30,000 of debt, tossed 75% of her belongings and did a two-year shopping ban. She writes about consuming less and living more.”

The Year of Less is a memoir. It’s a story about what Cait discovered during her one year long self-imposed shopping ban. It’s not a how-to guide and I think it’s important to keep that in mind when reading this book to avoid any disappointment.


Before we dive in though, let’s first have a look at what GoodReads summary says:

WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.

The challenge became a lifeline when, in the course of the year, Cait found herself in situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol, and food—and what it had cost her. Unable to reach for any of her usual vices, she changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life—and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less.


Cait’s memoir is all about her numbing experiences and how she managed to get out of those addictive habits of hers. It can be used as an motivational read as there is nothing lighthearted about not wanting to experience pain, shame and other emotions we deem difficult. My heart went to her as I could relate with many things she was experiencing.

“I don’t remember how much it hurt with Chris, because back then I numbed myself. I numbed my sadness with food, and my emptiness with stuff.”

We live in a society where numbing is slowly becoming our way of coping.

Numbing could be any activity that we use to suppress feelings we don’t want to experience. Often commonly used numbing tools are: alcohol, food / sugar, binge TV watching, over-exercising, ‘busyness’, recreational drugs, self- medication, shopping sprees.. anything really that ‘takes that edge off‘ and that saves us from having to feel emotions we don’t want to encounter.

Dr Brené Brown talks about about numbing in her book Daring Greatly. Dr Brown’s extensive research points out following:  “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

When we choose to numb all that painanxietyshame and fear, we are also numbing all that joy, cheerfulness, hope and love. It’s not easy to accept that when I was “busy” or “buying things to feel better”, I was also subduing all those feel-good emotions I was so desperately seeking.

What particularly resonated with my was this sentence of Cait’s:

“Who are you buying this for: the person you are, or the person you want to be?”

You see, I used to be guilty of such behaviour. I would buy dresses my “sophisticated” self would wear but I never ended up wearing them as they were just not me. I would buy books my “smart” self should read but they only gathered dust on shelves afterwards. I would buy make-up my “grown up” self should wear only for it to stay unused.. I bought things for the person I was so eagerly trying to become. It’s painful to admit it at times but having compassion towards my younger self helps as I can see her for who she was.

I recommend The Year of Less to anyone who is curious about what may happen once we stop numbing ourselves. It’s an journey of a 20-something Canadian gal that went through a lot of pain but came out much stronger because of it. It’s not a guide on what to do, but it may inspire you nevertheless.

Over the years, I have minimised my own possessions and am definitely more mindful about my purchases. However this book triggered some thoughts in me about my own future spending habits and I am seriously toying with an idea of coming up with a self-imposed shopping ban as well…. stay tuned! Side note: I reserve the right to change my mind though! 🙂

I’ll leave you with this beautiful passage from Cait’s book:

“One of the greatest lessons I learned during these years is that whenever you’re thinking of binging, it’s usually because some part of you or your life feels like it’s lacking—and nothing you drink, eat, or buy can fix it. I know, because I’ve tried it all and none of it worked.

There’s more to it but I won’t give it all up as it’s such a wonderful ending of Cait’s book, which made me all teary-eyed. 

Verdict: Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple  (4/5)

Bookish

T5W – Favourite Fandom Items

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

In this week’s topic, let’s talk about Favourite Fandom Items.  “Whether it’s something you own or something you are lusting after, what are some of your favourite fandom items / merchandise / memorabilia? Your picks don’t all have to be from the same fandom.”


I’ll start with a long caveat. Please bear with me. 😊

I don’t own many things. I feel more things I own, more they start owning me. I ruthlessly go through my possessions on a regular basis constantly questioning if they add value to my life and if the answer is no, finding a new home for them.

I call myself a minimalist; that word may evoke in others imagines of empty walls and rooms with no furniture – that’s not me at all.

I could describe my approach as a mindful consumerism. I ask myself if I need things before I buy them. And if the answer is no, I ask myself if by owning them, I would gain any value out of them. I don’t just buy things I need though; I also buy things that my artistic self loves and that bring me joy.

I am not judging anyone who has a different approach or preferences to mine.

We are all different; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here. Whatever brings you joy is perfectly fine. No comparing or judging at all. Please don’t take any of this as a lecturing post. I have many anxieties and this approach seems to keep them at bay.

With this full disclosure over, let’s dive in to my favourite items:

1)    Dr. Brené Brown’s books

brene browns books

I have mentioned Dr. Brené Brown name quite a few times already on my blog.

I don’t own many physical copies of books, with most printed books James and I own being either climbing guides, hiking guides or non-fiction books.

I own physical copies of all Brown’s books. I love re-reading them and use them whenever I need a little pick me up. I love Brown’s work, admire her story telling ability and genuinely want to support her message as much as I can.

2)    The Daring Way™ certification

manifesto

This one goes hand in hand with my previous point.

I am ‘lusting’ after The Daring Way™ certification.

It is an empirically based training and certification program based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. I am currently going through Life Coach certification and working toward the day when I’ll be able to certify via The Daring Way™ programme as well. As you can clearly see: I deeply believe in Dr. Brené Brown’s work!. 🙂

3)    Lynn Hill and my signed copy of her autobiography Climbing Free

If you haven’t see Valley Uprising on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It’s about history of Yosemite Valley’s climbing scene and how it has evolved through years. You don’t have to be a climber to appreciate the story and all those stunning visuals, at least I hope. 🙂

One of my favourite female climbers featured in that movie is Lynn Hill aka Lynnie. She is an extraordinary climber that defined what was possible by being the first climber ever to free climb in 1993 The Nose, a famous route on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

And this is what she said about it:

“Trying to free climb The Nose just happened to be the perfect goal for me and I liked the fact this climb was in Yosemite because I remember going there and just seeing the valley and it was just mind blowing how beautiful it was. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place anywhere in the world. For me The Nose was much bigger than me, it wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my ego, my gratification it was actually something that I wanted to do.

I felt like I had a chance and that if I could do that it would be a really big statement to people to think about.

You don’t have to be a man to do something that’s ‘out there’ as a first ascent.

Obviously people tried to do that route and they failed on it and so if a lot of good climbers have come and tried to do it and failed and a woman comes and does it first it’s really meaningful. That was my underlying motivation.”

~Andy McCue “Interview: Lynn Hill”. www.climber.co.uk. 19 April 2013

I went to the Women in Climbing Symposium last November where Lynn Hill was the main speaker. I cherish the memory of hearing her talk about her adventures, meeting her in person and having her sign my copy of her book.

4)    Adam Ondra and his signed poster

IMG_0676(1)

This poster currently hangs in our garage opposite our little training climbing wall. Adam Ondra is a fellow Czech climber and he is considered by some possibly the best climber in the world at the moment.

I have watched his climbing movies and enjoyed witnessing his, not only physically challenging, but also mentally gruelling climbing projects. He challenges what is possible and how far our bodies can go.

Hearing him talk in London in 2014 for Urbanrock, at the Westway Climbing Centre was such a brilliant experience. He came across as extremely modest given his levels of achievement. Having him sign his poster for us was the cherry on the cake.


In order to grow, we have to be ready to continuously fail. If we are not failing, our goals are not big enough.

Brown in her Rising Strong writes about how to pick ourselves up after each of those failures.

You can say Brown gives me tools so I can be brave to continuously fail whilst Hill and Ondra inspire me via showing me what’s possible if you are courageous enough to Dare Greatly (yup, another reference to Brown! 😉 ).


5)    The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs directed by Peter Jackson

IMG_0677

I love these DVDs. They are not just a movie adaptation. There is something epic about them. I almost felt like a received a permission to openly obsess about LOTR once they got aired as all of sudden everyone knew what those books were all about.

I still re-watch them from time to time and enjoy getting lost in the magical world J.R.R. Tolkien created for us and Peter Jackson visually brought to our homes.


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite items you either own or are lusting after? Fancy sharing some of them with me?

And if you have done yours in the post, please let me know. I can’t wait to see others’ treasures and their lists. Mostly because I am nosy curious! 🙂 

Fiction

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big little lies

I loved this book. It was my March’s book of the month.

It is a wonderful story of a friendship of three women, their dealings with motherhood as well as having to come to terms with some dark demons from their pasts.

I saw many shame related topics in this book. Moriarty deeply understands human behaviour and portrayed honest struggles of mothers and women in general.


Before we dive into this book, let’s have a look at GoodReads’ blurb first:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


There are three distinct voices, three unique stories, all intertwining over a mysterious murder story. I enjoyed the suspense of something just about to be revealed throughout the book. You know from the beginning that someone was murdered. But you don’t know who it was and why. That guessing game kept me engaged till the end.

The book is told from three different perspectives:

  • Madeline: on the outside, a strong and forceful mother who knows what she wants. On the inside, she is coming to grips with her teenage daughter rebelliousness and deals with shame over her parenting / motherhood.
  • Celeste:  on the outside, she is the ‘I have it all and I am so blessed’ mother, on the inside, she is harbouring many dark secrets, which she perceives as being partially caused by her own making. Side note: shame at its most powerful form.
  • Jane: another broken character. She is younger than the one two women and her voice reflects that. She also struggles with shame and does not believe that she is enough. Her story of coming to grips with her past was one of the most powerful parts of this book.

What all these perspectives shared was their dealings with shame.

Before we look at shame, here’s a quick note on the difference between shame and guilt.

Let’s say you promised your friend you water her plants for her. And somehow you forgot / didn’t get around to it and those plants died.

Guilt is you recognising you broke your promise and your behaviour was not in line with who you want to be. You feel guilty for your actions or rather the lack of them.

Shame on the other hand is when you internalise this incident and will make it mean all about you, rather than your actions. You will feel terrible for who you are and will feel like you, not your actions, failed your friend. As a consequence, you may feel like a failure.

Guilt can enable us to grow; shame on the other hand wants us to hide.

Shame loves secrecy and will try to prevent you from sharing that deep feeling of not being good enough with anyone else around you. They must not know at any cost!

What’s interesting is that women tend to get shame triggered on different topics than man. I guess it’s not surprising given how our society shapes us and what gender roles we observe whilst growing up.

Women tend to experience shame predominantly regarding their appearance and parenting.

Have you noticed when a discussion starts turning ugly, someone’s looks are usually amongst the first ammunition that gets used amongst women? Parenting comments are usually the next in line… All so readily available and capable of causing us a lot of pain.

I know when shame washes over me immediately. My face goes red, I feel like I want to hide under a blanket and not talk to anyone for days. My breathing becomes shallow, I may start sweating and all I want is to hide. I hate it. I absolutely hate that warm feeling of shame. The flip side is that via experiencing it, I must, be default, not be a psychopath… oh goody… thank goodness for the flip side eh? 😉

Anyhow, as I am growing I have learned that shame hates sharing. Opening up and being vulnerable with people I love and trust creates connections and makes me heal / cope much better.

With a risk of sounding like a broken record: Dr Brené Brown’s books on shame and vulnerability are my favourite non-fiction books. She offers many useful tips on shame resilience, is a great story teller and I am her big fan. ❤

I digressed a little. Following extract from the book deeply resonated with me:

“It wasn’t telling __ about ___. It was repeating those stupid little words he’d said.

They needed to stay secret to keep their power.

Now they were deflating, the way a jumping castle sagged and wrinkled as the air hissed out.”

So true!

All those little lies we tell ourselves to keep going, all those little secrets we harvest in the hope that no one will discover the real truth about us as we believe we may not be good enough and are desperately trying to become someone else. That’s Big Little Lies in a nutshell.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who likes character driven books. Moriarty’s characters are utterly believable.

I could not put it down, it made me cry at times but it also gave me hope.

5 out of 5 stars without a shadow of a doubt.

Possible triggers: domestic abuse and abuse in general

Verdict: Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple 5/5

Bookish

Help!

top 20mobileapps

Recently, lovely Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall wrote an interesting post entitled ‘Is Chivalry Dying in Books’.

This particular line of hers: ‘There’s no shame in a protagonist having to rely on others for support, regardless of their company’s sex’ really resonated with me and got me thinking.

You see, if you are a little bit like me, you may be more than happy to help others but may find it quite difficult to ask for help.

Asking for help makes me vulnerable. I am exposed when I admit that I can’t do it alone. I cannot predict or control the outcome whilst being vulnerable – I don’t know how I am going to be perceived. My ego hates it. But equally when I am being vulnerable, I create connections with others. Something my heart craves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my inner turmoil! 😉

Back to my original thought before I digress too much. There tend to be two extremes in books:

  • Characters waiting for their heroes / heroines to rescue them.
  • Kick-ass heroes / heroines that just like to do everything alone and don’t need or ask for help.

I know I’m generalising and that it is not always true. It’s just I have read plenty of books that had one or the other of those two themes.

But then there is also the ‘I need help, but I don’t know how to ask for it’ example.

Let’s have a look at the J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

In the movie version of the book, Frodo says: “I’ll take the Ring, though I do not know the way”. He is hinting he needs help, but he doesn’t ask for it directly.

Side note: this is when I usually start crying whilst watching this movie…

Frodo is this gentle and brave hobbit, who wants to help others but finds it difficult to ask for help directly.

And trust me, he is not the only one.

The problem with not being able to ask for help is that others may not know you need it. The amount of times I nearly held a grudge because somebody clearly did not read my mind! 😊😊😊

I think ‘asking for help’ is being more represented in children’s books. Fortunately children don’t see asking for help as weakness. Maybe that’s why I love so many children’s books as they are full of possibilities adults no longer believe.

I agree with Kelly’s point.

I think it’s extremely important to start seeing ‘asking for help’ as acceptable via creating vulnerable characters. As my favourite researcher, Dr Brené Brown, says: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

We have done nearly a 180 degree turn from the ‘damsel in distress‘ to ‘I don’t need anybody’s help’ messaging. It can certainly help me relating to characters, but does it serve me?

What do you think?

I would love to hear you opinions. It’s completely OK to disagree with my opinions by the way. 😊