shantaram – pt. 1

where i am: montrose, CA

what im listening to: tori kelly- unbreakable smile

can i just say this holiday rocks! i haven’t been this relaxed in so long – i haven’t eaten  this much in forever – i am constantly full up. its got to the point where i may need to book an extra seat on the flight home to accommodate my increasingly large arse. not only that but i am getting the chance to write so much, i haven’t written in my notebook this much since the beginning of the year when i was a bum. the more i write, the clearer my head feels, always.

today’s post is a little different from the norm in that i’m going to be giving you someone else’s words and thoughts and not my own.

i am constantly fascinated with people, their stories, their lessons, their thoughts and views on life and everything that happens to us. 

if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ll know i can be quite sensitive (i pretend i am not “i don’t have a heart” is a favourite line of mine) but actually i am really sensitive and i feel everything probably a bit more than i should. i am that girl that can burst into tears over a book, a song or even an advert on the telly (yes, i’m a loser). 

i was recently lent a book by a friend called ‘shantaram’ by gregory david roberts. i am obsessed. there are so many truth bombs in the text, so many statements that make me really think and so many that resonate with me. i’m going to share some of them here. also, i’ve called this part one because i can guarantee i will end up sharing more from this book in the future. you’re welcome. 

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant. The choice you make between hating and forgiving can be come the story of your life”

The best thing in the world is power… love is the opposite of power, that’s why we fear it so much”

“She loved the guy. She did it for him. She would’ve done anything for him. Some women are like that. Some loves are like that, from what I can see. Your love starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self respect and your independence. After a while you start throwing people out, your friends, people you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking and you know it’s going to take you down with it. I’ve seen that happen to a lot of girls here. I think that’s why I’m sick of love.”

“There’s a truth that’s deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless usually in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know the truth, is to share it, heart to heart…”

“I think that we all, each one of us, we all have to earn our future. I think the future is like anything else that is important. It had to be earned. If we don’t earn it, we don’t have a future at all. And if we don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it. We have to live in the present, more or less forever. Or worse, we have to live in the past. I think that’s probably what love is – a way of earning the future”

“One of the reasons we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you”

“Fate has every power over us but two. Fate cannot control our free will, and fate cannot lie. Men lie, to themselves more than to others, and to others more often than they tell the truth. But fate does not lie”

Reality – as you see it, as most people see it – is nothing more than an illusion. There is another reality, beyond what we see with our eyes. You have to feel your way into that reality with your heart. There is no other way”

“Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we save them”

“It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would have anhilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in someway a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive”


i mean…  wow, right? 

some of those i read, and re read, and read again. i copied those down in my journal and annotated them, i added my thoughts (i haven’t done that here because i don’t think it’s necessary and would probably take away from the original message) some of those made me really sit and think. others brought me to tears. does that make me weird? most likely. i’m ok that. 

i’m about halfway through the book and i’m excited to see how it turns out. if you’re looking for a new book to read i can’t recommend it enough. 

xoxo

Micks 

Book Club

Hello and welcome. I have a weekend off, the sun is shining through the window, Moana is on my telly , I’m feeling particularly anti social and I am writing, with a cup of tea. Life is good.

 

When I sat a wrote my goals for the year one of them was to post every week – I’m a post behind. Another of those goals was to read at least 2 books a month; this one I’ve actually achieved. In fact, each month (except for March because March was just madness) I’ve read 3 books. I know, high-five me! I love a good book that takes me away for a minute. I could be sat on a train physically but in my head I’m on a beach in Barbados, or travelling around on horseback in the mountains with Native Americans, crying with someone on a sofa in Suffolk. A book can take you wherever you want to go, and you might learn something whilst you’re there.

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If you’re looking for some book recs then read on, friends.

 

 

January

Book 1 – If I could tell you just one thing by Richard Reed

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I love to talk to people and find out what motivates them, to learn about how they got to where they are and why they’ve become who they are. Richard talks to a wide range of people, touches on this subject and asks them “If you could give everyone just one piece of advice what would it be?” A very interesting read.

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Book 2 – You and Me, always by Jill Mansell

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Jill is the Queen of chick lit for me. It’s a case of same meat, different gravy but I find something so comforting in that. It’s nice that everyone gets a happy ending somewhere, even if it is only in the pages of a book

 

Book 3 – Texas Bride by Rosanne Bittner

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This book is actually part of a series of books ‘The Bride Series’ if you will so yes there is romance at the forefront of it. What I actually really enjoy the most of these books is the historical side to them – based around the treatment of the Native Americans, how they were viewed and forced out of their own land.

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February

 

Book 1 – Happy by Fearne Cotton

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Any book that talks about mental health is ok in my mind. Fearne shares her story, talks to her friends about their mental health and breaks down areas of life that we need to pay attention to in order to stay ‘Happy’. To some it may be common sense, to some it will be a tool to guide them in the right direction.

 

Book 2 – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

 

I don’t feel I can give this a rating because this is Drew talking about her life experiences and the stories that make her, her. It’s not my place to judge her life but I really enjoyed reading about it. I really like her, her philosophy and I like to think that if we ever met we could be real life friends. Hippy friends.

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Book 3 – Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

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I felt like taking it back down memory lane – I found this book in my bookcase and as it is one of my favourite Dahl books I couldn’t not read it; it’s timeless.

 

March

 

Book 1 – Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

 

I LOVE HER. Very similar to Drew’s book, this is Carrie talking about her life and the various situations that being Hollywood royalty got her in to. She is fierce, fearless and fabulous. It just confirmed my belief that we lost a goddess last year and someone that could totally be in my gang.

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Book 2 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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We all know the story of the elusive Holly Golightly, most of us know Audrey Hepburn as her. I’ve seen the movie; you probably have as well. I enjoyed this more than the movie though, the basics are the same but I feel that Capote sells me Holly more – I didn’t particularly care for her in the movie but I do in the book. I relate to her in ink, but not on the screen.

 

April

 

Book 1 – The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

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EVERYONE STOP THIS NOW AND GO READ THIS BOOK. I could not put this down, I read all 460 + pages of it in less than 24 hours. It is a book about women for women by a woman. I have long admired Dawn, she is one of my favourite ladies in the spotlight but this has made me love her a whole lot more. It is such a powerful novel about women judging each other but also judging ourselves. It reminds us that, actually, rather than tearing each other down, we’re the strongest when we lift each other up. You will never read this but thank you, Dawn for writing this. I think it’s what we all need to remember right now.

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Book 2 – Nightwalker by Diane Hoh

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Again, this was a walk down memory lane. When I was a teenager I loved the Point Horror series – I always fancied myself as a Nancy Drew type, mystery solver. This was one of the books in the ‘Nightmare Hall’ series. It’s been 15 years since read these and I still never guess the culprit right! God damn it!

 

Book 3 – Diary of a Fat Girl by Moira Mugweni

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I think that the message behind it is really important. So long as you love yourself, that’s all that matters. I would be telling porkies if I said that this didn’t bring a tear to my eye on more than one occasion, even though the main character is only 18 – how she talks about her self, how she cares about what other people see and say and think of her, it reminds me of me at times. A very important read for any teenage girl. Over the course of the summer Burn learns a very important lesson, she starts off trying to change herself for everyone else but slowly realises that she needs to change for herself, as really that’s the only opinion that matters.

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I’m now off to hunt the local Waterstones for some new books for the next few months.

If you’ve any recommendations then let me know, as you’ve gathered, I love a good book.

 

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Eat. Pray. Love

Eat. Pray. Love.
If you work with me, chances are you’ve heard me raving about this book. It was a complete fluke that I bought it; I was at Naples airport on my way home (by myself) and I’d already finished my only book I hadn’t read on my iPad ( The Elegant Art of Falling Apart by Jessica Jones – AWESOME read) and I was bored waiting alone. So I wondered into the newsagents and bought the only 2 books that looked half decent that were written in English. One was ‘The a Day before Happiness’ by Erri de Luca, the second ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I knew there was a movie adaptation with the original pretty woman, one Ms. Julia Roberts. I’d seen bits and bobs of the movie, I knew it was about a woman who went travelling. But that was it. Now, I’m not gonna sit here and write a blurb on the book, that’d be a bit boring. I am however, gonna talk about how rad the book is.

I believe that Liz and I (that’s right, I call her Liz. We’re pals in my head) are kindred spirits. She goes off travelling in search of answers, in search of some kind of equilibrium. And, Lord knows, that is what I am always doing. She meets some weird and wonderful people along the way – travelling is awesome for that – and she learns some pretty cool tings too.

I love a book that makes me think, and EPL does just that. I felt like I was going on her journey with her and as she learnt lessons, so did I (I realise that sounds a bit cray cray but you know, I felt involved) There are some passages in there that really rang true with me. The first one is this…

“People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tears your walls down and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah, too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life to reveal another layer of yourself to you and then they leave. And thank God for it”

As a girl, you are fed the “happily ever after” dream from when you are small. All the Disney movies have a ‘love story’ at the centre and it always seems to be a man who saves the poor, helpless woman. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums it up “ because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my life decisions always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important thing…” (Watch her whole speech on feminism here: http://youtu.be/hg3umXU_qWc – credit to Beyonce for bringing it to my attention).
We are sold this idea that every girl has her ‘one true love’ and that we won’t be complete until we find them. So, reading this view on ‘soul mates’ (which actually came from a dude) challenged everything that I’d been fed, but, for me, it actually makes better sense. You learn and you grow from every relationship (romantic or otherwise) and sometimes people are really crap, but them being crap to you teaches you about yourself and what you will or won’t accept from people, it reveals another layer of yourself. It also teaches you how to deal with assholes but that’s another story for another day.

The second passage is this…

“Only the young and stupid are confident about sex and romance. Do you think any of us know what we’re doing? Do you think humans can love each other without complication?… (Western men) think this pretty little girl will make them happy, make their lives easy. But whenever I see it happen, I always want to say the same thing ‘good luck’. Because you still have a woman in front of you, my friend. And you’re still a man. It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated. But humans must still try to love each other, darling. We must get out hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something”.

Falling down in life and love, well, it sucks balls to be quite honest. But it does mean you’ve tried, you’re living. It would be so easy to not out ourselves out there for fear of getting hurt, or fear of not succeeding but, that would be boring. Like the fabulous Brazilian man said to Liz ‘it means we have tried for something’. And I’ll take a few failures, and a well lived life over a safe, unlived life any day. The only thing I disagree with is that love is ‘always complicated’, I think we MAKE it complicated. We play hard-to-get and a whole lot of other games, we don’t want to reply to a msg too soon for fear of seeming ‘keen’. I’m not being funny, but if I’ve given you my number in the first place then you can pretty much assume I’m interested or ‘keen’. I’m not gonna wait an extra 5 minutes to msg you back. If someone is put off because you reply to a msg quickly then I think it’s them that has the problem, I’m just sayin!

The final one (because I really this is going on for ages) is this…

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and just to keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices”

This is the very last paragraph in the book.
I love this.
We can find help and support in places that you would never expect, from people you would never expect and we can then feel an overwhelming urge to make a big gesture to repay their help, to express our gratitude, when most of the time a genuine thank you is all that is needed.

I could go on. But I won’t.

Eat. Pray. Love.

Xoxo Micks

this blog originally appeared on micksmusings.tumblr.com