Yesterday, I made the delicious mistake of taking my laptop to my local Barnes & Noble to get a few hours of “work” done. I was met with the best of creature comforts: my pick of big roomy tables to spread my work out on, a steaming cup of holiday tea, and red velvet cupcakes. Yes, Barnes & Noble sells red velvet cupcakes. It may be a seasonal thing because I don’t remember them being there all the time. They get them from The Cheesecake Factory. And they were almost the real thing. You know those fake red velvet cupcakes they try to sell you with vanilla frosting? Vanilla? No, these Barnes & Noble cupcakes were dense red beauties with the perfect hint of cocoa and a huge dollop of thick cream cheese frosting and chocolate curls. I say they were “almost” the real thing because real red velvet cake doesn’t have chocolate curls. It has pecans. Lots and lots of glorious pecans, inside the frosting and as a garnish on top of the cake. My life would have been absolutely perfect at that moment if I had the wisdom to carry around a little ziplock bag of crushed pecans in my purse.
Before I could even get over to the cafe side, though, I was compelled to purchase four new books. Four. Seeing as how one of my personal commitments is to read at least one book a month, that means I just bought four months worth. I just had to buy Marianne Williamson’s books, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” and The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life. They came together in a double volume for just 11 bucks; what was I supposed to do? I’ve been wanting to read Marianne’s work ever since I learned that this quote came from her, not Nelson Mandela as often cited:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. Thee’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I’ve also listened to Marianne’s MiracleThought podcasts on Oprah.com, which are guaranteed to ensure I begin the day with a happy spirit. So, I can’t wait to tear into her books! I feel like I’m at the right moment in my life when I can really absorb her knowledge and apply it to my journey. Have you read any of Marianne’s books? Did they help make room for more happiness in your life?
The three other books I bought were:
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
I had previously purchased the hardcover Here Comes Everybody and started reading it, but I think I must have left it on a plane or in a hotel room somewhere during my travels. It’s nowhere to be found. So I re-purchased it. Or re-bought it. Whatever. I paid for it again, and good thing it’s in paperback now because it was a lot cheaper the second time around. I told my Twitter friends how many books I bought today, and they said if I’m buying that many books I need to get a Kindle or a Nook.
And that’s where I had to put my foot down.
I love technology, I really do. But I will never, ever get a Kindle or a Nook. I love my books way too much. I mean, I love the physicality of books lined up on my shelves, stacked up all over my apartment like trophies, each one a place to which I long to travel or return to again. I love to feel the pages crisp in my fingertips, the push of my ink pen making notes in the margins. Opening each one is like meeting an old friend.
I fell head over heels love with books when I was four years old. My mom had me when she was in the 10th grade, so my grandmother had to help raise me. Grama quit her job so she could make sure I had everything I needed to grow up great. While mom was at school, Grama taught me how to read with the help of Dr. Seuss and his Cat in the Hat and In a People House. I remember sitting in her lap on our big blue couch as she turned the pages, pointing to the pictures and the words as she read through each story. I remember running around the house chanting proudly:
“Come inside, Mr. Bird,” said the mouse. ”I’ll show you what there is in a People House…”
My grandmother got me hooked on books, on the sweet surrender to a place that would never fail me: knowledge. I loved it when they started having contests at school for how many books you could read over the summer. And do y’all remember Book-It? I got so many award certificates, I must have overdosed on free pizza.
“Bananas, bathtub, bottles, brooms…That’s what you find in people’s rooms.”