Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Book Review: A Field Guide to Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in the Present Tense

A Field Guide to Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in the Present Tense

It's kind of funny that a "field guide to now" first sent my memory drifting back to my earlier days of parenting, though for every "I remember" Christina Rosalie's beautifully written and presented book brought to mind, her journey also often struck me as very different from my own. Then I got to the chapter titled "Hurdle" and it all fell into place. The connection with another female writer, one who blossomed in her words and art in tandem with growing babies, and the element of now I was seeking from the book's title. 

"Becoming a parent has forced me to listen again and again to my stirring heart in a way I never did before. It has propelled me toward my creative work with the kind of awesome advantage that female athletes have after having a baby."

This is the chapter where I stopped reminiscing and started declaring, exactly! Here is a woman who has felt it to, the creative wholeness that having children can bring to a life, the determination to become now rather than wait for a more convenient, less full time.

"The very fact that I am not always at the center of my own life is what spurs me to acknowledge the only Someday I'll ever have is right now, and to dig in."

Each of Rosalie's essays rolls through the heart and mind, some words lodging and making you want to grab hold and savor them a bit, others dancing merrily past. It's a book you want to breath in, by essay, by page, or sometimes by paragraph. And the mixed-media images she includes have a beauty all their own. I was especially drawn to her pictures of hands, a theme that comes up in my own limited exploration of visual arts.

A Field Guide is a comfort book, a perfect book for giving as a gift, and a book that should be passed on to new and experienced mothers, alike. It is as wonderful in bits and pieces as it is in one full reading, from cover to cover. I highly recommend it.

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