in which the universe gives me a reading assignment

I was sitting on the couch with a friend Saturday night, when something caught my eye. My bookcase is tucked into a little nook in the corner of the living room, and I see it every day, but for some reason something seemed different.

I had rearranged the bookshelves a year or so ago, and I always think there’s an interloper. But there’s not — I just haven’t gotten used to nonfiction being here and fiction over there, and travel on that shelf and poetry in the other room.

But what I did or did not notice on Saturday felt different. I glanced again, to be sure. The photo of my Dad, the little paper gift box from France, the Texas BBQ cookbook — these were all familiar. But something was different.

I don’t know what it was that made me look twice, but as I took an accounting of the shelves, I remember seeing a pretty blue color on the spine of one of the books. I remember it specifically, because I used the same color recently, on a business card I was designing for a client — Pantone 5415.

On Sunday morning, I started writing a blog post about my yoga class, “Yoga Week Five: Loving Kindness.” Last week, our instructor had quoted a woman named Sharon Salzberg, and I wanted to use a similar quote for the post. So I did some research.

Sharon Salzberg, it turns out, is well known in yoga and meditation circles. She has studied and practiced meditation for over 40 years. In 1976, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is a teacher, lecturer, and a contributor to a number of magazines including Time, O, Yoga Journal, Real Simple, Body & Soul, More and Self.

She is the author of a number of books, including: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate, The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion, A Heart as Wide as the World

…and the one that I found on my bookshelf, with the pretty blue spine, to the right of the little French gift box, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.

• • •

Photo by Steve Rhodes. For more of his work, please visit him on Flicker.

The subject of the photo is a sculptural installation by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn called Language of the Birds. It’s located in San Francisco.

12 thoughts on “in which the universe gives me a reading assignment

Add yours

  1. Sharon Salzberg is a fine teacher, and a reliable and confident guide.
    Do you know Pema Chodron? If not, now that you have once heard her name —
    If she is meant to be another guide, she will come again into your life.

    1. I have heard of Pema Chodron. I remember skimming through some of her writing back when I bought the Lovingkindness book. I suspect I wasn’t ready for either guide then. I’m glad they waited for me. : )

  2. Yes, it is always refreshing to locate that which was lost. I stand there and my eyes are searching the room frantically looking for the lost item, and my brain at the same time is racing, trying desperately to figure out what it is that I am looking for.

    WHERE is it the eyes say … and the brain replies WHAT is it … and life moves on.

    They are going to love me at the home.


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