Long story, little book . . .

When_i_loved_myself_enough Daughter was off on school trip to France and needed gift for host family.  Saw DVD advertised in a bookshop window of the history of Gloucester (where homestead is sited).  Purchased copy of said DVD with pride thinking it would be treasured by the French.  Pleased with self and ‘painless’ purchase, rushed home.  Met with teenage disapproval of such an ‘uncool’ treasure.  Return DVD.  No refunds given.  OK, it wasn’t Waterstones, nothing like actually, just a rather tatty bookshop which at first sight looked like a storeroom for second hand books.  Surprisingly, the books were new but had obviously been sitting sadly on the shelves for some time, awaiting appreciation.

So, credit note in hot little hand, began scouring the shelves for something (anything) to replace the DVD.  Was put off by various large arrows marked on the walls guiding prospects to the ‘Adult Section Upstairs’.  The shop went back for a long, long way.  Dusty shelves, tatty sleeves on the books and only me in the shop!  What on earth lurked in the darkness at the end of the racks of neglect.  About half way down the shop something on the shelf caught my eye.  A little book called out to me.  I lifted it from the rack and wiped some dust from the edge. 

The book was entitled "When I loved myself enough" by Kim McMillen (with Alison McMillen).  The back of the dust cover, or should I say ‘dusty’ cover had a quotation from Deepak Chopra which said "A beautiful, simple book that illuminates the important things in life".  I have read several of Deepak’s books and so was impressed to unexpectedly find his personal endorsement on this little book.

The dedication at the front appealed to me "To my Ali girl . . . An extraordinary daughter who always knew I wasn’t born yesterday".

If you have a few minutes, I’d like to share part of the introduction to the book, written by Kim.

"For many years I lived with a guarded heart.  I did not know how to extend love and compassion to myself.  In my fortieth year that began changing.

"As I grew to love all of who I am, life started changing in beautiful and mysterious ways.  My heart softened and I began to see through very different eyes.

"My commitment to follow this calling grew strong and in the process a divine intelligence came to guide my life.  I believe this ever-present resource is grace, and is available to us all.

"For the past twelve years I have been learning to recognize and accept this gift.  Cultivating love and compassion for myself made it possible.

"The following steps are uniquely mine.  Yours will look different.  But I do hope mine give voice to a hunger you may share."

Each of the pages starts with "When I loved myself enough . . ." and then gives a benefit of having done just that.

So, the first page sets the scene: "When I loved myself enough I quit settling for too little".

Alison, Kim’s daughter, writes a very moving piece about her mother at the end of this illuminating book.  Each one of us must grasp every day because we don’t know how many lie ahead.  Here’s the first paragraph:

"My mother died in September of 1996, at the age of 52, only a few short months after writing this book.  She was not ill and did not know that she was going to die.  Her death was very sudden and it deeply shocked everyone who knew her.  It has been very difficult for me, as well as her friends and family, to cope with life without her.  She died too young, and I am aware of her absence every waking moment."

I think I need to put the kettle on and sit quietly for a while because so many thoughts are tumbling into my mind.  How do you feel?  Thought provoking, isn’t it?  A dusty treasure on a dusty shelf just meant for me.  Amazing how I found it against all the odds, don’t you think?

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