Stuck On Books

Musings on my favorite reads…

Category: Uncategorized

What Are You Resisting?

Before my father died, he was reading “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. He had mentioned that it was an excellent book and suggested that I read it. I recently found it on Audible and purchased it. By accident, I bought “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, instead.   art of war

There are no accidents in life.


By his own admission, author Steven Pressfield had made a royal mess of his life. He was a hopeless alcoholic, trying to become a great writer and in the process ruined all of his personal and professional relationships. Pressfield was on his way to becoming another human failure when, by a chance encounter with a neighbor, he learned about a powerful invisible force and with that knowledge–changed everything.

There is a force in the universe that is so powerful, no one is immune to it and everyone succumbs to it. It is insidious and its sole purpose is to wreak havoc on our lives. It aims to rob us of being in the spotlight. It prevents us from doing the work that we’re here to do on this planet. It has the same effect on humans as kryptonite on Superman. It is called resistance.                   


Have you ever bought exercise equipment that is now collecting dust under your bed or in your closet? Have you started a journal and within days stopped writing in it? Have you promised yourself that you’ll eat healthier only to break that promise within the same day? If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you know resistance and it’s defeated you each time.

Procrastination in any form is resistance. I’ve learned that resistance get strongest when you’re close to finishing a project, a paper, or any task. When you’re near the end and about to accomplish something, resistance rears its head and works to defeat you.

So, are you allowed to take a break from a project, a paper or a task? Yes of course. But how do you know whether its a healthy break or just resistance? You know by how you feel afterwards. It’s  resistance, if after indulging in it, you feel empty. Food, alcohol, drugs, and sex can all be forms of resistance. After partaking, do you feel empowered or less than? If you take a walk in nature for inspiration and then return to your work inspired, then all is well. If you keep taking walks, and runs, go shopping and surf the web instead of sitting down and doing what needs to be done, then resistance is winning and you’re losing.                Steven Pressfild

It has been over two months since I became aware of its presence and its power. Awareness is always the first step. I do battle with resistance every day now. I wake up and talk directly to it. I let it know that I’m in charge today and this day it will not win.Resistance Destiny

Now that you’ve been made aware, you will see it and feel it every day. You are now better equipped than most to push through resistance and achieve everything you have ever desired.

Hoping this sticks…

Beating Myself Up…


I’m beating myself up for not blogging in March and April.  I blame it on statistics—seriously. I was taking a statistics class, online, as a graduate student. What was I thinking? Oh yes—I’ve always wanted my Master’s degree.

Two summers ago while preparing for grad school I ordered reading glasses from Costco. While chatting up the attractive male employee in the vision department, I mentioned that I was about to start graduate school. He shared that he recently completed his MBA. Upon leaving he wished me good luck — the tone in his voice was a bit ominous; it relayed the message —“I’m sure glad it’s you and not me who’s about to embark on that degree”.

I empathized with fellow classmates who had to juggle full-time work, children and a spouse, while taking this Statistics class. I remember working full time as a single parent while earning my undergraduate degree; it was a harrowing experience which I don’t ever wish to repeat. Now when I start feeling stressed with my coursework, I remind myself that this was my choice.


I admit I enjoyed learning about statistics and how data is measured. Our textbook Statistical Persuasion, was well written and I loved the following quote from it, “It’s easy to lie with statistics, but not easier without them.” Statistics can help us understand, for example, why students in one school district score higher on exams than students of another district. It can also help us understand why women vote one way and men another. Interesting stuff…

During the last eight weeks I managed to listen to two books and read a third one, thereby sticking to my New Year’s resolution of reading at least one book per month. A friend gifted me “Understanding Women” by Alison Armstrong and it is delightful! Every woman must read this book and every man should read it if he wants to understand women. This information is so powerful and right on target that Tony Robbins uses much of it in his relationship seminars.

I also listened to “The Way of the Superior Man” and I highly recommend it to men, certainly, but also to women, if they truly want to understand men. Interestingly, Tony Robbins also uses quite a bit of material from this book too. The author David Deida, lived as a monk for many years prior to becoming an author. His approach and wisdom is incredibly, on point.


Finally I read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. If you need a kick in the butt, this book will do it. Hal is a remarkable young man with a great story (some compare him to Tony Robbins). In brief, Hal was hit by a drunk driver at age seventeen and told he would never walk or be the same again. His book started a movement around the globe and there is a whole Miracle Morning community out there. If you don’t have enough time in your life, then you must read Hal’s book. You will discover how much you can get done before 8am every morning and you will stop beating yourself up for things you didn’t get done.

Hoping this sticks!

The Best Kind of Dangerous

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions but this year I’ve decided to read (or listen to), at least one book per month.

I just finished listening to “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown. Listening to a book read by the author herself is a treat—I feel like I’m having a conversation with her. You may know Brene from her appearances on Oprah — taking about shame or from her Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability.

Anytime I hear Brene speak she gets my full attention. I think it’s her raw honesty that grabs me. She seems unafraid, but after listening to her you quickly learn that this isn’t true at all. She’s real just like you and me.

I found myself taking a lot of notes while listening to this book. Whatever I was doing while listening— I would stop, rush over and hit the pause button on my laptop, then jot down another brilliant quote she shared either from a poet, a song, her therapist or just from herself.

Here are a few that got my attention:

We are most dangerous when we feel powerless.

People aren’t themselves when they are scared.

We are imperfect vessels that hold the heart of someone.

“Only when we know our own darkness can we be present with the darkness of others”_Pema Chodron

“Music always makes me feel less alone in the mess.”

“We’re all just walking each other home.”_Rumi


Brene says we are “hardwired for story”.  Everyone has a story which is important to share because it makes us vulnerable and it connects us with others. We learn best through storytelling. Brene considers herself a storyteller researcher.

She talks about her realization that we are all afraid. I had that epiphany four years ago—imagine if I’d had it sooner? How much pain could I have saved myself?  She talks about curiosity too and says that being curious makes us vulnerable because it involves uncertainty. “Curiosity is a shit starter; curiosity is unruly”.

She grabs me every time she quotes Teddy Roosevelt’s speech about daring greatly. He said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

How does that make you feel? I know it makes me feel better about all the times I’ve stumbled, fell, bruised myself, but kept on going. In “Rising Strong” she says “people who don’t stay down when they fall are the best kind of dangerous.” This resonated with me.


So, how about you? Are you one of the dangerous ones— and are you rising strong? I bet you are. You’re reading this which means that at the very least—you’re curious. 🙂

’Till we meet again…

Do You Have the Courage?

Be Brave Big Magic

“When courage dies, creativity dies with it.”__Elizabeth Gilbert

As a young child, my love of books began when my father rewarded me with a book when I’d done something good—what a concept. He was a teacher. I loved fairly tales so I would get a new fairy tale as my reward. I didn’t know then, but methinks it was the life lessons in them that captured me (and probably the beautiful illustrations).

I’ve always felt that I did not have to experience everything in order to navigate this world. I had always hoped to have an older and wiser person to learn from but I found that this never happened for me. I was exposed to older folks, but they didn’t seem so wise. They didn’t seem interested in sharing life’s wisdoms either.

So in lieu of a wise old sage, I instead learned many wisdoms from books. And thanks to Mr. Cates, my ninth and twelfth grade honors English teacher at Farmingdale High School in New York—I cannot read just one book at a time. He stretched us and made us grasp the ability to have three books going at the same time.

Mr. Cates taught us to read and write profusely. I effectively blame him for my inability to read one book at a time.

I can list the books which have impacted my life the most but I will save that for another day. For now, I want to talk about the book I recently read, or rather listened to on —(I really should work for them in some capacity). I can do laundry, sweep and mop the kitchen, and organize my house while listening to books. And when I make the ten hour drive  south to L.A., or the eight hour drive north to Washington state, I listen to my books in the car and the drive is over too soon.

I just finished “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert—best known for writing the best-seller, “Eat, Pray, Love.”

This book has brought me back to life. My father was shot and killed a little over a year ago, and nothing has been able to motivate me to rejoin society. Well, “Big Magic” did it for me.

As a Sociologist in training, I’m aware that another explanation for my recovery is that enough time has passed—however, this book, and especially because it’s read by the author herself—injected me with the juice I needed to get excited about not just living life, but actually contributing to it.

When Professor Jack Gilbert chats with a young female college student about what she hopes to do with her life and she responds that she would like to be a writer, he stops and asks—“Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

Today I write fearfully and courageously . Will you join me?