Friday, May 29, 2009

Why Good Things Happen To Good People

Authors: Stephen Post, Ph.D. and Jill Neimark
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2017-9

I had reached page 29 of "Why Good Things Happen to Good People" when I decided to go for a walk in the woods with this book and my new flute. I made myself comfortable in my favorite spot by a trickling stream and opened the book to page 30. The first words my eyes rested upon were.... "Then I walked into the woods, a chapel carved by nature." I immediately knew that I was meant to read this book.

The central theme of Post's and Neimark's book is that if we give to others from our hearts ( not from thought of benefit or reward) that we will reap benefits glorious and unimaginable. I was thrilled that the authors made the definite point that we all have different ways of giving and that once we become aware of these various avenues of sharing ourselves with others, we can expand on our abilities to do so. I personally feel that I am not as up to par with some methods of giving as I am with others. This book reassured me that even if I don't remember birthdays or think of special things to give people during the year, that some of the other activities I engage in are just as important. Activism, being a good listener, expressing joy and humor, can also contribute to lighting up people's lives. We need to find our strengths and capitalize on them. We also need to realize that we are not limited to our natural giving tendencies. "Why Good Things Happen to Good People" shares ideas as to how we can break free from a stagnant pattern and become more joyful while doing so.

I loved the authors' concept that forgiveness is also a form of giving and that holding grudges or hatred towards others negatively affects our own lives as well as the lives of those we are bearing the grudge against. This book is full of practical advice and helpful examples. I would like to share a quote from pages 85-86. It is one of my favorite contemplative exercises from the book.

" Start counting people (from family to friends, colleagues, and neighbors) against whom you bear a grudge or resentment, even relatively small ones. Imagine putting a potato into a sack for every slight or hurt you have not forgiven. Now, imagine that for a week you have to carry that sack around everywhere you go - to the bathroom, in the car or on the train, to work, at your desk, at meetings, during mealtime and in bed at night. Have a good laugh at the amusing image. Don't you feel exhausted just contemplating that huge sack of potatoes?"

The authors have included many studies which have been conducted on the physical and emotional benefits of the various forms of giving. There are also tests throughout the book which help you to gauge where you currently stand and also to help you to monitor your progress towards any goals you may set for yourself.

This book has helped me to understand where my strengths lie and is an ongoing guide towards future goals. "Why Good Things Happen to Good People" is a book about love and caring and leads us together on the path to creating a better world. Everyone should read this book. I know I'm going to keep my copy close at hand

The above review was contributed by: Marjorie Tietjen. Marjorie is a freelance journalist with a B.S. in nutrition. She writes on various topics but has a special interest in public health, education and awareness. Her writings can be found online and in several print publications.

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