The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Thomas Moore, 1996, Harper-Collins
I often recommend to my clients this classic book because it’s a constant reminder to me of how to live here in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with a degree of sanity, awareness, and quality of life! The reality is that we live in the most expensive City in the United States, with traffic patterns that in 1999 were predicted to DOUBLE by 2004, and for most of us, simply figuring out how to find the time to squeeze in a degree of quality and breathing room is a challenge and often a frustration.
Enter Thomas Moore with the third in his series of four books. The first one, and probably best known, is Care of the Soul, followed by SoulMates. Re-enchantment reminds me constantly when I pick it up that life is to be lived with awareness and openness to the moment. Moore covers areas like money, sexuality, children, playfulness, dreams, and travel.
A quick example: “Regardless of its dimensions, travel is not just an activity; it’s a mystery in the fullest sense of the word….one benefit of travel is the opportunity to see the world’s soul in the concrete and discover the many ways life can be lived out. If we reduce travel to transportation, we withhold soul from our movements and then, for all our moving around and getting from place to place, the soul goes unfed. Travel is a profound mystery, but for it to speak to the soul, we have to go about it with care, especially inviting the soul to share in the experience.
And so it may be good if we choose to walk to a place rather than drive; to go by ship rather than air; to drive indirectly rather than by the shortest route; to dally rather than rush; to experience foreigners, whether the inhabitants of another country or simply of another suburb; to eat their food and not our own; and, above all, to allow other places to be themselves and not to impose our own values and manners on them. In our economic efforts to Weternize the globe, we are diminishing our own resources for enchantment, and I fear in the future, whever we go, we will find only ourselves.”
I have been endeavoring to live out this more gentle, mindful way of life in this season of my own life’s journey. Three times in the past three years, my husband and I cashed in plane tickets and opted for a long, conversation-filled drive instead. Did it take longer? Yes. Did it at times feel frustrating that we were hitting delays with roadwork and getting lost?Yes. And do I remember the special sidetrips, conversations, and spontaneous moments that that form of travel afforded us – absolutely yes!
Let me encourage you to ask for “Re-Enchantment” for a Christmas gift this year or check it out of the library or go buy a copy for 15 minutes of lunchtime reading. It gives you a practical, healthy way to LIVE in our oh so hectic, oh so expensive and at times oh so stressful part of the world.