Educated. A must-read.

Educated. A must-read.

May 25, 2018
/ /
in Tip

A few months ago, my brother sent me a podcast tip, of Tara Westover in conversation on Talking politics. I listened, intrigued and curious after reading this blurb:
David talks to Tara Westover about her incredible new book Educated, which tells the story of how a girl brought up by survivalists in Idaho and who never went to school ended up with a PhD from Cambridge.  Along the way we discuss what education means and what Tara’s journey has taught her about politics and about life.  Really, this is a conversation about the important stuff.

I searched for the book in my local library database, didn’t find it, and sent in a purchase request. As often happens, the library got the book, and sent me an email saying I could come pick it up. I did. And didn’t start to read, busy busy, with all the other books I’ve been reading (this being the 38th book I’ve read so far this year). Got another email from the library, saying I had to return it – managed to extend my loan, and still didn’t start to read, busy busy… Third email dropped into my inbox, saying the book was due back again. Tried to repeat my action to extend my loan, but alas, someone else has requested the book, due back this past Monday.

EducatedSo… I immediately returned it? No. Despicable me did not return it, but rather, finally got around to reading it! I just finished it, and I promise I will return it to the library come Monday, cross my heart and hope to die. And boy. What a book. What a story. I am very glad I took the time to read it.

Educated is…
hard to wrap my head around.
and a definite must-read!

During a visit to Cambridge in the UK; Tara get’s to walk atop the chapel of King’s College (it’s beautiful!), and walks up there, amazed at the sights. Her fellow students and the professor accompanying them, stays close to the walls, walking slowly and crab-like, afraid to fall to the ground. Tara doesn’t, and the professor points it out to her, asking how come she’s comfortable way up high on this roof.

“I can stand in this wind, because I’m not trying to stand in it,” I said. “The wind is just wind. You could withstand these gusts on the ground, so you can withstand them in the air. There is no difference. Except the difference you make in your head.”
He stared at me blankly. He hadn’t understood.
“I’m just standing,” I said. “You are all trying to compensate, to get your bodies lower because the height scares you. But the crouching and the sidestepping is not natural. You’ve made yourselves vulnerable. If you could just control your panic, this wind would be nothing.”
“The way it is nothing to you,” he said.

I’ve never actually thought about it, but she’s right. Why would it be harder to walk atop that roof, than down on the street below? Why is it harder to walk along a plank laid across a creek, that it is to walk across the kitchen floor? There is really not much of a difference, except the difference you make in your head. And once again, I am pointed back to the truth of how our thinking creates our experience of the world, in each and every moment.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”Educated” by Tara Westover

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When breath becomes air

February 4, 2017
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in Tip

When breath becomes airWowed.
By the beauty of the language.
By the vulnerability and gentleness of Paul.
By the hard-earnedness of the insights shared.

A must-read.
A book I know I will be able to read, over and over again, and always find something new in.

The foreword alone, is a magnificent read – by Abraham Verghese, author of another book that wowed me, in much the same way. Similar and yet, different. But the language. The beauty of the language, the skill of using words, of stringing them together, into sentences and paragraphs that move me, shaking me to my core. Brings tears to my eyes, and lets me soar high on the winds of possibility. All at the same time.

In the acceptance, the experience, of death, Paul Kalanithi generously shares with us a gift, that lasts long after his passing. A passing I cannot help feel was premature. So much he could have continued to give, to his loved ones, patients and colleagues, and to the world.

But I had perhaps not heard of him then – and the same might go for many a people. And it becomes apparent to me, as I read, that the focus within, that says this was not fair, he should have lived much longer, isn’t serving me. It retracts from the message of the book, and so I let it go. Stop resisting, and fall into acceptance, as I read, feverishly, page after page, turning them quickly, not wanting to miss a word and at the same time eager for the next page to reveal its beauty to me. And in accepting, the gift of Paul sharing what he learns as he walks into the valley of death, expands my world, with every breath I take. And then…. breath becomes air.

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