Reading List – Susan

I brought a few books on the trip I have always intended to read and never seem to start.  First I read Night, by Elie Wiesel, a haunting and beautifully written Nobel Prize winning, memoir about his Holocaust experience as a teenager. The book was originally written in French in 1956 and his wife, Marion revised the translation in 2006.  I highly recommend it.

Then I read Flourish by Martin Seligman, who is the father of positive psychology and a professor at University of Penn, who also wrote Authentic Happiness about ten years ago.  Flourish is an update on his happiness theory, moving to a theory of well-being, with more measures to create a fulfilling life.  I found reading the book calming, as I had defined the goal of this trip to increase my well-being.  When I stated that my goal for this trip was improving my well-being, I meant improving my health.  Yet as I read his theories, I realize that is just what I am after as my goal.

Seligman’s well-being theory is measured by:

  • Positive Emotion
  • Engagement
  • Meaning
  • Positive Relationships
  • Accomplishments

And I would add physical health to the list.  One must be healthy to pursue the measures above, which Seligman does address in the book. It is a fast and interesting read, with many psychological studies from other professors, case studies, well-being exercises and a fascinating recount of how Seligman’ work is being used by the US military, specifically to prevent and help PTSD.  After sharing it with Dr. Raju and Padma, they both asked to read it, so I will leave my copy for them to enjoy.

I did experiment with some of his exercises from the positive emotion section.  The first one in the book is called “The Gratitude Visit”.  You are to write a 300-word letter of gratitude for someone who is alive and then go read the letter to them.  I wrote a letter to my friend, Karlin who was the one who exposed me to the Ayurvedic approach and is a wonderful friend and support.  She was delighted to receive the letter, even without a personal visit.  The other exercise I did is called “What Went Well” (WWW), where you list three things that went well today.  At dinner at the clinic we have taken turns bringing different conversation topics, otherwise we end up taking about the treatments and our health, which gets dull day after day.  The WWW has been very well received and provided lots of fun conversation.

Now I am reading Through Time Into Healing by Dr. Brian Weiss.  Dr. Weiss wrote Many Lives, Many Masters a couple of decades ago. This book is the follow up to that book and was originally published in 1992.  Weiss is a Yale trained psychiatrist, who uses hypnosis and past life regression to heal his patients.  The book is full of amazing case studies.  He has several more current books, but I happened onto this one at the Indian mall and picked it up as I had been meaning to get his most recent book after hearing him on Oprah radio this past spring when I found his talk riveting.

Interestingly, Dr. Krishna told me yesterday during my pulse reading I should be careful about what I am reading during the treatments.  His comment was not from hearing the pulse, but my report of what I was reading. He said the goal of the treatment is have your body and mind at an even keel and to be careful that books don’t excite your mind.  He recommended spiritual books to calm the mind.  I figured the Dr. Weiss book fits into the spiritual category from my perspective and kept on reading, as I find it calming!

Next up is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaleo Hosseini, the author of the Kite Runner.

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5 Responses to Reading List – Susan

  1. Nancy Shaw says:

    Hmmm…intrigued by the Dr’s wariness of reading b/c excites the mind. For me stimulating the mind, either thru escapism or introspection, is not incongruous with relaxation. Careful when reading this post – pondering that reflection might also excite the mind (I offer humbly…)

    • alanm1145 says:

      It is all in your perspective, I suppose. For years I discussed reincarnation with my Dad. Now that he is gone, I find the thought that he is in another dimension comforting.

  2. Sally Rotter says:

    I finally had a chance to catch up on all of your adventures. It’s like reading this page turning novel that you can’t put down, except I know the people in it. I am so in awe of you both, and of Jacob and Sarah!! Your courage, optimism and tenacity are unsurpassed. Keep writing and inspiring..

  3. Ya, isn’t Night an important book – I felt humbled by Elie Weisel – a great man. The book on happiness sounds like just what I need (coincidentally bill dropped off the latest Time magazine with an article on happiness….hmm). I’m with Nancy – reading comforts and consoles me – I’d take the doc’s suggestion with a cultural grain of salt. Thanks for the book reviews!

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