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Monday, April 07, 2008

In Progress

Sir Francis Bacon: Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

I've finished a couple more books that need to be reviewed and am currently reading The Mindful Woman by Sue Patton Thoele. I'm reading this one slowly as it is not the kind of book to read whole. I think of Bacon often as I'm reading (not just this book) because so many of the books I read are simply swallowed for entertainment but others, especially nonfiction, require a slower and more thoughtful approach.

I'm about half way through this one and am enjoying it and trying to take the time for the exercises. Thoele places great emphasis on breath and begins many of the exercises with the idea of paying attention to breath. This is a concept with which I entirely agree after nearly 8 years of tai chi & qiqong and a mere 6 weeks in yoga.

Being conscious of your breathing, taking the time to draw deep breaths into your belly, using your breath to calm and center yourself are huge elements in tai chi & qiqong; after tai chi classes I was always so relaxed and so alert ( wonderful combination) as a result of conscious breathing. I'm finding a similar effect in yoga.

When Thoele talks about taking cleansing breaths before beginning her exercises, she is preparing the ground by encouraging the awareness of breath and its calming effects.

This book is tailored to women, but is simply a good guide for finding balance and a sense of calm for anyone who is interested. And mindfulness is something I very much want for myself. On my other blog, I've mentioned my desire for mindfulness several times, so when this book was offered, it seemed like perfect timing--that wonderful sychronicity that life frequently offers.

"Sue Patton Thoele
is a psychotherapist, former hospice chaplain, and bereavement group leader. She is author of eleven other books, including The Courage To Be Yourself, The Woman's Book of Soul, Growing Hope, Freedoms After 50, and The Woman's Book of Courage." Her website is

I'm not sure when I'll finish, but even after finishing, I intend to go over these daily practices. They fit nicely into some of the lessons from Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be by Lama Surya Das.


  1. I like to read nonfiction slowly too -- otherwise I don't fully absorb it.

  2. I have a firm conviction in the benefits of deep breathing. I stumbled across and bought a book on woman's health years and years ago. About the same time I was told I'd need a surgery for hiatal hernia. Instead I practiced the deep breathing exercises in the book - no surgery needed. Still doing them for overall health reasons.

  3. It wasn't until I started yoga that I realise how shallow my breathing actually was. We walk around everyday with no idea of how it affects us.

    Yay for mindful breathing. :)

  4. Dorothy - Nonfiction requires more thought, and I also like pausing longer between sessions.

    Booklogged - I am a believer in the debilitating effects of stress and the deep breathing helps eliminate it, keeping it healthier and allowing healing to occur faster.

    Orpheus - I still surprise myself at how shallow my breathing can become if I'm not paying attention!