My blog has been kind of quiet the last few weeks. I needed a little break after I released the first two volumes of my new book series. I’m happy to be blogging again.
A couple of weeks ago I finished reading a book, Resilience, by Navy Seal Eric Greitens. Eric spoke at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago at the end of March, but I was unable to attend his program due to a lecture I was giving. I did order his book as soon as I read the program description. This book isn’t the typical military book I usually read. My readings lists are primarily World War II related. But something about this book called out to me and I had to buy it and read it.
The book is basically the edited correspondence from Eric to his friend and former Navy SEAL team member, “Zach,” who is struggling with PTSD, and finding a purpose in life after the military. There are pieces of letters or quotes from “Zach” which help put the entire book into perspective. There were many times throughout the book, where I felt a passage was speaking about a friend in my life, or a past situation, and therefore brought even more meaning and understanding to me as I read. I even recommended one friend in particular read the book as it seemed to call out his name at certain times. He started and we have been discussing pieces of it.
In my opinion, this book isn’t one to read in one weekend. I picked it up and put it down many times over the course of a few weeks. Each time I read chapters of it, I learned something new about myself, my past struggles, and current life situation. While the book was written after many letters were exchanged by Navy SEAL friends, the strategies in this book speak to the struggles we all face in our lives. Eric offers his friend and the readers, sound advice for looking at our lives, our purposes, discovering and remembering what is most important, and helping us remember why we get out of bed every day.
I think the most important part of this book, for me at this moment in my life, was the chapter on FREEDOM. So many people tell me I need to stop working so hard all the time and find balance. Of course, we all see balance as a seesaw going up and down and never level. Eric doesn’t see life-work balance that way. We are never in perfect alignment because something is always calling us or needing our assistance – work, family, friends, community, or ourselves. He said, “Give yourself the freedom to live a life that’s balanced – not like a seesaw but like a beautiful work of art.” I love that quote. The more I thought about the idea of balance, the more I see it as a circle balanced on a pole – all the pieces of our life connect and sometimes we can’t separate work from family or community from ourselves. They all work together in harmony. The chapter ends with this quote:
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
I love that quote and feel my life is this way.
If you like to think on the bigger questions in life, where you have come from, where you are now, and where you see yourself going, I encourage you to pick up this book. I believe if I read it again in a month or six months or a year, I will learn new things about myself as I look at my past and experiences. The book is timeless.
Finally, I suggest you find a friend to read the book with and have your own book club discussions about it. By talking about the things you read and thinking about your own life, it can open up a new world of conversation. It is another way to bond with those you care about. I hope you enjoy it.
© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL