a video beyond description, and a book giveaway

WHAT INSPIRES YOU, AND BRINGS YOU PEACE? For me it’s nature, solitude, the chance to write again. It’s also discovering accidental teachers like Alice Herz-Sommer, who may inadvertently be the most inspirational “motivational speaker” I’ve ever heard. Alice, the subject of an upcoming documentary, turns 107 years old this month, and is the oldest living Holocaust survivor—with the most positive life view imaginable, in no small part fueled by her passion for music. “Music is god,” she says, and I agree. May we all be so blessed to relish each day as Alice does. To celebrate her birthday, I offer a copy of my upcoming book–just tell us in the comments what inspires you and brings some peace, won’t you? <–Update: the video was removed from public use 11/11 because of an overwhelming response, its creator says; this is one he has posted instead:

I’ll keep an eye out for the return of the original; the new one bears no comparison. Meantime, there are two BBC radio interviews from a few years back if you want to get further acquainted with Alice: Part 1 and Part 2.

I’ll select a winner at random on Wednesday, November 10; entries close at midnight Tuesday the 9th. As ever, I’ll accept entries that don’t include any details beyond, “Count me in,” but I’d love to hear your answers if you’re willing to share.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be offering books that inspire me, and more advance copies of my own. I’ve got some favorites on order, so stay tuned.

  1. jo says:

    Winter encroaches-my garden is going to sleep. Yet here I am with perfect cup of tea watching the drops of rain dancing on the leaves. The seasons always give me solace -I treasure going in when winter comes knocking and bursting out when spring calls. I’ve been looking for signs to point me in my next direction-perhaps your book is that! I believe it was Victor Frankl that said -they took everything from us but could not take our will-how true-we always have a choice. In gratutude.

  2. May says:

    I find peace elusive – I seem to be continually searching for it and sometimes it comes.. other times not. I need time… to garden, to cook wonderful aromatic vegetables, to be with my grandgirls, my grown children and cats but most of all, to be by myself. My new mantra is to “breathe and calm my mind”.

  3. virginia morningstar says:

    I find peace with my three cats and a horse — animals have always been therapeutic to me. They don’t care about any of the crap that is so important to humans and shouldn’t be.

  4. Nancy says:

    I am not sure where I find my peace, sometimes it is just the physical act of turning over the soil in the back garden or writing down my thoughts in my journal. Getting lost in any creative act of writing, painting drawing or playing music as with Alice is great for peace of mind.

  5. Linda says:

    How inspiring! My garden gives me such hope every year. It might not bear as well one year over the other, but each spring brings such plans. I do hope I can win the battle of the weeds next year.

  6. Taryn says:

    First off, thank you for sharing this video. It was a balm. And a gift I shall share with others.
    Hands in the dirt, watching trees sway in the breeze, birds fly, beautiful music all inspire and soothe me. Writing though is my touchstone. Writing is my daily practice –it’s taught me compassion for myself and others, taught me to See, and to be present.

  7. Jackie Mitchell says:

    Nature inspires me, it is amazing what is all around us and how we are a part of it. I love my garden because it is my little piece and it is a beautiful place to be and be a part of.

  8. AmyO says:

    Peace for me is watching the birds, walking on a forest path, petting my cat Angus and sitting near my husband Steve. I find inspiration in nature and the wonder of life renewal every spring…..seeing thetiny seeds I planted last fall, left outdoors for the winter come up in spring & grow into beautiful plants…..what an amazing thing nature is!

  9. kate swift says:

    That video was such an inspiration … If we all had her level of peace in our hearts, there would be no war. Thanks for posting it.

  10. Kat White says:

    Water. It’s always been water. Whether its a really long hot bath at the end of a difficult day or an afternoon watching the waves crash on the beach I can always find peace in water.

  11. Joyce Pinson @friendsdriftinn says:

    -Working the soil, land that has been in husband’s family since the 1800’s
    -Planting heirloom varieties of Appalachian crops grown for generations
    -The soft rhythm of a hoe falling on sandy soil
    -Steamy hot water glistening on filled mason jars
    -Family meals with organic homegrown produce

    These things allow me to touch my ancestors, nourish the youngin’s, and feed my soul. In that, I find peace.

  12. mike 'hazeltree' thompson says:

    peace: the weeping willow at the bottom of the garden with its roots in the earth, its branches in the sky above and its bark that tells the tale of time….

  13. Michelle B says:

    Each and every time I fail to feel at peace it is because I have not accepted reality. An unsettled feeling inspires me to surround myself with people who are accepting reality, to research psychology and science articles, and let out a nice big sign of relief that it is time for me to yet again learn how to be real.

    This undercurrent of unease keeps me grounded, and I am thankful that evolution gave it to me. Keeping balanced between the mind and the body in an ongoing process. Awareness, no matter what it is relation to, being in tune with the stock market, weeding, baking bread, walking down the street, is the boon of peace that my crafty uneasiness gives to me daily.

  14. Julia says:

    I find wilderness inspiring and calming, especially the woods. I love mossy rocks and ferny grottos most of all, something about the dampness feels homey to me.

  15. Piroska says:

    Simple things keep me grounded. Give me inspiration, hope…let me dream.
    Planting flowers in the garden, taking photographs of my dogs, baking chocolate chip cookies for my kids.

  16. Halley's Mommy says:

    What brings me peace is sitting in an adirondack chair under my giant maple trees, watching leaves fall around me, and listening to my daughter breath in an out while she naps on my chest under a fluffy fleece blanket. I just came in from doing this with her and, there is no greater peace or joy in the world. I am sure of it.

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