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. Jayne says:

    Peace is found in exploring the land, nurturing plants, observing the life that goes on beneath your trowel and in front of your eyes.

  2. Amanda says:

    Peace is sitting in the sun with my dogs at my sides. They are faithful companions, always glad to see me and generally think I can do no wrong.

  3. Carole Clarin says:

    Before watching the video of Alice, I thought of several ways I find peace and inspiration, but there is no comparison to the feeling I got while watching this amazing survivor! Her ability to find joy in music and friendship, the simple pleasures that many of us overlook and take for granted, provides inspiration to all those who have listened to her story.

  4. Carolyn Maguet says:

    What inspires me and brings me peace….
    Observing nature, noticing the “details” in the plant life outdoors, and watching the natural instinctual behaviour of my animals (we have cows, horses, sheep, a llama, dogs and cats) outdoors – I love the subtleties of their body language, their interaction with each other, and how they merge with the environment. And, if I’m lucky, there is often some wildlife in or near my yard to observe as well!

  5. Burndett Andres says:

    I find peace, or balance, in the belief that life as we know it is “virtual reality,” that we are here to experience imperfection. Making lemonade from the rough patches by searching for the lessons contained therein and appreciating the wonders that fill the world on all levels brings inspiration to seek goodness in all things and in all persons at all times. Thanks for sharing the video.

  6. Judith Anderson says:

    I find peace and joy talking to the clear and honest children/patients I treat, who may be missing limbs or cognition, and can make me laugh with their positive view of this chaotic world.

  7. Marie says:

    I find peace at home. My husband and I are building our house for us. Not for some unknown buyer, to turn a profit, but just for us. And we are building it ourselves, for the most part. We are hammering, cutting, lifting and mortaring. Our house, my garden, our home. We will always be here, to the end of our days. That give me peace.

  8. Kathie says:

    I found peace within myself. I used to think I couldn’t be alone; that I had to always find someone to share my time because I couldn’t bear facing a day by myself. After going through difficult family issues, I realized I enjoyed my own company. While I adore my family and friends and cherish every minute I can spend with them, I am no longer afraid of spending time with myself. That’s where I am most at peace, whether it’s in my garden, in my writing room, sitting in a chair with my knitting while I listen to music or reading an excellent book.

  9. Dawn says:

    When my children are happy and comforted in there lives and they have a certain joy in their step. When my husband smiles at me and gives me a kiss as we strip the leaves off of a parsley plant to make logs and after I beat him two games in a row playing cribbage. When I look at the sky and marvel that I can’t remember the last time there were so many stars. I couldn’t even find the big dipper! When I manage to salvage one dahlia left on my plants, bring it in to the house in mid-November and watch it come to life again. Simple small things…all part of the living life…

  10. Belinda Holloway says:

    Peace is knowing that before someone you love passes from this earth plane, they know, and you know that you both loved and cared for each other to such a degree that death will not end it. That love and bond will survive eternity, and so everyday you can love that person and know that they still love you. I am inspired by her statement, “I do not hate, hate only brings hate’. How wise for someone who was surrounded by such hatred for so long. Happy Birthday Alice!!!

  11. Colta Ives says:

    Very beautiful and inspiring.
    I’m taking up the piano again, as winter’s counterpart to digging in the garden.
    Thanks for this, Margaret.
    You got some good vibes, girl.

  12. Joan says:

    Peace? I’m still evolving so I don’t know if I will ever find total peace. I look back on my life years ago and wish I was at this point back then.I’m happy for anybody that has found peace in whatever lifestyle they choose. I also find simple things more enjoyable now…..like spotting a rare sighting of a bird or coming across a wildflower on a walk.

    My life plan is to strive toward peace!

  13. The garden inspires me: to watch the unswerving will of each plant and animal to grow! Friends are always asking me gardening questions with such seriousness, as though their own fates are tied to how their gardens perform, and they seem to feel there is a Gardening Law Which Must Be Obeyed. In truth, you have to work very hard to kill most plants. Survival is in their very genes. Relax and enjoy!
    Peace, however, is entirely different. I find that a busy mind is the enemy of peace. In yoga practice, we learn that the hard work of the practice results in a rest period, called shavasana and in that period, by tiring the body, we have tired the mind so that we can find peace. The same thing happens in my garden: in the single-minded struggle to get my post-middle-aged body to perform the work, I wear out both the body and the mind, and I find order and peace in the garden.

  14. Jennifer P says:

    I’m made aware while gardening. Aware that I am part of a larger mystery and a story that was written long before me and will continue to be written long after I am gone. Sounds simplistic, but there you have it.

  15. Andrea from NC says:

    What brings me peace and inspires me? Well, gardening of course. At one of my garden club meetings (Not Your Mother’s Garden Club) we talked about what we get from gardening, why we do it. My answer? “It feeds my soul”. There is a bigger answer though: Creativity. I realized several years ago that being creative is essential to my life. So I try to be creative every day in my effort to live a balanced, happy life. You epitomize that dynamic, creative (and therefore balanced) life Margaret. I think that’s why I’m looking forward to your book so much. Be well :)

  16. LarryM says:

    I find peace in my garden….at least that’s where I go looking for it. I think it’s somewhere between the tomatoes and the blackberries.

  17. Linda in gnawbone indiana says:

    My 5 wooded acres, my home my husband and I built 30 years ago and still live in while all we knew were “trading up” for profits and a bigger house, my beloved gardens, my family,my pets, and my faith in mankind to “do the right thing”…..and also you Margaret for all the inspiration you have given me since I discovered your web site in April of this year. Thank you

  18. boodely says:

    Lately it seems to me that light is God. Always there, always changing, beautiful and quiet and mysterious.

    Peace comes from friends who save me when I am afraid by making me laugh deep and long. And peace comes from making — the garden, my jewelry, a meal at the end of the day.

  19. Ellen says:

    What inspires me and brings me peace? Definitely working in my yard and gardens. If I go outside to pick up my newspaper — that can turn into being in the yard for 30 or 45 mins. I’ll find a weed to pull or plant to check. Usually on those lovely weekend days (yes, I still work so gardening is mostly on the weekends) — I go back inside with my newspaper — grease up with sun screen, bug repellent and ivy block before going back outside. The morning or day as it typically is — just flys by. The peace is enjoyed again later in the day — after the shower with a glass of wine in hand sitting on my deck feeling whole with my creative juices flowing.

    Please count me in.

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