Next Chapter Book Blogging Group – Week 2: The Joy Diet, Chapter 1 – Nothing


Happy Sunday Evening!

So week 2 of The Next Chapter Book Blogging Group is officially over.  The group’s homework was to read and blog about Chapter 1 of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.  Click here to learn more about the group:  Read about the Group’s Week 2 adventures here:

Chapter 1 deals with nothing.  It’s exactly what I have been thinking about as I wind down with some latin jazz music playing on WPFW.  The music reminds me of time spent in Cuba five years ago. I miss Habana (yes Havana with a b instead of a v!).  While I was there, I spent a lot of time doing nothing in the early morning hours.  Doing nothing consisted of me laying still on my bed and allowing my mind to travel all over the place without any agenda, expectations, resistance, or judgment.  It was complete surrender to the morning chit chatter.  After approximately 15 minutes, the speed of the inner chit chatter slowed down.  It eventually settled down and made room for stillness.  

Yesterday I experienced a similar stillness while attending All Souls Unitarian Church’s annual Autumn Soul-stice Retreat (my 3rd experience!).  The theme of this year’s retreat was “Discovering Soulful Support.”  The first session I attended was entitled “Exploration Through the Narrative Room.”  It was held in the Church’s library filled with comfy chairs and a long board table.  Seven other people kept me company as we listened to two readings and used stem sentence writing exercises to explore our need for soulful support.  I wrote without an agenda and expectations.  The words that showed up in my journal surprised me.  See the excerpt below.

The soulful support I yearn for would allow me to be, do, say, think, and expect no-thing.  Is this possible? Am I just playing with myself on paper? Can it really happen? I’m not at all certain, but I do know I am willing to try.  So I return to the stem sentence and write it out again.  The soulful support I yearn for would be wrapped in my willingness to allow myself to be,  think, do, say and expect no-thing.  This support takes the form of space where I can let go, release, sit with, observe, explore, and understand all the things that pop up inside of me that create expectations, judgments, and time zappers.  The soulful support I yearn for would be more compassion and mitra, a Sanksrit word, that means unconditional friendship for oneself.    

I circled the word mitra and reflected on its meaning.  I wrote my own definition: mitra is my authenticity of imperfection smiling back at me. 

The second workshop focused on sound meditation and the Tao Te Ching. This was a transformative experience for me.  I embraced a passage from the Tao Te Ching as my own:  The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.  It helped me see that my do no-thing intention to allow the experience to unfold without an agenda and expectations had guided me throughout the day.  I ended up getting so much from the experience.  Click on the video below to hear more about the session’s impact on my spiritual practice.

I am grateful that I had these moments of insight because they will help me as I gear up to launch my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery in late October.

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a great week!

Peace and Creativity,



  1. It sounds like your week of nothing has been richly rewarding. You’ve explored so much and been mindful of where you thinking has taken you.

    I look forward to seeing where our search for truth takes us all this week.

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