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The Must-Read Book Club

Christine Malossi: I discovered Pema Chodron about a decade ago when I was at a low point in my life. A friend handed me When Things Fall Apart. Her words were like a revelation, and they helped me survive those dark days. Since then, I’ve read any book of hers I could get my hands on. This one stands out as a book I can return to over and over, whenever the ground feels rocky underneath me. It reminds me to relax with the rockiness and embrace it, rather than fight against it.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

CM: “But rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, ‘Yes, this is the way it is; this is what it means to be human,’ and decided to sit down and enjoy the ride?”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

CM: Anyone whose life has moments of uncertainty, ambivalence, anxiety, or ambiguity…in other words, everyone!

YCNC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

CM: Chodron describes a simple 3-step practice for dealing with difficult situations or emotions before they spiral out of control: “Be fully present. Feel your heart. And engage the next moment without an agenda.”

She calls it an “on-the-spot” practice, meaning you can do it anytime, anywhere, at any moment. It’s a way of stepping back and acknowledging the reality of what’s happening in this moment, and embracing that reality with an open mind and heart. I try to use this 3-step practice whenever I feel paralyzed by doubt, worry or fear, or when I’m getting swept away by an elaborate fantasy inside my head of what could happen or might happen. Through this practice I can choose to be fully present and connect with what is actually happening, even in the moments that challenge me most.

You can purchase Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change here.

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