Book review: 'The Wholehearted Life' is transforming

At this time of year, when it is cold and it has been so dark, but the world is gently turning toward the light again, our thoughts turn toward the inner light for transformation. We need the light that supports us to renew and resolve and start again. With the convenient date of Jan. 1 of the New Year hounding us to find some personal changes, where our minds go in search of new beginnings, there are helpful guides for us follow. That's what we have in a new book by Stockbridge author Susyn Reeve, "The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week." In smart, snappy chapters that are not only engaging of our attention and sensibilities right away, but outlined in weekly themes and very realistic daily activity practices, this book is downright attractive to lead us in our intention of doing the right thing. You can't miss with this book. It is 100-percent foolproof, no-nonsense and includes some of the most inspiring quotes from a wide array of luminaries that lift our minds and daily practice above the dark horizon to where the sun comes peeking through the old gloom.

The book is divided into thematic chapters for each week of the year and then subdivided into seven practical exercises to follow the theme in activities that connect us for each day of the week. Each chapter for the 52 weekly daily pursuits begins with a discussion of the theme for daily living that guides the seven days of individual daily activities. In her introduction, Reeve says, "'The Wholehearted Life' is meant to be a Software upgrade in your mind and personal ritual to nourish wholehearted living in daily life." The spirit of the book is to "create a personal ritual that nourishes wholehearted living," through 52 ideas to be practiced and reflected upon each week of the year. Each chapter has seven days of exercises that are fun and transforming, one for each day of the week. Day seven involves recording a weekly reflection that may serve as a check-in to see how it all went or as a kind of journal for the weeks and, ultimately, the whole year. Each week's chapter is rich in inspiring reflections, poems or quotes that seem to offer just the right support for what the reader has practiced in a kind of connection to a community of higher minds.

Each chapter title and quote will catch your attention right away with one of Reeve's carefully curated selections. Consider this quote by R. Buckminster Fuller that starts off the chapter entitled "Week 8, Take a New Path" — "Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it." Or this one by Jonathan Sacks to start off "Week 9, Create a Daily Ritual": "Religious ritual is a way of structuring time so that we, not employers, the market, or the media, are in control. Life needs its pauses, its chapter breaks, if the soul is to have space to breathe." Or, perhaps more importantly, some quotes have down-to-earth meaning that you can use right now such as this from Eve Eliot to commence "Week 17, Adorn Yourself": "Some people save new clothes to wear for a "special occasion" What is today's date? This date is special. Go put on something "special" — something you have been saving. See how it feels."

That is an apt metaphor for the spirit of this whole book about "The Wholehearted Life." The book is fun, practical, serious and just the thing for finding a lot of inspiration and a new you.

Colin Harrington is the events manager at The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox. He welcomes reader comments at

Read it

"The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week"

By Susyn Reeve

Publisher: Viva Editions

332 pages


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions