I have been so behind over the last few weeks and this space has seen a void because of it! There will be plenty of content here in the coming months though! This long gap between posts won't become a regular thing!

With that being said, I am happy to share that I'm contributing to the Milk Shop blog on a weekly basis, so be sure to head over and give their blog some love!

Not that there is any room for excuses, but my February book club post is finally here! We went to the Dominican Republic last month and I managed to read three books! It was heavenly to just be able to relax with my face in a book for a week! In addition to reading this book, I also read IT by Alexa Chung and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I highly recommend Gone Girl - especially if you haven't seen the movie! It's a page turner and really keeps you captivated...but I digress!

I was drawn to Thrive by way of seeing it in Chapters. There was a rave review on the back by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In. I haven't even read that book but I've heard great things, so I decided it was time to give this style of writing a go, and needless to say I wasn't disappointed.

Ultimately the book discusses the third metric to create a life of wisdom, well-being, and wonder.  The book is broken into three parts and within each part she discusses how you can better yourself and your life to achieve the third metric. It sounds all fluffy on the outside, but once you finish the last page you really step back and think hard about what she's shared. 

So I'll share a few of my favourite points and I'd like to hear your thoughts too, even if you didn't read it. 

"Animals help us be better humans. Quite often, they show us how to be our best selves." 

Anyone that knows me knows I'm a huge animal lover, so in the 'well-being' chapter when she was talking about ways to increase our well-being, she talked about being close to animals. This is something I am one-hundred percent in agreement with. I went through a rough patch during university and I brought my cat into my life and it's so very true - pets can open your hear and enhance your life. 

"What is success? Is it being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace?" - Paulo Coelho

As a freshly-turned 26 year old, success, defining success, and being successful is always at the forefront of my mind. I feel the pressure to be successful and prove myself to my peers and, ultimately, to me. But, the age old question is how do you define success. It's different to everyone, but I think what it boils down to--the ultimate root of success--is happiness. If you're not happy, how are you going to get what you want out of life? In an age where everything moves so rapidly and new ideas flourish and grow every day, the pressure is ever-present to keep up with your peers. Perhaps putting all of that on the backseat and taking everything one day at a time is the secret - but you'll never know unless you try. She said it herself, and I think most of us can agree, "Maintaining a childlike sense of awe and curiosity is part of the fun and intense mystery of being alive."

She had a fair amount to share on death--an inevitable subject that we will all have to face some day and something I've been trying to come to terms with. I've been asking myself recently that when my time comes, will I have lived the life I wanted to live? She says it best when she notes that "death is the one absolutely universal thing we all have in common. It's the ultimate equalizer." So true! It puts everything on a level playing field - no matter your success in life, we're all equal in that we will all die someday. Is this getting too morbid? But she has some really great perspectives on the end of life that make you think about what you're doing NOW. 

Just to sum it up, "Death can bring something to our lives and, in turn, how we live our lives can bring something to our death."

One of my new year's resolutions was to live in the moment, to be present. I'm so guilty of watching TV and surfing my phone or computer at the same time - why can't I just do one or the other! This feeling of always needing to be connected drives me crazy but I'm so guilty of it! Presence is vital and she shares her three basic, simple practices to be in the moment: focus on the rising and falling of your breath for 10 seconds when you feel tense, rushed, or distracted; pick an image that ignites joy in you and when you feel contracted, go to it to help you expand; and lastly (and arguably most importantly), forgive yourself for any judgments you are holding against yourself and then forgive your judgments of others. 

She touches on the importance of giving back and what it can do for your soul, and that you should be doing it for the right reasons - not for return on investment or to gain a social media following or to humble brag to your coworkers. This stuck with me: "The term 'giving back' can be misleading. It implies that service and volunteering are important only in terms of what they do for the recipient or the community. Just as important is what they do for the giver or volunteer, and the science on this is unambiguous. Essentially, giving is a miracle drug (with no side effects) for health and well-being."

Overall the book teaches you a lot about looking in on yourself and stepping away from the busyness of everyday life and work to take time to relax and be present. Taking care of yourself, being curious of life, and focusing on your well-being is the key to living life, so DO IT. "We cannot thrive and lead the lives we want (as opposed to the lives we've settled for) without learning to go inward."  Don't waste time caring about what others think and what's cool - work through to find out and do what makes you happy and what brings you joy. After all, you are the one that has to live with yourself, so why not enjoy it. 

Now how was that for long winded! I'm sure there is much more I could say, but it's difficult to capture it all in a blog post. 

I'll be reading another book this month! Join me in reading About a Boy by Nick Hornby. I've recently discovered the television series and can't get enough, and if there's a book then it goes without saying I'm going to read it! 

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Maira Gall