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Friday, December 1, 2023

Meditations for year-long joy | The Biblio File – Chico Enterprise-Record

“You are amazing and your dreams matter,” says the entry for Nov. 21. “You are here for a reason. There is purpose to your life. Even if it’s not clear what it is, your soul knows. What if you paid attention to your deepest desires and gave them room to breathe? Imagine if you took a step to make those dreams come true and the courage that would build by taking that jump into your destiny!”

That daily affirmation touches many of the themes in “Sunrise Gratitude: 365 Morning Meditations For Joyful Days All Year Long” ($19.99 in hardcover from Rock Point) by Emily Silva Hockstra. The author, a Chico State grad, left a corporate job to become a life coach (soulsadventures.com), “helping women harness their bravery to bring their gifts into the world.”

Now living in San Diego with her husband, Silva explains that “I was not a morning person” until “something shifted, and I started to enjoy my mornings. I find the stillness before the day begins to be a time of contemplation, silence, and beauty.”

Each single-paragraph meditation, she writes, is meant to give readers “encouragement, inspiration, and something to think about each day.” Full-color seascapes appear throughout the book; Silva writes that in the morning, “seagulls are singing their morning songs and the air is crisp. I am pausing to offer my sunrise gratitude….”

Storms come, of course. “When a misunderstanding occurs, respond in love. Love heals. Communicate from the heart with loving intent” (Jan. 12). “Let hope enter when doubt arrives. Even if you don’t know how things will work out, know that the universe hears your deepest desires” (March 10). “The things we wish weren’t happening are actually creating resilience and a new level of wisdom” (Aug. 6).

Though my own theological commitments don’t align with Silva’s worldview, there is nevertheless in her book a spirit of thanksgiving for life itself that readers of many stripes can celebrate.

For Silva, “Gratitude is an antidote to stress…. The more you can find moments of gratitude, the easier it is for your mind to release fearful, anxious, and stressful thoughts” (Dec. 15).

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to dbar[email protected]. Columns archived at https://barnetto.substack.com

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