When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön. I first read this book when a friend recommended it to me about nine years ago. It was at the beginning of my meditation practice and Buddhist studies, and somehow I hadn’t yet read anything by Pema. I’ve since read almost everything she’s ever written, taken online courses and done virtual retreats with her, and once was lucky enough to see her speak in person. She is one of my heart teachers. The story of her own life, how she found her path is an inspiration to me. Her wisdom and her kindness are such a comfort. But more than anything it’s her sense of humor that cheers me, encourages me.
I come back to this particular book again and again. As a whole, it does such a good job of explaining the path. I also love that each chapter is short enough, complete enough that you can sit down and start anywhere, pretty quickly read a chapter and get so much out of it. I often read one just before I meditate, let the wisdom sink in while I sit on my cushion. The personal message for me of this book is “get over yourself, you are wonderful,” which might seem like a contradiction to some, but to me it is the most fundamental truth. I flipped through it this morning to try and find a quote to share, but I’ve underlined something(s) on every single page and there are just too many to pick only one.