Posted in Books, Garden, Gifts, Life, Lovingkindness, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, TLC Book Tour

Book Review: The Compassionate Achiever + a giveaway

One compassionate achiever is all it takes to start spreading the ripples of success through a community.  It begins with you and how you interact with people on a daily basis.  All of your personal interactions are like small stones of compassion dropped into a pond, creating ripples that reach far beyond you.

Approach each day with a compassionate mindset and take actions to reinforce your commitment…

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success”

As regular visitors to my blog know, I occasionally do book reviews for TLC Book Tours.  The publisher sends me a free copy and in exchange, I read and review of the book.  When I was asked to review The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success, I jumped at the chance.  My theme or word for this year is Lovingkindness, and compassion (of course!) fits right in with that theme.

In The Compassionate Achiever, Dr. Kukk posits that it is through compassion that success is most likely to be achieved, and he writes that compassion can be taught.  He lays out a four-step program for cultivating compassion:  Listening, Understanding, Connecting, and Acting (or LUCA).  He teaches several listening skills that include reviewing what was said by questioning, and how to ask the right questions to help you better understand the other person’s point of view.  In the section on understanding, Kukk defines emotions and feelings, and writes about the gap between the emotions (the physical reaction) and feelings (the mental reaction) where you can take the time to stop and think:

By taking a moment to simply think about what you’re feeling, your behavior becomes an act of reflection, not of instinct.  During that moment of silence you are filling the gap with reflection and self-awareness.

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D.

As a nature lover and tree-hugger, one of my favorite pieces of advice from the book is what to do to help yourself when you’ve been practicing/experiencing empathy (taking on the feelings of others, which can be tiring and stressful and lead to burn-out) rather than compassion (feeling kindness toward others, which can lead to happiness and optimism).  Dr. Kukk suggests you “try taking a WIRL (walk, imagine, read, and listen).”  He even has a trail on his property called “the Pondering Path” which he walks.  I may borrow that idea when it comes to naming our trails here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

I like the premise of this book and think that it would be a fantastic book for everyone to read, especially given the current state of political affairs in the United States where those at the top appear to be rattling their sabers, practicing little or no compassion towards anyone other than themselves.  I would highly recommend this book for those in schools, businesses, the government, and in what is referred to as “the resistance.”  We could use a lot more compassion towards each other in this world.

The publisher accidentally mailed two copies of the book to me which means… A GIVEAWAY!!  Yay!  I’m so happy to be able to pass on this book to others.  I am going to donate the copy I read to the local library in hopes that some of our local organizations will find it and use it.  (It is for that reason I refrained from my usual practice of margin notes and highlighting.)  If you are interested in a copy of this book, let me know in the comments.  I’ll have a drawing for the book on or about May 9.  It will be a low-tech drawing of putting names in a hat and letting M blindly pick one.

I will leave you with one more quote followed by the publisher’s release with more information about the book and the author.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope to be back again this weekend for a coffee chat.  In the meantime… Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A rosebud for you.  The roses will be opening soon.

A country led by compassionate achievers would collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate its way to political, economic, and civic success.  Every country, just like every person and organization, has its weaknesses and strengths, but by walking with compassion, a country can avoid repeating historic mistakes while simultaneously strengthening its current society.

… From the human right to clean water to the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, legal policies are still perpetuating injustice.  Compassionate achievers are the people striving to make clean water a basic human right (even though people die in seven days without water, it is not considered a human right in most developed countries, including the United States), and they are the citizens and organizations standing up to governments that have legalized LGBT discrimination.  Compassionate achievers eternally embrace justice even when the law deserts or forsakes it.

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success

About The Compassionate Achiever

• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (March 7, 2017)

A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community.

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.

New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion.

Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.

With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.

About Christopher L. Kukk

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., is a professor of political science and social science at Western Connecticut State University; founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation; and faculty advisor for the University and City of Compassion initiatives. He is also cofounder and CEO of InnovOwl LLC, a research and consulting start-up for solving micro and macro problems through innovative education. He was an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counterintelligence agent for the United States Army, and a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He lives in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Find out more about Dr. Kukk at his website, and connect with him on Twitter.

Posted in A bit of history, Books, Earth, Eastern Shore, Fire, Food, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Maryland, Photography, Quotes, Recipes, Souper Sunday, Spirit, Spring

Souper Sunday: A lemony asparagus soup

Asparagus soup.

You needn’t tell me that a man who doesn’t love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either.  He’s simply got the instinct for being unhappy.

~ ‘Saki,” pen name of Scottish writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916)

We have been eating asparagus from our garden for the past two weeks.  We have a bumper crop this year and since I don’t like canned or frozen asparagus, the only left to do is eat it day after day after day until the season ends.  Barbara Kingsolver, in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, wrote about how the asparagus season lasts just long enough for us to grow sick of it and not want to see it again for another year.  I couldn’t find that particular quote, but did find this:

“Respecting the dignity of a spectacular food means enjoying it at its best. Europeans celebrate the short season of abundant asparagus as a form of holiday. In the Netherlands the first cutting coincides with Father’s Day, on which restaurants may feature all-asparagus menus and hand out neckties decorated with asparagus spears.”

~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life

It was that book, by the way, that inspired me to plant my first asparagus bed while we were living in NE Ohio.  The asparagus bed is one of many reasons I’m happy that M the Younger and his wife are renting our house and property in the Bogs.  They both like asparagus, they also like to grow their own food, so the asparagus bed has not gone to waste or ruin.

Steamed tips ready to garnish the soup.

The photo I began with doesn’t do the beauty of this soup justice.  Picking an orange bowl to photograph it in was probably a mistake, and the soup was a little on the thin side so the garnish of asparagus tips gave in to gravity and sunk into the soup.  Ladled into a white bowl, you would have been able to see how beautifully green this soup is.

I have tried several recipes for asparagus soup.  This is my favorite.  You can find the recipe here.  The only thing I change when making it is the broth.  I have used a homemade light vegetable broth and, in a pinch, Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (which I think has something of a celery flavor to it which is fine for this soup).  The next time I make it, which might be soon, I want to try this broth although I might leave out the parsnips.  I think the leeks and mint would be a wonderful compliment to the asparagus.  M wants to try putting a bit of cream in it and serving it cold.  We will probably try that, too.

I am also thinking that this might be a good soup to freeze to eat later.  I am going to give it a try with the next batch, assuming we don’t eat it all first.

Thank you for stopping by for Souper Sunday.  If you decide to give this soup a try, let me know how it turns out for you.  Also, if you have any good asparagus recipes, feel free to share them with me in the comments section.  We’re gonna be eating A LOT of asparagus over the next few weeks.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a harvest this big before (from our garden).

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  176)  Asparagus!!  177)  All the ways you can prepare and eat asparagus!  178)  Waking at sunrise and listening to thousands of laughing gulls greeting the morning from the farm field next door.  179)  Hearing a bob white’s distinctive call (which means they’re back for another season).  180)  A phone call from my granddaughters this morning to wish us a Happy Easter.  Speaking of which, Happy Easter to those of you out there celebrating it!

Posted in Air, Art, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Writing

A Thursday Ramble

Light and shadows

A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds:  Fifty-four Variations on Voice

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Posted in Air, Art, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Fire, Friends, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Maryland, Ohio, Photography, Play, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Travel

If we were having coffee: The Cleveland Film Festival

View from our hotel room when we arrived in Cleveland on the afternoon of the 31st of March 2017.

I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.

~ Federico Fellini

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Posted in Air, Change, Critters, Digital Art, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Wonder

Wednesday wandering

Oak impressions.

To write requires an ego, a belief that what you say matters. Writing also requires an aching curiosity leading you to discover, uncover, what is gnawing at your bones.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

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