BOOK CLUB: A Year of Loving Kindness to Myself & Other Essays

Many thanks to Fremantle Press and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read and review Brigid Lowry’s beautiful book A Year of Loving Kindness To Myself.

This gorgeous book will appeal to Buddhists and Non-Buddhists alike. Written as part biography, part self reflection, with a sprinkling of poetry and a dose of humour, this small hardcover book with its beautiful cover artwork by Ruth de Vos is split into two distinct sections.

The first third of the book is the Year of Loving Kindness to Myself, a few pages for each month of the year, dedicated to a topic relevant to learning how to treat yourself with loving-kindness, incorporating Zen Buddhist and Contemporary Psychology teachings and practices, yet in a gentle, authentic and non-dogmatic way.

For me, the opening few sentences grabbed my attention and drew me in, this was no usual book on Buddhist philosophy and teaching, this wasn’t about training to reach enlightenment, in Lowry’s own words:

‘I dedicate the coming year to the practice of loving kindness to myself. Why?

Because my childhood was pretty sh*t.

Because I can’t be kind to anyone else until I learn how to be kind to myself.

Because I do not know how to be kind to myself. No one taught me. As a child, my parents did not model loving kindness. They were too busy drinking.

Because I’m unhappy and I’ve gleaned enough insight to see that much of my unhappiness is self-created.

Because, as Anne Lamott says, life is amazing, but also weird and hard.

Because the Dalai Lama says kindness is his religion and I want to feel like his smile, at least some of the time.’

Not every one of those sentiments will apply to us all, but I challenge anyone to not find at least one of those sentiments to apply to them, and I can’t think of too many better reasons to take the time to learn how to learn to be kind and to love yourself. And on that, have you ever been lucky enough to experience the Dalai Lama’s smile in person? I have, and I’d love to feel like his smile, at least some of the time.

The second two thirds of the book are a selection of short essays, poetry, and musings on pretty much everything you can think about. They are all wonderful, and deserving of reading, and then reflecting on, taking on board the parts that resonate with you and leaving for another day those parts that don’t. One of my favourites is named ‘On Things To Do When Life Goes Sideways.”

This is not a book to read in one sitting, and then put on the shelf. It’s a book to keep by your bedside and read in small chunks, and not necessarily even in chapter order, it’s a book to reflect on, digest, revisit and savour.

And, just in case the message didn’t come through strongly enough, I absolutely loved this book and I hope you will too.  Highly recommended, a five-star book in my opinion.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading A Year of Loving Kindness to Myself & Other Essays. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 9781925816327

Copy courtesy of Fremantle Press

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