I’m not ordinarily a self-help book reader, but found Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder & Things that Sustain You by Julia Baird in the most recent big bag of books that was given to me to read by Aunty G and gave it a crack.
Each chapter provided life advice particularly geared to those who are seeking their own light within, or ‘phosphorescence’. Readers were reminded that they will find happiness when they are kind to others, and that joy is to be found in small, daily pleasures, particularly when they switch off from the modern world and enjoy silence, or the awe that comes from being in the ocean or a forest or natural setting.
My favourite chapter was titled Ert, or a Sense of Purpose. It discussed the joy that people feel when they have ‘ert’ (the opposite to ‘inertia’). Ert is defined here as having a sense of purpose.
I also appreciated Letter to a Young Woman, written to provide the author’s daughter with specific advice to be the best person she could by demanding respect, using her brain, finding friends with good hearts and not being blinded by good looks. The ‘good looks’ example used was Stalin, who was terribly handsome when he was young but who turned out to be a bad person.
The author drew heavily on her own learnings from several serious illnesses and difficult times to discuss what she had discovered was important to her and what was not.
There was a heavy emphasis on the importance of the ocean to the author, including her daily early morning swim with a swimming group and searching for phosphorescence. The ocean was where she felt all of the emotions she needed to feel at her best and I while I could relate to this, I also wondered if her advice (and possibly the book as a whole) would therefore be frustrating and off-putting for readers who live in areas without easy access to the ocean or parks, gardens or wilderness areas that are more accessible to the author.
Apparently all living creatures glow, even people to some extent. Although Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder & Things that Sustain You wasn’t really for me, I imagine it will bring joy to many people and hope to those who are struggling with life and who can connect with this author’s life view.