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Many Thanks & Wows to Anne Lamott

Posted Feb 09 2013 1:49pm

Help Thanks Wow 1lamott1209 I'm now recovering from being very sick (cold, flu, utter exhaustion, and grief over my mother's recent death), but I wanted to get out of bed to extend many thanks and wows to the talented, prolific, motivating writer Anne Lamott, author of the fabulous book, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers .

Annie -- whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak while she was launching her remarkable book, Help, Thanks, Wow -- kindly mentioned me and my newest book, Beyond Sugar Shock , on both her popular Facebook page and in her reprinted article on Style, Substance, Soul.

While I'm very grateful for the mention of Beyond Sugar Shock and my sugar freedom coaching, there's a far bigger reason that I want to extend my deep, heartfelt gratitude to Annie.

Although the inspiring Anne Lamott asked me for help with her sugar challenges (after we met at her book signing for Help, Thanks, Wow ) and while it's been an honor and privilege to offer her text coaching, what Annie didn't know was that while I was giving her support, she was giving me a tremendous amount of support, too.

Indeed, without realizing it, the remarkable Anne Lamott was probably helping me just as much, if not a lot more, than I was helping her.

A little background is in order. I met Annie while I was (and have been) going through a very rough time. In fact, I barely dragged myself to Annie's book signing while nursing a broken heart. Recently, my mother passed away, and I've been reeling in absolutely excruciating grief, profound anguish, and utter agony after what I now call My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom , as well as some recent, very painful discoveries.

At the same time, I’d been feeling lost and in limbo. I was (and still am) trying to decide where to live, because soon after discovering that Mom was terminally ill, I gave up my apartment in New York City (which I'd enjoyed for a decade) and moved across country to California to be there for my mother in her dying days. I’m now in a temporary, cramped, but wonderfully peaceful place. Read about my truly beautiful, but utterly gut-wrenching time on my new Bittersweet Year blog.

Annelamott-0337 The delicious irony about my having been there for Annie Lamott since late December (right before Christmas) is that in between or after texting or emailing tips, ideas, encouragement and insights and the joy of eating healthily and staying away from sugary non-treats, I'd often turn to three of her many marvelous books -- Help, Thanks, Wow ; Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith ; and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life -- as well as her fabulous Facebook page , to get tips, ideas, encouragement, and insights. 

It seemed like every time that I visited Annie's Facebook page or picked up  Help, Thanks, Wow ; Traveling Mercies or Bird by Bird , I'd find more inspiring, thought-provoking, butt-kicking words of wisdom.

Indeed, whenever I veered off track, Anne Lamott -- and also Louise Hay (more about that later) -- kindly, generously, magnanimously reached out to me and gave me solace and encouragement though her words and concepts, which helped to propel my thoughts to a better plane such as moving away from sorrow and grief to gratitude or optimism.

For instance, Anne inspired me by writing:

"There's freedom in hitting bottom. . . relief in admitting you've reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin,..."

Or, in Help, Thanks, Wow , Anne Lamott urged me to find freedom and value in my funk with these words:

"I have seen many people survive unsurvivable losses, and seen them experience happiness again. How is that possible?

". . . In most cases, their pain evolved slowly into help for others. The great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. / I awoke and saw that life was service. / I acted and behold, service was joy."

Ah yes, how true. Thanks, Annie, for reminding me that I'm here to serve people. And while I heal, I can and shall serve.

Meanwhile, I've been getting awesome ideas from her. For instance, in Help, Thanks, Wow , Annie offers the suggestion to store your woes in a God box. (I love that idea, and I'm now experimenting with this.)

It's truly remarkable how every time I've turned to Help, Thanks, Wow ; Traveling Mercies ; or Bird by Bird , I've found something that really speaks to me. (One of my favorite things to do with inspiring books is to shut my eyes, pick a page and then find a quote or comment that helps me.)

What I also find fascinating is that although Anne Lamott and I are different religions -- I'm Jewish and she's a Christian, who welcomes Jesus into her life -- she still inspires me mightily.

Anyhow, after my nap today -- remember, I'm very sick, flu-ish, and utterly exhausted -- I'll turn again to Help, Thanks, Wow, or what she's now playfully calling Hips, Thighs, Waist.

Meanwhile, Anne Lamott has helped to wake me up. It's as if she's been nudging me to focus and refocus.

She helped me to realize that I really need to say, "Help," more often, especially in my time of profound grief. But that's not all. I also need to gratefully and repeatedly say, "Thanks." And then later, I should continue to marvel, "Wow."

Anne Lamott, thank you for all you've done for me while I've hoped to be there for you, too. You've motivated me to say "Help, Thanks, Wow," more often and more meaningfully.

Now, dear readers of any religion, whatever you're going through at present, I strongly urge you to get, read, and re-read Anne Lamott's latest book, the spectacular Help, Thanks, Wow .

My prediction is that you, too, will begin to learn the value of saying, "Help, Thanks, Wow."

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