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You Were Made For More

This book is inspiring for anyone who wants to remember—or learn—what it feels like to be a whole person. Read it and share it.” —Sarah Selecky

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Good Burdens

“What happens when technology moves beyond lifting genuine burdens and starts freeing us from burdens that we should not want to be rid of?” asks philosopher Albert Borgmann in his 1984 book, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. “If we believe that we, as humans, were created for relationship and meaningful work, work that provides for families and serves neighbours, work that engages our bodies and creative faculties, then it follows that we would value a certain kind of burden,” he explains.

He called them good burdens, commitments that tether us to people and the physical world. Like the burden of preparing a meal and getting everyone to show up at the table, or the burden of reading poetry to someone you love or going for a family walk after dinner, or the burden of letter-writing—gathering our thoughts, setting them down in a way that will be remembered and cherished and perhaps passed on to our grandchildren.

Albert points out that these types of activities have been obliterated by the readily available entertainment offered by every screen in the twenty-first-century wo …

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Why We All Need Breathing Space

This is an excerpt from Kirsteen MacLeod's new book, In Praise of Retreat: Finding Sanctuary in the Modern World

I’m sitting on the old footbridge that leads to my cabin in the woods. Beaver Creek passes silently below. Ducks fly overhead. Ferns, cardinal flowers and moss grow amid grey rocks at the water’s edge. Spiders wander over my notebooks, which are spread out on the bridge’s rough planks, pages held open by stones.

This is the place that inspired In Praise of Retreat. By the creek and in the forest, I discovered a rich inner dimension I didn’t know existed. Far from my city life and work-obsessed routines, I began to see what gives my life meaning. I recognized the value of protecting a divine spark, though I’m not religious, and of amplifying the extraordinary—nature, spirit, art, creative thinking—in impoverished times. A retreat means removing yourself from society, to a quiet place where moments are strung like pearls, and after long days apart spent in inspiring surroundings, you return home refreshed and with a new sense of what you want to do with your life.

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Far from my city life and work-obsessed routines, I began to see what gives my life meaning.

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In the fraught modern era, you’d think our timeless human desire to retreat would fee …

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Beating My Addiction to Busyness

In My Year of Living Spiritually, Anne Bokma documents a diverse range of soulful first-person experiences—from taking a dip in Thoreau’s Walden Pond, to trying magic mushrooms for the first time, booking herself into a remote treehouse as an experiment in solitude, singing in a deathbed choir and enrolling in a week-long witch camp. Along the way, she reconsiders key relationships in her life and begins to experience the greater depth of meaning, connection, gratitude, simplicity and inner peace that we all long for, and offers an inspiring roadmap for readers' own spiritual journeys.

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I begin the new year the way I always have, with a bunch of earnest resolutions. For decades this trinity of trials has been pretty much the same: get in better shape, save more money, get organized. But this year I’m tackling something new. One of the things holding me back from living a more spiritual life, I realize, is my addiction to busyness.

The truth is, if I’m not engaged in work, filling up my social calendar, relentlessly tidying my home, doing errands and generally keeping on top of everything, I’m not sure what to do with myself. It’s as if my life only has meaning if I’m occupied every minute of the day. I have zilch in common with Marie Curie, the No …

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How to Die Like a Roman Emperor

Book Cover how to Think Like a Roman Emperor

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

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The year is 180 AD. As another long and difficult winter draws to a close on the northern frontier, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius lies dying in bed at his military camp in Vindobona (modern-day Vienna). Six days ago he was stricken with a fever, and the symptoms have been worsening rapidly. It’s clear to his physicians that he is finally about to succumb to the great Antonine Plague (probably a strain of smallpox) that has been ravaging the empire for the past fourteen years. Marcus is nearly sixty, physically frail, and all the signs show he’s unlikely to recover. However, to the physicians and courtiers present he seems strangely calm, almost indifferent. He has been preparing for this moment most of …

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Happy Parents, Happy Kids: Ann Douglas on Building Your Online Village

Our focus on community continues with this excerpt from parenting expert Ann Douglas's exciting new book, Happy Parents, Happy Kids (and there's an incredible idea, right?). From the book's chapter on the necessity of connecting with community ("finding your village"), Douglas shares tips and advice for parents about the challenges and rewards of online support. 

Happy Parents, Happy Kids is out on February 19.

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There are times when parenting can feel particularly lonely and isolating, like on days when you're caring round-the-clock for a sick child or are temporarily stuck indoors in the wake of an ice storm. These are times when you badly need support and when that support can feel impossibly far away—unless, of course, you are able to find community online.

 

THE UPSIDE

Online support is the modern equivalent of the 1970s mom­ to-mom phone call, during which stay-at-home moms found themselves holding on to the telephone receiver for dear life. In many ways, online support is better than that old-school land­ line connection, instantly connecting you to the entire world of mothers, or at least those who choose to congregate online. For one thing, there's the 24/7 nature of that support. As Janette, the mother of three young children, explains, "With social m …

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New Years' Resolutions? There's a Book for That

Book Cover United Breaks Guitars

Resolved: To Use Your Voice to Make a Difference.

Read: United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media by Dave Carroll

Songwriter Dave Carroll wasn't the first person abused by an airline's customer service. But he was the first to show how one person, armed with creativity, some friends, $150, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down.

Since "United Breaks Guitars" emerged, nothing is the same—for consumers, for musicians, or for business. Whether you are a guitarist, a baggage handler, or a boardroom executive, this book will entertain you and remind you that we are all connected, that each of us matters, and that we all have a voice worth hearing.

Book Cover Persuasion

Resolved: To Communicate Your Ideas More Effectively

Read: Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson

At thirty-one, Arlene Dickinson found herself stranded. Recently divorced, she had only a high school diploma, no savings and no clue how she was going to feed four young children. But just one year later, she was a partner in Venture Communications. Ten years on, she was CE …

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Olympian Marnie McBean on how setting reasonable goals will help you achieve remarkable results.

The Power of More, by Marnie McBean (Greystone Books).

Marnie McBean holds three gold medals and a bronze medal from Olympic rowing competitions and is Canada’s most successful Summer Olympic athlete. She is now a Specialist in Athlete Preparation and Mentoring with the Canadian Olympic Committee. She has a degree in Honors Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario as well as three honorary doctorates. 

She is a member of Canada’s Sport Hall of Fame and an ambassador for Right to Play, Fast and Female, and Plan Canada’s "Because I am a Girl" initiative. She lives in Toronto. Follow Marnie on Twitter: @MarnieMcB and visit her website at www.marniemcbean.ca.

The Power of More shows readers how to accomplish their goals, big or small. Whether you are a novice runner who wants to run a 10k race, a sales rep who wants to increase market share, or an elite athlete trying to conquer the world stage, you can achieve your ambition by believing in the importance of doing a little bit more.

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Julie Wilson: Reading your book, I'm reminded of TedTalks and BigThink.com. In particular, I'm interested in how one person's story can operate as both a highly personalized anecdote and a universal lesson plan, as if to say, "This is how I did it. Now, over to you."

How did you come to see yourself as a mentor. Why are …

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Canadian Bookshelf Takes You Back to School

Yellow student-crossing sign

It’s hard to escape the allure of the Back to School season, with its new shoes, backpacks, and three-ring binders, shiny pencil cases with sharpened pencils inside, and fresh, pink, perfect erasers. Even with another month of summer still technically before us, and even though many of us aren’t even going back to school, September is still a month of yellow busses, crunchy leaves and new beginnings. The good news is that anyone can start studying via Canadian Bookshelf and the amazing array of how-to books that can be found in our virtual library.

So you want to find out How to Be a Spy. Or even more mysteriously, How to Crack the Cryptic Crossword? You can find out How to Be Happy, or at least How to Be Not Too Bad.

How to be a Spy

Heritage House Publishers has a whole line of fishing manuals, from How to Catch Trout to How to Catch Crabs, and at the end of the day there’s always How to Cook Your Catch. Back on dry land, there is How to Make a Garden, How to Get Your Lawn off Grass, and you can go to natural extremes with How to Get Your Lawn and Garden Off …

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