FOUR THINGS TO ASK A STRANGER (almost a parody)

Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Generosity and A Sourdough Baguette

CHOP YOUR OWN WOOD AND IT WILL WARM YOU TWICE.- Henry Ford – written by mary anne radmacher
Take care of yourself first. Many consider altruism as the hallmark of an elevated soul. Giving primary care to yourself, first, is not only practical, it is essential. Individuals trained in the liturgy of self-sacrifice and denial have difficulty seeing the balance between self-care and self-indulgence. In an objective glance they appear quite different.
Self care tends to the fundamental requirements of a healthy and contented life. A healthy person will choose the comfort and ease of another person over their own, periodically but not consistently. If Daily Bread is a metaphor for all essentials then - If you feed your whole baguette to someone with great frequency – then it is you who becomes a need for someone else to fill. The factor of generosity, so rewarding in a healthy lifestyle, can becom self indulgence. The conventional grasp of this phrase involves one giving too much to themselves. I’m mirroring that understanding here. Suggesting it can be that peculiar thing which masquerades as martyrdom. Generosity turned to indulgently giving too much . Giving to the detriment of one’s own values and needs. “I’ve given so much. How could they treat me this way? I’ve given everything I had. I’m all poured out.” One must ask, “Who is doing the pouring?”
Henry Ford addresses the basic message of self reliance. Providing your own essential needs empowers you to care not only for yourself, but others. Tending watchfully to our requirements builds a resource base that allows for positive, generosity (thus “warming twice.”) Generosity and (re)generative share a latin root, meaning, among other things, magnanimous or to create. Regenerating is restoring what was spent. Generating is the process of creating what previously did not exist. As a generous soul I grasp the impulse to “give it all away.” Consider that baguette. Sourdough starter generously recreates itself as long as a portion is retained upon which the rebuilding is based.

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