"Life can be tough and exhausting. Do you know how to rest?"
It is a good question, one that is at the core of Sophia Stuart's really phenomenal new book, "How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World." So, think about it. Do you? I don't. Not really, I'll admit it. I even pitter around to keep myself "busy" because I feel guilty about not having a full-time job. So I do much to over-compensate and often feel...tired.
Sophia gave a lot too. She had a truly impressive career in the media that included creating the digital strategy for 300 international brands such as Cosmo and Harper's Bazaar at Hearst. She travelled the world, stayed in five star-hotels, and worked out of the legendary Carrie Donovan's former office with a sprawling view high above Midtown Manhattan. But then, she became ill. Three tumors were found and removed from her throat during a five-and-a-half hour surgery. The recovery process was long and grueling.
Already, Sophia had reached outwards from her stressful life by creating teamgloria.com. There, she anonymously wrote through the guise of a character named "gloria," a trainee angel who "was determined to see the world through rose-colored glasses" and the blog became dedicated to featuring "glorious people, places, and things." After her surgery, Sophia realized how important the community she had created was to her well-being. As she healed, she also embraced the necessity to make some very important changes to her life and how she lives it. She now resides in Los Angeles and is expanding like a rocket in her initial dream of being a professional author, journalist and photographer.
I found teamgloria right after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, having been moved by a comment at Daily Plate of Crazy and I was instantly hooked. I too was drawn to Gloria's vision of the world as a calming counter-balance to our chaotic society. So it was with great excitement that I read the news that Sophia was planning a book, the very one that she wished that she had by her side during her recovery.
And now that I have it, I can say that it is absolutely beautiful. In my typical way, I nearly wrote that it is beautiful beyond belief, but in fact that is what I love about it so much - it is utterly, utterly believable. There is no hullabaloo. It is presented as a modern day Book of hours and is carved into three sections: "Inspiration" for the morning, "Perspiration" for the working period of the afternoon and for the wind-down of evening, "Exhalation."
While each chapter is generously doted with Sophia's glowing images, they are slightly different in their approach but each are truly...helpful. Because we all can use reminders on how to slow down, how to sit back and appreciate...but we don't need a patronizing or sappy voice coaxing us to do so. Sophia's advice, while often as simple as "Be silent at sunset" (one of my favorites) or as practical as "Book medical appointments in January" just...works and is often funny to boot. There are also wonderful lists teaching us how to make a Kindness Kit (who doesn't need one of those?) and what films, music or books could do the right trick. Just to get us through, gracefully.
I read "How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World" all in one go (and if you buy it, you will want to as well) but now it sits nearby on my desk. It is just such a lovely object in itself that I want to keep it near me (and this, my friends, is why I would say no to the Kindle version). While I am down-loading photos or waiting for a computer program to warm up, I will open it randomly to bask in some seriously charming good will. And as Sophia is one of those brilliant women who are always two steps ahead (which probably explains a little about her previous career), she does something that I have never seen in a book before: she invites you to come to teamgloria.com and become a part of the community. To share your favorite treats and music. She wants to keep the conversation going. And that is a "glorious" thing. I'll be there.
To read an extract from "How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World" please click: here.
To read more at teamgloria.com, please click: here.
To listen to a delightful and interesting radio interview with Sophia about the book, please click here.
This post is my monthly contribution to the By Invitation Only International Blog Party, hosted by the indomitable Marsha at Splenderosa. The theme for March is "Ways to/ I stay creative." Even before Sophia's book had arrived (and trust me, I hunted down our French mail dude until it was in my hot little hands), I knew exactly what my answer would be: "With a little help from my friends." I have been and am continually so deeply inspired by my friends in the blogging arena and by those that have put their research and gorgeous ideas into a solid form. Both require a generosity of spirit that is really stunning to behold. Sophia's book is no exception. I recommend it not because I consider her a friend (and yes, there is a little mention to all the new friends that she has found, including one in Arles) but because such a sincere, big-hearted and yet grounded book "to soothe the soul" can do us all good.
Something for Sophia and perhaps gloria too:
I know that my fellow bloggers in By Invitation Only are going to hit this theme out of the park.
To visit their websites, please start by clicking here.
Thank you for reading...