Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Repacking Your Bags... by Leider & Shapiro

Book Review for Fully Booked Newsletter
By Moje Ramos-Aquino

Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Rest of Your Life
Richard J. Leider, David A. Shapiro
Paperback - 2ND, June 2002

I was trying to find a book to help me in my reflections for this Lenten season and at times when I feel happy, fulfilled, sad, lonely, lost or overwhelmed. Richard Leider and David Shapiro's book Repacking Your Bags provided me with easy step-by-step manual to reexamine my life, work, love and leisure.

We are filled with questions all throughout our lives. When we are young we asked, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" In our teens, we concentrated on our future work: "What career will I pursue?" "What education would I need?" "What is my perfect job?" and sometimes, "Who is Ms. or Mr. Right?" In our early 20s, the questions "Where do I want to settle down when I am able?" "Who do I want to spend the rest of my life with?" nagged us incessantly. Intermittently in our 30s to 50s, we did experience doubts, resignation and being daring and enterprising. Finally in our 60s upward, "Where do I go from here?" "What could give me immortality?"

Repacking your Bags assists us through a process of examining and repacking a metaphorical bag in this journey called life. The authors seem to know exactly the questions percolating in our minds and provide a path to self-discovery through stories, personal examples, innovative exercises and quotations from other authors.

Some lines from the book that struck me right there are: People pursue happiness as if it is something they can capture and cage. Past patterns weigh us down. Marriage is a long conversation. Regular doses of laughter make you better at feeling. We can use a little subversion in our own lives. The outward signs of success don't make up for the failure we feel inside. We're looking for a way to ensure that we don't end up living somebody else's life. The quest for the good life is the quest for wholeness or integrity. The act of repacking is ultimately spiritual.

Applying the question "Does all these make you happy?" in everything we do and possess will help in the process towards achieving the good life. Well, it is the $64 question that prompted the authors to write their book.

(Repacking Your Bags is available from Fully Booked, Rockwell Power Plant Mall)