Phill and I had the most wonderful day today, filled with just being and wandering and general awesomeness. ( "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”)* It was made even better when I found the book... The Alphabet of the Human Heart, written by Matthew Johnstone and James Kerr.
On the left is the cover for "The Upside" and on the right is the cover for "The Downside." source
These men obviously caught wind of my Alphabet of Gratitude and thought it was SO brilliant they came up with this wonderful little book (I must admit, I think this book is better than my attempt!) Each letter is designated a word (and I am happy to report that some of my alphabet has the same content as theirs... so I must be on the right track) and has a gorgeous illustration and wise words. Flip the book and you get the very same English alphabet but... well... the flip side! There are many books, articles, blogs (including mine), magazines, you name its dedicated to delivering warm fuzzies - you know, the feel good wise words and parables - but what I love about this is actually what they called The Downside. Unfortunately, there is a downside to the human heart and human experience, but the stunning thing about this book is that they acknowledge these things and then offer warm words, advice and the same kind of loving words that the very best of your friends would offer.
Some of my favourites are:
- G is for gratitude "gratitude is saying thank you to life..." / G is for greed "Ask yourself, how much is enough, and how much is too much?" **
- R is for reconciliation "To reconnect with someone, first forgive yourself. you're human, you mess up... If you do mess up, 'fess up and apologise." / R is for regret "Stuff happens. But it doesn't need to keep happening... To get over it, get into the moment. Empty your mind, let go of your thoughts, just be." (I'm working on that one!) **
But my absolute favourite is...
- Y is for You (for both the up and the down sides...) "Be happy. Be honest. Be hopeful. Be all you can be. Be yourself. Be you." / "We all have our downside, our shadow side, our inner problem-child. Embrace it. Admitting our weakness is the first step in regaining our strength..." **
I love this book. I love that this book is a product of the connection between friends. The authors, Matthew and James have been friends for 30 years.
"Between them, they’ve had more than their fair share of ups and downs, and they’ve turned their experience of life – and of friendship – into a book that combines words and pictures to tell a bigger story." source
Judging by the product of their collaboration, these men have a beautiful and inspiring friendship.
Ideally, I could afford to purchase a copy of it to send to every one of my loved ones. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out the website. If you're feeling a bit like you're lost in the wilderness, or even if you're just in a little spot of a blue funk, this is definitely a book worth picking up.
I think my copy of this book will be very well loved.
The only thing is... I feel like after reading this lovely little book, I can't use some of the things I had planned for the remainder of my Alphabet because they're in here!
* Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. 1872
** Johnstone, Matthew and James Kerr. The Alphabet of the Human Heart. The A to Zen of Life.Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2009.