• Sylvie

"To Shake the Sleeping Self"

First Book of the New Year: "To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins

I was drawn to this book’s title immediately. I love a good travelogue. Jedidiah, the traveler, is a millennial on a soul-searching mission and he wants to answer one question - What makes life worth living?

He narrates his adventure describing the country-side, the people, cities, mountains, lakes, and the land's history in great detail. His travels are also internal as he comes to terms with his sexuality and conservative Christian upbringing.

A lot of people felt the book fell short. For me, the religious guilt trip and baggage felt a bit "been there, done that" and I have very little interest in it, but I also think folks should give the writer some credit for being a gay man raised in an ultra conservative, conversion therapy, narrow background. Yes, he seems like he has a long way to go, but at least he ventured beyond his comfort zone.

There were some good quotes. Here are a few:

“Traveling alone, you get to be whoever you want. I don't mean lie. I mean you get to be a blank slate. You can't leave behind your skin color, or your height, or the handsomeness or homeliness of your face. But you can leave your story behind. If you've broken hearts, the new place doesn't know. If you've lost trust in people and yourself, the new place doesn't know. If everyone thinks you love Jesus, but you never really have figured out what you believe, the new place doesn't care. It may assume you have it all tied nicely in a bow. All your thoughts and histories. Just feeling like your past isn't a vice to hold you in place can be very freeing. Feeling like your family and the expectations and the traditions and the judgments are absent... it can fill your veins with possibility and fire.”

“...goals help us get a lot done. But they often remove our attention from the experience to the achievement. When we arrive at our goal, we think, then we will be happy. When we finally get there, we can celebrate and have fun. When I get that job, I'll be fulfilled then. When I get married, I will be happy. The Eden we pine for is not under our own feet or bike tires, but over the next mountain.”

"When the honeymoon phase is over, what’s left is the continuous choosing of the other person." (So true....)

#ToShaketheSleepingSelf #JedidiahJenkins #SylvieAbate #SylviesSongs

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