By Justine Toms
Reviewed by The Brussats
Small Pleasures: Finding Grace in a Chaotic World
By Justine Toms
Reviewed by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, authors of “Spirituality & Practice: Resources for the Spiritual Journey.” You can find their work online at www.spiritualityandpractice.com.
Justine Toms is cofounder and managing producer of New Dimensions Media/World Broadcasting Network, a worldwide media communications group that seeks to explore the changing landscape of possibilities in the world today. She is coauthor with Michael Toms of “True Work: Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do” and also leads workshops on “Living Life on Purpose.”
This sprightly volume consists of 50 meditative essays under five thematic headings: A Wider Landscape: How We See Ourselves and the World, Animals and Nature As Teachers, Be an Activist Without Driving Yourself Crazy, Circles and Friendship, Celebrations and Rituals.
We know Justine and Michael Toms and have been interviewed on New Dimensions Radio. They have a sturdy marriage and have created an impressive and long-lasting career out of the gentle art of listening. Justine is filled with energy and bubbles over with enthusiasm about whatever she is doing. In one essay she says, “Love is a congruence, an unimpeded flow of energy between two people. Love tends to awaken connection rather than separation.” This brand of love is evident here as she shares her practices of everyday spirituality. She writes about the challenges of changing an ingrained habit or diminishing negative thoughts. She discusses her fondness for special places in her life, the refreshment she finds in nature, and the lessons learned from horses.
Toms believes in the power of circles to renew and transform our lives. She has been meeting in one for more than 25 years and in another for 20 years. Celebration and rituals also play an important role in her spiritual life. She writes about conducting her own ceremony in the wilderness, a feng shui cure for clutter, a winter solstice gathering, and the pleasure of taking a slower road to somewhere. She reminds us of the beautiful basics with a simple suggestion: “Look around your space, inside your room or beyond the window, and notice something beautiful. Or close your eyes and think of something wonderful happening in your life. Or recall someone to mind who is special to you. Take a moment to notice everything about it . . . or him . . . or her. Immerse yourself in the experience. Feel it, smell it, taste it. Delight in it.”
Savoring the little pleasures of everyday life is one way to hold back the forces of chaos and darkness which deplete our energies and creativity. Justine Toms tutors us in the fine art of everyday spirituality.