Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Favorite Book Contest

National Bookstore, Philippine Star and Globe are having a contest entitled "My Favorite Book". When I read it from the daily news paper last weekend, I knew that this is one contest I want to try! I have a long list of favorite authors and books so it wouldn't be that difficult to find an entry. I rummaged through my e-files and found two articles I've written some time ago about Mitch Albom's and Paulo Coelho's book. The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Zahir are my entries to the contest. Both were actually excerpts from the food book I am making. Since the book is not yet been published, I decided to submit the articles to the contest. These authors and their books have touched my life I hope they'll be able to touch yours.
In The Pursuit of True Happiness
by Sherra Bernardo

“It is the paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.” – Hugo Black


Paulo Coelho left a remarkable reading experience in me when I perused his book, “The Alchemist”. He showed me moving life experiences in his writings. From then on, I know this writer is worthy of my time as a reader. Whenever I flipped through the pages of his book, I felt being transported into the stories he's created. I am completely immersed in his thoughts. This is exactly what I experienced reading his international best seller, The Zahir. In understanding it, I realized the significance of the many aspects of our journey to life. Little did I know that the most crucial and frightening of all is when we started feeling lost along the way? That is when we are being enrobed with unhappiness albeit we possess everything we’ve ever wanted.

The Zahir represents anything or anyone that made us forget about everything in our selves. It could be love, career, family, or even our dreams. It is our “invincible” yet, we unconsciously regard it less important. We recognize its existence in our lives yet we give less value to it. Think of losing a treasure by too familiar a view. That’s how sometimes we allow things to happen. Sadly, we’ll only realize its worth when it’s escaped us, unaware that the lost could possibly haunt us forever. We'll only feel complete and may continue living our life, when we have faced and conquered it. I too, have recognized my own “Zahir”. It exists in all of us. As I face many of life struggles, I also felt emptiness within. In one time or another, I am passing that stage of unhappiness in life. I feel frightened though at times strengthened. As Paulo Coehlo had put it, the most important thing is you’re willing to face the Zahir else, challenge it. For no one, except you knows what your true happiness should be. In finding it, you have to forget your self and leave the past behind. A dialogue in the animated film, Kung Fu Panda says, “We always tend to think of what was and what will be. But we should regard yesterday as history, tomorrow a mystery, today as gift that’s why it’s called the present.” Any rewarding journey does not deserve a heavily laden soul. But before you walk through your own flight, you must ask yourself first, what is my True Happiness? What is my Zahir? When you know clearly, the road will lead you in bliss.




Five Gifts I want to have in Heaven
by Sherra Bernardo

"People think of heaven as a paradise garden, a place where they can float on clouds and laze in rivers and mountains. But scenery without solace is meaningless." – Mitch Albom

I regard reading as a form of therapy. It does not only relax me but it also brings great sense of belonging and introspection. This is especially true for books that have heart warming, reality check kind of stories. Those kinds that appears too real to read. My favorite under this category is Mitch Albom. I had a great time reading his first book Tuesdays with Morrie. But the one I considered most touching of his books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

This book tells us of sacrifice, forgiveness and love. It displays the value of human life and teaches us how to discover its meaning and how we should live it. We were told that life is too short and we all want to live it to the fullest, don’t we? However, have you ever wondered why people avoid topics of death? Most people fear all sorts of death stories. We find it way too sad and yes, to some extent frightening. We often associated it to loss, sadness and separation. But some noteworthy lines from Mitch Albom’s story put death in a different framework. "Time is not what you think. Dying? Not the end of everything. We think it is. But what happens on earth is only the beginning." I would like to embrace this belief and think that my heaven actually starts with my life here on earth, in each day that I’m living it. Therefore, I need no near death encounter in order to identify the five people I want to meet in heaven. In my case, I will consider them gifts. I know clearly what they are. Love, Wisdom, Forgiveness, Passion and True Happiness. These are the things we need to make us understand our true purpose in life. Can you imagine what a life will be if any one of these does not exist? It will be larger than chaos. We need Love because it is the ultimate gift of all good things in life. Everything follows if we have this in our hearts. Likewise, we have to keep our mind healthy and rich; therefore we have to possess wisdom. But since sometimes it is the nature of things to go not to the direction we want them to be, hurt and anger might invade us. Mitch Albom said it best, “Holding anger is a poison, it eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.” Hence, isn’t it important to forgive? To keep us going through our life, we have to have the passion and happiness within. Otherwise, it will take us longer to get to the road of success and desires, worse yet, not being able to make it happen. For that reason, every move will be worthless.

My heaven starts on my life here on earth and yes; I would like it to be surrounded with all things that will make it worth living. But without the support of my loved ones, it just loses its meaning.

If you want to join the contest contact National Bookstore Marketing Services Department at 631-8079 or 631-8061 to 66 local 172 for details.

2 comments:

Nortehanon said...

Good luck! I love Mitch Albom's books. I'd say my favorite among them is Tuesdays with Morrie.

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