Terry Hershey is a gifted storyteller, prankster, preacher, and retreat leader. He is profiled in our Living Spiritual Teachers Project and created with Patricia Campbell Carlson the e-course "Creating Sanctuary for Ourselves and Others." But being a gardener on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound is his passion and unending pleasure.
This Is the Life addresses ways in which we may "savor" the special qualities and virtues of the present moment. On some days, we rise in the morning fresh and filled with energy. That is a sign of Divine grace working within us and welling up like a fountain.
On other days, we wake up with a dark cloud hanging over our heads. We are drained and by evening feel like withdrawing from this weary world. At such times, Hershey counsels us to proceed in the spirit of the poet May Sarton who wrote, "There is a slight lifting of the air so I can smell the earth for the first time, and yesterday I again took possession of my life here." We live in a sense-luscious world and ought to be more aware of that miracle. If you feel guided to this path, read more Terry Tempest Williams, Mary Oliver, or Joyce Rupp.
We like it that Hershey includes references to films such as Crimes of the Heart, Forrest Gump, Mr. Holland's Opus, and even shares morally significant lines from the screenplays. As he's done in previous books, he peppers a variety of stories throughout the book to illustrate his points. He also includes a "Try This" idea at the end of each chapter.
By the end, the author decides to name and own "Bunkum" — "anything that clogs, congests, obstructs, derails, hinders, impedes, frustrates, or complicates." These blockages can pester us and bring us down, keeping us from savoring the precious gift of life. They can send us into the "if only" trap and the need for perfection. It's much better to honor the good, the true, and the beautiful. It's much better to know the power of enough. It's much better to live without fear.