A friend and mentor of mine recently recommended a book to me.

The book is called Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself by Judith Duerk.

It is currently in its 15th anniversary of printing – so pretty popular, I would say.

While I tend to be a rather structured reader in the sense that I read from start-to-finish, chapter by chapter, assuming that is usually the most useful way of digesting the contents of your average book, this book didn’t arrive with that sort of vibe.

My friend had recommended it to me because I am continuing to enjoy the aftershocks from turning 40 — more of a mid-life evolution than a crisis, I’d say — and she thought it might help me make some sense of my longing to transition from a daily schedule that basically consists of work-til-I-drop into something with a bit more work/life-balance.

That process, according to Judith Duerk, can reasonably involve connecting with other women who are undergoing the same.

Totally makes sense. Sounds like mentoring, in fact.

Here are a few of the jaw-droppingly wonderful quotes from “Circle of Stones” – a book I heartily recommend for its ability to heal something inside that you didn’t know was wounded.

NOTE: I should also mention that the quotes are the only parts I have read to date. I just haven’t feel driven to “read” this book in the ordinary way of a reader – and that more than anything else speaks of the mutual respect writer conveys to reader as she chronicles women’s stories and recounts their words for the benefit of all. So for now, I just read the quotes as I feel moved to do so, and each time, I find more wonderful words that let me know I am not alone in my quest.

Oh the time, the endless pressure of time. Even when I have a whole day, I still can’t get to my own things – I don’t even know what they are….

It was only when I lived through the summer solstice light, far above the Arctic Circle, the light of the longest day in our year, the totality of white, white, ever-pervasive light, day after day, that I experienced our desperate need for darkness, for shadow, for relief from clarity, sharpness, and rationality that this present world demands….a need for soft lines, blendedness, greys….to respect one’s need to be sometimes out of focus, unformed, blurred.

I have had to give up ‘winning big’ because I love my life when I am connected to it, and I hate it when it and I get caught up in competition and deadlines. Then I have an overriding sense of impatience….my foot taps…I swallow food whole, I spill the coffee as I pour it, I burn myself on the stove…I rip, and wrench, and tear. There is a violence that takes over every act and shrieks orders at me.

And one more:

I’ve been more in touch with my own anxiety and sadness. I’ve allowed myself not to hide it under a pile of achieving busy-ness. I’m allowing myself to cry when I feel sad…..and then I feel better….more balanced, whole…That’s part of me, too.

Today’s Takeaway: Read these quotes and get in touch with the deep compassion that pours through each woman’s words. Whether it is through reading a book like “Circle of Stones”, through talking with a counselor or mentor, conversing with a friend, watching a favorite film, or just going for a walk in nature, what can you do to begin adding more work/life-balance, more self-gentleness and natural rhythm, to your daily life?