THE HOLY WAY: Practices for a Simple Life

Paula Huston, Author . Loyola $15.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-8294-1441-7

Using the Christian tradition of solitude, silence and contemplation as her foundation, Huston offers one of the best books available on living the simple life. Voluntary simplicity may sound like an enormous personal sacrifice—downscaling material purchases, unplugging the phone, turning off the TV and pursuing meaningful work instead of high-income drudgery. But according to Huston, the payoff is so enormous that it's hard to understand why anyone wouldn't jump on the bandwagon. "Interior chaos subsides; the psychic battlefield goes calm and silent," she promises. She notes that practicing the simple life requires more of an internal shift than an outward act of shedding possessions or moving to a monastery. In each chapter, Huston offers healthy doses of self-disclosure. When she wanted to create more silence, she first tried to quiet all the noise around her, only to discover that the real challenge was learning to silence herself. (She's a self-confessed motor mouth.) When she wanted to start carving out times of spiritual contemplation, she had to face her chronic habit of oversleeping. She even reveals how much of her self-esteem was invested in attracting male attention in her exquisite chapter on the deeper meaning of celibacy. Huston gives readers the sense that if she can make these small, yet profound, steps toward a simpler life, anyone can. Each chapter includes an inspirational story about a saint as well as just the right seasonings of scripture. This excellent guidebook will motivate many readers to take at least one small step toward living a simpler life. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
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