Do you have a good life with the usual (or annoying) ups and downs and want fewer, shorter down spots? Do you experience too many emotional landslides triggered by stress, frustration, and disappointments — causing you to think your life isn't working as well as it could? As a result of either, have you ever wondered, "what's it all about" or how can I find more connection in my life? If at the end of each day, you want to feel more satisfied or be able to put yourself back on a meaningful path, The Little Book on Meaning: Why We Crave It, How We Create It by Laura Berman Fortgang will be a worthwhile read for you.
Do not expect this to be a typical give-you-your-answers kind of book. Rather, The Little Book on Meaning is a reflective how-to on getting yourself on the path to find your own answers. Whether you have been puffed up by success then worn down by stress, defeated by failure, immobilized by unexpected life challenges, frustrated by change, numbed out/ bored by never changing drab routines or overwhelmed by the demands of a fast-paced and complicated life, Fortgang offers ideas about how to find lasting meaning in your life. Her story just might surprise you.
The author is a nationally renowned speaker and life coach, so I was expecting a 'cocky-I-did-it-so-you-can-too' personal stream of wisdom tale. Not the case. Fortgang reveals a 20-plus year struggle with management of her depression intermixed with considerable success and fame. Her tale is a humble one drawn on wisdom from a multitude of sources including her study at an interfaith seminary, which resulted in her ordination as an interfaith minister. She exposes her personal flaws and failings, while framing them as part of a perfectly normal life pattern. From each she emerges with a more meaningful life — because she chooses to do so.
I applaud the author's understanding of relationships in Part Two: Minister, Chapter 6 -They Came for You and Chapter 8 - I Am Here to Be Seen. She reviews the bilateral impact of relationships between parents and children. Children generally shape us as much if not more than we shape them. Fortgang also references marital partners who experience infidelity. We can learn to understand our impact on the other and receive awareness of their impact on us. This is the systemic give and take of our relationships and the people we simply just meet. Relationships and exchanges with others go both ways.