"When I started this journey I was hoping to find a miracle, one that might dramatically change my life. What I found was far more important: the extreme importance of small things."Like the vibrant yet simple quilts that spoke to her heart and led her to live with the Amish and to write the New York Times bestselling Plain and Simple, the empty begging bowl is the powerful -- though sometimes elusive -- symbol in Sue Bender's Everyday Sacred.Returning home from the Amish, Bender struggled to apply the peaceful wisdom and simplicity she learned from them to her hectic life. Then one day she heard the story of the begging bowl and instinctively knew it had much to teach her: each day a Zen monk goes with an empty bowl in his hands; whatever is placed in the bowl will be his nourishment for the day. So, too, Bender discovered, if we approached each day afresh, with our bowls waiting to be filled, we will find at the end of the day that extraordinary things -- some so small we may be tempted to overlook them -- have come our way.Everyday Sacred is filled with the stories, the people, and the experiences that filled Bender's bowl -- a "connect-the-dots record of my search for the sacred in everyday life." From the simple act of clearing off her desk to enjoying a perfectly prepared cappuccino to realizing she can only do three of the thirteen things on her to-do list, Bender finds that each step along one's journey is a place to learn.In the end, Bender discovers for herself -- and shows us in the process -- that "small miracles are there for us, all around. We can find them everywhere -- in our homes, in our daily activities, and, hardest to see, in ourselves."
Sue Bender, author of Everyday Sacred, offers writers the image of a bowl in many forms to guide the words they create. Bender says, "In the Zen Buddhist tradition, a monk starts out each day with an empty bowl in his hands, and whatever is placed in the bowl will be his nourishment for the day. Each day is a fresh start." There's a short introduction to using the journal and tidbits of Zenlike wisdom on each page to guide the writer's thoughts. It's a friendly, welcoming sort of journal for the intense diarist and thoughtful scrawler alike.