All creatures great and small by James Herriot

There are books that are much more than what they tell, because they are linked to an emotion that can be the memory of when or where you read them or who got you to know them.

This book is part of a series written by a British veterinary surgeon, under the name of James Herriot, which tells about his personal and professional life in Yorkshire, starting before the Second World War.

His books were among my father’s favorite. My father died more than 30 years ago, but every time I read them it feels like he’s still here with me, laughing about the episodes that, even though we had read them many times, we kept on telling each another. Too bad that time did not last long.

Some might judge them as easy, simple or assess the style as not so exciting, but I wonder if books can be really the object of literary criticism.

When a book is written with feeling, heart, passion, suffering, and not just in order to sell, it cannot be nothing but a writer’s masterpiece.

Then the reader make what he wants of it.

A book is what you make it to be.

A book may be the masterpiece of your life at a time and let you down in another moment.

A book can be boring the first time and encourage unexpected reflections if you re-read it.

A book creates a unique relationship with the reader.

Books are living emotions.

Sometimes I read a book in just one day, sometimes it takes months to read another one. I am sure that, with a little attention, it would be interesting and useful to understand why…

In schools there is always less reading and more working with computers, I do not know why.

Children are no longer interested in reading. After the period of colorful books full of figures there is no longer the transition to independent reading, when one begins to understand her/his own tastes, chooses the titles, and most of all starts travelling with her/his imagination.

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but for me this means closing the door to a world of emotions that could be with you throughout your life.

A book really keeps company.

Negative emotions do not exist

Just like positive emotions.

Welcome back! Today I want to talk about emotions.

In Chinese philosophy, too intense emotions are frowned upon, because they undermine our energy. In fact, Chinese people are not famous to express their emotions. Once I even heard a teacher define a Chinese lady like “a mother who could not express her love”.

Well, I think that everyone has her/his own way of expressing emotions.

Those who do not seem able to do it, maybe are simply afraid of it. And it is the same fear that leads us to make a distinction between positive and negative emotions, in an attempt to hold off the latter.

Too bad that the emotions, the thoughts, the feelings that make us most afraid and that we try to avoid are those we label as “negative”. They hide inside of us to evolve without our knowledge in all kinds of discomfort and malaise (feeling of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, depression, phobias, illnesses).

But do we really want to allow our emotions to do this to us, instead of looking at them straight in the face for fear of being afraid?

Repressed emotions are the brake of life. They are totally useless. And looking at this from a certain point of view the emotions we label as “positive” are unnecessary too, if they become an emotional shelter and a touchstone for every experience that we live.

Let me give an example for both cases.

If you think of a painful episode of your life, all the sadness, the despair of that moment surfaces and you just want not to think about it. If you can’t, you even start believing that you will never get rid of all that pain. Do you know why you feel so? Because, out of fear, you have repressed the pain linked to that experience in the moment when you were living it, because you were afraid to go out of your mind, because you did not want other people to worry about you, because you thought that maybe you would be able to return to normality more quickly …
Everyone can add her “because”, but that’s just the way it is.

And the only thing that such an experience can teach us is that when we get bad news, when we suffer a loss, when a misfortune strikes us, we have no duty other than suffer and feel all those overwhelming emotions  deeply, deep down to the core, until we are done with them, because only in this way we will come out free.

But what happens when we receive fantastic news, we get something we have wanted for so long, we fall crazy in love? We take the emotion of that moment and store it in the “perfect moments” department and from then on nothing will be just as good if it does not give us the same chills.

Memories, emotions … how much luggage we carry on this trip!

It is necessary to lighten it, sometimes essential.

From now on try to enjoy the moments and emotions exactly when they happen. If it’s something beautiful be grateful for it, otherwise do not ignore it and consider whether it can teach you something.

In both cases, however, let go of the emotions, feel light and make space. Only in this way life can welcome the new.

Try it, really!

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