"Because of your smile, you make the world more beautiful."
~Thich Nhat Hanh


August is named after Augustus Caesar, founder and first emperor of the Roman Empire. August is also the month when so many of my relatives were born, including both of my daughters, Rachel and Regine; my mother; my late father-in-law; and a few others. The month of August reminds me that it is a time for celebration, and it brings a smile to my face.

This also reminds me that National Smile Week is August 5–11, all the more reason to smile. And, August was also a significant month for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King gave his famous speech, "I Have a Dream," on August 28th, another landmark date in this month.

Here's to always finding reasons to celebrate!

Happy August and beyond!

Be well. Be safe.

  • Write about someone you know who has the best smile.
  • Write about a person you know whose birthday is in August.
  • Write about your favorite cookie (always a good reason to smile).
  • Write about someone you haven't seen in a while.
"Practicing Intuition for Self-Care" (article). The Good Men Project. July 8, 2021.

"Reminiscing on My Best Childhood Summers" (article). Sixty and Me. July 20, 2021.

"Panoramic Ocean" (poem). First Literary Review. July 25, 2021.

"Reflecting on Mental Health of Immigrant Children Like Myself" (article). Thrive Global. July 29, 2021.

I picked up this memoir by accident while on a retreat, and from the moment I opened up the book, it did not disappoint. As a memoir teacher and spiritual individual, I am very discerning. This book was a pleasure to read, as Pastiloff's story is about the power of healing oneself by caring for others.

Her message and voice resonated with me to the point that I said a few times to myself, "I could have written this book." She discusses the art of writing , emotional and physical pain, lessons learned, fear, the art of knowing and embracing change, and the value of listening—fierce listening. Being heard is so very important, especially now.

According to Pastiloff, here's the gist, which resonated with me as I approach the final chapter of my own life: "You think as you get older, the weight gets lighter? It doesn't. It gets heavier and heavier until you are buried in a pile of it and you can't even reach the front door. I did get a bunch of woks, though. But what I got more was: the power of community. I saw how I was able to bring people together, not just at my retreat, but at my wedding, and on the internet. I wanted more of it" (p. 170).

Pastiloff shared so much wisdom that it's impossible to share it all here. Do yourself a favor: read this book, and buy a copy for a friend!
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