The first time I saw the cover of this book I knew I wanted to read it. Why? Because I enjoyed Michael's first book, am I being kind, and because I wanted to read about how the dog on the cover helped Michael learn about loving everyone.
Who do I think would enjoy this book? My first thought was everyone. Why? Because of Michael's sense of humor, his stories about his dog Mollie, and the insights that came from spending time with his adorable furry friend.
Mollie's combination of "hilarious antics" and "maddening behavior" lead us to insights that can bring us closer to loving everyone.
In my opinion a lot of people will read this book, enjoy it, and be changed by it. I personally loved this book. I enjoyed the stories Michael tells about Mollie – and what he learns from her. The stories are well-told, inspiring, often funny, and memorable.
This is one of the most inspiring – and funny – books I've ever read.
The idea to write this book came from Michael's grandfather telling him that "loving everyone" was his secret to getting along with so many people. Michael wondered how it would be possible to love everyone. He wondered how you could do it. It was by asking a new question with the word "who" that he got his answer.
"Who do I know that exudes the qualities of a great spiritual master – a person who lives in the present moment, is detached from the material world, embraces simplicity, has the joyful heart of a child, and loves without condition?"
"I was in complete awe of how she possessed the traits of great spiritual masters. That being said, Mollie is no angel. Unconditionally loving, yes. Well behaved … not always."
While writing about life with Mollie, and the lessons she was teaching him, other "teachers" began to appear in Michael's life. As the book progresses there are stories about them along with stories that include Mollie. The book is about enlightenment. Much of it does come from Mollie but mixed in are Michael's own thoughts, insights, and revelations.
The book is divided into three parts.
In the Beginning was the Word … And the Word was Dog
When the Student is Ready, The Teacher Will Appear
A New Leash on Life
The first part of the book is mostly about Mollie and Michael. The second part of the book brings in some other spiritual teachers along with more stories about Mollie. The third part of the book talks about everyday heroes, kindness, and love. The book has many funny parts and yet it does include some emotional parts.
As Michael says, we all have to deal with unkind people from time to time – family members, friends, and strangers and that is why the chapter titled "Dealing with Difficult Dogs" will be helpful to readers of this book.
Michael has this to say about love:
"The key is to stop thinking of love as only an interpersonal experience. By understanding the essence of love, which is divine and all encompassing, we begin to have options. It can be delivered in a variety of ways. Romantic, spiritual, parental, and act of kindness and even tough love are just a few ways we can offer it to those around us. Self-love is where it all begins though. We cannot authentically give away what we do not feel toward ourselves."
In the chapter titled Everyday Heroes Michael told us that his Mom is one of his heroes. I could relate to that because my Mom was, and still is, a hero of mine. Michael says, "I'm very fortunate to have another hero in my life who has been with me since the beginning. Even though I've spent 43 years with her, it took me a while to recognize this person as my greatest teacher. She's inspiring, positive, kind, loving, hysterically funny… and everything that's right with the world. And as with my other spiritual super heroes, time and again it's been her unconditional love that rescues me from the darkness whenever I'm lost."
The story of taking his Mom – and Mollie – to visit Boothbay Harbor in Maine, was one of my personal favorites in the book. Why? Because of the humor and the fact that I fell in love with his Mom during the story. How Michael feels about his Mom is how I feel about my Mom and how I'd love my son to feel about me.
The book's title states it is The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone but as you read the book it begins to feel possible rather than being just a radical idea.
I believe this book will help readers look at love – and loving everyone – in some new and empowering ways.
The book is entertaining, encouraging, and enlightening. Reading it was enjoyable – in fact so much so I felt like I wanted it to keep going when I got to the end. It is a small book – a great size for talking with you to read on a plane or while on vacation. I love the cover photo and design which were done by Michael. Just seeing Mollie on the cover makes me laugh and reminds me that perhaps it's possible to love everyone.
I found myself laughing out loud and reading various parts to my husband. Michael is a great and inspiring storyteller.
I recommend this book to everyone however the people who will love it most are those who love animals. I also believe this book can help people who have never had a dog – or even loved an animal – to realize how much love, joy, and enlightenment animals can add to your life.
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