We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons for Moving Through Change, Loss, and Disruption by Kaira Jewel Lingo
Was I made for these times? “I’m not sure,” was all I could muster as I held this book. Most days I feel overwhelmed by the speed of my life, the constant barrage of curated content hitting my screens, the climate crisis, economic uncertainty, and my own human disconnection. But with the promise of ten concise lessons to teach me powerful ways to meet life’s challenges with wisdom, resilience, and ease, I was all in, totally ready to find ease, presence, and self-compassion in a world that feels like it is falling apart.
This book is not at all what I expected—but in the best possible way.
Written by a former Buddhist nun and student of Thich Nhat Hanh, the author seamlessly blends Buddhist practicality with the wisdom of a broad range of contemporary thinkers, including from Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King Jr., Rainer Maria Rilke, the Elders of the Hopi Nation, and James Baldwin, to Shawn Achor.
While many of the lessons were not new to me, the author did not preach or posit, but rather spoke in a voice that left room to make the teachings my own. To do this, the author provided a guided meditation and journal prompts at the end of each lesson. Both were insightful and very helpful, but I found the journal question to be exactly what I needed.
As the Publisher explains:
Change is stressful, even when it is much desired or anticipated—the unknown can feel scary and threatening. In We Were Made for These Times, the extraordinary mindfulness teacher Kaira Jewel Lingo imparts accessible advice on navigating difficult times of transition. Each chapter in We Were Made for These Times holds an essential teaching and meditation, unfolding a step-by-step process to nurture deeper freedom and stability in daily life. Time-honored teachings will help you develop ease, presence, and self-compassion, supporting you to release the fear and doubt that hold you back.
The author takes on the elephant in our lives with the first sentence of the book:
All of us go through times of transition, challenges, and difficulties.
Yet provides the promise of hope:
The future is made of this moment. If we take good care of this moment, even if it
is difficult, we are taking good care of the future.
This is not a “do these ten things and live happily ever after” story book. This is a book about the gritty reality of our lives:
We may have faced or will face time of loss, confusion, or heartbreak, when we realize we cannot control the way our life is unfolding, whether in our personal lives or in the world around us.
This book offers ten lessons, or approaches, on how to take good care of the moments in our lives. Transitions and challenges are a part of life. They are not wrong or bad, but as the lessons make clear, it’s how you think about them and deal with them that makes the difference. Both in the moment and in the future.
While all ten lessons had something to offer, there were several that I felt calling to me at this moment of transition in my life. The takeaways from the most timely and applicable lessons for me included:
We can’t control or exactly know the future, but we can find what we need for right now.
The actions that you take are your only true possessions. They are the ground on which you stand.
You cannot add more days to your life, but only more life to each day.
The address of your true home is right here and right now.
Even in the midst of great trouble, we can find what is not going wrong.
This book has been invaluable in teaching me the lessons I need as I transition and continue to prepare for becoming myself, to coming home.
As the Elders of the Hopi Nation teach, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” This book is preparing me to become “one of those.”
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