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“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

August 2nd, 2015

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’m a big believer in stretching your mind by keeping it open, not always focusing on the things that are in line with your way of thinking or your beliefs. Often, when I read/watch/listen outside my normal parameters, I’m pleasantly surprised and sometimes my mindset is changed sometimes I am more sure of my beliefs. It is difficult to do, especially these days when it seems everyone just watches, listens to, and reads things that are in line with their current thoughts and beliefs while berating and looking down on those who think differently. There are times when I don’t recommend books to certain friends because I know they are adamantly opposed to the religious or political views put forth in the book. It makes me sad, because I know if they were able to read with an open mind they’d find much value. You’ll find interesting things on my stack of books a wide variety of topics and viewpoints: Christian, Buddhist, poetry, farming, and more.
I’ve never regretting reading widely, in fact, I think it helps me to understand those who believe differently than I do. So often our minds can be closed and sure that our beliefs are the “correct” ones, even if we have no experience or knowledge of other beliefs. I challenge you to read outside your comfort zone, I guarantee you will come out a much richer person.

What have you been reading lately? 

8 Comments to ““One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.””
  1. Emily on August 2, 2015 at 7:00 am

    I agree we should read widely no matter our beliefs. There is so much to learn about our world and the people in it! Most of my reading is out loud to my boys these days. We are reading Little Pear by Elizabeth Frances Lattimore about the adventures of a little boy in China. I recently read The Perfect Son after you mentioned it on your blog. Some of it saddened me, some of it I wish could have been different for the people in the book, but I enjoyed it and it made me reflect on the disorder our sons have brought into our lives, how they have changed us for the better, and how as they grow and change I hope we will continue to grow and change with them as they stretch our selfish ways.

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  2. KimH on August 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I totally and completely agree with you regarding reading way outside your own beliefs.. I do the same thing regarding not sharing some books because of anothers personal belief system.. but I think sometimes I’ve done a disservice just thinking that so I’ll tell them about it & let them decide if they’re interested in reading it or not.. That way, Im leaving the door open for them if they choose to walk thru or not. Sometimes people are just plain afraid to ask for information even though they would love to read it.. I remember I was there in my early 20s.. I wouldnt check out a book I wanted to from the library because of the judgement and condemnation I knew I would face because of it.. I managed to liberate myself from that sort of thing and anyone who knows me knows that I’ve read all sorts of stuff including other religions and philosophies, metaphysics and many many things under the sun..
    Good for you, Girl for keeping the mind wide open.. :)

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    • Susy on August 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      I sometimes tell them it’s a book outside of their normal beliefs but believe that they can find value in it hoping they’ll go ahead and read it.

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  3. tate on August 2, 2015 at 9:56 am

    “a million miles in a thousand years” is a life changing book.

    Reply to tate's comment

  4. Lemongrass on August 2, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I have been reading “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens. and “Revolutionary Petunias & others poems.” both by Alice Walker. Poetry at it’s best.

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

  5. Wendy on August 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    So well said, Suzy! Right now I’m devouring The Soul of Discipline by Kim John Payne. I’m definitely reading some things that are new to me and will change my parenting for the better! Happy reading!

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  6. Whit on August 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Amen! As homeschoolers, we read lots of different types of things to challenge our brains. Unfortunately, it is a community that is hard to find open minded individuals here, because many use homeschooling as a why to shelter their children in their faith. We believe the challenge is good…it provides lessons in understanding, compassion, and humility.

    Isn’t Postman’s book wonderful?

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  7. Kathy on August 3, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    This past summer, I made a list of 50 great books I wanted to read and right now I’m up to the first 10. I read “The Good Earth” about 2 weeks ago and now I’m into “Love in the Time of Cholera”.

    I forgot how wonderful it is to read a book simply for the joy of getting lost in a good story. Most of my book reading over the past few years are “How to…” or self improvement type of books. It’s been wonderful, especially when a book makes me stretch my critical thinking or paradigm.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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