Over Christmas I read a book written by Noelle Oxenhandler, The Wishing Year (Random House).
She gave a reading at one of my favorite local booksellers—you do support your local independent booksellers don't you?—Many Rivers Books and Tea. Noelle is a professor at nearby Sonoma State University. The Wishing Year is a delightful, satisfying, uplifting story that's been compared to a book I haven't (and probably won't) read: Eat, Pray, Love.
This book takes up the subject of wishing—actively and intentionally hoping for things to happen in your world. A long time Buddhist practitioner like me, I found her story a light and breezy read.
She begins her quest with the same skepticism I would carry. Her Catholic/Jewish heritage permitted her to wish and pray for the welfare of others, but not for anything that would benefit herself in practical ways. But she found her life was getting grayer and grayer under this view, and she decided to open herself to the possibility that the world might permit her more happiness. (She lives, after all, here in earth's best imitiation of paradise!) Noelle decided to experiment with wishing by spending one year intentionally cultivating desire for three things she didn't have and that she really wanted to bring into her life:
1. a man,
2. a house of her own, and
3. spiritual healing.
A work of nonfiction, I was delighted when a neighbor who lives a block south of me, Carol Watanabe, figures prominently in the story as the paragon of effective wishing.
Oxenhandler tells a thoughtful, intelligent, and very entertaining story about how her wishing year unfolded, month by month.