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Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
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Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  616 ratings  ·  152 reviews
"No longer indispensable, no longer assured of our old carefully crafted identities, no longer beautiful in the way we were at twenty or thirty or forty, we are hungry and searching nonetheless."

From the author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day, this intimate memoir of loss, self-discovery, and growth will resonate deeply with any woman who has ever mourned the passage of t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
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Lynne Spreen
My first reaction to this book was, frankly, a little negative. I confess I found myself bummed out, thinking, "only privileged women who can afford to stay home and raise kids, who define themselves by that experience, would fail to notice the fact of their own mortality. And then be so shaken by it when the nest empties." Or some such. So what could this woman possibly say to me?

But I kept reading, and I realized she HAD been thinking about life quite a lot even back when she was a young moth
Rebecca Tolley-Stokes
Luminous. Chockablock with wisdom.
Rebecca Young
I would give this book ten stars if I could!! It was so moving for me at this time in my life. I first got this book from the library but when I was just 3 chapters into it and already had a dozen post it notes, i knew i had to buy my own copy. I just love her writing is clear, poignant, and breathtakingly beautiful at times. She writes a lot about change, surrender, and acceptance--her younger son leaves to a boarding school and she is all of a sudden an empty nester, three years bef ...more
Florence Millo
Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment by Katrina Kenison

Once you reach a certain age, you realize the impermanence of things and life and people. You wonder if the path you've trod has had any meaning or purpose. You wonder about the connectedness of it all. At least, I have and so has Katrina Kenison. Her book was written about the time in her life when her children were stepping out into the world on their own and the time when a dear friend had succumbed to cancer. I've been there
Susan Peters
A beautifully sensitive description of the author's mid-life journey to finding a new version of her life, as her children leave home and she feels somehow at a crucial bend in the road. We discover, through her honest and thoughtful searching, that our lives are enriched by quiet soul-searching and an appreciation of our deepest longings and strengths, as well as the love and friendships that have been part of our journey. She gives us permission to "just be" instead of rushing through our days ...more
This was an amazing book that my sister Rebecca told me about. It is the story of a woman who suddenly becomes an empty nester(her youngest son leaves home 3 years early to attend a private high school), loses a dear friend to cancer, goes through menopause, turns 50 and wonders what she is going to do with her life now. It is about learning to love life through all of it ups and downs and accepting the changes that we go through as we live. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
"Perhaps the r
I just read most of the reviews already posted and I realized that this book really speaks to those of us in this particular situation - empty nest and feeling a little lost as to what will fill the constant activity and purpose of child rearing. I felt as if in the first few chapters she was reading my mind. Sometimes I know I have spoken her exact words. But when I finished, I realized that this book has much to offer to anyone 50 and over. I have thought many times that when we are younger it ...more
Although reading Katrina Kenison's second and third books back-to-back gave me a bit of a "more of the same" feeling, when the thing that's the same is so very, very good as her remarkable, meditative writing is, that's not a bad thing. I finished this book while on vacation with my husband's extended family in San Diego, and floating in the delicious water of the Pacific Ocean while basking in the constant, lovely sunshine was the perfect place to think on Katrina Kenisons's words and the wisdo ...more
Clare G
I love this author. I read and re-read her first book, Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry when my boys were little. It validated many of the feelings I had at the time that the little things we do as mothers are so important. I recommended it to new mothers. About a year or two ago, I discovered her second book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir and devoured that one, too. Again, I felt that she puts so well why the ordinary ways we spend time with our famili ...more
JK Thomas
DISCONTENTMENT. I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads and therefore agreed to review it. I wish I didn't have to. Like a few other reviewers, I really wanted to like it, but didn't. Kenison's writing style is fluid and silky, almost too much so. I, too, stopped reading the book at the yoga chapters. Why? I started to get the feeling that she was exploring new experiences simply to have something to write a new book about, or maybe just to get away from her husband for awhile. The to ...more
Haunting and hopeful! As the mother of six, two of whom have recently "flown", this book's cover tugged at my heartstrings and compelled me to pick it up and read the jacket. Though not yet in my 50's nor presently an empty nester, all the themes seemed to be calling to me intimately. I took it home, intending to read it as preparatory sustenance for my future, (I always like to be pre-prepared) but with each opening, I was consumed and surprised by it's relevance to my thoughts and feelings and ...more
Fastener Gal
In this book Kenison is further in her life journey as she straddles the precipice of being a premature empty-nester and the afternoon days of midlife. I can easily see myself thinking similar thoughts and asking the same questions as she mourns the loss of motherhood, as she knew it, as well as dealing with life's inevitable losses and relationship changes. Although we all walk different paths our mental and spiritual journeys are the same. Kenison's words reveal many truths we all seek. Love.

I feel as if Katrina reads my mind, I relate so much to her feelings.
Katrina's books have helped me so much on my journey through motherhood and self discovery. Reading Magical Journey was like spending time with a dear friend who articulated some of my deepest thoughts and gave them wings for me to grow.
As with her other books, Katrina has successfully written a book that is a window to her soul. In so doing, she does an incredible job of connecting with the reader. I read this book slowly, scouring her vivid imagery and really considering all her thoughts almost as if they were my own. I felt a powerful connection to this book, mostly because she does an amazing job of reminding us to appreciate the things that are right in front of us.

I am grateful for Katrina's honesty. Magical Journey is a
Perfect book to read today; Katrina articulates that mid-life moment when we resemble hermit crabs in between shells - vulnerable, exposed and not quite sure that we will find something new that fits as well as what's now passed. "Picking up the pieces of lives that have been transformed by change, rearranging them into new patterns, we wonder how to make good use of these remaining years... " Its a bittersweet time, but rich with possibility and Katrina offers a balance of both perspectives as ...more
Jodi Vandenberg-Daves
I really liked this book. Even though the author had some privileges for solitude and life explorations that many of us don't have, her reverence for life and human connections, and her ability to put into words such a humane philosophy for how to embrace change really moved me. The focus is the empty nest, and even though I'm not quite there yet, I'm better prepared. Here's one of my favorite quotes, that connects to the author's loss of a dear friend: “Suddenly, when life hangs in the balance, ...more
I discovered Katrina Kenison's writing many years ago, when I came across Mitten Strings from God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry. At home with two young boys, I was a mom trying to keep our family life to a slow yet manageable pace and I felt an immediate kinship with Katrina. Always a few steps ahead of me on the parenting path, I have found her writing to be insightful and inspiring, and her books beautifully written. Her second book, Gift of an Ordinary Day, provided me with the gentle r ...more
I read "Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment," in short periods over the past several months. The author reflects on a period of her mid-life where she experiences loss and the emptying of her nest. Her personal growth and her reflections on her life experiences are thoughtful and inspiring.

This book found its way to me as a First Reads win. I will be returning to it over and over again. There is much quiet wisdom in its pages.
I feel like her heart's in the right place, but this thing was repetitive and long-winded in my opinion. I miss my kids, I miss my friend, I'm going to die- [REPEAT]. She also proclaims to know that life is so unpredictable, then turns around and says things like that she KNOWS at some point she'll be walking the earth without her dad. Yeah- she doesn't get it yet- for all she knows she could go before him. THAT's how crazy life is. She still presumes a certain foreknowledge and control over lif ...more
3 and 1/2 stars
I received Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment for free in a GoodReads giveaway. I received a lovely trade paperback with an elegant and thoughtfully designed cover containing 270 pages of easy to read print.

I really enjoyed Magical Journey, a heartwarming and candid self-reflection of loss and transition. Katrina Kenison shares her memories and bares her soul as she strives to redefine herself and find purpose while confronting empty-nest, the death of a friend, and
Jo Riley
This book is truly wonderful. However, the book speaks mainly to empty nesters facing the second half of their life and wondering what next? It truly gives a road map on how to find your joy again, particularly when your life has been centered around child rearing. Anyone in this phase of their life will gain an insightful and fresh perspective on how to face the challenges of growing older.
Maude Odgers

I've read all of Katrina's books and loved everyone but confess the last one is my favorite. Now that it's out in paperback I intend to give it to many of my friends and it's a great book group read as the discussions are relevant to us all.

Katrina inspires me to live in the present and to be grateful for both the joys and sorrows in my life, who have been my great teachers. She reminds me to seek beauty, contentment, comfort, wisdom, understanding and joy when I forget. She reminds me that los
So, I'm not an empty nester, in fact I have about 12 more years of kids in the nest, but I like to know what's coming. I supposed I picked it up because my oldest birdie, a high schooler, is flapping her wings and making me face what comes next. I think the author has some wonderful insight into those years. I plan to keep and reread this when the time comes.
Laura Olson
Loved this book! Ms. Kenison is my new favorite writer. She is thoughtful, reflective and captures her thoughts beautifully. I've always related to her motherhood journey, but this book is so much more (learning to let go; finding your true purpose). Check out her blog: her essays always bring me to tears (in a good way).
Kristina Kenison’s Magical Journey is a luminous and lovely new memoir about her search for meaning in the second half of life. With both of her sons grown and living away from home, Kenison feels bereft of her life’s most vital work – the work of being a mother. “So many of the things that have shaped my sense of self and filled my life over the last two decade have slipped away,” she writes. Huge changes in family responsibilities and career paths mirror the smaller changes she sees when she l ...more
Patti Pitcher
I have read and loved all of Katrina's books, but hands down this is my favorite. Wise and warm, her books always delight me but Magical Journey is special. She exposes the raw and vulnerable side of her life where things get ugly. Her struggle with hard times drew me in. We humans meet on this planet with our very humanity bumping up against the humanity of others. We are not perfect, we experience loss and pain, times are sometimes very tough. Showing us these parts of her life made her memoir ...more
Lori Johnstone
Life is a magical journey indeed–I agree with Katrina Kenison enthusiastically, as I thoroughly enjoyed her book.

Filled with wonder at the transformation of her life after separate and very different types of loss, Katrina delves into an understanding and searching for a new version of happiness. After loss, she found so much more.

This book might at the start seem like it's meant for the middle-aged who are facing some sort of loss, but I feel like it's more for anyone with a life. There are u
I'd give this book 10 stars if I could! I have been reading Katrina Kenison since she published Mitten Strings for God in 2000 (from which I continue to make her fabulous recipe for Irish oatmeal all these years later!). From Mitten Strings, to The Gift of an Ordinary Day, and now Magical Journey, Katrina Kenison has managed to speak directly to me (and thousands of others, I am sure), in the most compassionate, intelligent, original and moving ways about the challenges and joys of living life. ...more
Anything written by Katrina Kenison is absolutely magical. Everyone of her books has resonated with me, and this one is especially pertinent right now! I loved reading about Katrina's yoga teacher training at Kripalu.
Reading this book seemed like listening to the advice of a friend who's just a few steps ahead of me in her mothering journey - a perceptive, articulate, sometimes funny friend who helped illuminate the path for me and pointed me in the direction of seeing the rightness of things as they are now. Magical Journey is an affirmation of the later part of motherhood: the joys and anxieties of witnessing your children launch into lives of their own; the seeming emptiness left in their wake which begin ...more
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"I write to remind myself of how I want to live and who I want to be," says KATRINA KENISON, author of three beloved memoirs that, together, chart the seasons of a woman's life.
Her first book, MITTEN STRINGS FOR GOD: REFLECTIONS FOR MOTHERS IN A HURRY, now a classic for parents of young children, is a compelling invitation to do less and enjoy life more -- in a culture that urges "bigger, better
More about Katrina Kenison...
The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir Mitten Strings for God: Reflections  for Mothers in a Hurry The Best American Short Stories 1992 Mothers: Twenty Stories of Contemporary Motherhood The Best American Short Stories 2005

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“Meaning and purpose come not from accomplishing great things in the world, but simply from loving those who are right in front of you, doing all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place where you are.” 6 likes
“Perhaps the real point of life is simply to wear us down until we have no choice but to start abandoning our defenses. We learn that the way things are is simply the way they are meant to be right now, and then, suddenly, at long last, we catch a glimpse of the abundance in the moment--abundance even in the face of things falling apart.” 5 likes
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