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Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,020 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews

In October 2003, Patti Digh’s stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died 37 days later. The timeframe made an impression on her. What emerged was a commitment to ask herself every morning: What would I be doing today if I had only 37 days left to live? The answers changed her life and led to this new kind of book. Part meditation, part how-to guide, part memoir, Li

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Published August 26th 2008 by Globe Pequot Press
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Jan 19, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm not a big reader of non-fiction books. And I'm definitely not a reader of self-help books. Yet Life is a Verb is both of these things and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The secret to my enjoyment? After each chapter there are two boxes, one called Action, the other, Movement. I was happily reading along, enjoying Patti Digh's voice and storytelling when I got to the first action box. As I recall, that box told me to set the timer and dance for five minutes. Ummm, no. Not going to happen. I stopped ...more
Candice Hayden
Mar 25, 2011 Candice Hayden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, the title sounds like one of those silly, self-help, self-indulgent works that abound in the marketplace. But Patti Digh is different. She moves in. She hangs out on your sofa. She lets her life hang out, warts and all. She makes you feel "normal" because she is so real. She dares to share the messiness of her own life, her own "imperfect, red-headed freckled-ness" that you want her to permanently move into your guest room with her two kids and "Mr. Brilliant", her sweet, innocuous, bookst ...more
Jess Michaels
My original reading was below. I bought in paperback and read slower, savored it more and I love it even more!!

I've been on this "happiness" "live a full life" kick, so I picked this book for our book club. I thought a lot of the advice was so great and fun (I was very excited about spatulas for weeks). But I read the thing all in a short period of time, so it also ended up being overwhelming. Bottom line, it's a good book, but buy it in paperback and savor rather than power through.
May 25, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Patti Digh, and appreciate the changes she's brought to my life.

I take this book to my own private luncheon at Golden Corral on Tuesdays, and leave feeling nourished on so many levels.
Jun 25, 2011 Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eyeopening
I needed a kick in the proverbial pants and this book landed in my hands - perhaps the book angels pushed it out, but sometimes a trip to the bookstore reveals just what you need. Realigning self and life are daunting tasks and often we forget where we have landed on the game board. I needed this book to remind me that I was responsible for my own life, my own joy, my own intentions. Patti Digh is good medicine and her sassy questions, suggestions, and methods for awakening art as life/life as a ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
On the one hand, the author did seem very sheltered, viewing life from quite a privileged position, and her attempts to be open minded and not judge 'different' people seemed a bit patronising sometimes. But on the other hand, the author is incredibly open and honest about her journey, admitting her judgementalism, her struggles. She is also full of enthusiasm. She is who she is, and doesn't pretend to be anyone different.

The book wasn't really what I expected - it was more a sort of set of mem
Jan 26, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: happy-books
Rare is the read that leaves me feeling as though I need to write a THANK YOU note to its author. By the time I was reading the last page, I so wanted to consider the author and I good friends. This book will never stray far from my side. It is everything we ALL need to be reminded of if we truly desire living an intentional life. And its author...Ms. a storyteller extraordinaire. Her fluidity, her prose, her sheer understanding of being mindful...beyond impressive. Every chapter held ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindfulness
I have to say I like the idea of this book better than the actual book. Not to be petty but I didn't feel like it was that reflective, etc. I didn't feel like it took you deep enough if that makes any sense. I guess I am already "awake" and try to "live intentionally" so it did not give me any "A-has".
John Bails
I read this book in 2009. I found it at the library. I pretty much read from beginning to end. It's probably intended more for women than men, but when it doesn't necessarily seem applicable, I just move on. I like her lively, personal, quirky style. She tries to give the reader applications. I bought this book as I thought it was one I should own and that I could mark up. I also bought Creative is a Verb because I like her bouncy writing. My daughter would like to write and I want her to read t ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Digh worries that we are not living our lives. This book is her attempt to share six ways of living intentionally: (1) With intensity by saying yes (2) with inclusion by being generous (3) with integrity by speaking up (4) with intimacy by loving more (5) with intuition by trusting yourself and (6) with intention by slowing down. Brilliant.
Michael Rusk
Jan 18, 2011 Michael Rusk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I get any more motivated I'll just have to leave the planet! Who needs shrinks, why waste money on hocus-pocus? Get Patti's book, curl up and read it like you mean it. You cannot help but be a different person when you are finished...
Jul 26, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a good book for those who like journaling and want to keep their "childlike wonder" about them. kinda like SARK but with more guts to it.
Mar 24, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was ok. For me personally, it didn't live up to the promise of the introductory remarks, but there are good lessons to be gleaned from the author's experiences. In Digh's own words, "As I wrote these stories for my daughters, patterns and through-lines started appearing, one after another. Finally I stepped back to see the whole: Six practices for living more intentionally emerged from my three-year exploration. This 'guidebook for living' outlines those six practices - intensity, incl ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Life is A Verb" was inspired by Patti Digh's blog, "37 days" at I love her metaphors and her detailed, delicious insights on life. She really digs into the essence of what makes life worth living.

Her suggestions to inspire you to live intentionally have affected my life. So far she has inspired me to:

-write haiku
-give more hugs
-reach out and be generous

There are so many suggestions she has for wonderful free writes and important ideas that I have not acted on yet and I hope no
Mar 01, 2011 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm one of those people who likes the idea of self-help or inspirational books about living intentionally/with purpose, but I find ACTUAL inspirational books kind of boring. Most of them don't go far enough, or don't actually address the problem I seem to be having. With this title, I kind of expected it to be a little too cutesy.

There are occasional moments where her anecdotes are overly "I've had a privileged white upper middle class upbringing and I like to talk about how alternative I am" bu
Mar 03, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

Fun, inspirational, encouraging, and uplifting.

Patti Digh’s personal stories provide metaphors for the actions she suggests you take at the end of each section. Not everyone will find something in every story that resonates, however those who follow through with the Action and Movement activities are sure to learn a little bit more about themselves.

Attitude is everything. Those who want to get something from this book will do so. Those who aren’t in a place where they are willing to tak
Apr 07, 2013 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this book - not sure I can even call it a book, almost more workbook! My copy is filled with circles, underlines, dog-ear corners & notes in the margin which I never do in books, yet felt compelled by the authors encouragement to do just that to absorb & process. While I technically finished reading it, it lingers on with me as I go back & consider putting the book into action because that's truly how it is designed to be used. Every nugget of story & inspiration end ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Jane marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio-books
I'm not sure why this book didn't work for me. I love memoirs and I'm interested in mindfulness so it seemed like it would be a great fit for me. I just lost interest in listening to it. Maybe it was me. I'm not going to actually rate it because it's very possible that I didn't give it enough of a chance.
Jun 04, 2015 Sandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first while reading her introduction and first stories, I was inspired to enjoy the present moment as never before! I liked the beginning's chapters with delightful stories that include her daughters. Unfortunately, mid-way or less through, I found the book tiresome. It was as if she was reaching to fill a book's worth of stories and inspirations. So this review is mixed. I'd rather give it 2.5 than 3. I didn't do any of the writing exercises. None called to me.
Feb 28, 2012 Twila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My dad had just passed away when I saw this book. I started thinking back to the last time I saw him. It had been the one year anniversary of my mom's death. When I counted the days from that day until he was 37 days. Wow. What had he done in those days? Well, I found out at the funeral that he had lunched with many dear friends in his close circle. He had called several and written notes of encouragement. He had lived those 37 days as if it was his last. maybe he knew somehow? I will ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't end up doing this book, because:

#1 the author writes that she deliberately put it in a large format so there's room to write in the margins, to really grasp it, etc. I love small things, I hate carrying things, I cannot fit this book in my backpack so I cannot do it as a daily plan.

#2 Life is not a verb. Live is a verb, it's a perfectly fine verb. Now, love is a verb, that's something I've said before. Love's a noun and a verb and a tennis score. Life is not.

It reminds me of when I bou
I agree with another reviewer further down who said that she liked the idea of this book more than the actual book. I have read Digh's blog and found it so moving and so original and I felt like this book was watered down for the self-help seeking masses. I know that is harsh, but that is how I feel (and the more I review books the more opinionated I seem to get about it). This was not a re-invention of the wheel by any means and most of us seeking to make more meaning of our lives would already ...more
Katherine Helms
Feb 07, 2015 Katherine Helms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I continue to be inspired by what Patti wrote in this thoughtful and thought provoking book. I have shared it with friends.
Oct 15, 2015 Deirdre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this a few times and love returning to it after a few years. Maybe some day I'll actually do the exercises!
Apr 15, 2014 Naomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sparkling with artistic contributions from 37days blog readers and the author, this collection of meditations on spiritual practices and exercises to help embody them is accessible to a wide range of readers. Recommended for individual use, small spiritual groups, and spiritual arts groups.
Kellie Bush
This was our July choice for book club at work, and when some of the other members saw how beautiful my copy of the book was they considered ordering it rather than just reading it on their e-Reader.

Interesting stories filled the pages of the book, some funny, others heart warming. While interesting and a fun read, I didn't feel the drive I feel after some books to make a change, and if any I would have thought this one would do the trick. I wish I made more time to complete the exercises at the
Feb 16, 2013 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This took me WAY longer to read than I thought it would. It's hard to finish when the reader keeps going back to chapter after chapter. Some days I would read the same page three times. This is a book I will keep by my bed and get a little refill on those days I need it. I have done the exercises and gone back and redone them. I have written quotes down and put sticky notes around to remind me. The author went from DC to Asheville, both places I love, and I felt a connection to the experiences a ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Dustie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book and have bought several others to give away as gifts! If you're looking for a daily dose of whimsical inspiration this is the perfect book as it is broken up into short stories and has tons of colorful illustrations throughout....if I was teaching a creative writing class this would be a perfect resource for "start up journal" converstaions because these stories can really get you thinking about the life you live, the life you dream of living and the life you can be living! LOV ...more
Larry Hoffer
Jul 25, 2011 Larry Hoffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read "self-help" type books because I think I'm far beyond helping myself. But this book really spoke to me. It's not one of those "live like you were dying" books that encourage you to bungee jump and do all of those things you've always wanted but never had time to do. Whether it's because I've met Patti or I'm just a little more receptive to wanting to change my attitude on life, this book and it's attitude really spoke to me. I know what I'm buying a lot of people for the hol ...more
Hester Rathbone
Feb 22, 2012 Hester Rathbone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-office
A few years ago, I saw Miss Digh speak at a conference. She was so dynamic and inspiring (a word I'm typically not fond of when it comes to describing speakers) that I immediately tried to buy her book. Alas, the conference was all sold out. I decided to get it through Amazon and then started checking the mail incessantly for it to arrive.
This book is incredible. The stories in it are amazing but more than that is the way that she relates them. I keep meaning to take her exercises and start work
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"If the Buddha had two kids, a dog named Blue, a Southern accent, and a huge crush on Johnny Depp, his name would be Patti Digh," wrote one reviewer after Digh's grassroots bestseller, Life Is a Verb, was published. In 2003, Patti Digh's stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer and died just 37 days later. She woke up on day 38 and asked herself a question that she has asked every morning since: ...more
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“People don't stop being bullies when they grow up. They just dress differently to fool you.” 26 likes
“Create inclusion - with simple mindfulness that others might have a different reality from your own.” 14 likes
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