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Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  973 ratings  ·  201 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
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Lynne Spreen
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luminous. Chockablock with wisdom.
Nancy Sweeten
Where was this book 20 years ago? It would have been very helpful. I have been down this road--menopause, empty nest, career change (husband retiring, home 24/7). I had to find a way to achieve my happiness and inter-self even though everything else in my life was turned upside down. Katrina used yoga to help her, and I found walking helped me. It takes time to reconnect. I take with me the abbreviation BRFWA. Breathe, relax, feel, watch, allow. I repeat it often.
Rebecca Young
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
long story, short: read the letter she wrote to herself. boom. done.
Susan Peters
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Florence Millo
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
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
Lea Page
Katrina Kenison came quietly into my life at the moment when I needed her voice most. This book is a presence. It is a pause. It is a breath. Read it when you need that, when you have lost your bearings. Kenison won't tell you where to go, but her story will encourage you to leave off the thrashing through the underbrush of your life and listen, feel the earth beneath your feet and gather yourself-- because isn't that what we are in search of anyway? ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfectly timed - I read this during and after my Yoga Retreat in the Blue Mountains. Although I found her reminisces on her past somewhat rose-tinted and a little twee, sharing her current journey in this book was insightful and enjoyable. I found myself marking some passages for re-visiting. She voices questions I have consciously or unconsciously had myself, and presents a hopeful and proactive approach to life in your 50s and beyond. A gentle read.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books
A luminous read for women in the middle of life—caught between worlds, poised on the brink of change. I’m not an empty nester myself, but I feel in myself much of what she explores and I can see forward into a time in the not too distant future in which I will have to renegotiate my life and my experience of myself in terms of home and family.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Almost 5 stars. The author speaks eloquently to the exact stage of life I’m experiencing. I took so many screenshots of passages which “spoke to me,” and that is a sign to me that it’s a book I might want to own!
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, favorites, 2016
"If you fear change, you will miss the abundance of your life."

I dog-eared SO many pages of this memoir, because I recognized myself in almost every one of them. Katrina Kenison has a talent for words. She is able to communicate things that seem incommunicable... and in doing so, she is creating a tribe.

I had a conversation not that long ago with a good friend (to whom I had gifted this book... a book that Katrina herself signed and gift wrapped, which I thought was such a kind gesture!) that
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Deirdre Keating
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite of Kenison's three memoirs. I've been reading it off and on throughout 2013. Savoring it.

At times the emotions and struggles it addresses were too close to home, if there is such a thing. That seems funny, in light of the fact that I'm 10 yrs younger than Kenison, with three boys under the age of 12---so I'm not an "empty-nester." But whose life is not in flux? At what stage are we not learning to let go? I'm sure the book will resonate differently for me as I reread it in later yea
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Clare G
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Like another reviewer, I am surprised by my own reaction to this book, in that I find it simultaneously a trite rehashing of Buddhist teachings by an extremely privileged person -- and wise and helpful. I'm struggling now to find the right balance between being with things as they are and working towards the appropriate changes. This book seems to fall on the being with things side, and yet she did take some profound actions: a month-long learning retreat, starting writing workshops.

The other t
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-journey, read-2013
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
Fastener Gal
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
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. ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is written for someone in a different season of life. I have just started my mothering journey, where the author is dealing with having an empty nest. What I take away from the book is that you need to be present in your life at all times. Life is short. Love yourself and others. Do things that bring you joy. The book was very repetitive, and at times way too dense and deep. If you are looking for a soul searching book, I recommend "Eat, Pray, Love" instead. The only part that I really ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jo Riley
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Laura Olson
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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). ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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.
ana luiza siqueira ferreira
Although the book is about a woman in another stage of her life, I liked it and learnt from it. Interestingly I have been doing some yoga every morning since I started reading this book and I am immensely grateful for this new habit.
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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

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