A Heart’s Landscape: An Invitation to the Garden of Moments is a meditative, healing debut by the lyrical Susan Lax. The author pens contemplative poems that aim to uncover some of life’s most important yet least gaudy occasions; tranquil pictures reinforce the themes. This one’s just waiting to live on your coffee table and warm your heart as much as that fuzzy throw blanket warms your body. 

Kirkus Reviews highly praises Lax’s offering, saying, “The accompanying photos are beguiling, with sun-dappled seascapes, forest and mountain scenes, and lots of flowers, all rendered in lush color. Overall, many readers will find this collection to be an energizing daily constitutional for the soul.” Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, meanwhile, recently chose it as one of her top holiday picks. Now stepping, quietly hopeful, into the new year, this book proves an excellent companion. 

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO NEW BEGINNINGS

The subtitle, “An Invitation to the Garden of Moments,” adeptly captures its essence. Each poignant note, especially when paired with a complimentary photo, is as welcome as a springtime daffodil. Like a well-plotted garden, the book is a compilation of diverse individual seeds that unite to more than the sum of their parts. Some as bold as a towering sunflower, some as delicate as a diminutive violet, this garden is worth a visit during every season of life. Thankfully, these “moments” are picked, pressed and preserved so they remain perennial. Accept the invitation to a gathering that will enliven, not exhaust. 

The introduction explains “How This Book Came to Be” with grace and gravity. Lax’s dear friend was suffering from cancer, and the author lifted her spirits by composing a celebration of that friend’s courage and resilience in the form of a daily morning email. One day, she decided to sleep in, and her friend noticed. “Where is my morning blessing? Why didn’t you send it today?”

Thus, a new horizon appeared for Lax. She began writing blessings for other cancer patients, then received a summons from women all over the world, and then men joined the fray. She shares, “I never asked them, nor do I ask today, how they discovered Morning Inspiration. Perhaps it is the way of the universe that when we are ready to receive what we need, it finds us.” More than a decade later, a book was in bloom. 

REST IN A READING SANCTUARY 

It leads off with a poem about the ocean and an image of teal waves against a cerulean sky. How do you approach the wave? Do you approach the wave? “Similar are your choices and power when you meet up with changes on your personal journey … The next time you see the wave coming, be aware of your choices.” Elsewhere, a storytime session with one of her daughters inspires a blessing that is now being read by humans of all ages across the globe. Now isn’t that encouraging?

Lax also acknowledges the harder things, with mentions of COVID, worries and sickness alongside her notes on lullabies and carrot soufflé. It’s all a part of life; with the first line of one blessing, “Romeo was my dog,” a simple tense of a verb says much indeed. Here’s one of the shorter poems (though none are ever overly verbose) that gives a small glimpse into what to expect in each offering.

Don’t tell me it will be fine.

Don’t tell me it will all work out.

Just sit here beside me and hold my hand.

For in your grasp, I find the courage and bravery 

to make my next moment a good one.

As another one of the poems remarks, “Gift yourself a moment to smile for no reason; the reasons may grow and grow.” Reading A Heart’s Landscape, even a single blessing of A Heart’s Landscape, will be one of those reasons. 

Buy this book!

About Susan Lax:

As a young mother and wife, Susan studied creative drama at Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts in Israel. After graduating, she developed and implemented an educational curriculum for creative drama at an elementary school before moving to the United States. Her evolving spiritual path led her to Chochmat HaLev, an independent center of Jewish meditation. While there, she developed a newfound passionate relationship with the power of spiritual healing, and in 2002 she became a certified Reiki practitioner.

Susan now offers spiritual coaching and care that is focused on, but not limited to, those touched by illness and loving someone through death. She also leads workshops and guided meditation sessions. In 2010 she began writing Morning Inspiration — An Email for Your Soul and has now released her book, A Heart’s Landscape.