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The Beautiful Life: Ten New Commandments: Because Life Could be Better Hardcover – 2 Jan 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (2 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747583641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747583646
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 20.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 629,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I don't think I ever meant to be an author, though with over ten books to my name, it could look that way. But here's another instance when appearances deceive.

I was a priest in the Church of England for twenty years, and imagined it would always be so. But then, with my feet well under the table and to my embarrassment in a way, I decided to leave. When people ask why, I say: 'I just knew the adventure was over.' And the priesthood was an adventure or it was nothing.

It was a difficult time after that, emotionally and financially, because I had nothing to go to. I remember crying on the carpet as I lost my sense of trust in life; and when trust goes, you're vulnerable. Late night conversations with my children helped to keep me going, but a middle-aged ex-priest is not the most employable of souls, and I found myself wondering how I was going to survive. Before becoming a priest, I had written satire for TV and radio, even winning a Sony radio award. But I was a long time out of that loop and had no particular desire to return there anyway.

I did try other forms of writing but became familiar with rejection letters. So I looked for supermarket work, which I had some experience of, before I was ordained. I was turned down by four, but was fifth time lucky. Yes! After so much rejection, it was a great feeling to be accepted at last, and I worked hard and happily in that busy supermarket for three years stacking shelves, chasing thieves, working on the till and chairing the shop union. I write about those days in 'Shelf Life'.

But then it felt right to jump ship again and risk the free lance adventure. I was told that every free lancer should have four strings to their bow, for at any given time, at least two would be snapping. I had perhaps one string at this time, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

'The Beautiful Life' (Bloomsbury) had been published while I was working in the shop. It was an important book for me - re-written eight times - and one or two doors began to creak open. I got myself a website (www.simonparke.com) started offering retreats, counselling and fresh writing including my supermarket diaries and 'One-Minute Mystic,' both of which went on to become long-running columns in the Daily Mail. I'd also started a weekly column in the Church Times. It was meant to last six weeks but is still going after six years. I've been very lucky.

And all the time, there was a book on the boil. An Enneagram book with Lion, was followed by 'One-Minute Mystic' and 'One-Minute Mindfulness' with Hay House. And Bloomsbury has re-printed 'The Beautiful Life' in paperback now. It's a slightly revised version of the original with a new cover and called 'The Journey Home.'

I have also had a wonderful adventure with White Crow books, in the shape of the 'Conversations with' series. They are a series of conversations with fascinating figures from history like Leo Tolstoy, Meister Eckhart, Vincent Van Gogh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jesus of Nazareth. What's different with these conversations is that although the questions are imagined, their words are not; it is 100% them. I found it a particularly helpful way to get to know these people, and others appear to be finding the same, whether in e book, hard copy or audio. (Yes, I enjoyed the recording studio experience very much, working with such kind, creative and talented people.)

In the meantime, my counselling work has expanded with one thing leading to another. An unexpected development has been my work supervision of five social workers, which arose from one of them coming on a retreat I led. I've learned a lot from them. And the 'vicar' hasn't died completely. I still get asked to preach in churches occasionally, and to take particular funerals and weddings. And then when work was a bit quiet this summer, I worked for a landscaper and watered the struggling grass in various London parks, which was another joy.

So as I say, I really never meant to be an author, and have no particular sense of being one now. In fact, if truth be told, I'm still the eleven year old boy - aged 53 - wondering what he will be when finally he grows up. Hopefully a footballer.

Product Description

About the Author

Simon Parke has written satire for radio and TV, picking up a Sony Radio Award. He was a priest in the Church of England for twenty years but now works in a supermarket, where he is Chair of the shop Union. He leads retreats, follows the beautiful game and lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Coles on 4 Jan 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have found, and continue to find, that this book gives me a tremendous lift each time I dip into it. It contains explanations of the sructure of the mind that really work for me. At the end of the day, that is what matters. It does not matter whether it stands up to academic scrutiny, and opinions always vary. It's whether it works for you that counts, and it does for me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FlickWells on 20 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is very special - but I only discovered that after I read it for the third time! The first reading was done from the head with the intention of seeing what it was all about. At the second reading I took each section and allowed time for reflection. After some weeks I read it again in the light of my reflections and allowed it to speak to the 'inner me' which often gets ignored. All sorts of feelings emerged - some good and helpful, others less so, but for me and some of those with whom I have shared the book,this is an excellent tool for exploring how to be open and honest with oneself and taking life's journey forward in a new way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Chand on 19 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
..a friend gave this book to me and since then I have passed on copies to many friends who had reached a turning point in their life of one kind or the other on the rocky road through life.
What this book is: unpretentious, eclectic, wonderful, insightful, kind, thought-provoking...I keep it on my desk, well thumbed, full of underlinings, highlighted passages and dirty turned corners, and dip into it again and again for quiet words of wisdom from a man who does not declare himself to be a guru or to have all the answers. He is just a man, and this is just a book, but if you have lost your smile, you may well find it within these pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mrs D Lee on 22 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first pick up the book from library, after fourth renew, I decided to buy a copy of my own. I am currently at the second reading and it is like new. I am amazed by the wisdom of the author, and when I feel anger, anxious and worry, reading a few pages help me calm down. It works for me.
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