Books From The Pantry: Flashes of Insight by Michael Forester reviewed by Kev Milsom

‘We adapt. We improvise. We adjust to the circumstances in which we find ourselves’.

It’s always a complete pleasure to review Michael’s literary releases and his latest publication, ‘Flashes of Insight’ simply adds to the joy for us humble book reviewers, alongside masses of the general public who have delighted in his work for years, and those new readers yet to find the delights of his books. Here, Michael has compiled fifty-two short pieces of writing, aimed to be ‘a gateway to awareness, to mindfulness, to the deeper places inside you’. Each piece carries specific messages and inspiration for the reader; a veritable ‘toolbox’ of support, encouragement and inspiration for everyone to draw from, as we go about our daily lives. 

An early example arrives in Chapter Two, entitled ‘Catching the Butterfly’, where Michael talks about the preparatory process for his writing, immediately after the ritual of consuming buttered wholemeal toast.

‘I could be in church at this moment, or temple, in a synagogue, or a Zendo. All places of ritual, all in some sense sacred spaces, set aside from the humdrum and rush. We release our preoccupation with the superficially important to concentrate upon the moment and what dwells in the moment, outside of time, encompassing timing, outside of activity, wrapping its now-ness around the silence’.

Michael strongly pushes the focus for readers to concentrate on their own energies, in order to promote personal wellbeing. A beautiful example concerning the focus upon our inner happiness is given in Chapter Five – ‘Court Holy Water In A Dry House’

‘It takes so little to create happiness. Yet we spend our lives pursuing it as if it were some quarry that we have to run to ground. We employ dog packs of activity to pursue it, hoping to corner it in some remote, inaccessible location, only to find that it has moved on just moments before our arrival. So we pursue it with the next trinket, the next project, the next holiday, angst-laden in our fear that it will always remain one step ahead and will always evade our pursuit’.

It’s impossible to read through this book without hearing Michael’s personal voice shining through every line; a voice embedded with knowledge, wisdom and empathy. Here lies a voice which has observed the world with wonder and learned much from his life’s unique pathway. Here is a voice which aims to share what he knows, what he has learned and what he hopes for the future. It’s simply a divine book and one to dip into on regular, frequent occasions. If a single paragraph, or chapter, sets the tone to create a positive Tuesday, or an optimistic Friday, then Michael’s efforts are truly rewarded. 

If humanity is to truly progress then this book should be given to schoolchildren at an early age. Hey children! Go out there. Learn. Grow. Be aware. Be kind. 

It’s a divine piece of writing and Michael should be extremely proud of himself for expressing it for the world to read, understand and learn from it.

‘Perhaps we undertake both roles at different times in our lives – the crushed and the crusher – in an endless cycle of destructiveness that ensures the psychological scarring of each new generation, carrying the sins of the fathers onto the children until the 3rd or 4th generation. Until, that is, we see it and make the active decision to break the cycle. Until we choose to build up someone we perceive to be weaker, rather than break them down. Until we choose to encourage rather than discourage. Until we choose to heal rather than hurt, to bind up the wounds of the broken to permit that healing, rather than grinding dirt into their open sores’. 

You can find more of Michael Forester’s work, reviewed and interviewed by Kev Milsom, here on Ink Pantry.

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