INTRODUCTION

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Introduction

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Muriel Ruckeyser

From our hearts to yours, we are delighted to offer you A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul. This book contains 101 stories that we believe will inspire and motivate you to love more unconditionally, live with more passion and pursue your heartfelt dreams with more conviction. It will sustain you in times of frustration and failure and comfort you in times of pain and loss. It will become a lifetime companion offering support and wisdom whenever you need it.

You are about to embark on a wonderful journey. This book is different from other books you have read. At times it will touch you at the depths of your being. At other times it will transport you to new levels of love and joy. Our first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was so powerful that nonreaders reported that they read the entire book cover to cover. We wondered how this could be possible. They told us that the love energy, the inspiration and the tears and cheers for their soul captivated them and motivated them to read on.

I am only ten and I love this book. It’s amazing that I love this book. I used not to read, but now I read, read and read.

Ryan O.—4th grade

How to Read This Book

This book could be read all at once in one sitting; however, we don’t recommend it. We suggest that you slow down, take your time, savor it like a fine wine—one sip at a time. Each little sip will give you a warm glow, a tingling spirit and a radiant countenance. You will find that each story will nourish your heart, mind and soul in a different way. We invite you to surrender to the process and to give yourself enough time to digest each story. If you rush through them, you may miss the deeper meanings that lie beneath the surface. Each story contains a great deal of life wisdom and experience.

Having received thousands of letters from readers describing how the book affected their lives, we are more convinced than ever that stories are one of the most potent tools we can use to transform our lives. Stories speak directly to our subconscious mind. They lay down blueprints for living a better life. They offer practical solutions to our everyday problems and model creative behavior that works. They heal our wounds and remind us of the grandest aspects of our nature. They lift us out of our habitual day-to-day lives and awaken us to infinite possibilities. They inspire us to do and be more than we originally thought possible.

Share These Stories with Others

You may have tangible wealth untold,
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you could never be;
I know someone who told stories to me.

Cynthia Pearl Maus

Some of the stories you read will move you to share them with a loved one or a friend. When a story really touches you to the depths of your soul, close your eyes ever so briefly and ask yourself, “Who needs to hear this story right now?” Someone you care about may come to mind. Take the time to go to them or call them and share the story with them. You will get something even deeper for yourself from sharing the story with someone you care about. Consider the following from Martin Buber:

A story must be told in such a way that it constitutes help in itself. My grandfather was lame. Once they asked him to tell a story about his teacher. And he related how his teacher used to hop and dance while he prayed. My grandfather rose as he spoke, and he was so swept away by his story that he began to hop and dance and show how the master had done. From that hour on he was cured of his lameness. That’s how to tell a story!

Consider sharing these stories at work, at church, synagogue or temple, and at home with your family. After sharing, discuss how the story affected you and why you were drawn to share it with them. And most important, let these stories inspire you to share your own stories.

Reading about, telling and listening to each others’ stories can be very transformational. Stories are powerful vehicles that release our unconscious energies to heal, to integrate, to express and to grow. Hundreds of readers have told us about how the first book of Chicken Soup stories opened a floodgate of human emotions and facilitated deep family and group sharings. Family members started recalling and relating important experiences in their lives and began to bring those to the dinner table, the family meeting, the classroom, the support group, the church fellowship and even the workplace.

One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.

Rebecca Falls

One teacher in Pennsylvania had her fifth-grade class collaborate to write their own Chicken Soup for the Soul book with moving stories from their own lives. Once the book was written and compiled, it was duplicated and circulated. It had a profound impact on both the students and their parents.

A manager at a Fortune 500 company told us she has started every staff meeting for a year with a story from Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Ministers, rabbis, psychologists, counselors, trainers and support group leaders have been beginning and ending their sermons and their sessions with stories from the book. We encourage you to do this too. People are hungry for this nurturance for the soul. It takes so little time and can have such a lasting impact.

We also encourage you to begin telling your stories to those around you. People may need to hear your story. As several stories in this book will point out, it may even save someone’s life.

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.

Albert Schweitzer

There have been many people who have rekindled our lights over the years, and we are grateful to them. We hope that, in some small way, we will be part of rekindling your light and blowing it into a bigger flame. If we do, then we have been successful.

We would love to hear about your reaction to this book. Please write to tell us how these stories affect you. We also invite you to become part of our “network of upliftment.” Please send us any stories and poems you think we should include in future volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. See page 313 for our address. We look forward to hearing from you. Until then . . . may you enjoy reading A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul as much as we have enjoyed compiling, editing and writing it.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

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