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Like Streams to the Ocean
Cover of Like Streams to the Ocean
Like Streams to the Ocean
Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “As inviting, wide-ranging, and philosophical as an all-night conversation with a best friend, and as revealing and thought-provoking as the diary of a curious adventurer.”—Sasha Sagan, author of For Small Creatures Such as We

You can travel the world looking for yourself, but if you don't know what you're looking for, how can you find it? Like Streams To The Ocean is about examining the things that make us who we are and getting to know ourselves, our stories, and the decisions that shape our one and only life. 
 
Writing with the passion and clarity that made his debut, To Shake the Sleeping Self, a national bestseller, Jedidiah Jenkins brings together new and old writings to explore the eight subjects that give life meaning: ego, family, home, friendship, love, work, death, the soul.

Who am I? What am I made of? How much of how I act boils down to avoiding the things that make me feel small? As he examines the experiences that shape our conscious and subconscious answers to these questions, Jenkins leads readers in a wide-ranging conversation about finding fulfillment in the people and places around us and discovering the courage to show our deepest selves to the world.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “As inviting, wide-ranging, and philosophical as an all-night conversation with a best friend, and as revealing and thought-provoking as the diary of a curious adventurer.”—Sasha Sagan, author of For Small Creatures Such as We

You can travel the world looking for yourself, but if you don't know what you're looking for, how can you find it? Like Streams To The Ocean is about examining the things that make us who we are and getting to know ourselves, our stories, and the decisions that shape our one and only life. 
 
Writing with the passion and clarity that made his debut, To Shake the Sleeping Self, a national bestseller, Jedidiah Jenkins brings together new and old writings to explore the eight subjects that give life meaning: ego, family, home, friendship, love, work, death, the soul.

Who am I? What am I made of? How much of how I act boils down to avoiding the things that make me feel small? As he examines the experiences that shape our conscious and subconscious answers to these questions, Jenkins leads readers in a wide-ranging conversation about finding fulfillment in the people and places around us and discovering the courage to show our deepest selves to the world.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    Ego

    When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.—John Muir

    My friend Lauren cofounded a nonprofit called Kind Campaign. She travels to schools around the country and speaks with young girls about bullying, unhealthy friendship, and identity. She looks younger than she is, she is stylish, and she is beautiful. This piques the girls’ attention, that she is some strange creature who is adult and cool, yet young and definitely not a teacher. At these talks, Lauren shares her story of being bullied in seventh grade and how it spiraled her into a severe depression and suicidal state. She teaches the girls that sometimes it’s hard to see outside their school hallways. How, even though it feels like school is their entire world, it’s important to realize it’s just one chapter of their story. That there’s beauty, friendship, adventure, and so much life lying ahead of them. And to know that when they are struggling with things that feel big and scary, they can reach out for help. That no one has to suffer alone.

    She once told me a story of a high schooler who was kicked out of her friend group and forced to get something like one hundred likes on each Instagram post and some ghastly number of new followers each day before she could sit with the other girls at lunch. This girl was so distraught, she told Lauren that she spent all her free time after school making fake accounts so that she could like her own posts and follow herself. “I have to do it,” she said. “I’m miserable, but I have no choice.”

    Lauren hears endless stories like this—stories of brokenness, of girls confused and lost and trapped and scared.

    Recently, a twelve-year-old came up to Lauren after the assembly. The girl was tiny, holding her hands down in front of her, making herself as small as possible as she gathered the strength to speak. “Can I ask you a question?” she mumbled.

    Lauren leaned down. “I’m sorry—what, my darling?”

    “Can I ask you a question?”

    “Of course,” Lauren said, now squatting to make herself smaller than the girl.

    “Is it okay if I don’t know who I am?”

    Lauren gave her a look of understanding. Her heart broke at the baldness of the girl’s honesty. She gave herself a second to think of an answer.

    “It’s perfectly fine to feel like you don’t know yourself,” she said finally. “One of the most beautiful parts of life is getting to know yourself over time, and that can change during different chapters of your life, too. I am still getting to know myself.”

    “You are?” the young girl said.

    “Yes, I am. I know a lot about myself at this age. I like myself. But there is so much more to know. You are on a wonderful journey. You’re exactly where you should be.”

    “Okay. Are you sure?”

    “Yes, I’m sure.”

    The girl gave Lauren a half smile and stiffly hugged her. “Okay, thank you,” she said, matter-of-factly.

    What if I don’t know “who” I am? There are layers in that girl’s question. So much of life is lived in magnetic attraction to undefined concepts. Love. Meaning. Fulfillment. We all want to be somebody. But what is a somebody?

    When I look back at my nervous journal entries, old photos, and confessions from high school and college, I see a through line. Every time I’ve been in a state of flux, of change, I fear that I will...
About the Author-
  • Jedidiah Jenkins is a travel writer, an entrepreneur, and the New York Times bestselling author of To Shake the Sleeping Self. A graduate of USC and Pepperdine University School of Law, Jenkins began his professional career with the nonprofit Invisible Children, where he helped orchestrate multinational campaigns to end the use of child soldiers in central Africa. His parents, Peter and Barbara Jenkins, are the authors of the bestselling A Walk Across America series. He is the executive editor of Wilderness magazine. Jenkins’s work has appeared in The Paris Review and Playboy, and he has been covered by National Geographic.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2020

    Wilderness magazine executive editor Jenkins, known for his New York Times best seller To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret, here writes a collection of essays, some previously published and others shared here for the first time, on what makes us who we are. These grounded meditations on life are rooted in the author's own experiences; fearing rejection for being a gay Christian and identifying, and responding to, insecurities. These are among the subjects that Jenkins eloquently explores in chapters on ego, family, home, friendship, love, work, death, and the soul. His reflections on family are especially moving, as he illustrates the lessons involved with coming to terms with the past and reconnecting with siblings. Each chapter stands on its own, but together they bring insight into how we cope with life's transitions. Similar to his previous book, Jenkins uses writing as a creative outlet, whether rediscovering his native Tennessee, exploring Vermont, or, ultimately, calling Los Angeles home. These are the strongest parts of the book, with the author considering the concept of home, and what belief and belonging means to him. VERDICT Jenkins is a sincere writer, and his ability to make it feel as if he is talking to you directly will both attract longtime fans and engage new readers.--Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2021
    Ruminations on our need for purpose and a celebration of adventure. Much as he did in his debut bestseller, To Shake the Sleeping Self, Jenkins sprinkles his joyful, meandering text with musings on the natural world: a lone violet in a meadow; rafting through the Grand Canyon; intense feelings of gratitude for Earth's grandeur and the interconnectedness found throughout nature. His most authoritative chapter is on the ego, where we live "the majority of our lives" and which he keenly defines as "the container in which you build an identity and then defend it." The author goes on to describe his quirky personality and explains how his ego protected him from pain: "As a kid, I highlighted my weirdness and uniqueness to remove myself from competition." He writes affectionately about his good friends, encouraging readers to appreciate and cultivate those relationships, and his open worldview shines in the countless aphoristic passages and introspective reflections scattered throughout the text: "If you could see the strings pulling at people, you'd be as patient as a pillow with everyone you meet"; "Tears are the swelling of something inside me, until that something gets too big for my body to hold. It makes room by pushing the tears out." It's clear that Jenkins wants readers to join him on his journey of self-discovery, which requires consistent questioning: "Who do you feel the most yourself with?"; "Who do you hang with that makes you feel the fullness of one of yourselves?" The bromides may lay too thick on the ground for some readers, but the author seems genuine in his desire to inspire people to consider the true motives behind the desires--and to direct their actions based on those considerations. Ultimately, he advises that we "try things with gusto" and understand "we are ignorant actors in a cosmic drama." An awakening for fellow travelers on the spiritual path.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are
Jedidiah Jenkins
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