Hoda Kotb’s ‘This Simply Speaks to Me’ comes at proper time amid COVID-19
This has not been the easiest year. Most people in the world can probably agree on that right now. Like my colleagues, I’ve been on the news for the past nine months. As a result, I recorded a lot as I continued reporting and writing. But I didn’t take the time to process this information along the way, and that lack of reflection has hurt my sanity. Although I consider myself typically energetic and positive thinking, I haven’t been feeling well lately.
A few weeks ago I felt particularly down when “Today” co-host and co-host of “Today With Hoda & Jenna” Hoda Kotb’s second quote book, “This Just Speaks to Me: Words That One Must Live By Every Day” “Compiled with her close friend Jane Lorenzini (who also helped Kotb with the first quotation book” I Needed This Today “) came in the mail. The arrival could not have been more perfect in time.
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Kotb’s book is structured so that starting January 1, 2021, a reader will receive a quote for each day. (And who can wait for that day? Good release until 2020.) Because I read it before it was scheduled to start, I have given myself the freedom to leaf through it, stop at various quotes, and read the author’s anecdotes underneath.
Some of my favorites are:
- “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, inexpensive, and most underrated tool of human change.” – Bob Kerrey
- Under the quote, Kotb tells a story about how the wife of a doctor treating COVID-19 patients received great kindness from strangers via social media after asking for help, and consequently started a movement for others in similar situations .
- “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” – Zig Ziglar
- Kotb followed with her own inspiration to readers: “If you are on a difficult road right now, it may soon become Yellow Brick Road. Keep going!”
- “It’s not the weight that you carry, it’s how you carry it.” – Mary Oliver
- This speaks for itself. But Kotb added. “The best of us do this with rudeness and grace, and without anyone noticing,” she writes.
The book, Kotb tells the US TODAY, has changed as has the world as a result of the pandemic.
“The world has changed so profoundly in so many ways that we just reevaluated it. It was funny because some of the things that seemed so important and urgent at the time you realized you were not so,” says she and notes that the 365 quote volume was meant to reflect the outside world, and the quotes they originally chose didn’t. But when the book was finished, they did.
Most of the quotes relate to daily life, but many relate specifically to the pandemic.
I sat in my apartment leafing through the book, let the quotes soak in, and began to feel better. I understood more deeply how strangers felt similar feelings based on a collection of words that made up quotes and anecdotes – especially stories of people doing good to others. I never thought I was alone with what I was feeling, but reading quotes relating to what others are feeling gave me some kind of comfort, like being wrapped in a blanket.
Words have great power, a fact Kotb knows very well.
“When you think about it, some of the deepest moments of our lives and changes in our lives happen in a few words,” she explains. “‘It’s a boy.’ ‘She’s gone.’ ‘I do.'”
Just as words strung together can change your world, so can they improve your experience.
“Quotes can speak to you on a specific day or year, and not a year later. [like how] You go through everything you go through in your life, “explained Kotb.” I’m always fascinated when five words strung together can hit you so deep, and sometimes it’s almost like you can’t believe anyone else, what you feel is what you are feeling. ”
She hopes the book can help readers find light in the dark – which, she says, is not easy. But it is very important to “train your gaze,” she continues, to look at positives and things that lift you up. “This Just Speaks to Me” offers that, especially now when we see “a lot of bad things” happening around us.
“I think people probably need it more now than they did before. I mean, personally, I kind of do it,” says Kotb. “I think I need a little more of everything now.”
Feeling what you’ve been through, she says, is important: we need to feel it so that we don’t push it so deep that we don’t know why we’re so devastated by something later. The book, she says, contains plenty of advice to help readers get through difficult times.
“You are not alone … I think not being alone is one of the best feelings in the world. Knowing that someone else felt it made it so deep that he wrote these words [of a quote] that moved you, “says Kotb.
“This Just Speaks to Me” gave me a comfort and kind of safe space where I can take a moment of positive break that I didn’t even know I needed when I picked up the book. But now that I have it, I’ll keep picking up the book from my bedside table.
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