‘Make this chapter the best’: La Jolla minister’s newest book aims to help us improve our life stories
By ELISABETH FRAUSTO | La Jolla STAFF WRITER
The Rev. Arthur Hammons invites you to take up a pen to make the current chapter of your life “the best,” and he’s detailed his ideas for how to do that in his latest book, “This Chapter of Your Life.”
The La Jolla resident said “our lives are made up of many chapters, and we can use all the other chapters as resources to make this chapter the best.”
“At this point in your life, you are capable of making decisions and choices that are the best you’ve ever made,” Hammons said. “You know more now and you have more experience now than you’ve ever had before.”
Leveraging that experience, he said, involves “being thankful for our mistakes and learning from them, learning from the people that hurt us or did us wrong and also carrying forward the friendships and the love of people that were helpful to us.”
“Keeping all of that alive… enables us and empowers us to be present in the moment and make this chapter our best,” he said.
Part of making this chapter successful, Hammons said, is to put in writing “the goals you want for this chapter” and keeping them visible “so that you can see them at all times.”
Hammons said “it’s even better to have a copy [of your goals] in your pocket over your heart, because it’s your heart’s desire.”
He suggests reading the goals often. “A great place to read them is when you’re socially distancing in the grocery store,” rather than read the tabloids, he said.
He said he’s particularly proud of including a chapter “devoted to anyone who’s been told this may be the last chapter of their life. I didn’t feel comfortable writing a happy little book; I needed to be sensitive to this.”
Hammons said our chapters may inspire others: “Some of the past chapters have been sad and some have been happy, and maybe some have been sexy, and if someone were to read your book, they’d be moved by what you’ve been through.”
Your story “might make a great miniseries or a movie with all the right editing,” he said.
Hammons, a minister for more than 50 years who founded Unity Church of El Cajon, said he was inspired by his late Aunt Bevie. “When there were problems or sadness or a difficulty, she’d say, ‘This is only this chapter in your life that’s happening, and there’ll be other chapters. You’ll heal and mend.’”
Hammons said he added his aunt’s adage to his “thinking about how each of us is the author of our life. And when you put it in that perspective, it helps you to have ownership, determination and commitment to what you’re doing.”
"This Chapter of Your Life" encourages people to write down their goals and review them often.
The book includes Hammons’ “blockbuster kit.” “The blockbuster is that [my] ideas will help you bust the things that are blocking you from getting where you want to be and making this chapter what you want it to be,” he said.
“This Chapter of Your Life” is available for $10 online.
It follows two other books Hammons wrote after his retirement nine years ago.
In 2012, he published “Yes! You Can Do This! Charting Your Way to Health, Wealth & Success,” which he said is about finding your way “through terra incognito, the unknown… which is very scary for everybody.”
In 2019, he wrote “A Survival Guide for When You Know Who Hates Your Guts,” which contains his advice for managing difficult people “you can’t get away from.”
Currently, Hammons is reworking the first book he wrote, 1990’s “Out of Your Mind,” written with his wife, psychologist Virginia Foster. He said the book “needs updating” and will be republished soon.
“Out of Your Mind” is about “the power of thought,” he said. “Thoughts create feelings. If you can adjust your thinking, then your feelings will automatically be adjusted.”