I love learning. I bet you do too. I started to look at this list as a list of EVERY book that touched my life and soon the list because gargantuan. I regained my sanity and whittled it down to what’s in my mind right now. Here are a few of the books that resonate and help to form the foundation of my belief and value system.
Books that Expanded my Beliefs
Have you ever heard an interview with Dr. Tererai Trent? It will change your life. She is a story teller like no other and what a story she has to tell. Her story is world’s apart from my own, but somehow she makes me feel like we are sisters; that my struggles and the ancestral baton that I carry is not so different from her own. Her book, The Awakened Woman, is nothing short of transformational. Each chapter ends with a ritual to bring awakening into your own life. The very first ritual – asking “What Breaks Your Heart” as a way to find the Big Hunger inside of you – made me tear up with the power of it. (if you wish to hear her speak…she’s done several podcast interviews that a quick google search should reveal)
“Making Life Easy” by Dr Christiane Northrup was a book I read a couple of Springs ago…when I was underwater from postpartum depression. This book came into my life at just the right time. Isn’t it lovely when books do that? I had read Dr Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom several years ago and loved it. This book gave me simple practices I could bring into my life to bring more peace and joy.
Honestly, I tried to read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert shortly after giving birth to my son, but I just could not get interested. Which was odd, as I’ve been a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert ever since reading “Eat, Pray, Love”. A year later, I picked it up again, and it ignited my creativity and gave me gentleness for myself surrounding my art. It also was a bit no-nonsense, in the kind way that Liz can be, about the “starving artist” shield we can carry.
Parenting with Compassion and Respect
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the less-is-more concept and the ideas for celebrations and play that I found in Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer were perfectly in alignment with my values. It was the kind of book that gave me permission, showed me a way of embracing life that excited me and gave practical, actionable ideas. Simply lovely.
A dear friend recommended Janet Lansbury’s website to me when my son was a year or so old. Elevating Child Care and No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury have both been amazing books at helping me to compassionately and respectfully parent. Parenting is so hard and it’s so easy for me to revert to old behaviors and frustrated yelling. Sometimes I need some practical steps to keep me in alignment with the parent I WANT to be and Janet Lansbury’s writing does just that.
Making a Simple Life
12 years ago, I was honored to be a part of a crew of people from all over the country who came together to build a wooden yurt from the master of wooden tapered wall yurts, Bill Copperthewaite. It was a community effort where the building and learning was just as important as the connections you form when you use hand tools and work together. The yurt was built almost completely without the use of power tools so that we could talk to one another and form friendships and …wait for it…find joy in our work! Bill wrote a book called A Handmade life (by Bill Copperthewaite) that I’ve read 3 or 4 times…an anomaly for me. I rarely read something twice, there are so many books to be read! The byline is “In Search of Simplicity” and it is just that. He waxes philosophical about living a simple, meaning filled life that is attainable for the masses, by hand. He advocates for living life with meaning and intention. I highly recommend it.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I have a serious nerdy streak and this book really reveals that. The Hands-on Home by Erica Strauss (A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving and Natural Home-keeping) was one of those books that excited my very being. It came at a time when I felt very little control over my days and weeks…during the first year of parenthood…and gave me peace and joy. The first half of the book is about keeping your home and conversation about the pleasures of cooking and preserving seasonally. Seriously. I had no idea I could benefit from an instructional book about home care. Turns out I could, very much! Keeping my home went from a chore of drudgery to a mindful, calming experience. I’ve always loved the idea that washing dishes could be a mediation and this book helped bring that home for me. Years after reading this book, I still maintain the schedule that I developed after reading this book (most of the time…I’m human after all). The second half of the book is full of seasonal recipes for cooking, preserving, personal care and cleaning naturally. I use the recipes for home cleaning products and personal beauty products and love them still.