What I’m Reading

I’m reading…a lot.  In fact I usually have several books going at once – at least one for growing and learning and one for pure fun.  Since most of what I learn, and consequently share has blossomed from a seed one of these books has planted I thought you might want to dig in too.  To make it easy, you can click right on the cover image to see the official write up, other reviews, and/or purchase it in any format on Amazon 🙂

For Growth:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-12-02-at-9.52.20-AM.pngI started reading a book that is relevant to the work I do with ‘Ohana Oasis and in my personal life – especially now when the gathering of people is such a prized privilege.  It just makes sense to launch a book club with it.  It’s called the Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. Her ideas are already challenging me to think about how I plan times with my friends as well as re-energize how I facilitate groups.

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. She gives a map on how we can focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. She sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences for work and for play.  Here’s a link to purchase the book through a great site that supports the local bookstore of your choice when you purchase your books online through their non-profit site.  And the books are available in variety of formats including digitally and audibly.

THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE: BRAIN, MIND, AND BODY IN THE HEALING OF TRAUMA BY BESSEL VAN DER KOLK M.D.  For some reason, until recently it never dawned on me that the death of a child could be classified as a trauma.  I’d always reserved that term for people who’d experienced things like war, violent crime, or perpetual abuse.  Kolk makes the case trauma can include so many other experiences including the death of child. What I loved about this book is the symptoms he details resonated.  Even more, I’ve personally experienced success with the tools he offers. It was both a validation and guidebook in my life and life’s work moving forward.

“Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.”

BIG MAGIC BY ELIZABETH GILBERT “The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” By now many have probably heard of Elizabeth Gilbert through her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love  (which I enjoyed as well btw).  She’s also writes fiction, several of which I’ve read and may write a review on later. But for today I want to share Big Magic.  Somedays I feel motivated to write and give room to creative inspiration, others I question who am I to write or think I have a creative bone in my body.  When I pick up Big Magic I am again inspired and given confidence to hammer away, to trust the process, and know I am not alone in both feeling the elusive pressure to allow something to flow out and the frustrating days of spinning my wheels and even self doubt.

THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK BY GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN – “The universe will always conspire to lead you toward solutions of the highest good when you open up to receive them.” Sure to many she’s a little woo woo, and I’m not sure how I feel about her spiritual junkie stuff she does independent of this book, however I’m on the second go around of reading it….which is saying something.  The title pretty well sums up the premise. What she does throughout the book is provide ways to relax into listening to your gut, being led by love instead of fear, and perceiving things and circumstances through a positive lens.  I appreciate her concrete tips and tools as well as her real life stories.

For Fun:

IF WOMEN ROSE ROOTED: A LIFE CHANGING JOURNEY TO AUTHENTICITY AND BELONGING BY SHARON BLACKIE -I could’ve put this book under the “For Growth” category as well.  Blackie brings the reader along her journey of self discovery and digging into the myths of her lands – Scotland and Ireland.  As the title implies, she focuses on the role of women, especially in those stories of long ago.  It inspired me to embrace my strength in my feminine and loving our sisterhood.

THE ALICE NETWORK BY KATE QUINN– Holy cow, I got sucked right into this one!  It has a little bit of everything I love in a fun book… historical background, intrigue, complex strong female characters, and even a little romance (albeit unconventional).  I was immediately sucked into the female spy network based in France during the first world war.  The story unfolds in a mysterious and engaging way, bouncing back and forth between shortly after WWII where we see the long lasting toll her experiences have left, as a former spy slowly unfurls her tales espionage.