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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Finding One's Way Through Reading

For the last few years, I have tried to incorporate more inspirational reading into my roundup of books. It can be difficult to find contentment in our excess driven culture where we are inundated with images of air-brushed perfection designed to deceive us into thinking that reality could ever be so impeccably polished.

The world of technology has advanced so rapidly in the last decade that we are now "tuned in" to receive advertising and messages at all times. Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the constant chatter to be reminded that happiness doesn't always arrive in a jubilant roar, it can also come in the quietest of whispers.

I wanted to share with you three books that I have found inspiring and encouraging, and always keep close at hand:

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
This book is a wonderful resource to remind you that a creative life is a fulfilled life. Cameron takes the reader on an artistic journey to tap into one's creative self that. Through scheduled time that is dedicated solely to one's art, this book encourages you to express your creativity and to set small goals in order to reach your ultimate dream. One of the more difficult assignments in the book is to spend a week in "Reading Deprivation"- no newspapers, books, magazines, or other printed materials- to learn how to listen to your own inner voice. You must learn to nurture your talents to find the confidence you need to achieve your goals. This books shows us that through our own creative endeavors, we possess the tools needed to obtain personal success.

The Heart of Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is an acclaimed Buddhist monk, poet, and peacemaker who shares with us the teachings of Buddha in such simplicity and beauty that one immediately feels that peace is possible for each and everyone one of us. Accepting that we cannot change our past any more than we can predict our future, we find the serenity needed to enjoy simple pleasures in the present. This book is a perfect primer for learning to  question our own actions and how our behaviors reflect the struggle within. When we criticize others, what is  it about ourselves that we are feeling unhappy about that leads us to pass judgement? Through the Buddha's lessons, Thich Nhat Hanh helps us to acknowledge our thoughts before we speak or take action so that we can instantly change our way of thinking to a positive approach and benefit from a positive response.

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
If you only share one book with the women in your life, this very well may be the one to pass along. The information in this book is cataloged as daily journal entries for an entire year but if you are like me, you will likely devour this book in a week. There is much more to this book than you may gather from some reviews. It is much more than a "how-to" on organizing your linen closet or establishing a kitchen pantry. The passages are full of reminders on celebrating each day and realizing that your success can't be defined by material objects. Creating a simple life isn't entirely about participating in the green movement. It's about making our days less stressful, appreciating what we have as opposed to constantly coveting more, and embracing each new day with a grateful heart.



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