Calling All Bookworms: Summer Edition

Ive always been a voracious reader. From the time I was young, books have been among my steadiest comrades accompanying me through all seasons of life. Nowadays you’ll find my nose buried in a page-turner in checkout lines, waiting rooms, park benches, and comfortable couches. As a writer, I get a rush from finding the perfect word to describe the day’s unfoldings and swoon over syntax. In short, I’m what you might call a word nerd. It should come as no surprise that I start every day with a crossword and have fallen prey to biting off more books than I can chew too many times to count. This summer I’ll be sharing what’s on my reading list, so find a cozy corner, settle in, and stay tuned!

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are — Brené Brown

If you haven’t heard of Brené Brown, it’s time you were acquainted. A self-described “storyteller”, Brown lives up to the name. She’s a leading researcher on shame, authenticity, and belonging, and recently landed her own Netflix special. This is my second time reading this gem and I’m so glad I picked it up again. For the perfectionists and people-pleasers among us, you’ll find yourself relating to Brown’s candid portrayal of her struggle to live authentically while harnessing the courage to see beyond the tales of unworthiness we so often tell ourselves. Drawing on years of research around our desire to fit in, Brown reminds us with her characteristic wit and wisdom what it means to live wholeheartedly and how we can come to better embrace our messy, imperfect selves.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table — Molly Wizenberg

Meet Molly: food blogger, podcast producer, New York Times bestselling author, and all-around inspiring human. In her first book, Molly seamlessly weaves together memories of her family (her father, affectionately known as “Burg”, and her mother, “Like those impossibly tiny lamps and teacups you find in dollhouses, she inspires a lot of cooing, and though she’s very assertive, people often want to pat her on the head.”) and her journey into adulthood with the recipes that complement each person, period, and place she’s encountered. Another repeat read, this book will leave you simultaneously salivating and wishing the author would invite you to dinner (as much for the delightful conversation as for the famously good food.) At once lyrical and relatable, this is an ideal book to carry along on your commute or curl up with under the shade of a tall tree.

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The Impersonal and the Intimate: An Unlikely Pairing

There are moments when life feels strangely intimate: when you turn on the radio and your favorite song starts to play; when a newborn curls its tiny fingers around your thumb; when you catch a beautiful sunset on your drive home; when you have just the right amount of change in your purse for a small treat to cure the pangs of hunger; when a stranger compliments your outfit.

And there are moments when life feels unbearably impersonal: when you lose a job you loved; when you sprain your ankle days before the marathon you’ve been training for; when you learn your partner’s been unfaithful; when your computer crashes before you’ve saved your work; when you miss the last train home.

No matter how the events of our lives unfold, the meaning we assign to them and the lessons we derive from them greatly impact how they shape us and ultimately, how we shape the world.

Tragedy and loss happen with an alarming regularity despite our best attempts to shield ourselves from their inevitable occurrence. Our humanity binds us to an unspoken agreement that none of us is immune to suffering. A minor setback can spiral into a life-altering tragedy, while a series of tough breaks can redefine the very fabric of our lives.

Yet there’s another agreement that we often fail to hold ourselves accountable to: none of us is immune to joy.

As impersonal as our lives’ misfortunes may seem, they are imbued with a deep intimacy that can only be revealed as we allow ourselves to fully encounter them: eyes wide open, emotions laid bare. As author Joanna Macy writes, “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”

Imagine the inner workings that have taken place after you’ve received unsettling news. You may have reevaluated your priorities, your relationships, or your life’s work. You may have discovered a deep well of inner strength you didn’t know you held. You may have gained an appreciation for the simple moments of your days. You may have learned a new skill, mended a broken heart, or ignited an old passion.

The intersection between suffering and joy is one we’ll encounter numerous times over. It might be days, weeks, or years before we experience the transformative effects that tragedy often evokes. But it is at this unique juncture where intimacy lies.

There are many avenues to discovery, inspiration, revelation, and renewal, and the paths that are marked by the achingly familiar roadblocks and unfailingly determined obstacles can be some of the most revealing. Through a constant interplay of the seemingly random and obscure to the apparent predestined and deliberate, our lives are at once mysterious and elementary.

While the whys and hows of our journeys may not always be apparent, we can learn to recognize that the answers we seek rarely exist in isolation. They are intimately connected to how we define ourselves as individuals and how we let our lives’ unfoldings define who we become.

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Lessons in Living and Losing

This article originally appeared on No Sidebar.

This past month I lost a cherished member of my fur family. While the first of its kind, it wasn’t my first encounter with grief and certainly won’t be my last. In some ways, I wish I could shield myself from the pain that accompanies the loss of those we love. Whether sudden or long-anticipated, such absences cut right to the core. We recall our fondest memories in an effort to preserve the life that was and move through our days with a renewed sense of reverence for their simplest moments.

Like a child with an insatiable curiosity, we see the world with fresh eyes. We begin to notice that the things to which we cling most tightly are those we’d be better served by releasing: our insecurity and envy; our failures and regrets; our need for order and control when life continually abides by rules of disorder and entropy.

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Little Book of Self-Love With Bonus

Earlier this year, I released The Little Book of Self-Love, a handy guide to loving yourself fully from the inside-out. It’s jam-packed with tips and tricks to tap into your inner abundance and start living from a place of compassionate awareness.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time! I’m so excited to share that it’s been updated to include a 100 Days of Self-Love Challenge cheat sheet with weekly themes and daily activities so you can take your self-care routine to the next level.

You’ll get 15 weeks of inspiration to start tackling everything from your bedtime routine and exercise habits to your relaxation and gratitude practices. Here’s a sneak peek from week 11:

Week 11: Start Fresh

– Wake up 30 minutes early

– Eat breakfast outside

– Read positive affirmations before you start your day

– Make a breakfast smoothie

– Do a morning stretch routine

– Read for 10 minutes before getting out of bed

– Visualize your day

Whether you’re a self-love guru or still haven’t quite managed to figure out how to make time for yourself, this guide will help you master the challenges of loving yourself and those around you. Click Read More below to purchase your copy for just $3!

If you previously purchased a copy, you will receive the updated version via e-mail within 24 hours.

Peek Inside

Please note preview image quality does not reflect quality when purchased and downloaded as a PDF.

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