Bookshelf Additions – Spring 2019

I haven’t been making as much time to read as I’d like, but I’m at least keeping some momentum going during a busy season of transition.  I especially loved 2 of the 4 books- The Alchemist and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.  I think they both found their way to me at precisely the right time.  Two of the 4 I completed on Mother’s Day, one of which was aptly Mom & Me & Mom.  And again, 2 of the 4 were gifts from friends who knew just what I needed.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

‘Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?’  ‘Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet.  Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.’

The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.

 

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

This was a beautiful depiction of therapy, from both sides of the “couch.”  As a therapist, and as a human being, I adored it.

A therapist will hold up the mirror in the most compassionate way possible, but it’s up to the patient to take a good look at that reflection, to stare back at it and say, ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting! Now what?’ instead of turning away.

Therapists are always weighing the balance between forming a trusting alliance and getting to the real work so the patient doesn’t have to continue suffering.  From the outset, we move both slowly and quickly, slowing the content down, speeding up the relationship, planting seeds strategically along the way.  As in nature, if you plant the seeds too early, they won’t sprout.  If you plant too late, they might make progress, but you’ve missed the most fertile ground.  If you plant at just the right time, though, they’ll soak up the nutrients and grow.  Our work is an intricate dance between support and confrontation.

Everyone wages this internal battle to some degree:  child or adult?  Safety or freedom?  But no matter where people fall on those continuums, every decision they make is based on two things:  fear and love.  Therapy strives to teach you how to tell the two apart.

He’d given me permission to feel and also a reminder that, like so many people, I’d been mistaking feeling less for feeling better.

Of course, the story a patient comes into therapy with may not be the story she leaves with.  What was included in the telling at first might now be written out, and what was left out might become a central plot point.  Some major characters might become minor ones, and some minor characters might go on to receive star billing.  The patient’s own role might change too- from bit player to protagonist, from victim to hero.

We grow in connection with others.  Everyone needs to hear that other person’s voice saying, I believe in you.  I can see possibilities that you might now see quite yet.  I imagine that something different can happen, in some form or another.  In therapy we say, Let’s edit your story.  

In the best goodbyes, there’s always the feeling that there’s something more to say.

 

Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou

She had my back, supported me.  This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important.  Not just because she feeds and also love sand cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap.  She stands between the unknown and the known.

My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small.  The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.

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Bookshelf Additions- Summer & Fall 2018

Due to too many things on my plate, this bookshelf addition comes terribly late and probably incomplete.  But in the spirit of good-enough, here is what I’ve read the 2nd half of 2018.

Parenting From the Inside Out, How a Deeper Self-Understanding can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive-  Daniel Siegel

A must-read for parents.  Dr. Siegel makes a compelling case for parents doing their own “work” for the benefit of themselves, their children, and the parent-child relationship.  He has some great reflection questions and action steps for how to do this, and how to repair relationship ruptures when parents miss the mark (as we all do!).

“The amazing finding that the most powerful predictor of a child’s attachment is the coherence of the parent’s life narrative allows us to understand how to strengthen our children’s attachment to us.  We are not destined to repeat that patterns of the past because we can earn our security as an adult by making sense of our life experiences.  In this way, those of us who have had difficult early life experiences can create coherence by making sense of the past and understanding its impact on the present and how it shapes our interactions with our children.  Making sense of our life stories enables us to have deeper connections with our children, and to live a more joyful and coherent life.”

Hands Free Life, 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More- Rachel Macy Stafford

I turned to this book after weeks of feeling the pull to slow down and be more present.  It has some good strategies and some gentle encouragement to do just that.

Savor, Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are-  Shauna Niequist

This devotional book went hand-in-hand with the Hands Free book (above)-  filled with grace and reminders about what is truly important.

Five Minutes’ Peace- Jill Murphy

A dear friend sent me this adorable kids’ book, and I chuckled all the way through as the Mama Elephant’s daily life mirrors my own.

Together is Better, A Little Book of Inspiration-  Simon Sinek

Cute.  I enjoyed talking it through with my kiddos.

Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

I didn’t find this book as inspiring as I had hoped based on others’ recommendations, but I do love people’s stories and reading about their lives.  I have yet to read a memoir that I didn’t like.

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery-  Ian Cron

I think at this point I have to admit to being near-obsessed with the Enneagram, thanks in part to this book and some interesting conversations about it.

It’s such a potentially-powerful tool to understand ourselves and each other, not in a pathologizing way but in a way that encourages continued growth and healing.

“The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.”

It can help us remember who we were, before the world told us who we have to be.

“Human beings are wired for survival. As little kids we instinctually place a mask called personality over parts of our authentic self to protect us from harm and make our way in the world. Made up of innate qualities, coping strategies, conditioned reflexes and defense mechanisms, among lots of other things, our personality helps us know and do what we sense is required to please our parents, to fit in and relate well to our friends, to satisfy the expectations of our culture and to get our basic needs met.”

I’ve got more Enneagram books on the way, and am looking forward to going even deeper.

The Miracle on Voodoo Mountain, A Young Woman’s Remarkable Story of Pushing Back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti- Meghan Boudreaux

I have a dear friend in the long, arduous process of adopting a child from Haiti and she gave me this beautiful and inspiring story.  Reminds me of Kisses from Katie from several years back, and I know for sure that we need more people in the world like the author.

Inspired, Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again-  Rachel Held Evans

A beautiful faith read… I appreciate the author’s transparent account of her faith and doubts and trying to make sense of it all, and ending up with more questions than answers.  Her wrestling with God in the wilderness gives permission for, and even encourages, others to do the same.  Underlines throughout the book as I learned through her research and related to her questions.

 

soul

Journal prompt:  What veils have been laid over your soul?  Think about the ones added in childhood, that told you who you are, who you aren’t, what the world requires of you? …what are you doing to do the lifelong, sacred work of removing those veils from over your soul?

Self Care Menu

I love the idea of menus-  you get to choose what you want, what you need, in that particular moment.  So I often work with people to create their own menu for self-care-  options that they can look to a choose from when they’re overwhelmed by anxiety or other emotions.

Self Care Menus should include options that involve all 5 senses, things you can do alone as well as ways to connect, items appropriate to each time of day or weather conditions.  Make it versatile so that no matter when your negative emotions threaten to overtake you, there’s always something you can try from your menu.

Your menu can be scribbled onto a post-it note, typed into the notes function in your phone, pinned up to your wall, or whatever works for you!  It can be as simple as you like, or as complex and beautiful as this example:

selfcare

Mine would include some of these options:

  • Take the dog on a walk.
  • Light a candle.
  • Do yoga, in a class or at home.
  • Call a friend (go ahead and write the name & number on your menu!).
  • Box breathing.
  • Put on pajamas and cozy socks.
  • Diffuse essential oils.
  • Have a piece of dark chocolate.
  • Look at old pictures.
  • Listen to favorite songs.
  • 20 minute reading break.
  • Go to bed early.

Homework item:  Create your own menu!  Where can you put it so that you remember and can access your menu when you need it?

forgiveness

Journal prompt: How can you hold onto your beautiful fragrance, your sweetness, as you forgive?

Upcoming Groups!

I’m excited to offer 3 upcoming groups-  2 for The Daring Way™ and 1 for Rising Strong™.   Space is limited to 8 group members, so signup today to secure your spot!

TDW Intensive 8-18TDW Group 9-18RS Group 9-18

Bookshelf Additions – Spring 2018

 

 

Women Food and God, Geneen Roth

A wonderful read, describing the intertwining, often complicated relationships that women have with food and God.

The Wisdom of Sundays, Oprah Winfrey

I plan to keep this book of bite-sized inspirational stories and conversations on my coffee table.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer

I picked this one up just for fun, but I was surprised to find myself moved by her tenderness and poignant stories about her loved ones.  I’m a fan of her authenticity and courage.

Younger, Sara Gottfried, M.D.

I had many take-aways from this health-related book, included a renewed commitment to Yoga, green tea, nuts, and time in the sauna.  I’m also inspired to branch out to try oil pulling, bone broth, turmeric, kimchi & kimbucha, and collagen protein.

The Highly Sensitive Child, Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

I picked up this book with a particular child in mind, but my thoughts expanded to many more as I learned about this trait that impacts roughly 20% of the population.  Thought-provoking, and I want to learn more.  The Highly Sensitive Person is next on my reading list.

Bookshelf Additions – Winter 2017

 

The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking

I recently heard of the concept of hygge- and my friend who is living in The Hague sent me this book that is subtitled “Danish Secrets to Happy Living.”  I love this concept (a special kind of coziness), especially this time of year when I tend to find myself in a bit of slump.  I’ve been relentlessly pursuing coziness this winter and it’s been just lovely.  I plan to pull this book back at the first sign of cold weather to get a jump start on hygge 2018 😊

Of Mess and Moxie, Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life, Jen Hatmaker

A wonderful book, especially for women- perhaps around my age.  It’s authentic and relatable, both comforting and inspirational.  And there’s a great recipe for Panang Curry (my favorite!)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

I had a client who recently read this book and I wanted to refresh myself so I could understand her references.  I must have read this years ago, before I was mature enough to “get” it—  a good read, I SO admire Maya Angelou and love to hear anything written or spoken by her.

The Mask of Masculinity, Lewis Howes

Lewis openly discusses several masks that he, and other males, tend to wear:  the Stoic mask, Athlete mask, Material mask, Sexual mask, Aggressive mask, Joker mask, Invincible mask, Know-it-all mask, and Alpha mask.   I like how in many ways this book parallels the work of Brené Brown and makes it accessible to some men who otherwise might not resonate with the message.

Becoming Myself, Irvin Yalom

Yalom has become a go-to for me whenever I find myself feeling overwhelmed or uninspired…and he has yet to disappoint.  Always thankful for his books that live on my shelves.

Bookshelf Additions- Fall 2017

The Gift of Failure, Jessica Lahey

“Every time we rescue, hover, or otherwise save our children from a challenge, we send a very clear message:  that we believe they are incompetent, incapable, and unworthy of our trust.  Further, we teach them to be dependent on us and thereby deny them the very education in competence we are put here on this earth to hand down.”

“What research has shown over and over again:  children whose parents don’t allow them to fail are less engaged, less enthusiastic about their education, less motivated, and ultimately less successful than children whose parents support their autonomy.”

“Out of love and desire to protect our children’s self-esteem, we have bulldozed every uncomfortable bump and obstacle out of the way, clearing the manicured path we hoped would lead to success and happiness. Unfortunately, in doing so we have deprived our children of the most important lessons of childhood. The setbacks, mistakes, miscalculations, and failures we have shoved out of our children’s way are the very experiences that teach them how to be resourceful, persistent, innovative and resilient citizens of this world.”

The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with Doug Abrams

I LOVE this book.  And now I want to read everything I can get my hands on by and about Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  He spoke at my graduation from William & Mary in 2006, and my admiration of him keeps growing.

“Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak.  In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too.  Perhaps we are just more alive.  Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters.  We have hardship without becoming hard.  We have heartbreak without being broken.” DT

“…more research…suggests that perhaps only 50% of our happiness is determined by immutable factors like our genes or temperament, our ‘set point.’ The other half is determined by a combination of our circumstances, over which we may have limited control, and our attitudes and actions, over which we have a great deal of control…three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.” DA

“The goal is not just to create joy for ourselves, but to be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you….so being more joyful is not just about having more fun.  We’re talking about a more empathic, more empowered, even more spiritual state of mind that is totally engaged with the world.”

“The English word courage comes from the French word coeur, or heart;  courage is indeed the triumph of our heart’s love and commitment over our mind’s reasonable murmurings to keep us safe.” DA

“We try so hard to separate joy and sorrow into their own boxes, but the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama tell us that they are inevitably fastened together.  Neither advocate the kind of fleeting happiness, often called hedonic happiness, that requires only positive states and banishes feelings like sadness to emotional exile.  The kind of happiness that they describe is often called eudemonic happiness and is characterized by self-understanding, meaning, growth, and acceptance, including life’s inevitable suffering, sadness, and grief.”

“We’ve always got to be recognizing that despite the aberrations, the fundamental thing about humanity, and humankind, about people, is that they are good, they were made good, and they really want to be good.”

“I say to people that I’m not an optimist, because that, In a  sense, is something that depends on feelings more than the actual reality.  We feel optimistic, or we feel pessimistic.  Now, hope is different in that it is based not on the ephemerality of feelings but on the firm ground of conviction.  I believe with a steadfast faith that there can never be a situation that is utterly, totally hopeless.  Hope is deeper and very, very close to unshakable.  It’s in the pit of your tummy.  It’s not in your head.” DT

“The only thing that will bring happiness is affection and warmheartedness.  This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust brings friendship.  We are social animals, and cooperation is necessary for our survival, but cooperation is entirely based on trust.  When there is trust, people are brought together- whole nations are brought together.  When you have a more compassionate mind and cultivate warmheartedness, the whole atmosphere around you becomes more positive and friendlier.  You see friends everywhere.” DT

Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott

“Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone’s troubles. It’s not something you do – it is something in you, accessed, revealed, or cultivated through use, like a muscle. We find it in the most unlikely places, never where we first look.”

“Every one of us sometimes needs a tour guide to remind us how big and deep life is meant to be.”

“Kindness toward others and radical kindness to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and generous heart, which is the greatest prize of all.”

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Mindy Kahling

This one was just for fun  😊