The summer holidays are coming, which means time for more reading!
A summer break is often a time for reflection too ... on the year that's passed since our last holiday, on what we've learnt and what we hope to bring into our lives going forward.
Here are some cracking good reads to see you through your summer; some wise & friendly voices to accompany you as you reflect on what's passed & make plans for your future...
"With freedom, books, flowers & the moon, who could not be happy"
MEDITATION FOR THE LOVE OF IT by Sally Kempton
I never miss the chance to practice with Sally when she is in London - her background is steeped in yoga philosophy (she was a swami at Muktananda's ashram for many years), but she writes for seekers whose path is not withdrawal. How do we incorporate meditation in to our busy modern lives? How do we find a technique that works for us? How do we commit to practise and abide with it even when it becomes difficult? Sally addresses all of these questions in this wonderful book about seeking peace in your daily life through meditation. She makes meditation accessible and reminds us on every page, that if you do it for love then you can't go wrong.
DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown
If you haven't yet discovered the work of Brene Brown, you are in for a treat. Brene writes about embracing our vulnerabilities instead of hiding them or being ashamed of them; she shows us how if we are unable to acknowledge difficult emotions such as fear, grief, or disappointment, then we find that we are also missing out on joy, love, innovation & belonging. A full life embraces all human experience with courage & is not afraid to show weakness when we are feeling weak, sadness when we are feeling sad. An important lesson in these fast moving times when everyone is trying so hard to show their best face all the time. In truth, our favourite teachers, our favourite people are not the ones who pretend they never get anything wrong or feel down; on the contrary, they are the ones who own up to their weaknesses as a sign of their humanity.
HAPPINESS by Matthieu Ricard
Matthieu Ricard is the monk who made the international news a few years ago, when scientists put electrodes onto his skull & deduced that this Buddhist monk was the happiest person in the world! In this book, Matthieu Ricard shows how happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill that can be developed. Before he became a monk, Ricard was a Biologist, so his approach is very practical and free of jargon & arcane concepts - this book is a wonderful guide to the practice of being more happy, more of the time & the simple tools, disciplines & tricks that will help you to become the calm, contented person you long to be.
THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI translated by Alistair Shearer
Your yoga practice should not be without a working knowledge of the Yoga Sutras - ancient, but vital teachings on what yoga is, what is the purpose of life, how yoga works & what to do to learn how to allow the mind to fall into peaceful stillness behind thought. I have many translations, but this is one of my favourites: the introduction is scholarly, but accessible & the translation authentic, but very easy for the modern reader to understand.
BROKEN OPEN by Elizabeth Lesser
I think this book might have saved my life. I found it when I was in a difficult place & Elizabeth Lesser's kind voice, years of experience & honesty helped me to find compassion for myself & for others in the darkest of times. It is a book I turn to regularly for a dose of Elizabeth's compassion, for her kind voice, for her understanding & for the advice she offers on living well, forgiving fully & deepening spiritual practice.
Please share books you love, or that have meant a lot to you below... I am always looking for new books to read & love...