Included in this report is March’s “Author of the Month”, Alan Watts; a mix of New + Newly Discovered books chosen to support + inspire you; some wonderful books for Young + Young at Heart readers, and a couple of ‘Just Because + Just for Fun’ offerings.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
I first encountered and came to appreciate the work of Alan Watts through the sound of his voice – deep and British…a charismatic combination for my romantic twenty-something self. This was back in the 1970s during the early days of the great wave of wisdom from Eastern philosophies and spirituality flowing into the West where Watts’s work became popularized via public radio and, later, television and books. To put it plainly, he was blowing my mind on a regular basis and I couldn’t seem to get enough of what he was saying. Below are two of my favorites from him – although, truly it’s very, very difficult to choose among them.
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are is a revelatory primer on what it means to be human. One of Watts’s primary points of view was that at the root of human conflict and suffering is our fundamental misunderstanding of who we are. The illusion that we are isolated beings, unconnected to the rest of the universe, has led us to view the ‘outside’ world with confusion, despair, and hostility. And that this, in turn, has led to an out-of-balance use of technology and disrespect of the natural world.
The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety is a strong exploration of what it means to cultivate presence as a central spiritual practice. Here, Watts offers the liberating message that true certitude and security come only from understanding that impermanence and insecurity are the essence of our existence. To be honest, dear reader, I’m still working on that one.
Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty by Mara Glatzel offers a path toward reclaiming and reimagining what self-care is all about – even if that feels scary or impossible right now. The bottom line is that owning and expressing our needs is essential if we are ever to create lives full of meaning and joy.
Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May is an invitation to rediscover the feelings of awe and wonder available to us all. She encourages us to step away from the grind of constant change and to find the beauty and power in stillness and elemental connection.
Gentle Power: A Revolution in How We Think, Lead, and Succeed Using the Finish Art of Sisu by Emilia Elisabet Lahti is a practical manual for the evolution of everyday leadership. All too often we equate power with force and domination, and consequently are ironically giving away our true power – a force grounded in compassion and harmony.
The Little Book of Self-Soothing by Robin Raven is a collection of 150 self-soothing activities that immediately help you to manage your emotions and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Who doesn’t need a few of those?
Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity, and Joy by Shauna Shapiro offers us both the science and practice of how self-kindness is the path to fulfillment, satisfaction, and transformation. If this resonates with you, may I suggest combining it with a guided journal created to compliment the book and help to keep you on track.
The Cottage Fairy Companion from Paola Merrill is a beautiful guide and reminder to look for the magic right in front of us all – every single day from the most ordinary moment to the most extraordinary.
Calming Magic: Enchanted Rituals for Peace, Clarity, and Creativity by Nikki Van De Car is a soothing introduction to the healing energy of grounded mystical practices, aromatherapy blends, crystal rituals, and more.
The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of by Kirsten W. Larson with illustrations by Katherine Roy is a poetic picture book celebrating the life and scientific discoveries of groundbreaking astronomer Cecilia Payne who was the first person to discover what burns at the heart of stars.
The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey by Jason Chin is a mind-boggling adventure that makes complex science accessible and enjoyable to readers of any age.
Simon Sort of Says from Erin Bow is a hopeful novel about finding your friends, healing your heart, and speaking your truth.
Once Upon a Book from Caldecott and Newberry Honoree Grace Lin and bestselling author Kate Messner comes a modern folktale about the joys of reading. What could possibly be more perfect?
The Daily Question Conversation Card Set is a fun and creative tool for sparking meaningful conversations and inspiring special memories.
The 3-Minute Journal of Joy helps us celebrate what brings joy into our lives by journaling for just three minutes a day, creating a three-year record of moments worth remembering.
“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”