The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Before we all get caught up in the sweet madness of the holiday season ahead, I thought I’d turn our attention toward some more intimate offerings. What follows are a collection of resources to support and inspire our hearts with what really matters, what’s really real…and, of course, it’s love, actually.

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Before we all get caught up in the sweet madness of the holiday season ahead, I thought I’d turn our attention toward some more intimate offerings. What follows are a collection of resources to support and inspire our hearts with what really matters, what’s really real…and, of course, it’s love, actually.

That said, let’s begin this report with Atlas of the Human Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and to be stewards of the stories that we hear.” This is currently available for pre-order, with a release date of November 30. I thought it wise to give you all an early heads up on this one which is guaranteed to be a best-seller. Trust me, you will want a copy.

In The Empathy Effect: Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences author Helen Riess writes: “We are all connected on a neurobiological level far more than we have previously realized. Consciously or not, we are in constant, natural resonance with one another’s feelings. When we are engaged in shared mind awareness, the possibilities for mutual aid and collaborative problem solving abound.” She goes on to say how cultivating empathy lets us help not just ourselves, but also everyone we interact with, whether for a moment or a lifetime.

The Knowing: 11 Lessons to Understand the Quiet Urges of Your Soul comes to us from Serena Dyer Pisoni and Saje Dyer, the daughters of beloved spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer. Friends, this is a book for seekers young and old, for long-time fans of Wayne’s work and newcomers alike. With graceful insights, we are offered guidance toward how, regardless of circumstance, we can always return to the wellspring of wisdom that dwells within.

Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You by spiritual teacher Matt Kahn provides a series of deeply healing insights and practices to ignite the spark of our highest potential. In the words of singer-songwriter and activist Alanis Morissette: “Drenched in clarity, empathy, and profound tenderness, Kahn’s words are both a hug and a catapult into living life fully. I am so grateful for this book!”

In Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change author Sherri Mitchell draws from ancestral knowledge, as well as her experiences as an attorney and activist, to address some of the most pressing issues of our times, including environmental protection, human rights, decolonizing our languages and stories - all with the heartfelt intention to protect and preserve a sustainable path forward for generations to come. She writes: “Every living thing has its own creation song, its own language, and its own story. In order to live harmoniously with the rest of creation, we must be willing to listen to and respect all of the harmonies that are moving around us.”

Truthfully, pulling any of Mark Nepo’s books from my shelf brings me a sense of peace and joy, but this one, The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, seems to be shining just a bit brighter to me these days. Here, he teaches that after we are physically born, we must be born a second time, a process that takes place through the labor of a lifetime as we develop into more fully realized beings. If that resonates with you, this book is a beautiful and supportive ally for your journey.

Calmfidence: How to Trust Yourself, Tame Your Inner Critic, and Shine in Any Spotlight by Patricia Stark is a comprehensive guide to improving communication skills in any social situation. That sounds like a tall order to me! And yet, with patience and practice, we are assured that a more fulfilling experience of connected communication is within our reach. With the holidays coming up, this feels like a wise book to have around.

I’m loving The Sacred Sisterhood Tarot: Deck and Guidebook for Fierce Women by Ashawnee Dubarry with illustrations by Coni Curi as an invitation for anyone to tap into the energy of the Divine Feminine and employ the tarot as a tool for self-care, spiritual growth, and self-actualization.

Thought leader, mystic, and visionary Sadhguru’s work Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy advances a dimensional shift in how we experience our lives; a revolutionary reframing of how we think about our humanity, our agency, and the opportunity to achieve nothing less than a life of joy. 

If, like me, you were fascinated by the life journey detailed in Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s memoir My Stroke of Insight, then you will very much want to read her latest offering, Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life. Here she presents the inner structures of our brains as not being simply divided into two hemispheres, but with each half comprised of both an emotional and a thinking component. These four modules of cells and systems can be seen as four characters that make up who we are: Character 1, Left Thinking; Character 2, Left Emotion; Character 3, Right Emotion; and Character 4, Right Thinking. When our Four Characters are working together and balance one another as a ‘whole’ brain, we gain a radical new road map to deep inner peace. If this sounds like a lot to keep track of, please rest assured that the concepts are set forth at a kind and accessible pace.

Healing Ourselves: Biofield Science and the Future of Health by body-mind researcher  Shamini Jain presents a holistic vision of health and healing - rejecting the ‘either/or’ thinking that has placed the conventional medical model at odds with so-called alternative approaches. “The good news is there is a way forward,” teaches Dr. Jain. “The flame that lights the path burns brighter than the darkness of ignorance and suffering we have found ourselves in.”

The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Zweig is a beautiful guide to working through the inner challenges and obstacles of late life and embracing the spiritual gifts they hold. With her characteristic straightforward style, Zwieg calls for a radical reimagining of age for all generations, using inner work to uncover and explore the unconscious denial and resistance that often accompany the experiences of ‘getting older’. This is how we learn to lean into aging with curiosity, willingness, and integrity. 

So many good things can happen in bed - dreaming among them. Alice Robb’s Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey takes us on a journey of discovery and inspiration into the world of lucid dreaming. She draws on fresh and forgotten research, as well as her own experience and that of other dream experts, to show why dreams are vital to our physical and emotional health. She teaches us how to remember our dreams better and with greater accuracy - and why this is important to our creativity and overall well-being.

The U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo’s latest work Poet Warrior: A Memoir is a wonder - full of stories about life, lessons learned from nature, heartache and loss, struggles for peace and equity in an often unjust world, the power of strong community, and the honoring of ancestral sovereignty. This is a book to savor.

Some Things I Still Can't Tell You: Poems by actor, poet, and activist Misha Collins, whose massive online following calls itself his ‘Army for Good’, is a collection of small observations and musings filled with the simple joys of everyday life and the complicated experience of being human. 

The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley with artwork by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt is aimed at a young readership, but, you know how I love to look to children’s books to support the journey toward self-love and inspiration for us all…and this one does not disappoint.

In the same spirit, take a look at this gem…Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat. Here we meet young Iris who loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building. As she plays she discovers that the elevator is not your typical everyday elevator, but has the magical gift of lifting your spirits as well as taking you from floor to floor.

This poem by the wonderful author and healer Ellen Bass crossed my path recently and I thought you might appreciate it as well.

by Ellen Bass

everything here
seems to need us
- Rainer Maria Rilke
I can hardly imagine it
as I walk to the lighthouse, feeling the
ancient prayer of my arms swinging
In counterpoint to my feet. 
Here I am, suspended
between the sidewalk and twilight,
the sky dimming so fast it seems alive.
What if you felt the invisible 
tug between you and everything?
A boy on a bicycle rides by,
his white shirt open, flaring
behind him like wings.

It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little. Does the breeze need us?
The cliffs? The gulls?
If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly, fell
toward the apple as well.

Please visit our online Bookshop to see our full selection of lists and titles. 

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