The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Here are a few books to help nourish our intentions to cultivate and share our joy. Discover books to accompany and inspire you on your path of Life, and three children's books about Joy, including "Joy! Joy! Joy! The Anthem for Black Boys" by Nzinga-Christina Reid. All these titles and many more can be found on our page.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

As I reflect upon humanity’s challenges of our times, my attention turns toward a desire to experience joy. In countless ways I am reminded of this most precious of feeling qualities and am awestruck by its power to shift a negative thought loop into gratitude and deep reverence for Life. Let us celebrate the gifts of this season and endeavor to support one another…together.

Here are a few books to help nourish our intentions to cultivate and share our joy.

The Lightmaker's Manifesto: How to Work for Change Without Losing Your Joy by leadership coach Karen Walrond helps us to see the power of sourcing our call to positive activism in the world from a place of joy. In other words - responding to circumstances and situations with heart instead of reacting with fear. By unearthing our passions and gifts, we learn how to joyfully advocate for justice, peace, and liberation.

When the big things feel too big, it’s vital to shift perspective and The Joy of Small Things by Hanna Jane Parkinson is a perfect companion for the journey toward celebrating and savoring the small pleasures of life.

Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness is another invitation to shift perspective, but in a slightly different way. This is an exploration of how bringing our attention to whatever natural vibrancy we can find in our surroundings has the capacity to help us live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.

I was recently gifted with a copy of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams and I loved every minute of reading it. The wisdom and humor within these pages lifted me right up and opened my heart. 

Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo take us deeply into his personal journey with cancer, seeing the places where pain and joy are connected to resilience, deep knowledge, and the sacredness of the ordinary human life.

The classic work, Silence, Joy by Thomas Merton is an invitation to slow down, take a breath, make space for silence, and open up to joy. If it’s been a while since you last read it, or if it’s new to you, I encourage you to avail yourself of its insights.

"The great lessons from the true mystics, from the Zen monks, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous."

~Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

Here are a few more books to accompany and inspire you on your path of Life.

When Plants Dream: Ayahuasca, Amazonian Shamanism and the Global Psychedelic Renaissance by Daniel Pinchbeck and Sophia Rokhlin takes a comprehensive look into the economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental impact that ayahuasca is having on contemporary Western society. With much information on ayahuasca’s therapeutic qualities, the advanced biomedical research taking place around the world, and speculations on its future.

Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction by biologist David George Haskell brings our attention to the awareness that we live on a planet alive with song, music, and speech. How did this come to be? Here, we are taken to the beginning of sound and song on planet Earth. This is a beautiful call to listen, wonder, belong, and act.

The Art & Practice of Spiritual Herbalism: Transform, Heal, and Remember with the Power of Plants and Ancestral Medicine by Karen M. Rose is one of those indispensable books for anyone interested in the spiritual, emotional, and physical healing properties of the plant world. Filled with stories, ancestral recipes, and accessible practices, this wonderful text has much to offer.

I recently came across the work of shamanic practitioner and intuitive consultant Mara Bishop and am honored to share her offerings with you.  

First up is Shamanism for Every Day: 365 Journeys with a year’s worth of profound yet accessible tools for weaving spirituality and healing into our daily lives. This is doable, y’all!

Next is Inner Divinity: Crafting Your Life with Sacred Intelligence which guides us toward rediscovering our inner spirit, our birthright, that we may engage with this sacred intelligence to evolve our relationship with ourselves, others, our environment, our intuition, health, and future.

And her latest is an 8-part audio program called Shining Bright Without Burning Out: Spiritual Tools for Creating Healthy Energetic Boundaries in an Overconnected World in which she uses her Personal Evolution Counseling™ method to provide an integrated approach to spiritual healing, personal growth, and emotional well-being.

The Children’s Corner

Joy! Joy! Joy! The Anthem for Black Boys by Nzinga-Christina Reid with illustrations by Howard Barry is a wildly lovable story about a boy overjoyed by his physical and cultural heritage.

The Joy in You by Cat Deeley, illustrated by Rosie Butcher, is a sweet little story full of silly humor and bright inspiration - all about being fully and completely enough just as we are.

I Am Thinking My Life by Allysun Atwater with illustrations by Stevie Lewis follows the life of a young girl as she discovers the relationship between her thoughts, actions, and her place in the world.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Please visit our online Bookshop to see our full selection of lists and titles. 
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May you be inspired, supported, and delighted by what you find here.
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