Reading has always been a huge passion for me. As a child I devoured books cover to cover, and my family would literally have to scream to get my attention. They would find me tucked up in a corner, head down, flicking through pages, devouring word for word. As I grew into adulthood, these opportunities became few and far between. Uni, work, marriage, parenting. As I have (or at least try to) worked to a value based living approach (see previous posts), I realized that I can make time for reading and I am more likely to read a book if I set aside a time each day and also to read something I am interested in.
Reading takes me to a different world. It’s my own little Narnia. I can learn about different experiences, different cultures and different perspectives through the power of letters on a page. It blows my mind.
I have implemented new habits recently to keep me on track:
- I read books I am interested in (currently my goal is to read more books written by women, and people from different cultural backgrounds. It actually shocked me how much o f my bookshelf is made up of books written by men).
- I set aside a time that I can commit to reading. I read for a minimum of 10 minutes before bed. It’s a nice space for me to relax, and almost always gets me sleepy.
- I fill in my little bullet journal page (see pic). I am determined to fill it in!
- I open the book all the way, crack that spine and scribble and highlight the bits that resonate with me. It makes reading really interactive and memorable.
- I recommend the books I read to others. Not only do I feel super cultured (lol) but it also means I retain information about said book, because it often turns into a discussion about life, cultures and elicits other peoples perspectives I would not have considered before.
On that note, these are some of the books I have read that I am OBSESSED with and would highly recommend. All by women and have supported me to understand a little more about myself.
- All about love, by bell hooks. This manifesto on the definition and implementation of love blew my mind from literally the first page: “We can actually converse with our heart as if it were a good friend”. I literally practice Compassion Focussed Therapy in my work, but had never thought to look down to my chest and have a little chat. The whole book is about what love is, what your barriers are in identifying love in yourself and others, and putting this new definition into practice by unlearning unhelpful patterns. This can help build the authentic loving relationships you need and deserve.
Fave quote “When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge and responsibility, we can work on developing these qualities, or if they are already part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves”
- Untamed- Stop Pleasing, Start Living, by Glennan Doyle. This is a memoir written in tiny chapters, based on memories held by Glennon’s life experiences of eating disorders, alcoholism and falling in love with a woman, at the time of being married to a man. She discusses moments in her life that she (and many women) had been caged, caged by society and its rules and expectations, and finding her way out. The chapters are short, sharp, funny, harrowing and anyone who has read it, has come out a different person than the one who started it.
Fave quote: “Selfless women make for an efficient society but now a beautiful, true, or just one… We do not need more selfless women. What we need are women who are full of themselves. A woman who is full of herself trusts herself enough to say and do what must be done. She lets the rest burn”.
- Burnout, by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Another book written by women for women. It explores how women are trained in society to be a certain way, act in a certain way, and look a certain way. If you do all these things, you may gain privilege in the patriarchal “(ugh.)” set up, and more often than not, you make yourself miserable by giving, giving, giving and eventually we emotionally and mentally burn out. From the first chapter alone, I have learned to recognise my stressors and the way I then hold the stress in my body, and now I “complete the cycle” so the stress leaves the body, rather than holding on to it, and contributing to long term burnout.
- Fave quote: “Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you. Wellness happens when your body is in a place of safety for you. You can be well, even during times when you don’t feel good”.
If you have read these books, or plan to, drop a comment! Would love to hear what you think! What are your fave reads?
Hope you’re having a good week, almost the weekend!!
Warm wishes and brightest of lights,