For the month of July I am taking a hiatus from life overload - the buzz of over-scheduling, over-doing, over-engaging and over-extending which has run me down and burnt me out from the past year. I am taking a pause to breathe, to go back to my roots of Sivandanda yoga practice, and silence opening and closing my days, as well as returning to a beloved rhythm of my own life, that nurtures me as much as anything ever has (save writing), which is reading.
I thought I would share a peak into what I am spending time with this summer - to deepening into my inward space, and finding external quiet while still being brought alive by what is on the pages I read. Since I was very little all I needed in the world to nurture me was a pen to write with and a book to read - I would disappear in the most delicious ways into the stories of others' imaginations, and it would inspire my own storytelling.
So, this is what I am ravaging this summer....maybe it will offer something towards your own literary feasting (click on book images for links to Amazon purchasing pages):
1. The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru by Phillip Goldberg
I was glad to meet the author of this biography, Phillip Goldberg when we shared space at a "Practicing Democracy" gathering this past month, hosted by Spirituality & Practice at The Fetzer Institute. Having not read the pre-existing biography of this yogic mystic I thought I would start here and see what unfolds. I think the origins of traditions, their elders and their histories are critical to remember and to view with critical lenses as much as honoring ones. I am interested to see what unfolds as I dig deeper into the life and history of this modern day guru.
2. Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
I was introduced to this book by my friend Tessa Bielecki and began reading it in preparation for leading a Mystic Soul Pilgrimage to Avila, Spain this summer. Before, during and after that trip this past month I have been convinced of the obvious - we learn much about our present from looking backwards. Specifically, I have been convinced that the Golden Age of Spain which descended (in the era before and during Teresa of Avila's lifetime) into one walls, insularity, and oppression (namely Anti-Blackness, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism) can show us much about the narrative arc of the United States we are living into today. As such, it seems more important than ever to dig further into this book which talks about the Golden Age arc and the beginnings of descent.
3. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
Change is holistic - we change as whole people, and our change impacts the world around us, as, conversely, the change in the world around us engages and can push forth our own change. We need to look at the shape of ourselves and the world conjunctively - as much if not more in this moment than ever before. I have been hearing so many amazing things about this books from activists, healing justice folks and community organizers and I have just been too busy to pick it up and read it. So, I am very excited to dig in for the summer. I am so glad and grateful for words and voices like Adrienne Maree Brown in this moment!
4. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Unbenownst to me before I put together my summer list #3 is an avid lover of #4 and in some ways they are an inherent partner to each other in terms of reading. The world of change and synchronicity that Adrienne Marie Brown calls us to see and engage in her book is embodied in its fictional fullest in Octavia's book. But, like Ornament in the World teaching about how past relates to present, Octavia also speaks to absolute truths present and essentially seen in the real world, through her potent fictional universe. I cannot wait to dig in further and see what this fictive mystical character (I have been told) brings forward in telling her story of a future dystopia.
5. Practice Showing Up: A Guidebook for White People Working for Racial Justice by Jardana Peacock
This wonderful book comes from a colleague and friend, Jardana, who works tirelessly to offer a spiritual path to anti-racisim for white folks - as a personal and collective practice. As a political act and a spiritual one. This book is a collection of that wisdom of years in the field of this work, as a healing justice provider, and someone deeply committed to social change and inner transformation!
Also, an extra bonus is for each purchase she has generously offered to donate 35% of the proceeds from each sale to The Mystic Soul Project. To say this is a generous offering is a very large understatement. So, support their work and in doing so you can also support the work of The Mystic Soul Project. See, how we are all interconnected!
CLICK On the book images above to link to each book's Amazon page if you want to order them. Also, let me know what you think if you do decide to read any of these books or let me know what is on your bookshelf this summer!