What I'm Reading: 2019
Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year by James Clear, best-selling author of Atomic Habits (which came highly recommended to me by my husband and I bought it after reading this article). I highly recommend you spend 5 minutes reading this article explaining that identity-based habits are much more likely to stick than outcome-based habits. Why? Because what you believe about yourself means a great deal. Motivation (for an outcome based habit) won't last forever, and may not even get you to February. Instead, focus on who you want to become, and make progress with small victories in the right direction.Music:
If you haven't heard of her by now, look her up. She is awesome. Her music is Christian music, but sounds like great pop music. Some of my favorites by her: You Say, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Your Wings, Trust In You. I cannot recommend her enough.
Joseph Campbell: The Power Of Myth
A fascinating 6 part PBS documentary where Bill Moyers interviews Campbell. It's still one of PBS' most popular productions. Each part is about an hour. Every episode, I was glued. It's thought-provoking material, so save it for a night when you have some mental energy. 🙂 It just rotated off Netflix, but it's still on Amazon Prime, linked here.
7 Amazing Holistic Brain Benefits of Meditation
If you've never tried it, I encourage you to give meditation a try. It has helped me so much over the years, and I can definitely tell a difference in my overall well-being when I let this habit slip.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
I just love Brené Brown. I've quoted from this book before and use her very well known 10 Guideposts For Wholehearted Living in my yoga classes often. [I've even blogged about that, here in my own post Wholehearted Living.] This is the book she expounds on that. I was familiar with it from one of her other books, Daring Greatly (I still recommend that one if you've never read it), and this one has also inspired me in a BIG way.
The Health Benefits Of Holy Basil
Holy Basil is one of the herbs you get familiar with in Ayurveda, and, NO, it's not just my way of referring to how much I love basil. Holy Basil is totally different from the garden variety of basil. I've recently been revisiting Holy Basil in the form of tea. You can find it at a lot of tea shops, or specialty herb and spice shops. If you aren't sure what the science of Ayurveda is, I wrote about it last fall.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
If you've never read this poem before, I highly recommend it. I read the below snippet to my yoga classes from time to time, but the full poem is beautiful, thought provoking and well worth the few minutes to read it.
...be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature this year. It's about a professional rock climber (Alex) and his attempt to be the first free solo climber of El Capitan at Yosemite. Free solo means no ropes, no harness, no nothing. Oh, and El Capitan is 900 meters straight up. For perspective on how tall that is, it's approximately 9 football fields. It's fascinating. If you're interested, here's the 2 minute trailer.
George Harrison: Living In The Material World
The Beatles will always be my favorite band, but this one is worth a mention in my newsletter because of George's connection with India. Directed by Martin Scorsese, and a whopping 3.5 hours long (find it on Netflix), it covers much of George's life in and after The Beatles. It was fun for me to see footage of him in India and how it affected him so profoundly. I have that in common with him. Even when I went to India to study yoga in 2016, it was clear that India still loves George very much. I had to try hard not to sing along to all the songs, but hey-- he wrote a ton of my favorites.
Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
I continue to use this awesome little book for meditations in my yoga classes and daily inspiration for myself. Every page is either a short poem or paragraph of encouragement and wisdom.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
I read this several years ago and it's just as good now. It's full of wisdom to help you live with a little more freedom. The four agreements are: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best.
I've Interviewed 300 High Achievers About Their Morning Routines
This NY Times article highlights several points that most high achievers have in common regarding their morning routines.
Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky
This book is about the physiological effects of stress on the body. This is a HUGE topic that's often talked about at yoga trainings, as yoga deals so much with the nervous systems. This book is awesome. It's not a self-help book, but is as technical and complicated as the human body is.
Sapolsky does an excellent job of relaying all of the information in an entertaining way. I’m only halfway done with this 560-page lifechanger, but here’s what I want you to know from it so far. STOP stressing out all the time. Our nervous systems and our bodies need us to. Our stress responses are made for real emergencies and are amazing at helping us cope with those situations. Here’s an example: back in the day when we were chased by lions we needed the stress response to help us survive. After the emergency was over, we would go back to a normal relaxed state. Now, we turn on the very same stress response when no lion is present. We turn it on when we get an email, are running late, have a conflict with a co-worker-- basically, #firstworldproblems-- and we do this so often we now have trouble turning OFF the stress response. Over time, this is extremely harmful to your body in a multitude of ways and is linked to many physical diseases. Do what I do: since starting this book, when I feel stress creep in, I stop and say to myself... There’s no lion chasing me. 🙂