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“By opening the door to the shadow realm a little, and letting out various elements a few at a time, relating to them, finding use for them, negotiating, we can reduce being surprised by shadow sneak attacks and unexpected explosions.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

On a sleepless night earlier this week, I used the gift of extra time and energy to do some reading that has been neglected on my nightstand for far too long. Since then, a particular passage in the book The Subway Chronicles: More Scenes from Life in New York, has been tapping at my mental chamber door all week. Author Jacquelin Cangro, recounted a scene that unfolded during her subway commute: a little girl got onboard the train with her father and soon after erupted into a spontaneous twirling dance accompanied only by the music inside her own mind. The author watched with amusement tinged by a wistful yearning for the sort freedom of expression that comes with being four years old.

I sympathize with the author — oh to be free from the trappings of adulthood — from the notions of decency and decorum, from responsibility and respectability, from the ‘shoulds’ and ‘Thou Shalt Nots,’ from the veils and gilded cages.

A tiny dancer still lives inside of these subways, chambers, shadows, and longings…

If we cracked the door open just a little bit, what would we see…?

I started thinking about this list while reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of MyLittleSpacebook. Now that I have the list compiled, I realize the lessons I’ve learned from several of the books below have formed much of the basis of my own entrepreneurial toolkit. If that’s your jam, maybe there’s something in here for you too. Without further ado, here we go:

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation ~ Parker Palmer

It’s astonishing how huge an impact such a small book has had on my life. I was introduced to Parker Palmer’s work as an assistant professor/researcher trying to find myself as an educator. Palmer’s The Courage to Teach helped me discover what was in my teacher’s heart. His Healing the Heart of Democracy helped me better understand the notion of civil discourse in the face of seemingly unresolvable conflict. But, it was Let Your Life Speak that ultimately helped me realize what my work was NOT, which was a painful, but necessary step in finding out what my work is. At the time I read it, I was being carried along, almost imperceptibly, on a strong current powered by other people’s expectations and long-standing institutional traditions. Academia can be like that. Reading the book made me ask myself hard questions about the work life I was living, which I discovered was not at all the same thing as the life’s work that was living inside me. The book gave me the courage to jump ship and to begin charting my own course towards my life’s authentic work, which is an ongoing adventure, both terrifying and delighting!

The 4-Hour Work Week ~ Tim Ferris

Ferris’s book introduced me to the idea of lifestyle design. He generously shares all sorts of ideas on how to be awesome and get more done in less time.

Tribe of Mentors ~Tim Ferris

Ferris assembled an elite and successful crowd from which to source even more ideas on how to be awesome. The reading list alone is worth the price of admission!

The Happiness Project ~ Gretchen Rubin

My time-logging and goal-tracking systems were inspired by Rubin’s account of Ben Franklin’s systems as described in his autobiography. These practices have been effective in keeping me focused and helping me understand where my time goes so I can manage it better. Also, Rubin wrote about commonplace books, which I’ve also started keeping.

The Artist’s Way ~ Julia Cameron

Thanks to Julia Cameron I have been writing daily morning pages faithfully since December 21, 2019. While I have been journaling for years and years, I’ve never done so in such a purposeful and disciplined way as I have since starting The Artist’s Way. This book is a game-changer!

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains ~ Nicholas G. Carr

This book was not my idea. A client wanted us to read it together, and so we did. It expanded my understanding of the relationship between technology and thought. It also made me more aware of the tools I use and how they may impact and use me.

Meditations from the Mat ~ Rolf Gates

This book inspired a trip to a yoga conference in Washington, D.C., to practice with this master in person. The practice he led was absolutely beautiful – one of my all time favorite yoga classes ever. His workshop at the conference was informative, and I learned a lot I needed to know about how to start a business and how to sustain it at that conference. It also inspired me to dive deeper into my own practice and to embark on a 300-hour teacher training.

Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism ~ Stephen Harrod Buhner

Nothing about this book makes logical sense. It’s all magical heart song. Not even how I got it makes sense – we were on a road trip and there was the necessity of a bathroom break that somehow wound up happening at a Cherokee Museum and none of us were even planning to go through the museum, but there was a half-naked guy in a magnificent feathered headdress and as if that wasn’t confusing enough I was in the giftshop instead of the bathroom, and the book was calling and in my hand, but another of us was ready to go, so I put it down, and then third member of our party got confused about what we were even doing there and bought a ticket to the museum and before we could even figure out entirely what was happening, we wound up doing the museum tour. If it sounds like drugs were involved, I assure you, they weren’t, though it’s possible they should have been. After all that happened the book was still waiting and calling so I got it and no plant has ever been safe or the same since. Anytime this book gets opened something for-sure crazy is about to go down and I’m not even kidding.

Blink ~ Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell taught me the science behind thin-slicing, which neatly explains a lot of things attributed to intuition.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life ~ Twyla Tharp

I love Twyla Tharp’s writing style. It’s so simple and elegant. From her I learned the creative habit and that in itself was life-changing.

So that’s my list!

How about you? What books have changed your life?

Look about you at the little things that run the earth.

~E.O. Wilson

 

Tiger Swallowtail

I just finished reading Wendy Williams’ The Language of Butterflies and I have a new appreciation for these beautiful and diverse insects.  I highly recommend it!

 

Writing Spider

 

bullet journal goal tracker

In honor of My Little Spacebook’s 10th anniversary, for the next thirty-days I plan to be around here a bit more digging in to old posts, sifting through the dirt, studying the worms, planting seeds, and waiting to see what, if anything, sprouts.

Today’s dig turned over a quote I shared last fall in October Magic: Dream. Create. Inspire. Share:

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers, and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.” 

–Amy Poehler, Smart Girls: Ask Amy

These words continue to inspire me to be more mindful about what I am creating on a daily basis and to be more open to putting myself out there. On that note, today I’m sharing a bit of whimsy I added to my life this year.  It combines the idea of giving yourself gold stars (from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance) with the idea of  tracking progress on your goals daily (from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project).   Add a bullet journal and some washi tape to the mix and Voila!

magic and mayhem

I might have gotten a little carried away with the washi tape.

Dot journal - bubble gum

My pages are presently star-studded, memory-filled, and happy-making.

 

Dear People of the Web,

I’m falling into my hibernation period and snuffling around for something new to keep myself occupied in the cave until the world thaws and the crocus sprouts.  So I’m wondering, how do you do Christmas? If you would be so kind, please pick a question or two and share your answer in the comments below:

What holiday songs do you have on repeat?

What Christmas movies are you binge-watching?

Are there fattening recipes you’re making that we need to know about?

What wish-list books are you gifting or re-reading or hoping Santa brings?

 

 

Δ My Answers Δ

Δ Music Δ

As for songs, I can’t help but love The Murdering Crow’s version of the Snow Miser Song:

Δ

Δ Movies Δ

I haven’t made it through the movie The Year without a Santa Clause yet.  Maybe this is the year.

The Nightmare before Christmas gets played nearly every year. Lines are quoted; songs are sung.  “There Goes Christmas” is what we tend to say around here in a cartoonish voice at the slightest disappointment or provocation. It never loses its funny.  I’ve also been known to mechanically chant, “Making Christmas. Making Christmas. Making Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas….” with a blank stare while wrapping presents.

Δ

Δ Food Δ

I don’t cook as a general rule, but when I get a wild hair around this time of year I make my Kiki’s banana bread.  When inspiration really strikes there could be pumpkin pie or banana pudding.

Δ

Δ Books Δ

“It makes one’s mouth hurt to speak with such forced merriment.

–David Sedaris

David Sedaris’ Crumpet the Elf from Santaland Diaries is fun and available on NPR.

Last December, my near-and-dear read me nightly bedtime stories from one of his childhood books, The Animals’ Merry Christmas.  Published in 1972, its pages had a rich and musty scent and were embellished with drawings, dialogue, and musical notes from his 7-year-old hand. The Animals Merry Christmas.jpg

My favorite character was Pussy Cat Smart.

Come here Lion

It was a super sweet gift.

Link for Fever Series Review: Books 1-3

I am going to review books 4 and 5 of the series in a non-linear, stream-of-consciousness sort of way ’cause they’re spaghettied up inside my head.  

Book 4 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

DreamfeverDreamfever

“Life’s not linear at all. It happens in lightning flashes. So fast you don’t see those lay-you-out cold moments coming at you until you’re Wile E. Coyote, steamrolled flat as a pancake by the Road Runner, victim of your own elaborate schemes.”

Just to get this out of the way first: the 4th book is a sexstravaganza. That’s all I have to say about that. 

Mac is lost and broken.

The blasted book is still running around Dublin creating chaos.  I absolutely love that the book is a character.

Now, there are a lot of characters weaved through the first three books that I  haven’t mentioned, like Ryoden and the Nine. The Nine are a bunch (well, 9 to be precise), of seemingly immortal, buff dudes. Ryoden is the leader of the pack, and he owns Chester’s, a multi-level nightclub and the headquarters of the Nine on the private lower floors, which I imagine as a high-tech and sophisticated version of batman’s cave. When the walls between realms fell, Chester’s becomes the “it” hangout spot for both human and Fae. Barrons, though one of the Nine, doesn’t reside at Chester’s because he has living quarters at his own bookstore, Barrons Books and Baubles. The bookstore is all magical and warded and sits on the border between Dublin and The Dark Zone.

Dani, is another important character. She’s a 14-year-old Fae-killer with the power of superspeed.  At this point in the series, Dani, like Mac, is a sidhe-seer outcast. The sidhe-seers are an order of women with unique senses and super abilities, who have protected humans for centuries against the Fae when the Fae slip through cracks between the realms. At this part of the series, the walls are mostly down.

shadowfever

“Nightwindflyhighfreeeeee.”

–The Hunter

Mac, aka “Rainbow Girl” due to the color palette of her fashion choices, goes to the dark side. She returns in black leather as the evil Lord Master’s sidekick.  No, I haven’t told you about the Lord Master yet, and that’s mostly because I think it’s an unfortunate name for a character – even if he is the ruler of the Unseelie (i.e., the grotesque, evil Fae).  It’s just embarrassing. I guess it is for Mac too because she resorts to calling him “LM.” To make matters even weirder, he was Mac’s sister’s boyfriend at the time of her murder.

I haven’t read anything quite like the world and the monsters that Karen Marie Moning makes. There are fantastic things going on in this woman’s imagination – plots and subplots and twists and turns and interesting places with weird monsters.  In this book Mac goes through the Silvers and winds up lost in the Hall of Mirrors where there are portals to fascinating and dangerous worlds. The series is so entertaining.

 

darkfever

Book 1 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever

“Sometimes Ms. Lane, one must break with one’s past to embrace one’s future. It’s never an easy thing to do. It’s one of the distinguishing characteristics between survivors and victims.”

–Jericho Barrons

 

MacKayla Lane (aka Mac) leaves her carefree life behind to travel to Dublin to investigate the mysteries surrounding her sister’s murder.  In Ireland, Mac uncovers family secrets, unknown powers, and a dark underworld inhabited by the Fae. In the midst of all that, she meets two central characters: V’Lane, a Seelie prince who holds a humorous at times “Death by Sex” power over humans, and the enigmatic Jericho Barrons who owns a bookstore and who is on his own quest to capture a sentient, omnipotent book – the Sinsar Dubh.

Having finished the entire series, in retrospect, book 1, was fun, but it was my least favorite.  MacKayla, preoccupied as she was with her hair, nails, outfits and general Barbie vibes, annoyed me at times, but I also liked her for the same reasons.  Overall, there was a lot of groundwork, character-setting, and world-building that had to happen to set the stage for the fun that follows.

Book 2 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moningblood fever

Bloodfever

“Well done, Ms. Lane. Just when I think you’re all useless fluff and nails, you show me some teeth.”‘

–Jericho Barrons

There was something about a vampire in this book, but that part was terribly uninteresting.  What was interesting were the interactions between three of the main characters: Mac, Barrons, and V’Lane.  Barrons continues to be cultured, self-contained, intriguing and mysterious.  The reader is left wondering what exactly he is and what manner of shrieking thing he keeps hidden in the lair beneath his garage. For her part, Mac uncovers more about who and what she is.  The banter between the two in their continued pursuit of the Sinsar Dubh is fun. Every scene with V’Lane, the immortal prince who has a knack for turning humans into sex addicts, is fascinating.

Book 2 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

faefeverFaefever

“Nobody looks good in their darkest hour. But it’s those hours that make us what we are.”

“…in the Deep South, women learn at a young age that when the world is falling apart around you, it’s time to take down the drapes and make a new dress.”

–Mac

The evil book, the Sinsar Dubh, is still on the loose and wreaking havoc.  The walls between the realms are starting to come down.  Without revealing too much about the cliff-hanger ending: it was dark and disturbing and Mac gets broken.

 

A busy calendar and a busy mind will destroy your ability to do great things in this world.  

–Naval Ravikant

Without boredom, no creativity.

–Slavoj Zizek

array

I’ve been reading Women Who Run with the Wolves and gathering all my skeletal parts together to sing over them.

Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.

–Robert M. Pirsig

 

 

Yesterday while reading about the history of tulips in Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire,  I was overcome by the urgent need to plant the iris bulbs that have been sitting in the sunroom for over a month.  Now Raptor Red and Dangerous Mood are tucked in their beds for the winter and I hope to meet them in all their frilly glory this spring.

 

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