My daily journalling and meditation practice has been kicking on for over two months now. After finishing the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (effectiveness and efficiency – are you working on what you should be working on?) I’ve made some changes in my life. I’m now reading more non fiction than I ever have before. And much to my surprise, I’m really enjoying what I’ve been reading.
My information consumption has really turned around from just drifting and being sucked along by whatever was on Facebook, or the RSS feeds I had listed (plus loads of fiction), to being information, specifically books/podcasts/courses selectively chosen to develop my mind and expand my knowledge of a given topic. I’m now filtering out the negative, and the other distractions that don’t directly improve my life or move me towards my goals.
I’ve found that it’s only through new ideas, new knowledge, new ways of looking at the world and implementation of these new ideas, that you can improve who you are.
Here’s what I’ve read in the past month or so. Reading for me is about learning and using the information I find as platform to find and absorb more information about the current topic of interest, so keep that in mind with my reviews.
The latest books in my recently finished reading pile are Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, How to have a beautiful mind by Edward de Bono, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin and Gut by Gulia Enders.
Buddhism for Mothers
Before reading this I’d not had much to do with buddhism. Starting this book I’d been practicing mindfulness meditation for a few weeks and found some of the buddhist concepts a little hard to wrap my head around. But there was one I found that I wanted to investigate further – “loving kindness”. From there I went in search of some podcasts on loving kindness by Tara Brach who I’d heard about via the Tim Ferriss podcast.
Since the first listen to Tara I’ve moved from listening to secular guided mindfulness meditations to listening to one of Tara’s meditations or talks at least every second day. I find them calming and inspiring. They provide a framework for becoming happy and content – allowing you to safely analyse your feelings and work
This book has definitely lead me to some interesting changes in my perspective of the consideration and empathy I have for others. It offers a basis for experimenting with buddhist principles in your hectic, everyday life as a busy parent. I recommend it if you’re struggling to find peace in the busyness of being a parent balancing work and home life. I also recommend Tara podcast/website.
These are a few of my favourite Talks by Tara Brach
A note on buddhism, I’ve just purchased the The Art of Happiness A Handbook for Living by His Holiness Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler and Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicomb. Meditation and buddhist principals are something I’m very interested in exploring.
How to Have a Beautiful Mind
“A discussion should be a genuine attempt to explore a subject rather than a battle between competing egos.”
If this book is about anything, this quote sums it up. Conversation, in Australian culture, so often turns into a battle of the egos. My way is right, yours is wrong. If I can’t convince you to change your mind then this conversation is pointless.
Much of the book focuses on how to have a conversation, a simple task to be sure, but how to have one with a beautiful mind comes down to some simple ‘common’, or not so common sense. So much of our conversations are based around argumentative thinking. In this book we’re encouraged to think in parallel to consider all aspects of a topic. A worthy read, especially for those of you who struggle to make conversation.
My favourite was Big Magic. I listened to the audiobook and Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice made this book so much more enchanting than it would be without it. Creativity is something that I’ve always been curious about but never felt like I’ve had.
But as I’ve learned from this book, and others, it’s not just something that happens to you. You need to go out and search for it, follow the opportunities and experiences with an open heart and mind, keep working at it and then once you’ve done the work, you can sit back and see that you do, indeed, live a creative life.
One of my favourite quotes from the book …
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
The book is about enabling you to dedicate yourself to the work, don’t be swayed, and opening yourself up to the magic that is around – if you only dare to look. Definitely recommend for those of you who are interested in opening yourself up to living a creative life.
The Icarus Deception
Icarus’ father made him wings and warned him of complacency and hubris. The well known part of the story about hubris – don’t fly to close to the sun, for the heat will melt the wings. The second, less well known, part of the tale, the complacency – neither should you fly too low for seas dampness with clog the wings.
We’ve been trained to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to a successful life, and to stay away from hubris. Work hard in your job and you’ll be happy. But is it really the case? Have we just been trained to fly too low without stretching ourselves and reaching for something better? We now play it safe and fly too low – a deception in itself because it’s comfortable.
This book inspires you to dream of new heights, to take the risk and go after them. Don’t buy into the bullshit that safe equals happy. You should be living up to your potential and following your dreams. That’s the stuff that makes you happy. If you’re open to having your mind changed, this is a wonderful book to explore art as the new industrialism.
I’ve had a special interest in nutrition and the workings of the body for a few years now. Since my dear hubby was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Well actually even before that. You see, I’ve spent the majority of my life tired. Just no energy and not feeling well, constantly catching every bug going around. So I began searching online for things that might account for this.
When the Coeliac diagnosis came, it really sunk in that you need to cut out food groups, especially if you don’t tolerate them. Along the way I looked at cutting out chemical additives, cutting out gluten which was a necessity and the severity of hubby’s symptoms necessitated complete removal of gluten from our home, then came Paleo.
Paleo was the single biggest change to our lives. Our energy increased, we both lost weight without exercise, skin cleared up and we stopped being sick so frequently. As I am want to do with a topic I love, I became obsessed with all things Paleo – how to do it, what we should eat, what we shouldn’t, why we shouldn’t, what other things we can do e.g. HIIT, walking, good sleep, meditation, play etc.
I was enthralled with it all. But the one thing that keeps coming up in all the paleo literature is the health of your gut. The status of the tiny microbes that make up a huge portion of each person on the planet. The ones that most of us don’t acknowledge or know that we need to nurture and feed.
It was a non paleo, GP friend that recommended this one to me (which in itself surprised me, perhaps there is hope for us yet!). In this book Giulia Enders takes us from the mouth to the behind, engaging us in the conversation about how each part works and how these tiny little bugs do their work – and what can go wrong. A great read if your’e interested in finding out more about your gut and why you should invest some time in to learning how to take care of it.
I enjoyed each of these books immensely and gained valuable ideas from them all. Reading them has lead me on to new ideas and knowledge that I’m really enjoying exploring.
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