My love of books, stories, and good drama means that when I am in a book store or movie theatre, I am like a kid in a candy store. I remember a silent retreat several years ago at Lebh Shomea, a Christian community located near Sarita, TX. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate created a contemplative-eremitical lifestyle on this South Texas ranch, which was given as a legacy by Sarita Kenedy East. Hermitage style cabins, good food, solitude, deep silence and many places for meditation and prayer are part of the retreat….. AND they have a library that covers the entire main floor of the Big House. When Sister Marie took me to the closet where she had just opened a box of brand new books from Shambala publishers, she told me I could have them all to myself for my entire stay if I wanted. I felt that same feeling I experienced in childhood when Grandpa Kiker would walk with me down to Mr. Stroud’s corner store in Canyon, TX. I was allowed to gather several penny candies from the glass jars, all to devour for my very own. For me, all my life, learning is the sweet stuff of my existence. No wonder one of my top five Gallup strengths is “Learner.”
Here in our home in Buda, TX, our breakfast area is our retreat center. Paul and I share reading time every morning at breakfast following our exercise (Qi Gong.) Depending on my schedule of appointments, we can sometimes spend as much as two or three hours in the really delicious feast of reading books. We choose a few favorites and take turns reading aloud to each other. What a nice way to keep the chatter of my monkey mind attuned to worthwhile ideas and novelty thoughts! Some of the ones we are reading now actually remind me of a “sugar high.”
I am inclined to always want to share these pieces from my “candy store.” So here is the current list of the books we are enjoying:
Evolutionaries, by Carter Phipps. This is the newest and probably the most profound book of the last few months reading. Phipps has brought a comprehensive view of all the ideas from great scientific-philosophy-spiritual pioneers. He brings a new understanding of expansionary evolution, connecting the cultural drama of our human concerns to the far more vast drama of biological and ultimately cosmological progress. Change is afoot, we are on the move! He also makes the point that stress brings change, which continues the upward spiral of evolutionary growth. Einstein is reported to have said that the most important idea we have created is the practice of compound interest. That idea corresponds to Prigogene’s theory in which he states that “dissipative structures” can exhibit a tendency to spontaneously self-organize to higher levels of organization, much like compound interest. That is the good news about evolution, seen through a different lens. I especially relate to the middle chapters on evolving consciousness (the inside story.) If you choose to read this book, please let me know what you think and we will have a very lively discussion.
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I have been a fan of Joe Dispenza’s ever since we heard him speak at the Crossings here in Austin. His first book, Evolve Your Brain, is a classic. In this new book, Dr. Joe gives us a workable solution for literally re-inventing our personality. It is all about our energetic reality and he is a good teacher for creating new neuronal pathways that move us into our highest and best possibilities. Every chapter is packed with good information, practical skills, and use of the power of thought to create what is desired, including our own flow of feelings and behavior–which respond to thoughts and beliefs. I think he is one of the best in terms of understanding our miraculous brain.
A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie. This is on all my reading lists because we are reading through it for the third time. Just as we read A Course in Miracles many times in the 80s, Byron Katie is anchoring the reality that our own thoughts are the secret to our becoming. Inquiry into any thought that is disturbing, after we do her inquiry process, can actually bring us back to Zen mind.
Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss. I have always liked his approach to Active Dreaming and this book is more of his great dreamwork. Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole is the sub-title. Dreams, to me, are letters from God and we must open our mail, if we are to get to the deep unconscious part of our mind.
To Be and How to Be by Peggy Nash Rubin. Peggy says “the play of life is a daring and dramatic adventure. Live it for all it’s worth and say yes! no matter what…Paul and I both are fans of Peggy. She stretched us to our edges of imagination for many years in her work with Jean Houston—Mystery School and Social Artistry. This book has lots of exercises and deep connection to Shakespeare and all good literature as templates for our own life stories.
Public Like a Frog by Jean Houston. I am using this book, published in 1993 as a springboard for several things–inspiration to write, appreciation of great minds, and useful exercises for all sorts of developmental growth. Jean teaches in my favorite way through participatory exercises and mind stretching. She uses the life stories of Emily Dickenson, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller, entering into the lives of these three great Americans. In Mystery school, we became each of these giants. We projected ourselves into Emily Dickenson’s life through imagery, writing and great theatre. We became Thomas Jefferson and ended by writing our own Declaration of Independence. You can imagine some of the ways we extended ourselves into Helen Keller, feeling the water and the tapping out of the letters for w-a-t-e-r, as our partner portrayed Annie Sullivan. All of the vivid learning through experiential drama comes back to me as I re-read this book. It would be a useful guide for any group wanting to explore creativity, courage, and placing the local self into the high Self.
The Transcendent Life by Jim Rosemergy. A good writer and teacher, the author is a great representative of the Unity movement. We like his forty day guide.
Getting in the Gap; Inspiration; Manifest Your Destiny; Living the Wisdom of the Tao; and Wishes Fulfilled –five books from the bountiful writing of Wayne Dyer. I have read him from long ago when he wrote Your Erroneous Zones. We met him on the cruise to Alaska and felt warmed by his genuineness. Watching Wayne Dyer’s evolutionary journey over the years has been like watching a movie of how to evolve into becoming one’s best Self. Getting Into the Gap is a good instruction manual for Japa yoga. Good mind training. Great mind-body-spirit guide.
Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra. Commonsense solutions from real people with real problems, this author has been a favorite for many, many years. We read most everything Deepak Chopra writes and admire him for his mastery of life.
This is Not Working: (the center is not holding, we need to rethink our way forward, a reflective inquiry into our current condition, ) by Mike Morrison. I am a real fan of Mike Morrison and look forward to the day I get to meet him in person at our next Tribal Gathering for Interface, Inc. Mike is a renowned expert on meaningful change, he has become an inspirational poet, as well as being an outstanding business leader. His poetry at the end of each chapter brings his words to crystal clear meaning, with a smile of recognition of our human condition.
Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. One of those little boutique books with profound, mind stretching understanding of our real power. Combine Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Joe Dispenza if you want to reshape your entire self through awareness and attention, which is consciousness.
And, just for reading fun, we usually read a portion from these next two books every morning:
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen (a memoir). We have long admired Anna Quindlen’s writing. This book is no exception. So real. So interesting. So warm.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Maybe it is because Jenny’s last name is the name of our great-grandson, Lawson Paul Robinson. Maybe it is because our daughter, Cynthia, sent us her hard-back copy, replacing it with the audio book so that she could hear Jenny Lawson in her own voice. Or just maybe it is because she lives in Texas, not too far from us. OR, maybe she is the out-of-the-box profane woman, speaking every woman’s funny story……..whatever the reason, this is an entertaining book. Some of her stories leave us in stitches, some in horror, some in total empathy for we can easily relate to both Jenny and her parents. She says this book is sort of like Little House on the Prairie, only with lots more cursing. You can see her on the internet. Her website is TheBloggess.com
Thanks for taking a trip into my candy store. There will be more to come, I am sure. Enjoy learning!