Best 8 Books to nurture creative people in mind, body, and spirit

West Fork, Oak Creek, Sedona, Arizona

As a writer, I use the month of January to reorient my life after the craziness of the holidays. That’s when I plan what I want to do during the coming year and renew my resolution to be as nurturing to myself as I can be.

I visit these eight authors to find new inspiration for the coming year:

Julia Cameron Finding WaterJULIA CAMERON. To nurture my creative spirit, there is no one better than Julia Cameron. She has written a series of books, including one for women in transition, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond involving three techniques for self-growth: handwriting morning pages, taking a walk in nature, and making an “artist’s date” where you take yourself to someplace new.

She’s best known for her Artist’s Way trilogy, and my special favorite is Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance

Your money or your life

VICKI ROBIN. Even though each year I resolve  to lower my holiday spending, I’m not always successful, and as a result January can be depressing! That’s when I turn to Robin’s seminal work, Your Money or your life. It’s been called, “the best book on money period.” I like it because it is practical and not preachy. It talks about the best ways to get out of debt, saving money through being more mindful, living well for less.

My kind of advice!

 

 

Paul Wilson - Finding the quiet

PAUL WILSON. About December 24th I think if I hear one more rendition of Jingle Bells I’ll scream. That’s when I yearn for silence and I turn to Finding the quiet: Four simple steps to peace and contentment—without spending the rest of your life on a mountain top.

(Although the mountaintop wouldn’t be bad, either!)

 

 

 

Meditation on the Go
PADRAIG O’MORAIN. Meditation calms me down and gives me clear thinking, which is absolutely essential for good writing. O’Morain is a master at giving ways to be more mindful, even on days when I am crazy-busy. According to the author of Mindfulness on the Go,  inner calm can be found “on your morning commute, during your coffee break, or in line at the super market.”

And he’s right!

 

Strong Women stay young
MIRIAM NELSON. Strong women stay young. Sometimes when the words are flowing, I spend long hours hunched over a computer keyboard, barely breathing, much less moving. I get up hours later moving like a jerky robot!

I’ve found much better way is to intersperse—with a timer set way across the room so I have to move—periods of writing with short bursts of physical activity.

Strong women stay young describes just six exercises using a straight back chair and a set of hand weights that can keep you limber, strong, and young.

 

Simple Steps

LISA LELAS. When deadlines loom, marketing rears its ugly head, and there is just too much to do in my life, I turn to Simple Steps: 10 weeks to getting control your life: Health, Weight, Home, Spirit.

What the author suggests is a step-by-step way back to sanity when stress threatens burnout.

I’ve bookmarked several strategies, and use them often.

 

 

 

Omnivore's Dilemma

MICHAEL POLLAN. The Omnivore’s DilemmaI like this author’s common sense approach to eating.

I’m a stress eater and a comfort eater and a convenience eater when I’m on a roll, plotting a new novel. Set something in front of me and I’ll eat it. Especially if it contains caffeine or chocolate, or even better, both!

Michael suggests instead, “eat food, not too much, more plants.” I agree.

 

 

The healthy writer
JOANNA PENN

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a brand new one just out, The Healthy Writer. Joanna knows all too well the kinds of stress that creative people subject themselves to in the pursuit of their art.

Here she teams up with a medical doctor to give some practical tips for escaping the unhealthy habits we sometimes construct for ourselves.

A positive read!

 

And that’s my favorite eight writers on best practices that help me start my New Year in a nurturing way.

What about you?
Who are you reading for inspiration right now?

 

Finding peace in a frantic world

West Fork Trail, Oak Creek, Sedona, Arizona

West Fork Vista, Oak Creek, Sedona, Arizona

“I want to be able to live without a crowded calendar. I want to be able to read a book without feeling guilty, or go to a concert when I like.”
Golda Meir

Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel for ten years and active in public service all of her life was described as strong-willed, straight-talking, gray-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people.

She used to say it was a blessing to be born plain; that the pretty girl had a handicap to overcome, because people saw the beauty first, not the person. She also mentioned the lament of all working mothers: when you are at work, you feel guilty about your children at home; when you are home, you feel guilty about the work left behind.

Time, then, is precious. But time to do what? For Golda, it was time to read a book whenever she wanted, or to attend a concert. I like to think a walk in nature may be the very best use of time ever, but reading a good book comes in a close second!

When we are doing what we want to do, whether it is spending time with our children or pursuing a hobby with passion, time slows down to accommodate us. It obligingly stretches and conforms to the task at hand, giving our creativity not only time, but space as well, so that true joy can be expressed.

How would YOU spend your time, if you had enough to do exactly
what you wanted?

 

 

Ignorance is to bliss, as technology is to…

Bell Rock Courthouse ButteThe familiar phrase comes from an ode written by Thomas Gray, a poet who lived in the 1700s, The full quote is, “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

The impetus for the poem was some joyful children playing near Eton College, with no thought of what future catastrophes their lives might hold. The poet lists a few: disdainful anger, pallid fear, grim-visaged, comfortless despair.  He describes an icy soul that watches a slow-consuming old age approach.

The poem was written when Gray was 26, perhaps a bit young for a midlife crisis, but consider that he died at 55. Later Romantic poets had even a worse fate, with Keats dying at 25 and Shelley at 30.

I’ve been blessed with good health, but these words of 300 years ago were prescient of events this past week.

On the advice of my wellness coach, I acquired a Fitbit and a blood-pressure cuff. (Also a thermometer that takes my temperature by touching my forehead, but that’s the topic for another day.)

Using these new wonders of technology, with additional inputs into my computer, I can tell exactly what my blood pressure is upon rising (comatose) and what percentage of fiber I have ingested for the day (not enough).

I now know if I’ve had a restful sleep or whether I’ve been sitting too long in front of the computer. It cheers me on if I’ve accomplished my step goal or allows me to “taunt” a friend if she has not achieved hers.

There are other intrusions on the horizon: Smart refrigerators that alert you if the milk is going bad. A beep on your phone to tell you the traffic is heavy this morning and you need to leave five minutes early for work.

Ray Kerzweil Singularity is NearAbout ten years ago, the futurist Ray Kurzweil wrote a book entitled, The Singularity is Near, in which he predicted a merger between genetics, nanotechnology and robotics to create a new humanoid species entirely unlike anything we ever known.

We are indeed close. I find it exceedingly uncomfortable to be jerked into the future like a puppy raised by the nape of the neck and unceremoniously dumped in the back yard. I’ve had that feeling several times this past week.

Maybe Thomas Gray had it right all along. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, and we don’t want, or need, to know what’s coming.

How do you feel about the merger of technology and humankind?
I’d love to hear from you!