I escaped to Joshua Tree for the weekend, to write and relax. Knowing I needed a big push and some space to focus, I planned a three-day writing retreat before a conference in Palm Springs to get started brainstorming for the book I am writing this year.
Sitting down to write my own book has made me reflect a lot on the books I love to read, especially those that have impacted me deeply in one way or another. Today want to share three books that changed my life, and recommend them to you, too.
Three Books That Changed My Life
1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
I have recommended this book before, and it is sits next to the scriptures on my nightstand for regular reading and reflection. The concepts and presentation are easily understood, and Greg gives a lot of stories to illustrate the main points he is making.
The “less” that he is talking about in the book is more emotional, time and energy oriented than possessions, and whenever I start to feel overloaded with tasks or responsibilities that I have taken on, I remember one of my favorite quotes from the book,
“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?” -Greg McKeown
My 99-year-old grandfather gave me this book for Christmas last year and told me it had really changed how he thought about life. I quickly read it and felt the same way.
Janice not only shares her personal experiences as she experiments with keeping a gratitude diary, she also fills each chapter with interviews with experts, scientific research, and an astounding amount of information all pointing us toward the clear conclusion, that gratitude is empowering and transformative.
“Because it’s not dependent on specific events, gratitude is long lasting and impervious to change or adversity. It requires an active emotional involvement– you can’t be passively grateful, you actually have to stop and feel it, experience the emotion.” -Janice Kaplan
3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
When this book came out, I grabbed one at the library then sit in my car as I read it from start to finish in the parking lot. I was entranced by the simple truths about living a creative life, and how that looks different for each of us.
I often think of her explanation of ideas as having their own sort of personalities. Tapping us on the shoulder to see if we will take hold of them, and if we don’t they move onto the next willing friend.
On days I feel wound up and stressed out by my self-imposed bustle of errands, and duties, I remember to stop and give myself space to think bigger, make something for no reason at all, and honor my creativity.
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
These three books keep coming back to me, as I start forming thoughts and creating ideas of my own to share. I have heard that you should write the book that you would want to read, and that is my hope as I start diving into this new creative project.