When you start to get consumed by life's day to day activities, what is the first thing that you enjoy doing that gets put to the side? Do you ever find yourself saying, "I love to do ________ but I just haven't had the time lately"?
For me the empty line in that sentence has been reading.
I love reading and nothing delights me more than looking at my long book list that I keep on my phone and choosing new titles for my next book haul. I mean, I was the girl (still am) in multiple book clubs. Now, just so we are clear-I love most books, but let's be real, you know my heart is in the self growth slash personal development book section. You will definitely see the whole Harry Potter series on my book shelf and you may even catch me reading a good mystery or popular novel with a big Oprah approved sticker on it but what I really love are books that stretch my soul.
Honestly, I haven't been reading a ton over the last few months. To be even more honest, I started a book in January and I just finished it at the beginning of April (yea, you read that right). But alas, I am human. I had a lot going on but truly, my headspace was all over the place thinking of things to do and create that I just couldn't get it to sit still. I wasn't prioritizing the time to sit down with a book and read. I was to engrossed in screens and filters and told myself that those things were the priority.
April has been one of those months that have shown me what I need to see even though it has been in front of me this whole time. I realized my self care game has taken a slide and I needed to reset, begin again and restore my soul. So, in true Soul Connect fashion, I wrote myself a permission slip and opted for less screen time and more real life filter time. More time outdoors, more time with my nose in a book, more time being present.
More time in between the screens.
Since I gave myself permission, I feel like I have been able to take a huge exhale. Last weekend was a holiday weekend here in the States and so I decided to make Friday a full on self care sabbatical day. I took myself for a long walk by the lake, got a massage (that I am pretty sure I blacked out in because it was sooo relaxing), and then hit a book store where I spent an hour perusing titles and deciding which would make my haul that day.
That weekend I reunited with my love of reading and have reintroduced it into my everyday practice. It has felt so good to get back to that place and recalibrate my priorities. Plus, how funny (haha Universe kind of funny) that the books I chose were exactly what I needed to read. I am a big believer that I need to be ready or feel called to books before I read them (at least for the books that are in the stretch my soul genre). The three books I read this week have been like a hot powerful yoga flow for my soul and have given me so much to contemplate and reflect on.
Below I am sharing a few reads that have delved into recently and how they have stretched my soul. I would love to hear what's on your list! Show me your book #shelfies! What books are you reading or listening to because side note, how awesome is Audible?! What are you doing in between the screen? Share with me below or tag me in your posts! Let's hold each other accountable for taking more pauses and time in between the screen.
THE BOOK OF JOY by the Dalai Lama + Desmond Tutu // Now that I think about it, maybe it was meant for me to take so long reading this book. That it spanned a few months to really delve in and finish it seems pretty appropriate now that I think about it! This book was so light filled and really helped me look at JOY and how interrelated it is to suffering. I loved how the Dalia Lama gently reminded us, on repeat was that we are one of 7 billion people on this planet-we are all human (I know I need that reminder daily). One of my favorite stretch your soul moments: "We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do".
UNBOUND by Steph Jagger // Real talk, I binged on this book via Audible in less than 24 hours. I adored Wild and Eat, Pray, Love so it is no surprise that I loved this book. I have never skied but hell, I felt like I was on the snow cap mountains with Steph the whole time! This book made me really think more about why I love these types of books. What I came to reflect on is that this book unlike the others isn't about the catalyst being a breaking point; it is about the journey-Steph's journey-back home to herself. It's about removing the restraining devices that keep us bound so we can come alive to our whole self. This was a really powerful read for me. My favorite (of so many!) soul stretching moments was this: "I learned our growth doesn't depend on our ability to look at beautiful things; it is the opposite. Our growth depends on how we look at the not beautiful."
YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes // See above about my feelings on memoir type books. As much as I love self growth books I also love a good #NetflixandChill and Scandal is definitely on my list of favs. Shonda Rhimes is a creative genius and her book is so funny, so soul stretching and left me feeling hella inspired to redefine my YES. One of my favorite soul stretching moments: "This Yes is about giving yourself the permission to shift the focus of what is a priority from what’s good for you over to what makes you feel good."
LIVING BEAUTIFULLY WITH UNCERTAINTY + CHANGE by Pema Chodron // I have had this book on my list for so long but haven't felt ready to read it until now. And of course, it was the perfect timing. It's all about being present, having an open heart and moving forward with no agenda. This is the thing. The soul work. The practice. And Pema laid the truth all down right intros book for us to see, feel and practice. One of my favorite stretch your soul moments: "We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can't relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased."