My current mantra is “Life isn’t perfect, personal or permanent,” courtesy of author Ruth King. If I keep that in mind, most moments in life seem to be a little more easeful. My nightstand reflects where I am today in my life, which is on a health and wellness journey. After two serious medical situations where my body was giving all kinds of warning signals that I chose to ignore, I had to make changes. The second incident set off a twisting and turning journey of discovery on taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The journey brought me to completing a two-year teacher certification in Mindfulness and Meditation taught by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach—with 1,400 students from 75 countries. Kornfield and Brach both hold PhDs in clinical psychology and teach meditation internationally, where they offer a great balanced approach to life. I learned how to teach and came out with a deeper, stronger, and consistent meditation practice, a clearer sense of self, a greater sense of humor, and a greater sense of curiosity.
Most of the books in my overflowing stack come from the recommended and required school reading that I am still working my way through—keenly aware that there is nothing light, clever, or whimsical in it. But I am OK with that … my pile is just what I need for this journey to becoming the best instructor and individual I can. A tiny buddha and two tarot card decks also live on my nightstand, the latter for daily readings and journaling.
A few of the books currently on my nightstand:
The Wedge by Scott Carney. This book talks cold therapy, evolution, fear, and why it’s good for us to be uncomfortable and how to make it work for our health. I am now rethinking how I view things I dislike or find uncomfortable. Believe it or not, this exploration is enjoyable.
Breath by James Nestor. “No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or strong you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.” The more I read about breathing, the more I want to know.
Food Fix by Dr Mark Hyman. “Our most powerful tool to reverse the global epidemic of chronic disease, heal the environment, reform politics, and revive economies is food.” I’m fascinated about our food systems and how they simultaneously impact an individual’s health and the world at large. When I heard Dr. Hyman speak about having our health span equal our life span, it became a personal aspiration.
The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn. This book was self-published in 1923 because Shinn could not find anyone who would publish it. Since then, this small but powerful work—which shares that life is not meant to be engaged with as a battle but more like a game—has never been out of print. It is a great lesson for someone who can take life too seriously. Any way to shift and create balance helps.
Everything is Spiritual by Rob Bell. This came to my nightstand by way of The Community Church and a book club discussion. I loved the combination of science, spirituality, and God in one place. Not everyone liked the book, but I believe all found value in the questions Bell asked and also found the reflections worth their time.
We all know our beginning, but we do not know our middle or our end, so why not make sure—despite all the things we need to do (most of which are heavy and boring)—we are balancing them with the little things that give us joy? Everyone is his or her own best teacher and no one can tell us what light us up. For me, it is immersing myself in nature, a smile from a friend or stranger, laughter, friends, and family (most of the time). When I pay attention to these things it impacts my days, my mindset, and my journey. I wish you well on yours.
To learn more about participating in Barbor’s Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation class, Startwith-U, email [email protected] She would love to travel on a journey together.