Renew You: 5 Best Summer Reads

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we are up to our eyeballs in the dog days of summer. Fry an egg on the sidewalk, time.

And, being the ever-constant contrarian, I believe THIS IS THE BEST TIME of the year, when there’s this palpable lazy-hazy lull, to create personal plans and make realistic goals. It’s a great time to think about how you want your year to end up.

Think about how you would like to re-create family traditions, maybe now you could make a plan to create a holiday that’s less stressful, less expensive and more about the reason for the season. There’s still time to get rid of the weight, when no one is looking.

Or, how about that new career path? Could putting a plan together, NOW, while others (your competition)are slathered in oil, sunning themselves and sleepily saying…”I’ll stick this job out until year-end and THEN, think about a new job/business/company”….could THIS be a time to enter the race and prep for a new finish line?

All I know for sure is that making decisions under the added pressure of when everyone else seems to be doing the same thing, feels like much too much pressure to me. I like to find a time to do things when everyone else, ISN’T. It’s just more strategic, more focused, and less frantic.

So, if you’ve gone through your breezy beach reading list, wondering if your brain might be feeling a bit mushy, these books might starch your shirt and sharpen your personal pencil of possibilities.

It’s my private, tried-and-true epiphany list with a bit of a description to spur you into that Amazon order. I endorse these words with my whole heart. They have been life changers for me, and transformative for my clients as well:

1. LOVEABILITY…Knowing How to Love and Be Loved: by Robert Holden, Ph.D.
Yeah, yeah. We know. Gotta love yourself first before any decent thing can happen in your
life. We’ve heard that message ad nauseum. Loving myself first always seemed sort of
selfish to me until I read this book. It was down to earth and practical and makes all
kinds of sense. It’s the walk-before-the-run-of-your-life. Important and foundational.

2. The 5 Love Languages: by Gary Chapman
This is an essential sequel to #1, and works as an antidote to any lingering concern you
may have about becoming too self-absorbed!
It’s got a follow-up, online quiz adding a dimension of fun and fascination with the
human condition. And it opens doors to good-humored discussion, even clearing up
some of those perplexing “two-ships, passing-in-the-night” feelings that may
have drowned the energy right out of your relationships. This isn’t just husband and
wife stuff…..this same thing works for friendships as well. It even spills over into
what makes you feel valued in your career and in other aspects of your life where what
you are doing and who you are doing it with, really, really matters to you.
More than any other book, this clears up the question of what, specifically, makes you
feel loved(and appreciated). This seems like a good thing to know, doncha think?

As an example, while I appreciate my husband’s consistent sense of duty and his pride in
keeping our home free of trash..while HE considers trash removal, an act of love, it
does not make me FEEL loved.
After our discussion of the book and taking the online quiz, this came as a complete
surprise to him. Lo and behold…I was surprised that he was surprised. Laugther
while learning. I highly recommend it.
Chapman has given us a road map and the ham sandwich to discuss our differences and to
hone in on the simple tweaks we can make, and responsibility we can take to understand,
improve, and energize our relationships.

Two books on the power of our thoughts:

3. As a Man Thinketh: by James Allen
Short and power-packed.
It’s theme: that “the mind is the master weaver”, creating our inner-character and
outer circumstances. Think about how your thoughts can ruin or rev up your day.

4. Discover the Power Within..A guide to the Unexplored Depths Within: :
by Eric Butterworth
This is another classic in its 40th printing. This book reminds us of our divine
creation. Some critics have claimed this book is “too religious”. I have no idea
what they are talking about.

One new book on my “must-read” list:

5. Big Magic…Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert’s entire reason for this book is about embracing everyday creativity which
will lead us into enriched lives, no matter what we are pursuing or ways in which
we might feel stymied by our circumstances.

An example is how she overcame a protracted period of writers block after becoming a
world-famous, best-selling author. The bar was now set far too high.
She owed her publishers another book. Nothing was coming.
She quit focusing on the fear and turned toward something creative but seemingly
unrelated…..I’m not going to tell you what it was…you gotta read about it.

THAT act of creativity led to an overall sense of BEING in the creative flow
without fear. Creativity for creativity and enjoyment of life’s sake.
The process unleashed brand new ideas for her current best seller.

Got a yearning that won’t go away? Or, something itchy that needs
a good scratch? Even if you aren’t clear about what “IT” might actually be,
this book sounds the “all is well” bell for you to trust in
finding your way, without letting fear take you out of the running.

Enjoy the rest of the summer! See you in September.

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