Hello from 2017 – Books, Posts, and Themes
Spiritual opening is not a withdrawal to some imagined realm or safe cave. It is not a pulling away, but a touching of all the experience of life with wisdom and with a heart of kindness, without any separation. – Jack Kornfield
Ready or not 2017 is here! Although of course energetically for many around the world, the New Year doesn’t really begin until the Year of the Fire Rooster (or Bird) kicks off on January 28th (in the Chinese calendar) or a month later (in the Tibetan.) I will post my usual symbolic meanderings about this soon (the Year of the Monkey sure kept us on our toes, no?) Then I will be taking a blogging sabbatical for awhile – as you can see, I wasn’t able to blog much in the second half of 2016, and have decided I should just take an official break and finish out some projects. Since I didn’t offer my usual December energy work teleseminar or book giveaway for Winter Solstice, I hope to return and do both just in time for Summer Solstice in June.
In lieu of both now however, I thought I would kick off the year by listing some of the 2016 books that I liked and that you may find helpful, and offer some suggestions for what to focus on as this year shifts into gear. First, some of my favorite books – or at least my favorites that are related to the themes of this blog:
Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur – raw and inventive poetry on themes of abuse, love, heartbreak and empowerment, grouped into 4 sections ‘the hurting’, ‘the loving’, the breaking’, ‘the healing.’
Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton – written by the creator of the popular blog Momastery, this is her memoir of self-discovery as her marriage implodes, which also flashes back to earlier days of past addiction and pain. As she works through both she dives deep into what love really requires.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron – not a new book, but the 20th anniversary reprint edition; a classic that anyone will benefit from reading once – or more.
Enlightened Parenting: A Mom Reflects on Living Spiritually With Kids, Meryl Davids Landau – warm and insightful essays on how to embrace parenting as your spiritual path, and on integrating spirituality into family life.
The Awakening Body: Somatic Meditation for Discovering our Deepest Life, Reginald Ray – six accessible but powerful body-based meditations adapted from the somatic and energetic practices of Vajrayana/Tantric Buddhism, Taoism, and other spiritual traditions. Although the author talks mostly in terms of the physical body, from my perspective these are really about the physical/subtle body interface, and they are a great spiritual counterpart to the trauma-healing somatic work of Peter Levine and others, which I have written about before here.
Excavating Pema Ozer by Yudron Wangmo – an interesting novel about a teenage girl discovering Tibetan Buddhism when sent to live with her grandmother. An accessible and entertaining introduction to Buddhist teachings.
Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett – the author is the host of NPR’s On Being, and in this book she draws on the many interviews she has done with great spiritual, scientific, academic, and social leaders to probe the major challenges and themes of our time.
I also recommend a followup book to one I recommended last year – Walking the Advanced Path: Revelations and Reminders on the Direct Path of Awakening. And Cyndi Dale has written an outstanding and comprehensive new encyclopedia of the chakras, Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras (which I am proud to be mentioned in within a couple sections.)
Outside of spiritual teachings, I really enjoyed memoirs by two interesting and empowering women this year – comedian Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo and writer Jennifer Weiner’s Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing. Both are sharp and funny but not superficial, as both women share painful childhood memories, and are honest and insightful about the conditioning women receive about our bodies, sexuality, and power.
Closer to home on the writings front, I thought I’d share what the top posts at Mommy Mystic were in 2016 (drawn from all posts, not just those published in 2016). Perhaps you missed one of these or would like to revisit:
The top posts published in 2016 were:
I also was interviewed last Fall by Caroline McGraw at The Clearing, a residential facility incorporating spiritual psychology for the treatment of addiction, abuse, and related emotional issues, and some of you may find this interview or other resources at The Clearing blog helpful:
As for energetic advice going into 2017, I think more will surface as I prepare my lunar New Year post, but for now I will say openness. Openness is my word for 2017, and opening. So consider what it means to open – open to seeing situations or people in a different way, open to new experiences and goals, open to unconditional love, compassion, power. To truly open means letting go of limitations, fears, expectations, anger, and even hopes at times. Energetically and emotionally it means finding your internal knots, and gently allowing them to untie and release. I sense this focus on opening may be most relevant right now, within the energetic transit we are currently experiencing, and that a more focused approach will be needed in a month or so. But for now open.
Wishing you opening in heart, mind, and body as we enter 2017.