So, I know I haven’t posted in what seems like forever. I’m hoping with this new (to me) series of posts that may help or help you understand why I haven’t been blogging as much. Or at all in 2017.
I’m starting a book recommendation series on here and the first is Books to Help You Through. As I bet you guessed from the title. My goal at least for this one is for maybe you to find a book that will help you through a tough time or help inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Admittedly, some of these books are unoriginal and could be found through a basic google search but I read them and they helped me and I hope they help you too.
Books to Help You Through:
I know a lot of people will say that 2016 was really bad in terms of their personal lives, but for me it kind of started in 2015 and went in to the 2017 yet. I’m still not feeling 100% myself and that’s ok! Baby steps. These are books I started reading at the end of 2016 and mostly this year that I found have helped me.
Illusions by Richard Bach was recommended to me by a podcast I listen to and I loved it so much. Its about a guy that flies airplane tours – the kind that used to be parked in a field and you could pay $3 to go for a ride. He meets another guy flying airplanes too and starts an interesting journey. You might be thinking, “Ok Hailey, but how does this help me through a tough time?” Well, there’s obviously more to it than just that. It’s about the journey the main character takes on – you might notice the bi-line of the title “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.” It’s all about finding your own personal power.
“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
“The thing that puzzles you,” he said, “is an accepted saying that happens to be impossible. The phrase is hurt somebody else. We choose, ourselves, to be hurt or not to be hurt, no matter what. Us who decides. Nobody else. My vampire told you he’d be hurt if you didn’t let him? That’s his decision to be hurt, his choice. What you do about your decision, your choice: give him blood; ignore him; tie him up; drive a stake of holly through his heart. If he doesn’t want the holly stake, he’s free to resist, in whatever way he wants. It goes on and on, choices, choices.”
“When you look at it that way…”
“Listen,” he said, “It’s important. We are all. Free. To do. Whatever. We want. To do.”
Some of the things I love about this book is that for its size (small) and message (big) it’s got some funny parts too. I found it quite clever. I think it’ll help if you ever felt powerless or wanted to give up. When you need to do something for you, and not anyone else.
Get it here: Amazon
When Women Were Birds is in a nut shell about voice. How you use it, why it’s important, and sometimes how silence is using your voice.
“We all have our secrets. I had mine. To withhold words is power. But to share our words with others, openly and honestly, is also power.”
She uses her deceased mother’s journals as a reflection over that voice. It has such beautiful writing and I, personally, took a long time to read this. Not because it wasn’t readable but because I wanted to reflect on each of the chapters on different variations of voice.
“What thrilled me most was the fact that millions of meteors burn up every day as they enter our atmosphere. As a result, Earth receives ten tons of dust from outer space. Not only do we take in world with each breath, we are inhaling the universe. We are made of stardust.”
There are parts of the novel where she talks about when her voice felt taken from her or on moments where she wished she would have used her voice.
I am still getting used to my voice and the power of my words. This book will help you if you’re still finding your voice or even if you feel like you use it too much. Listening is using your voice and just as important as speaking up.
Get it here: Amazon
The Alchemist is sort of like Illusions but I feel like a lot better known. Like Illusions its about your own personal journey and your own personal power. It follows Santiago as he goes on a journey for his own personal treasure. It follows his life as he works hard, falls in love, and the people he meets along the way.
I will admit this book gets a little preachy, a little pretentious, and repetitive. Between Illusions and The Alchemist I’d choose Illusions. However, it’s still a good book and I think what this book does better than Illusions as far as helping you get through a hard time is that it shows the hardships of Santiago. He has doubts and fear, and even at one point it shows him in what I refer to as “the stuck place.” I’m fairly positive it’s not hard to find quotes online from this book because it is hella well known, but I’m going to share one of my favorites.
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”
If you’re not particularly religious like me, you could read that and just sort of shrug it off. I’m perceiving it as humans are the great equalizer. We’re made of the same stuff.
“It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil,” said the alchemist. “It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”
Get it here: Amazon
I’m going to lump these two together because they’re kind of the same, and yet different. Big Magic is about using your creativity in any way you can. Big Magic also has a podcast if you’re interested in that. I enjoyed that too.
While Big Magic is about using your creativity and not being afraid of it, Concerning the Spiritual in Art is about looking at art differently. Written by Modern Artist, Kandinsky, it’s more about what is behind it instead of where the talent is. How often do we look at paintings and say “That looks like a 5 year old painted that,” but we don’t look at it and wonder what the artist was feeling when they painted it. There’s more to art than just being able to draw a portrait.
“It starts by forgetting about perfect. We don’t have time for perfect. In any event, perfection is unachievable: It’s a myth and a trap and a hamster wheel that will run you to death. […] Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes – but even worse, it often stops people from beginning…” (Big Magic)
Big Magic is all about starting and getting going. Do it, whatever it is that makes you happy and Concerning the Spiritual in Art is all about looking at the intent and feeling behind it.
“On one canvas is a huddle of objects painted with varying degrees of skill, virtuosity and vigour, harshly or smoothly. To harmonize the whole is the task of the art. With cold eyes and indifferent mind the spectators regard the work. Connoisseurs admire the “skill” (as one admires a tightrope walker), enjoy the “quality of the painting” (as one enjoys a pastry). But hungry souls go hungry away.” (Concerning the Spiritual in Art)
I think both of these are good picks for helping the creative spirit or someone who wants to get in touch with their creativity a bit more. If you look at it too critically you’re never going to continue. It’s better to get the crap out and keep going than to never actually try.
Big Magic on Amazon
Get Concerning the Spiritual in Art on Amazon
This falls under the same category of pilgrimage stories and finding your own great whatever. However, it’s based off of a poem by Farid Ud – Din Attar. Peter Sis illustrated the poem and turns it into a magical beast of a read. I say that like it’s a huge book. It’s not.
Why it helped me. It came in to my life at a perfect time because I was debating on choices I have to make and I’m not a quick decision maker by any means. It gave me the push I needed to make a choice, for what I feel like is the best choice for me. While you could argue this book is in the same vein as The Alchemist and Illusions, this one hits more of the having faith part. Having faith in the universe, having faith in your abilities, and most importantly having faith in yourself.
It’s about birds who go on a journey to find their bird king, Smorgh. It’s a long journey and some will make it, some won’t. Some will be afraid and some will be courageous. It has a lot to do with perspective.
The illustrations are stunning. The poem is beautiful. Please read it.
Get it here: Amazon
Let me know if any of these books help you, or if you have any suggestions for books that will help others through tough times. I might do a series on this for books to help you through tough times, with different angles to help you through those tough times.
Have a lovely day, you’re worth it.