When we commit to ourselves, marry ourselves, we need a community of support-those voices that hold us up, remind us that we are worthy of our acceptance, that we are lovable. This is why the minister asks the gathered community for their support of the couple getting married. Not only can't we go this alone (successfully)...we don't have too!
So, in addition to my sisters, my tribe, I turn to books for assurance that I am "okay." Even as a child I trusted if there was a book about "it," what I was feeling or experiencing, then I wasn't the only one feeling "it" or thinking "it." I was reassured. Safe. Not alone!
Many years ago, when I began my journey into my self as a woman: wondering what exactly this
meant, why it mattered, and what was I missing, a dear, older, wiser woman suggested some books, "Written with you in mind," she added. The message that I was not the only woman in search of herself allowed me to breath.
So I began to read. And read. And read. Many of these books I still pick up to reference and reread to find validation. They settle me in the middle of the night when my internal monsters are their loudest. They comfort me in the middle of the day when my toes have been badly stepped on by a clumsy person. They remind me, anytime I am unkind to myself, scaring myself with messages of inadequacy, that I am "normal," whatever that means.
Here is my list of Old Loves and Faithful Companions...
The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
This book travels with me. Literally... It is in my suitcase regardless of the state, or country, I am headed toward. (I have the hard backed version so this is truly a commitment!)
The Book of Awakening is a daily meditation book filled with wisdoms born of Mark's humanity, and his poetic way of experiencing life. Often I read the days entry and feel like it is exactly what I needed to hear. My self kindness returns. My self acceptance grows. And I start the day trusting me with me!
Crossing to Avalon: A Women's Midlife Pilgrimage by Jean Shinoda Bolen
I read this a long time ago but it stays primary on my shelf. Jean is an MD and a Jungian analyst. She tells the story of her pilgrimage to spiritual awakening as she travels to Europe to the labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral in France. She references the Legend of the Holy Grail to guide her journey. I remember more of how I felt reading this book than the details of the story. Hopeful. Brave. And not alone in my quest to understand myself deeply.
Circle of Stones:Woman's Journey to Herself by Judith Duerk
Judith asks a series go questions at the beginning of each chapter. Questions that broke me open to the support I missed, needed and can create. She asks..."How would your life be different if you had a circle of women to....and she fills in the rest with all the possible ways we can be there for one another.
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I call this my bible. It is so well loved that the binding is broken-a Velveteen Rabbit of sorts. Clarissa is a Jungian analyst and storyteller. She uses fairy tales to mirror the richness, the brokenness and the call of the wild in each woman's heart. She expertly challenges me to examine my life, my relationships and my self. This is not for the faint of heart : ) and this book woke me up like no other!!
A Woman Worth by Marianne Willamson
A simple, easy read that is packed full of powerful thinking. What I remember most from this book is that it made me wonder who I want to be within myself. Because that will determine how I will be in my life and world.
There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
This is a children's book that is really meant for adults. It reminded me that what I try to ignore only gets bigger...until I accept and love it.
What books support and validate you? Please share in the comments below!
And, as always,
PS I will share my newer book loves soon. Be thinking of yours!!