Nothing more puts me into writing and creating zone than the sight of my books especially the ones that changed how I live my daily life.
As I sit in the kitchen drafting this article, I must make a little space for my notebook, my hand, my morning smoothie and my coffee. I have a tray on my left which contains books, a flower vase, a candle, my art supplies, pens and The Artists’ Way Workbook to help stir words for those days that no more words want to come out any more no matter how many times I contemplate, meditate and wring my brain dry.
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The small Christmas tree I made from books are still by the window and there are three books on the left side. There are also books on the couch in my left and I honestly don’t mind covering the entire place with them.
Maybe one day I would without even noticing it. I have long stopped acquiring other material possessions but with books, it is a different addiction story. I’d say, a life saving story of how they allowed me to start anew in my 30’s and approach my daily life with the kind o excitement I only had when I was a child with new toys.
In today’s post, I will be talking about the five books that changed the way I see and live my everyday life.
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Lori Gotlieb is a therapist who needed to see a therapist when life required her to. In this book she detailed her life as a normal person, as a person whom other normal people go to when they need someone to talk to when emotions overflow and as a person who has emotions and must see someone for them too.
As a person who came from a country where mental health, even at this age and technology, is still not given the care and attention it must be given, this book opened my eyes.
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The third world mentality that I have still sometimes makes me treat myself badly whenever I would feel the blues because in my country, it is a sign of weakness. It takes time to recondition the mindset to accept that mental health is also important and not the amount of money a Filipino overseas like me can and should make.
Devouring the pages of this book made me dream a new dream of becoming a psychotherapist and it has activated my researcher mode.
Lori Gotlieb told a heartfelt story in the simplest way my third world brain could easily understand but grabbed me in a way that I wouldn’t look at therapy the same way I did.
Until now I still can’t believe that I would actually be looking for books that will teach me how to rest and make me fully accept why it is okay to rest.
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“Why do I feel guilty about not doing anything?”
I always find asking myself but I found no answers on the surface. I started digging deeper. It’s the way I was raised. I was reminded and somehow pressured to excel in everything and make good use of every second of my life.
I must overachieve in school, keep the house clean at all times, make sure that there’s enough food for everyone and the clothes are washed and ironed. I wasn’t encouraged to rest when I was tired. The act of sprawling on the couch watching some trash TV show was seen as signs of laziness.
I was trained to be on my toes all the time to be accepted as a good daughter any Filipino parent would be proud having.
My behavior towards rest is influenced by my upbringing. Because in my country, the lesser money a family has, the lesser common it is to see someone who actually wants to go after taking care of herself because putting oneself first is selfishness. No one asked why it has to be that way.
In my case, since quitting my job with no plans whatsoever, I feel like I have wasted a lot of time trying to find the thing that I would love to do for the rest of my life.
Now that I have found it, I have been unconsciously driving myself insane every single day just to get where I want to because in my head, it is about time and I have this little fear that I might not have enough time. In the process, I still would wonder why I keep on breaking down that I needed to have a proof and enough justification that it is indeed okay to rest.
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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s husband passed away unexpectedly and she wrote about the devastatingly tragic experience of losing someone, the grieving process and how we, normal people act whenever someone we know loses someone they love.
Most of the time, we are avoiding saying something that might trigger or even worsen the pain that the person is already feeling.
We refuse to ask proper questions because we know how it feels to lose someone and we don’t want to be remind or be reminded when someone mentions anything.
We just stand there but with all the avoidance, it is as if we are not there. By opening in this book, Sheryl Sandberg taught me how to be a better friend by showing that it is okay to ask deeper questions even if they will trigger more painful emotions because these emotions are real and they are what makes us human.
It is okay to talk about emotions no matter how much it would put us into uncomfortable or even embarrassing situations.
“What a shallow book!” I said after reading few pages and stopped to grab other books from my pile. I am slowly letting go of the principle that I need to finish reading all the books that I bought before buying and starting to read a new one.
I want to read more books and I realized that I need not force myself if the book doesn’t resonate and this book, even if it’s a bestseller, I couldn’t stand to read it no matter how much more tips about being happy this one could possibly teach me.
I felt ashamed because I was comparing myself, what I went through and my cultural background with the author and refused to see her efforts about how to be a happier person so she could be a better person for those who are around her.
I grabbed it again and started to continue but this time, with all the prejudices on the side. I am glad I did because even if I had hard time reading the book, it taught me how I could be happier where I am and be content with what I have while working for what I want.
I am very good at running away and escaping situations but it never occurred to me that I have been running away from myself. I am the common denominator. I have issues with myself and if I will not work hard to reach that state of being at peace with myself, I will just keep on running away.
I know I have messed up big time and my desire to find my authentic self put me in situations that I didn’t wish to be in but this time, I am changing the mindset. I am doing a lot inner work that will not require me to be anywhere new again.
I want roots this time. I am tired of feeling homeless and of always wanting to escape. If I will not find happiness here, I am sure I will not find it elsewhere. I am lucky to be given the chance to start over and though it feels as if my second childhood came in really early, I am dealing with it everyday in attempt to take a wholehearted path that I knew I wanted even before I started being in school and required to major something.
This book has helped me continue what I have started even if I have started feeling lost and looking like I was wasting my youth trying to rebel but in reality, I just wanted to live a life that I can really call mine. If you don’t know where to start, start with this book and you’ll find more ideas on how to make your days feel shorter by doing things that truly brings you joy.
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From the hard cover, to the paper used, to the photos, to the author’s choice of words: they all felt like sunshine in the middle of dark winter days.
If I could read a book with my eyes closed, this is that book. Reading it felt like meditation or even an hour in the spa. Carrie’s words were so simple yet so delightfully beautiful. All I wanted was to close my eyes and feel the words at the tips of my fingers as if I am visually impaired and as if they’re written in Braille
I truly felt renewed after reading it.
If you are looking for books that will help you find more beauty in everyday life, I highly recommend these books. If you have read books that changed your life, please leave them in the comment so I can also read them. I am always looking for books to read. I will be posting more book reviews in the coming days.
Sending you love and peace,