Heartbreaking and terrifying things have happened in the last few years that could've sent me into a downward spiral back to square one. But it seems that I'm well-equipped now, emotionally and mentally, to deal with everything. It never ceases to surprise me how I can't even recognise the person I used to be. Reading my past journals is like reading the life of a character from a novel that has nothing to do with me.
Many factors contributed to my healing, from youtube videos to conferences to seminars to books. I often get messages from people who want to know "my secret", and there's no mystifying secret to my progress, my friends ;) Just plain old books and lots of journaling. I would say that 'the secret', the 'password', the 'open sesame', is to actually put into practice all the theory that you get your hands on. Reading & listening to resources is not enough, you must take action.
Here I bring the books that impacted me the most when I was trying to make sense of my broken self and life.
"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body"
★ Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia, by Rob Brezsny. The subtitle declares "How the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings". Pronoia is by far the funnest book I've ever read. It's a masterpiece of pure positive focus. It is not the typical self-help book with theory + exercises. It's a completely different -and refreshing- format. It contains little stories from the author's life (incuding sexual scenarios), outrageous ideas about the meaning of life, inspiration for living life to the fullest with kindness & excitement as the main guidance systems, random acts of creativity, ingenius exercises for the reader, writing prompts, worldy news, and much more. I loved it so much because it catalyzed the reconnection with my inner child. What do I mean by this?
The major reason for my depression was that I shut off my true self and forced myself to morph into a highly cerebral person, which turned me into a cynic. For anyone who knows me, cynical is the last thing I am. My nature is that of magical thinking, finding + creating beauty everywhere, and believing the best from the world and people. This makes me a very naïve person, to the point where people often wonder about my IQ. As you can imagine, being what my sister calls a "happy-hour-by-the-lake person" makes one the perfect victim for bullies and psychopaths. In my teens, I needed to protect myself, so I turned off who I was and went to the flipside. Pronoia ripped me open because it served as a mirror, and I could not deny that the content completely resonated with my true self. At the time of reading it, I wasn't brave enough to let my wild child self go unleashed overnight in front of others (I did only in my alone time), because I worried about what my friends and family would think ("Why is she morphing into somebody else?" "You've become so fake now, I hate you"), when the reality was that each day I was becoming more and more myself, leaving all my protective masks behind. The book broke me & it's haunted me for years, influencing a big chunk of my life and personality. I also use it often for bibliomancy, it's perfect!
★ Succulent Wild Woman, by Sark. Despite the title, it's perfect for any gender. In fact, so many men loved this book when it came out, that they asked Sark why wouldn't she write a succulent book for men, and she did! I haven't read that one yet -it's called The Bodacious Book of Succulence- but it's definitely on my wish list!
If you're a creative person who feels blocked, SWW will blow you away; and if you think you aren't a creative, it will inspire you to think and act more creatively. People believe that being creative is about sitting down with pen or brush & trying to channel an idea, but that's not true. Creativity happens in mundane daily life, if we're willing to expand our minds. SWW is, next to Pronoia, one of the most healing books I've ever read.
★ A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. It put my whole life into perspective, and gave me incredible insights into my own mental and emotional processes. I know Tolle has plenty of critics, but my aproach to everything in life is 'take the message, not the messenger'.
"What a liberation to realize that the 'voice in my head' is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that" This statement alone changed my life overnight. I cannot recommend this book enough.
★ Women who run with the wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. This monsterbook is not for the faint of heart; it took me a whole year to read. Once again, the fact that it's aimed specifically at women did not make me feel alienated, and I wonder what people of a variety of genders have taken from this book. And I'm mostly interested in knowing men's experiences with Pinkola's work.
When I read it, I didn't feel as if the issues were specific to women at all; in fact, I recognised a lot of the issues that my guy friends confided in me, and I thought the content of the book applies to anyone who feels disconnected from their true self, anyone who feels broken and lost, any human being who needs help in making sense of their inner world and how it's been fragmented due to living in society. Estés is a Jungian psychoanalyst and cantadora (keeper of the old stories), and in this work, she specializes in the female psyche. However, it is my opinion that everyone can see themselves in the text. But then, I've never been a man, so I wouldn't know what they're really thinking or feeling (as if men are these homogeneous group /sarcasm) (as if women are a homogeneous group, come on!) (and where does this leave the non-binary people?) (I could keep adding personal comments in parenthesis but I'll stop here ;). I'm interested to know whether non-women see their issues reflected in this book. I know I do. In any case, personally I think this masterpiece is for every human who runs with the wolves.