Fueling the Work
One of my favorite things is a good list of book recommendations. I love to read, and have been doing so for as long as I can remember. I read across genres, subjects, and time. I re-read books I love, as it is like visiting an old friend or port of call. There are so many good books, and honestly, not enough time. Here are some of the books I’m currently reading (5/12 being some, and currently being the Winter of 2021).
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
I listened to the audiobook presentation read by the author over the summer of 2020, because the book was sold out of every local bookshop in my area, and hard to order even on the online sites. I recommend it, and believe that this little book should be required reading for every American. Period. End of story. The presentation of information is so well done, so expertly argued and stitched to the authors own journey of dismantling of racist thought, that it becomes a roadmap and guidebook for how to bridge the gap between being racially aware and contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.
Sounds of Healing: A Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice, and Music by Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D.
This book has been on my “to read” list for years, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it as opposed to occasionally skimming it. The late Dr. Gaynor, former director of integrative medicine at the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, shares his philosophy and sound-based techniques for self-healing, techniques that can be used by anyone, whether faced with a life-threatening disease or simply seeking relief from the stresses of daily life. The book features easy to follow exercises that can be used as daily self-care practices for healing, stress release, and self-discovery.
The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers by Frank MacEowen
If the first book on this list was on the “to read” list for years, this book is one I have been reading for years. Moving through the chapters slowly, savoring them, and taking time with the exercises has been quite fulfilling. The writing is informed by the author’s own searching for ancestral connection (Irish and Scottish) to a more earth-honoring way of life in a country that seek to homogenize and cauterize the idea of ancestral roots (ie., the United States). Just as with any migrant or immigrant, Americans seeking to connect with their ancestors, who did indeed, if we go far enough back, practiced some kind of indigenous earth-honoring spirituality, are often accused of appropriation (by First Nations in North America, AND by those living in countries of ancestral origin such as Ireland and, in my case, Norway.) We are orphans, in a sense, no longer rooted deeply in the lands which hold the bones of our beloved dead. We cannot claim the traditions of either land, the old or the new.
The Chronicles of Prydain (Books 1-5) by Lloyd Alexander
Okay, you see it’s not all serious non-fiction! These are a bit of nostalgia, as I read them in my childhood at some point, and am now reading them with my son. (Last year we read the Harry Potter series, though these are going much more quickly.) As I read, I am reminded of the way I felt reading certain scenes for the first time, remembering my love for certain characters, and finding new reasons to like the ones I didn’t fully understand initially. If you have not re-read a favorite book from childhood, I highly recommend it. The wonder returns, the characters still sing, and, even if the stories don’t hold up quite so well in adulthood, they give you a window back into the mind of an earlier you. I have found it rewarding!
If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging by Sharon Blackie
In September of 2019, I had the great good fortune to sit with Sharon Blackie for a weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve read this particular book twice now, and am paging through it again. The text is rich, the stories deep, the themes quite resonant to me at this time in my life. Blackie’s work first introduced me to the term “mythopoetic,” and I’ve come to realize that term defines the most generative and meaningful periods of my life. I’ve come to associate it with being in deep relationship with the land, feeling quite strongly that the land is dreaming me.