(I apologize for the formatting errors!)
How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth –Robyn Benincasa (World Champion Adventure Racer and Guiness World Record Kayaker)
The Obamas –Jodi Kantor (Audio CD)
– Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (Audio CD)
Those people who know me know that I am not an extremely religious person. I was brought up Catholic, but now the only time I go to church is on Christmas Eve, mainly because it is tradition and to make my mom happy. However, I am not against religion. I consider my Sunday trails to be a sort of mass, and I run past all of God’s beautiful and natural creations.
Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life through Earth- and Animal- Friendly Living –Ingrid Newkirk, President of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
And, while I admit there were a few times I was mad at Sandi for recommending the book (it made me cry 3 times) I really did love it. Yes, there is a reason it made Oprah’s Book Club! Cheryl was so unashamedly honest in her writing, making me empathize deeper (and cry harder) and love her even more. While quite different from Jennifer Phar Davis’s book about hiking the AT, it still left me with the feeling that I too wanted to hike and camp out in the wilderness for days on end, to learn everything the trail has to teach. To be honest, I already know most of its lessons, though I have much more beauty left to explore. In addition, I too made a shortened version of this “explore and learn” period when I stayed for a month in Tanzania, Africa volunteering the spending 5 days on Mt. Kilimanjaro with simply my guide and porters. This book took me back there, to that beautiful place in-between the soul and the quiet whispers of the earth.
Admittedly, this is one of those books I had trouble keeping up with, especially in the car. I do not have a wide range of knowledge on today’s war or really any war in our history. All I really know is that I don’t care for it much. Still, I came away some happy to have listened and gained some knowledge as to how America has “drifted” away from our original ideas to a nation that finds never-ending war basically normal. She quotes Thomas Jefferson in saying “One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep and unnecessary soldier”. We now have tens of thousands on stand-by. She also had 2 facts that I found extremely surprising:
1) The US has lost 11 nuclear bombs. –Umm how does that happen!?!? (She mention how, but still…)
The beginning of the book, or Shultheis’ search, begins outside of Boulder on Mount Neva, and takes quite a fall.In fact, he should have been terribly injured. However, what happened instead is that he continued to descend the mountain with almost supernatural powers- powers of pure clarity and feelings of well-being.Unfortunately, he loses that feeling after his descent, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to find it.The pages of the book are full of stories, history and research of this “mystical state”.Shultheis’ findings come from shamans and rituals, scientists and physiology, stranded sailors and hallucinations, athletes (including ultra runners) and the athletic high.
-Everything in the world is only reality because our consciousness makes it so.
-Depression-it can be looked at as a fixed behavior or response. Anti-depressants barely surpass the placebo effect in mild to moderate depression. (I have heard people who swear by medication, and I do not argue their convictions. However, in the case of my own depression, it is a matter of me losing control of my thoughts, with the negative responses becoming more common the more I let them enter into my mind.)
-Meditation increases mindfulness, which makes a person an active observer of her thoughts, which leads to be proactive against negative or stressful situation. This makes a person the “Reality Maker”.
Pacer IS my daughter. I mean, she loves to run, eat peanut butter, is quite stubborn, and even looks like me (beside my tongue isn’t as long). My problem is that by calling her my daughter, I have humanized her. As my daughter, all I want is for her to be happy, but, as Cesar states, treating her like a human will not make her (or me) happy.
Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (Audio CD) Dan Buettner
I’m really glad I picked up this audio CD again….Steve and I had tried listening to it on our way to North Carolina last year, but he got bored after an hour or so. However, I found it very interesting to learn about 4 of the world’s happiest places, and what makes the people so happy. Even more interesting was how different some of the places were! At the end of the book, the author gives a list attributes on what makes a community and person happier, such as walk-ability, places to socialize, and meditation and exercise. Weather was NOT a factor!
Wilderness Therapy for Women: The Power of Adventure – Editors: Ellen Cole, Esther D. Rothblum ,Eve Erdman
Wilderness Therapy for Women unites women with nature and each other by lifting the social constraints surrounding women in adventure pursuits. It offers women a new method of healing while developing an appreciation for the uniqueness of the environment. Daring experiences in the outdoors rekindles a sense of strength and a respect for the provider of that strength. A therapeutic experience from the outdoors provides women with an awareness of their capabilities to strengthen and preserve themselves and their surroundings. This book is divided into four parts: Theoretical Perspectives, Wilderness Therapy in Action, Special Populations, and Personal Narratives.
Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth- Adharanand Finn
I’m a runner. I’m fascinated by Kenyan runners. I’ve visited their neighbor country, Tanzania. Of course I had to read this book. I was not disappointed.
The author, Adharandand Finn, does a wonderful job documenting his time running with the Kenyans, visiting their running camps, bringing his family along and making it an inspiring and heartfelt story. Like others before him, he found no secret the success of Kenyan athletes, no super genes or training techniques, but numerous factors that all play a part (yes, barefoot running does factor in, but only to an extent).
Favorite quote: Jokingly, the author remarks to one of the trainers at a running camp that when Kenyans see a hill, they all speed up while he slows down. The trainers reply: “That’s because they want it more that you. When they see a hill, they see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to train harder, to work harder.”
Check Out: http://www.shoe4africa.org/
Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question-Little Book-Answer Within (Audio CD) –Maria Shriver
I didn’t realize it when I picked it up, but this audio CD ended up being an hour long high school graduation speech & afterward by Maria Shriver, written right at a point in her life where she was thrown for a loop and questioning her identity.
In case you were wondering who Maria Shriver is, she is a Kennedy (as in a decedent of the former president, plus her father was one of the founders of Peace Corps and her mother the founder of the Special Olympics), former broadcaster for NBC, author, and yes, former First Lady of the State of California-then married to Arnold Schwarzenegger. And that is completely what this speech/book/audio CD is NOT about.
Instead, Shriver writes about finding yourself when all your titles are stripped away-when you are no longer a broadcaster, but a “housewife” as her son would say. It is about how you define yourself when you dig deep and look at your core, your values, your beliefs, and your passions. It is not about WHAT you are, but WHO you are.
What Now? (Audio CD) – Ann Patchett
Coincidently (is there such a thing?), I ended up borrowing two audio CDs from the library that were commencement speeches (see the first above). Both were messages I needed to here, and in good timing.
In this speech, Patchett expresses her dread, as I have, in the question “what’s next?” It seems like others or always expecting you to do more, be more, and then, you end up doing the same thing. It’s stressful and sometimes depressing. The focus always seems to be on the future, not the present…which is what matter right now! And as Shriver says, whatever you are right now is good enough, because it is WHO you are that matters!
In this speech, we learn how upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree in hopes to be a great writer, Pachett ends up as a line cook, waitress, and teacher (honorable jobs, just not what she wanted)…which of course all helped her to become a bestselling author. Her reminder: Enjoy the journey.
Add More ~ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness- Gabrielle Bernstein
I can’t thank Sandi enough for getting me to watch Gabrielle Bernstein’s videos and read her books. It was the jumpstart I needed to start my own journey towards great happiness and using my inner guide. I still have a lot to practice…as Gabby say’s, my ego (fear) still likes to act up. But, the more I practice using my ~ing, the more I’m in tune I am with the Universe’s positive energy, leading me to receive more positive energy. I think this girl has the power to inspire a lot of people! http://gabbyb.tv/
THRIVE: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life –Brendan Brazier
THRIVE is definitely on the top of my list for nutrition books as it thoroughly goes through a multitude of nutrition objectives, especially related to athletic performance. I most appreciated the detailed sections on stress and the body, covering not just nutritional stress but looking at how physical, environmental, and life stress are all related. And it’s not just some great superhuman athlete talking about what worked for him. It is actually very well researched that includes personal examples relating to that research. He also talks about the benefits of many foods, especially super foods, and includes some fairly simple recipes for both everyday life and fueling during athletic endeavors.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban – Malala Yousafazai and Christina Lamb
At times, this was an extremely difficult book to read. To read the words of young girl speaking about death and the murders going on all around her is hard. To know that all of it happened so recently makes it harder. How can it be that so many people became part of the Taliban and that so many cruel and torturous acts were committed? How can girls still be shunned from school and forced to stay home? What happened to their minds and hearts?
At the same time my gut was in knots from reading about such events, I also realized how lucky I am. My gratitude for being raised in America, despite our “small” government problems, grew tenfold.
There are people who often question why one would want to give to a charity in another country when there is need in our own, or how people can support sending our military overseas to defend a poor nation. When you read a book like this, the question easily becomes reversed. How could one not support of sisters and brothers in other countries? They may speak a different language, their skin may be a different color, and their religion might be different, but they bleed the same, they love the same, and they hurt the same. Malala is not simply a girl from Pakistan, she is my sister.
I also have to note how incredibly amazing and inspiring it was to read about Malala’s (as well as her father’s) wisdom and courage. To know that your life is on the line and still speak out for what you believe in is courage that amazes me but I cannot fully grasp. All I know is that I hope my courage is never put into question in such a manner. I look forward to reading her next book, as there is no doubt in my mind that she has many great things ahead of her.
Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression –Bo Forbes, PsyD
I found the research in this book to be very interesting and enlightening. Dr. Forbes offers many mind-body teachings and practices to help relieve depression, anxiety, and stress, from breathing techniques to Restorative Yoga. She is also able to back up her findings with several success stories from past clients. I hope much more research is done in this area!
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life - Judith Orlof (Audio CD)
There was a lot of great information packed into this Audio CD. I found it extremely interesting how a psychiatrist is able to include intuition and practice holistic therapies in with traditional psychology. " Synthesizing neuroscience, intuitive medicine, psychology, and subtle energy techniques, Dr. Orloff maps the elegant relationships between our minds, bodies, spirits, and environments. With humor and compassion, she shows you how to identify the most powerful negative emotions and how to transform them into hope, kindness, and courage. Compelling patient case studies and stories from her online community, her workshop
participants, and her own private life illustrate the simple, easy-to-follow action steps that you can take to cope with emotional vampires, disappointments, and rejection." http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Freedom-Liberate-Yourself-Transform/dp/0307338185%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAIRKJRCRZW3TANMSA%26tag%3Dpsychologytod-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D0307338185
Beautiful Girls- Sandi Nypaver
An amazing book that all little girls should have, but a book that any woman would love and appreciate it's truth. It's about finding the beauty within ourselves, despite any objectives from the external world.