The Books That Stole My Heart in 2017

Does anyone read anymore? Like actual books? 

I know over the years my own reading had fizzled to almost non-existent. 

In reflecting on my year, one of the things I am most grateful for has been my own rediscovery of those ancient page filled treasures known to some as BOOKS

In 2017, I really started to read.

With my reading this year has come the most incredible mentors, surprising friendships, new ideas, and amazing journeys through time. 

I wanted to give a shout out to the books and authors that have most shaped me this year. Many of them I consider to be dear friends, though most of them I have never met. 

I have divided these lists into categories. Much of my reading this year was dedicated to mystics and contemplative approaches to the universe and truth. There is also a list of authors I most admire as artists, books that have opened my eyes to important topics in the world and a little bit of random categorical gratitude.  

I can’t say these are the best books ever. Or of all time. They are just the particular titles that found me and whispered things I needed to hear at perfect moments. They held me.

See if any of these titles sparkle at you. See if opening any of them might add to your future and your life. 

Mystics & Guides – My greatest teachers of 2017
Rumi – I can meditate deeply… or read Rumi. Same/same. Weeping with beauty.  A Year With Rumi. Dude!
Richard Rohr – (Everything Belongs, Immortal Diamond, Falling Upward… I read like a library by him.) He caught me this year in free fall and said everything I needed to hear.
Paulo Coelho Manuscript in Accra was a wonderful quick surprise.  Beautiful insight about friendship.   
Vernon Howard – Always yells at me when I need it.  And knows stuff. Mystic Path to Cosmic Power = worst book cover and amazing insight!
Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation) – A new friend who has discovered many things I want to know.
Joel Goldsmith (The Contemplative Life) – also knows stuff
C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters are kinda genius! (Very different than reading them in high school.) 
Mother TeresaCome Be My Light shook me.
Pema ChodronThe Pocket Pema fits in my pocket. What’s not to love there? 

Authors That Inspire Me – My New Best Friends
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things) – I want to write with that much bravery
Bob Goeff (Love Does) – I want to carry his suitcase around the world. 
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic) – My best friend who has never met me.
Rob Bell (Love Wins) – Just love all the things in his brain.  And he has guts.
Shauna Neiquest (Present Over Perfect) – So inspired by how she creates. 
Maya Angelou (Letter to My Daughter) – How have I not read her books until this year?! What!? 
Stephen King (On Writing) – Thanks for writing this book! So good. 
Forest Benedict (Life After Lust) – Congrats bro on your first book! Way to go!
 
Books That Have Most Opened My Eyes About the World
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr – About how the Internet is changing our brain. This booked changed everything about my life. Literally. 
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevensen – Just system. Must read this!
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – Every human should have to read this! 
Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman – If you have interest in (or repulsion to) the Bible, check out his books. There are many. Such important and fascinating history. 
The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony – unimaginable connection to animals and a wild adventure!
The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma – embarrassed I didn’t know this! My own prejudices explored. Uncomfortably good!

My Personal Spiritual Text Books of 2017
A New New Testament – Such good context & amazing insight into a book I was pretty much over for decades (the Bible). Beautifully done! Many new (old) manuscripts added that didn’t make the original Bible. Super insightful!! 
Christ Returns, Reveals Startling Truth – Perhaps my very favorite book of the year! It’s scrubbed by this Catholic nun in her 80’s who starts channeling Jesus. I LOVE this book! Online for free here.
A Course in Miracles – an old friend I returned to after a decade. Nourishment. 
The Sophia Code – a new friend with beautiful insight from 7 female masters over time.  

Super Inspiring/ Categories of Their Own
Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton the Revolution. Beautiful book of the making of Hamilton. Don’t have enough words for this book, these lyrics, this man or this show! If you are an artist, you will love this book!
Beth Moon’s Ancient Trees Portraits of Time – Stunning photography of stunning subjects. Thank you Beth!
Seth Pitt – I just keep gushing about this artist. His paintings brought so much sparkle to my year! 
Seth Godin – awesome daily email blurbs

Best Fiction (I clearly don’t read much fiction) 🙂
Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – My favorite heroine of all time!
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett— Just loved!

So many thank yous to all these beautiful, vulnerable, tenacious artists living bravely in the world. 

If reading has left your life, maybe 2018 is a year to wonder about it again? It has been super enriching to add back to mine.

Do you suck at apologizing?

I have to admit, being wrong and apologizing are not two of the things I am best at.  Nor are they my favorites.

But if you always have to be right, you can’t actually receive contribution from anybody else!

I’ve been looking at this topic for years and getting better… and yet… when something was brought to my attention yesterday that I had done that really wasn’t cool, I still had the hardest time forming a true apology in my head.

I kept hearing myself sneak in reason and justifications into my apology about why I had done what I did. I noticed I wanted to say “I’m sorry but..” which is really to say, “It’s your fault” or “I’m not sorry.”

I’ve made a video about this not so favorite topic with some keys to keep in mind:

If you would like to create an apology, a true apology, one in which the energy of the conflict changes, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Lower your barriers- push down anything that makes you want to protect or defend yourself. More on this 
  2. Cut out all your reasons and justifications.  It doesn’t matter why you chose to eat your dad’s pie or say something rude, the point is, you did it!  “but” and “because” do not belong in a true apology.
  3. Try using the phrase “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.  What can I do to make up for the damage I’ve done?” If done sincerely, it is an incredibly powerful phrase.

While being wrong or apologizing is not necessarily fun, it’s sometimes required. Sometimes you are wrong— at least from their point of view.

I made my apology this morning.  It wasn’t easy.  But I’m still alive! And the space and lightness in my universe has expanded. I’m very grateful for this choice.

I may have a ways to go on this topic before my stomach stops churning with the thought I may be wrong. But I’m not willing to live being right and righteous and fighting for my point of view.  I’m not willing to limit my own awareness and contribution in that way.  So I’ll keep practicing.

Is there anything in your life you need to apologize for?

What would it create if you were willing to be wrong?