3 Must-Read Books For The Soul
Part of my morning ritual is to pull my pile of book friends off the shelf and sit in the sunshine as I peruse the underlined portions. I don’t believe in books as sterile decorations. Mine are always worn, tea-stained, and dog eared. It’s how I live my messy life. I can’t imagine my books being any other way.
A few years ago I started a journey of asking questions, which eventually would lead to waking up my awareness on a deeper level. As is often the case when we move from one space of being to another, I found myself feeling very alone. The books below are what held me up at times, affirming the truth I pursued, challenging the opinions I held onto, and whispering “me too” like the warmest hug when I found myself thinking that no one else understood.
These books are tied together by the fact that the authors are all women asking questions of how they can live a fuller, more responsible life, both to themselves and the world around them. If you’ve started asking these questions, or any others regarding why you are here and what your life as a woman is supposed to be, I can’t recommend these books highly enough.
Women Who Run With The Wolves passes on stories of how we can reclaim our souls. When Women Were Birds questions what our voices are for and how we can use them to wake up ourselves and others. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle explores our connection to the earth, an alternative way to care for our home, our community, and ourselves. These are all intimate stories of women going on their own journeys and sharing the wisdom they gleam.
I highly encourage you to check these out and let me know your thoughts. As Clarissa Pinkola Estés says, “anytime we feed the soul, it guarantees increase.”
In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés uses ancient stories, fairytales, and myths to tackle the question of what our identity is as women. She says that within every woman is a “wildish self” waiting to be called out and cultivated. Dr. Estés tells the stories she has collected, both personally and professionally, pleading for a return to this natural state. She offers different ways to seek out passion, creativity, and joy which is accessed by reclaiming the soul of the Wild Woman which lives inside all of us.
If you have any feeling that the way you are going about your daily life is somehow stifling your vitality, this book may change your life. When I opened this book, I was blown away by the stirring I felt within me. It affirmed the journey I was already on of reclaiming myself. Her words crawled into my skin and felt like a sip of warm ginger tea, bringing both healing and comfort. My forever favorite, this book often travels in my purse and is my favorite gift to share with friends. This book is medicine for the starved soul. It is both incredibly simple and deeply profound. I find it is best consumed slowly, over time, in the company of trees, and with plenty of space to marinate in these soul-stirring words that you may think were written just for you.
When Women Were Birds is the story of Terry Tempest Williams finding her beloved mother’s journals that were left to her after her mother’s death. She anticipated the comfort the journals would bring and was shocked when she started to go through them only to realize every single one was blank. This begins William’s meditation of what is means to have a voice, and the power our voice can have, both when we choose to give it and when we withhold it. She explores what her mother’s silence communicates and how she will respond, “Mother gave me my voice by withholding hers, both in life and in death.” Additionally, the connection that Williams feels to the earth is reflected in her poetic imagery of the natural world in the red rock of Southern Utah that she calls home. She concludes that what we have forgotten is that we must welcome each day with joy, as the birds in the sky do. This book is not an answer, it is like a poem that holds your hand as you walk down a wooded trail, questioning what this human experience is, and bringing comfort in the unknown.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year Of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver
Written with both wit and poetry, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the narrative of Barbara Kingsolver’s family’s journey to find a connection with the food they eat and the ground they walk on. New York Times calls this ” an engaging amalgam of memoir, environmental reporting and how-to book.” In this journey, they make a commit to return to a lusher land, moving from Arizona to southern Appalachia, where they can either grow the food they need, buy it in their community, or find a way to live without it.
This story is surprisingly entertaining and most of the book moves quickly. What continually draws me in is Kingsolver’s conviction about living life on their terms, and in a way that I’m sure we can all argue is swimming upstream in current society. I find this book to be both a meditation on a slower way of being and a pleading for the respect that we can give ourselves and the natural world by fueling our bodies and lives ethically.
*This post includes affiliate links. No pressure at all, but if you decide to buy one of the books through amazon, using the links above will allow me to receive a small compensation that will help support this content.