Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate M.D.

I started reading this book with no idea what to expect. i just knew the title spoke to me and that until my children become mature adults I do hope to keep them close and in our home doing family things together, enjoying fun times, and growing together.

The book goes into what is called being “peer oriented” and it explains that peer orientation comes when children become disconnected from their parents and replace them as models with other children. Children obviously cannot guide other children as they do not have the same unconditional love and regard a parent would for their child.

As I was reading, I was remembering my upbringing which, although rather happy and safe, was lacking in adult connections at key moments. Because of this I remember being a nightmare of a teenager- not so much in the early but in the late teens, when the reigns became looser. I didn’t feel like a full blown adult until I reached the end of my twenties. After reading the book, I fully understood what I long suspected: that the teenage years for every child doesn’t always have to be hell on wheels for parents. As long as the parent/child relationship is nurtured and children have adults as true caregivers, purveyors of wisdom, and examples of maturity a healthy, close relationship can be maintained throughout their whole lives.

The truth is, with technology and this fast-paced, digital, disconnected world we all live in, it is harder to get our children’s attention. But as long as we make the effort, we can hold on to our children.

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Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza

"If we reach the point where mind and body are working as one, the cerebellum enables us to memorize a new neurochemical self, and our new state of being is now an innate program in our subconscious."

"The more we use our senses to define our reality, the more we allow our senses to determine our reality."

"The body becomes addicted to guilt or any emotion in the same way that it would get addicted to drugs. At first you only need a little of the emotion/drug in order to feel it; then your body becomes desensitized, and your cells require more and more of it just to feel the same again. Trying to change your emotional pattern is like going through drug withdrawal."

"We should never wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon; if we do, then we are turning science into another religion."

Basically, this book is about getting out of your usual mental and emotional habits, those we don't know we have become they've become like another limb. It's also very much about taking care of the "what" and allowing a greater consciousness to handle the "how".

This book came to me when I had begun to really be bothered with angry and self-righteous thoughts towards people I have not yet forgiven. And as I was thinking that it finally snapped into place. What is IT? That cliche about "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other to die" finally made absolute sense. I was sitting there in my poison soup and feeling awful and knew this was not aligned with my self or my purpose or my grander wishes for the world of community, collaboration, abundance, and peace. I sat in silence for a while and decided it was time to let it all go and shortly after a friend I had not seen in two years told me she was coming for a visit. 

During her lovely visit, she mentioned she was reading a book by Joe Dispenza, following one of his earlier books (the one below) which she mentioned was equally as wonderful. The moment she left I purchased one of them and I have to say... GOOD. STUFF. 

Want to change your mind- and consequently, your SELF- on a quantum level? Read this book!

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How Soon is Now: From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation by Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck: Burner and entheogen renegade. I love this guy. After I sat in my first San Pedro ceremony, I spent a lot of time on his website, Reality Sandwich and read his first book, "Breaking Open the Head" and "2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl" shortly after. I found his perspectives on reality intriguing and I enjoy his writing. 

I was a bit hesitant to read this book because I didn't want to read another Chicken Little book about how the sky is falling, the end. But he proposed some real solutions albeit probably not viable because the powers that be have a stronghold on the population of this Earth. He explains why this is in detail and he explains without a rapid onset of a spiritual revolution within a major part of our population, things will not change fast enough. I tend to agree.

It was a good read and while some of the science behind what is currently happening on Earth is shocking and depressing, I found myself hopeful after finishing the book because I see there are some people REALLY thinking about this. With busy, influential minds on futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis hard at work pushing the singularity (just saying/writing that word gives me the creeps), we need more people working on the side of nature, Mother Earth, and humanity.

After reading this book, I get the urgency of the matter. And have been racking my brain trying to figure out what I can do to affect change locally and even globally. I suspect this was one of the reasons he wrote this book.

Click on the image below for more info on the book:

Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter by Katherine Ellison

I will now interrupt the binge watching of season 1 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to read this book! (doesn't that show make you want to be a stand-up comedienne?!?)

I just had a baby so I LOVE that my dear friend Abby brought me this book to read. I am the FIRST person to blame fuzzy memory and finding random things in my fridge due to what many have dubbed "Mommy Brain." Buuuuut, I am learning that there is definitley more to this mommy brain stuff. It is so much more interesting and positive than any of us ever suspected. 

If you have "mommy brain" or live with someone who does, I totally recommend this book. It's full of scientific data and research that backs up the hypothesis that motherhood does not leave us with many deficits. It actually makes us smarter!

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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery

I saw this book on a friend's Instagram feed and for some reason- even though I don't particularly love octopi or anything- I knew I HAD to pick it up. I am SO happy that I did!

It gave me some sweet moments of reflection in some of its wonderful quotes:

"To share such a moment of deep tranquility with another being, especially one as different from us as the octopus, is a humbling privilege. It's a shared sweetness, a gentle miracle, an uplink to universal consciousness."

and,

"Eggs were surely life's first love, and protecting one's eggs was surely love's first urge. Love is that ancient, that pure, that lasting. It has persisted through billions of species, through millions of years. No wonder the sages say that love never dies."

The book made me love the suckers (pun intended) and now I'm all interested in their strangeness. I can't wait to stare at my next octopus. Which will certainly be in an aquarium because I am no scuba diver. 

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A Mind of Your Own by Dr. Kelly Brogan

The subtitle of this books is: "The truth about depression and how women can heal their bodies to reclaim their lives." The truth she brings to light in the book is that depression is not a disease or a chemical imbalance but a symptom. She explains how depression signals that parts of the body- namely the gut- are not functioning as optimally as they should. I totally agree with this and can attest to it in my own experiences. Imagine that- ME, agreeing with a totally renegade opinion!

Being married to this guy, I have heard similar concepts such as the one she presents before. However, this book make me pay attention more because it was backed by a lot of research (both personal by way of her patients and from other medical avenues) and because it comes from a highly trained psychiatrist who after realizing a few things, decided allopathic medicine just doesn't work. She also outs Big Pharma and I absolutely LOVE when people get vocal about this. It's very necessary nowadays, with millions and millions of people on pills. Unnecessarily.

I had the pleasure of meeting her a few weeks ago. We were talking about schools for our kids and she mentioned interviewing a new school for her kids. When they told her they cleaned their building and classrooms with chemical concoctions of crap (my colorful alliteration, not hers) she decided not to go with them. WOOHOO! There are other people in the world as crazy as my husband and I! :D It's good to know we're not alone.

She has an excellent podcast with Joe Rogan (it's where this girl crush started) which you can watch/listen to here. And read this book. You will be taken to school and get much needed and relevant information for your wellness.

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Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In the wee hours of this morning I opened this book to try to read myself back to a few more hours of sleep. It didn't work because the chapter I was on named "An Offering" was a compelling and very beautiful read.

In this chapter, the author recalls her father making a short ceremonial offering every morning upon waking when they spent their entire summers camping in the Adirondacks. He would make a pot of coffee and pour some out to the spirit of the mountain they were on. Some of the coffee would disappear into the earth and some would make it to the stream and merge with it. As she grew older, she became frustrated with the ceremony because she knew it was in a language that was not theirs and she longed for "real" ceremonies. She writes:

Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world. The visible became invisible, merging with the soil. It may have been a secondhand ceremony, but even through my confusion I recognized that the earth drank it up as if it were right. The land knows you, even when you are lost.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I couldn't help but draw parallels between the essence of this author's work and that of Dr. King's. A strong sense of injustice fuels them both and what came out of their lived experiences was something resounding yet graceful that the world can look to and learn from.

The book opens with a touching story about Skywoman- the story her people tell about the origins of the Earth. It brought me to tears. The story is a hopeful tale of where we can (and probably should) circle back to as a people.

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How to Hug a Porcupine by Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis

When this book came to me while walking in Barnes and Noble yesterday, I immediately knew I needed to read it. Not only because I needed more coping tools for porcupines out there but lately I have recognized the many ways in which I defensively put up my quills. This is a really easy read that is based on the work of Dr. Albert Ellis, a pioneer in rational emotive behavior therapy, who said that no one can upset us unless we allow them to.

The book also has this fantastic quote that I think if more people truly integrated and understood it would make their lives much easier:

"A relationship that requires effort on the part of only one party is not a true relationship."

Word.

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Renegade Beauty by Nadine Artemis

I can't recommend this book enough. Every once in a while I miss my MAC color palettes and my NARS lipsticks... then I am reminded why I don't bother with makeup anymore and why it is smart to do so. Nadine puts her whole body of work in this book so openly and generously and I am so grateful for all of this information. It's not only about alternative beauty but all aspects of wellness. She even goes into pregnancy, menopause, and specific ailments you can heal with herbs and essential oils. 

For Christmas, my husband bought me her Best Skin Ever and I cannot believe how incredible this product is. All those labels that promise "more youthful skin" and "a healthy glow"?.... This product ACTUALLY does this. It glides on like silk and nourishes your skin without petroleum and parabens and other endocrine disruptors and shit chemicals and artificial colors your body absolutely does not need.

There is so much in this book! The way it is well written and has so much heart weaved into the words, I'm sure you will love it.

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A Stash of One's Own by Clara Parkes

So, I've reached a critical point in my life where I'm not only knitting whenever I have free time but sharing my free time reading about knitting, too!

In this book, Clara Parkes has compiled stories about people's stashes. These stories come from women everywhere- some in the knitting world (designers and such) and some not. Some stories are laugh out loud funny and others are touching but they are all wonderful. I LOVED this book and recommend it to anyone who knits because if you don't knit, you won't get why there's an ENTIRE BOOK about stashes. :)

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

How much do I love Rupi Kaur... let me count the ways. This woman is a word mistress. She tangles you up in her pain and joy with her impeccable use of words. If you love poetry, please pick up this book. Even if you don't love poetry pick it up... it might make you love it it's THAT good. It is quite evocative.

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The Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatments for Better Hormones and Better Period by Lara Briden

While I get my Master's in Mental Health Counseling, I am arming myself with information about women's health and wellness which I believe starts in their bodies. And a big part of women's health is our periods. 

This book is incredibly informative, from food to hormones. It is full of all kinds of period information. Any questions you could possibly have are in the pages of this book (some aren't included in as much detail as others because the book would probably be an encyclopedia if it tried to cover it ALL in its entirety). I highly recommend it and I am so happy to be well-informed for the women I will see in the future, young and old.

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Zen and the Art of Knitting by Bernadette Murphy

The biggest surprise about this book is that one chapter is dedicated wholly to the handwork that is created at Waldorf schools. My kids are at a Waldorf school and I know personally, being part of the adult handwork group at the school, that a lot of love, time, patience, and effort goes into teaching the children the handwork arts- knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, sewing, and more. The works are displayed proudly by the students and the handwork teacher at the end of the year and beauty and craftsmanship abounds.

Of course, there is a lot of book besides this one chapter (I just LOVE talking about Waldorf schools) and the stories are touching and lovely. You can really get a sense of how much the writer loves to knit and how meditative and calming a presence it is in her life.

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Gaia Codex by Sarah Drew

This book is a fictional story about a girl who finds her priestess sisterhood through the twists and turns of events in her life. It definitely has a lot of activating elements to it, as in it touches your heart deeply. It will also possibly inspire you to feel certain things not previously felt, understand things not previously understood, and maybe even inspire certain actions. It's a book whose story is deeply enmeshed with the currently unfolding story of Mother Earth.

Don't know what I mean? Are you scratching your head and asking, "Wachoo talkin' about, Willis?" READ THE BOOK. It's a beautiful story... you will be SO happy you did!

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Witch by Lisa Lister

This is the second book I've read authored by powerhouse woman Lisa Lister. She is in.credible. She is the most incredible cheerleader for women I have ever met (unfortunately, only virtually so far while working in circle together)! 

This book is about awakening the witch inside of you. While some people might recoil at the idea, which I think is understandable being that witches have been denigrated since the time of the senseless femicide of the witch hunts, others (like ME!) are grateful that she wrote this book, put herself out there in this huge way, and invited us all to come out and play.

Lisa is the real deal. She lives and works with her heart open wide. She does everything with so much purpose and intention and this book is just more proof of that. If you are with curious, a witch on the rise, or already awakened and just want something great to read that will support your life and your purpose, this is it!

Click on the image for more information on the book...

Sweetening the Pill: How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control by Holly Grigg-Spall

I had the good fortune of being turned on to this book by one of woman's biggest fans, Lisa Lister. The moment I started reading the book I knew I had to interview Holly for my podcast and get her message out there (I will release this podcast on May's new moon). 

This book is all about hormonal birth control and its harmful effects. When I read how she had been affected with paranoia, anxiety, and other physical side effects, I remembered my experience with birth control and wondered how many women have gone through the same thing. The answer is: A LOT. She also goes deep into the misogynistic nature of hormonal birth control in a way that could convince even the most staunch defender of it. 

Here are a few quotes:

"In this culture it is not easy to find footing between the misogyny of the religious Right and the feminist agenda with its own brand of misogyny, but I believe it is a position worth fighting for. The silencing of honest discussion causes many women to suffer unnecessarily. It wasn't until I stopped taking the pill that I developed the needed energy, motivation, and clarity of thought to express why I had to stop and to question why it had taken me so long to make that decision."

"We are all too happy to disregard our biology as women, and our humanity as people. The pill is an interior reflection of exterior conformism through body shape, hair color, and appearance. It is an act of homogenization that resists the collective. It is sameness with no understanding of similarity."

"Women are losing control of their sexual and reproductive lives from demands on the aesthetics of their genitals to radical interventions in their births, but they believe hormonal contraceptives and the innovations of these methods are providing them with control."

"A docile body is a body compliant to these [contraceptive] drugs, and as such compliant to society's restrictions."

The book is also a great resource for women looking for alternative methods of birth control as well as a way to be inspired to begin to learning about their body and its natural cycles.

Click on the photo for information on the book:

 

 

 

Free-Range Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I not only love knitting but I love reading books by knitters about knitting. Yup, it's true. According to conventional standards, that makes me a grandma in a mumu telling old stories about the war while her needles click away! Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (also known as The Yarn Harlot) writes with so much wit and cheekiness that even a non-knitter would appreciate her books- and laugh out loud many, many times as I do reading her books. Her stories are not only funny, but touching and sensitive (even though she claims to be the opposite of that).

Click on the image below for more info on the book. Enjoy!

Pussy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer

With this book, Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) sets out to change the entire feeling of the word Pussy, which actually belongs in the world of the ecstatic and in the world of women, not marooned in a dark corner grouped with other words like "shame", "guilt", "weak", and "powerless". This book will make you angry and make you cry out in rapturous joy at the same time. It's a revolution in 257 pages. Even my husband is reading and loving this book. I recommend everyone read this and take it all in. Click on the image below for more information or to snatch a copy for yourself :)

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