It seems that I rarely see people reading actual books these days, and when I do, I usually send a smile and a “good for you!” vibe from my heart. I wish more people read books, and often, because reading magically nourishes the soul & brain.
I would not be the person I am today without my books… They guide me, excite me, console me, uplift me, and inspire me. Also, the more I read, the more I journal! If you read something that speaks to you— write it down! And expand on it. Allow the practice to nourish your mind and heart.
Here are the top five books [in no particular order] that not only helped me become a happier, more productive artist, but cultivated in my heart a passion to know and love myself on a deeper level and that focusing on personal growth and development is super important!
[*hint: the blue titles are links*]
1. How To Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
I haven’t finished this book, but it’s one of those books you don’t simply read… you DO this book (and it was written with that intention!) Jonathan Fields presents you with the idea that in your life there are three main buckets: Vitality, Connection, Contribution. You’re challenged to assess how full your three buckets are, make changes, and then to do things to begin to fill these buckets each and every day. This book inspires positive action!
The author has also set up an awesome online global community whose quest is to help each other live more meaningful, connected, and vital lives. How cool is that?!
Since beginning this book, I’ve found myself meditating more (yes, sitting pretzel style, palms facing up on my knees, breathing deeply and focusing on each breath…) Sounds boring, but it’s clarifying and peaceful. I have rarely chosen this form of meditation for myself, but the book inspired it in me. And it also has me brainstorming more creative ways to contribute to the world.
Lots and lots of journaling going on because of The Good Life Project. I’m only about halfway through it, but I’m loving every minute of it!
2. One Zentangle A Day by Beckah Krahula
I used to be an awkward doodler… I loved doodling, but I usually ended up drawing a pretty pink bow, a pumpkin, an apple, a heart and some words, or just some random flourishes. I never went outside that boring, cutesy little box when it came to doodling. That all changed when I discovered the magic of Zentangle.
Not only are the “tangles” easy and fun to create, but the practice of Zentangle calls you to meditate whilst doodling. The Zentangle Method is quite simple and you pick it up in no time. It’s a relaxing, interesting way to create beautiful images by drawing repetitive structured patterns. Here are some characteristics of the Zentangle Method (And I took these right from their website…)
-Fun & Relaxing
-Ceremonial (Repetitive, simple steps are part of the process. Also makes an excellent daily ritual.)
-Timeless (Creating designs, manipulating symbols and putting pen to paper is part of our human heritage. In a time of keyboards, computer mice, and cell phones, the simple strokes that are part of the Zentangle Method automatically engage you in a comfort and familiarity of timeless, basic creativity.)
-Empowering (It is an empowering and uplifting experience to learn that you can deliberately relax and intentionally direct your attention while creating beautiful works of art.)
Here’s the Zentangle I made today!
There truly are many benefits of beginning a Zentangle Journey, and I’ve created a video all about Zentangle, and the fun of having what I like to call a “Doodle Diary.” I’ll be sharing that video soon!
*And to site the Zentangle Information I borrowed from their site: https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method
3. The Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle
The most beautiful, easy to digest photography book I’ve found yet, and it’s alive with beautiful images! Susan Tuttle has thoroughly mapped out how to shoot incredible photos with a DSLR with a welcoming, easy to comprehend tone throughout.
It is perfect for beginners, experienced photographers looking for tips, or those like me who are determined to learn how to shoot photos in Manual Mode.
One of my favorite sections talks about capturing portraits and self-portraits. There’s posing ideas, lighting tips, and lots of other great info! Visually delightful and fun to read, it’s an excellent book for aspiring everyday photographers!
4. The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
I will probably never stop reading this book. Ever! It helps me dig deep and acknowledge the strengths within myself. The Motivation Manifesto has helped me to become more enthusiastic and delighted in my passions, and inspires courage within to go out there and achieve my dreams.
This book is brimming with life-changing passages. Some of it’s common sense, but as Brendon says, “Common sense isn’t always common practice.” This book has beyond explanation broadened my perspective and when I read it, I feel like anything is possible!
If you’ve never heard of Brendon Burchard, you should check out some of the videos on his Facebook page or YouTube. His story is an inspiration in itself, his energy is contagious, and you can feel that he genuinely cares for you as an individual and wants you to live a charged, wonderful life!
5. The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan
I delight in celebrating the little things in life. For example, whenever my animals do something cute or sweet, I run to my hubby saying, “Guess what [insert one of three pet names here] just did?! It was so sweet. I’m so thankful for my little fur babies!” When I read and applied some of the ideals and practices mentioned in this book I realized… GRATITUDE IS POWERFUL. Beautifully and truly powerful.
The more you practice gratitude, the more positive vibrations you feel… and those vibrations grow stronger and stronger until you begin to feel that you can literally be in any situation and find something to be grateful for.
I learned to be grateful for the process of becoming the artist I’m meant to be, rather than wishing I were further along. Which has been incredibly freeing for my soul. I began thanking all of my supplies for being present, which has made each artistic adventure more peaceful and joyful. I feel more centered when I first focus on how grateful I am for my tools and talents before putting gesso onto my canvas.
I only have this book on my phone in iBooks, but that’s okay because it’s everywhere I am. Honestly, I much prefer bound books rather than devices, but I’m thankful I have this one on my phone… if I ever get held up somewhere and want to read, I always have a great book at my fingertips!
And that’s five! I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and little tidbits about these five books, and that they are as pleasantly transformational for you as they have been [and continue to be] for me!
P.S. If you follow the blue book links, you’ll find yourself on Amazon.com, at which I have become an affiliate. So if you are inspired to purchase one of the amazing books listed here, you can do so through the link, and for absolutely no extra cost you can help me earn a tiny commission so that I can keep providing you with content! Please trust that I would never recommend anything willy-nilly. I’ll only suggest things I genuinely feel called to share with you!