By Resha AlTai
It’s that time of year again! The trees are beginning to bloom, birds are singing outside windows, and parkas are finally shed. With all this physical renewal, it can be easy to forget that our minds also need freshening up. Allow your heart and mind to flourish with these four incredible reads for Spring:
1) Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders This quick, informative read delves deeply into the workings of our digestive system, including its effects on our mental well-being. The language is totally accessible to those of us with a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology and makes wonderful use of illustrations (drawn by the author’s sister) to complement her explanations.
2) The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön In our current age of anxiety, Chödrön is both a refreshing and challenging voice — she encourages us to see problems as spiritual opportunities. Instead of trying to run from discomfort, she advocates staying put and learning about ourselves. This a wonderful read for those of us who are facing uncertain or difficult times and looking for a little spiritual boost!
3) The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit It starts off with a basket of apricots sitting on the authors floor and morphs into an allegory. The gift of apricots that Solnit’s estranged mother gives her starts to decay, much in the the same way as her mother’s mind (she is suffering from Alzheimer’s) is doing. Through the observing of the apricots, she makes sense of her mother and her relationship with her. Solnit reminds us of the importance of empathy in our lives in this brilliant work of non-fiction.
4) Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzburg While this work is technically a 28-day program, it can totally be used as a reference guide for your existing or burgeoning meditation practice. Don’t let the self-help sounding title scare you away from this book, Salzburg shares incredible insights best illustrated by this quote:
"Real happiness depends on what we do with our attention. When we train our attention through meditation, we connect to ourselves, to our own true experience, and then we connect to others. The simple act of being completely attentive and present to another person is an act of love, and it fosters unshakeable well-being. It is happiness that isn't bound to a particular situation, happiness that can withstand change.”