|A cosy read is just what I need.|
Reading in bed has to be one of the simple joys of everyday life. It is a great way to recharge your batteries and reduce your stress. Grab a pile of self-help books, escape into a cosy bedroom, light scented candles, plump up the pillows, snuggle beneath the duvet and have a good read. This type of relaxation is the best medicine after a long day of running around at work and so on. It is an easy way to practice your self-care skills too, especially if you have been feeling under the weather.
Whenever I feel a little low there are certain books and authors I automatically reach for. These books are old favorites that I have read many times before and which never fail to lift my spirits. I'm not talking about the kick-ass self-help authors either; as much as I enjoy the work of Anthony Robbins there are times when he seems too harsh and I need a bit more sugar with my self-help medicine. I need an authorial voice that is less commanding and more cajoling; less dictatorial and more whimsical. In short, I need the authorial voice of a woman; one who gently nurtures me through each page with soft words of encouragement.
Two authors I reach for again and again are Julia Cameron and Sarah Ban Breathnach. These ladies are the most inspirational female authors I have ever had the great pleasure of reading. I have nearly all of their books and I am always on the watch for new titles. In voice and style they are quite similar; gentle, nurturing and compassionate towards their readers. While Julia Cameron concentrates on nurturing creativity and self-expression through art and writing, Sarah Ban Breathnach teaches her readers to find joy in simple, everyday moments rather than postponing happiness until a perfect life has been achieved - there are no perfect lives, so just be happy.
There are times when I need to nurture my talent more; to honor it and be thankful for the success I have achieved thus far. When I feel as if I might never write another word, when I think I've already said everything I wanted to say in print, along comes Julia Cameron asking "What next?" and somehow, I manage to find an answer to her question. She is a fantastic midwife for creativity.
When I find myself worrying about all the things I want to do, but haven't done yet; when I selfishly focus on everything I don't have, rather than showing gratitude for all that I do possess I reach for Sarah Ban Breathnach. She shows me all that is wonderful in my life right now, in this moment; she offers a helping hand when pessimism is an unwelcome guest who has stayed too long, escorting negativity to the door and seeing in the brighter spirits of hope and good fortune. She teaches that it is okay to want more but while you're working on your goals just look at all that you already have and know that it's enough for today.
The books listed below are my go-to titles for when I am feeling fragile and down-hearted. Women are hormonal creatures and our moods do fluctuate up and down. A creative life is full of highs and lows, triumphs and rejections. When you feel dispirited and frail by all means take to your bed for a little while but do so with style and elegance, armed with a glass of wine or cup of cocoa and a selection of nurturing books that will help to buck you up. In this way, not only are you enjoying some down time tucked up under the covers, you are also making productive use of your time by filling your mind with positive, inspiring ideas and intellectual food for thought. It's a win win situation.
- Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach; this is my favorite title by this author and the book I am re-reading right now. It is full of tips on the joy of romancing yourself, whether single or in a relationship. It will give you permission to indulge your glamorous, romantic side and embrace all that is feminine, womanly and whimsical. Great for lonesome princess days.
- The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron; I love all of Julia Cameron's books but this one is a small paperback rather than the larger size tomes her titles are usually printed as, which makes it easier to handle for bedtime reading. It is a companion for artists, nurturing inspiration and unleashing the creative experience. Great for writer's block.
- Time to Write to Yourself by Dianne Sandland; this is a writer's guide with a difference; it is about the art of journaling for the purpose of healing mind, body and spirit. It teaches the benefits of journaling as self-help therapy and uses clinical practices such as Clustering/Brain-Storming, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or 'talking therapies' for readers to try for themselves. Don't let these clinical terms scare you away from the book - it is really just about journaling to free up your head-space and see what exactly you are coping with on a day to day basis. Once it's written down on the page you can see issues more clearly and begin to deal with them, thus healing yourself through the power of the written word. Great for regaining control of your head-space.
- Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff, PhD; this book is basically the ideal best friend you wish you had, but probably don't have in reality. It is one long permission slip to give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack and take some time out. It is about treating yourself kindly, being as compassionate towards yourself as you would be to a sister or friend. Learning how to separate personal tragedy from the general human condition is the first step to putting problems in to perspective. This book will walk you through difficulty, holding you hand as you go. Great for when you need a friend but don't actually want to talk to anyone!
- Creating Money by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer; I've had this book since before I got published in the mid-nineties. It is a spiritual guide to the concept of money, abundance and prosperity. It has work sheets in it where you set your goals. At the time of purchase I wasn't that confident in my ability to create a career in publishing for myself and so I filled out the goals in pencil, thinking I could always erase them if it didn't work out...when I read through those penciled goals now it makes me smile because I have achieved all of them! For that reason alone this book holds a special place in my heart. This book is a guiding light for the skint/broke/financially challenged. It will change the way you look at and relate to money and prosperity. Great for those days when money worries are dragging you down.
I very much hope that you have found this little guide and reading list helpful. Bedtime reading should be fun, but it can be inspirational too. Happy Reading.
BB Marie x