Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Books, Blogs & TED Talks: Making Space in Your Life for What You Love to Do

Last month I told y'all about this book:

and how much I liked it, and a couple people asked me for some more suggestions in books and websites and stuff that might help lead to living a more creative life. I've got a few I'd like to share, but a caveat: these are *not* about creativity. These are about making room for creativity: slowing down, weeding out, figuring out what's worth keeping (both material stuff and mental stuff) and what's not so that you can spend as much of your precious time as possible doing the things you love to do. My life has changed a lot since I was young, and here lately it's changing in a really inspiring way as I get rid of things—lots of things— and discover the freedom of not having to take care of them and clean them and find places to put them and wonder what will happen to them when I'm gone. I'll write more about this adventure in another post—later this month, I hope. For now, some things that might give you some ideas of your own.

First, my go-to books. I've had them for many years now, and I read them all once every year or two, just to see if there's anything else I might implement as I go along this journey. These are not deep philosophical books; they're suggestions for changes you might want to make in your life. The first one is Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson, and you can find it here. 

These next four are my favorites, all by Elaine St. James, here. It's not necessarily that there's anything earthshakingly amazing in them; it's that they reinforce things I'm trying to do and support lifestyle choices that are often kind of far out of the norm.

We are not holiday people, but if you are and feel overwhelmed by the advertising and commercialization of Christmas, you might want to read this. I read it every year just to remind myself that not everyone goes crazy and goes into debt every year.

It's time for me to read this one again. It's an old book, and you've probably already read it, or at least heard about it, but I hadn't, not until a couple years ago. You can find it here. I think that, for a lot of us, transforming our relationship with money is a huge step toward finding peace in our lives.

I'm reading this one again right now. Published in 1998, it still has ideas that inspire me to keep making changes. You can find it here. I love the part about avoiding advertising, which I see as vital to happiness as well as learning to have less stuff.

A couple of TED talks to get you started: 

I love this one on Happiness by Dan Gilbert. It's not  about how to be happy, but how our brains can synthesize happiness, and why I like it is that it reminds me that we are, truly, about as happy as we choose to be, with the exception of faulty wiring or unbalanced brain chemicals. And this one on Play by Dr. Stuart Brown, is one of my favorite, life-changing TED talks.

Then a couple of my favorite websites. I don't really read blogs, and I don't remember to check these often, but when I do, I spend an hour or more reading posts, often posts I've read before but that, like the books above, reinforce the direction I'm heading. First is Becoming Minimalist, by Joshua Becker. I love what I find there. For instance, the post on the home page today, about the price tag of The American Dream. And here's a page with some online reading he suggests.  I follow a lot of links and read other people's posts on simplicity and minimalism and am inspired by knowing that there are other people out there thinking about the same things and doing what they can to live a kind of life that's completely different from what people here in Midland, Texas, are pursuing (we're still riding high on the latest oil boom, thanks to frakking, and by "we," I do not mean peoples like me, personally, but "people employed in the oil and gas business").

And then Zenhabits, by Leo Babauta. I do go there as often, but there's a lot to meander through there, as well.

Now it's your turn: I would reallyreallyreally love to hear about books and talks and blogs or websites that you have found inspirational if you're trying to make more space in your life for what you love to do. Tell us, please!


Caatje said...

Thanks so much for all the tips on books and such. I think I like reading about these things not so much because I need the pointers or ideas, but more to feel that there are people out there who take a different approach to life that is more like mine. Not the busy busy busy, I'm oh so important approach, but the quiet more reflective approach where our soul is more important than our income and success. I will definitely look into these.

As for tips: I like the diaries of May Sarton. She was a pretty neurotic person, but somehow her journals and her pace of life when she was at home speak to me and calm my senses.

For the past two years during my two week christmas break I read "A field guide to now" by Christina Rosalie. The book has nothing to do with Christmas by the way. It's about being present in your own life and I just need to be reminded of that from time to time.

susan in seattle said...

It's hard to simplify and downsize when your parents grew up in the Depression. I love your collection of books and the TED ideas.
The book that helped when my wuzband left me with all the clutter of his life and both houses he stored it all in was "Clutterbusting". I found out that he was a huge piece of clutter himself and I was better off without him. Then I learned abt EFT tapping (google and YouTube it) which set my intentions to be able to let go of both him and 40 years of collected stuff. It's now time to sell the huge house and move to the smaller cabin so will reread the book and resume tapping like a madwoman to get it done. Wish me luck!