For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you had a lovely one. And for the orthodox among you, I hope this weekend is bright and joyful.
One of the reasons I love women’s fiction so much is that it seems so much more positive and hopeful than a lot of other books on the market. Traditional romance novels are the only literary genre that mandates positive change from the beginning of the book to the end, and women’s fiction often follows that footprint. They begin with an inciting incident that includes some sort of rock-bottom challenge that the characters have to overcome by the end of the book, making them better people, and deserving of their happy-ever-after.
Since this is Spring, the season of renewal and rejuvenation, I thought I’d focus on some non-fiction books that offer wisdom, inspiration and advice for change.
Apparently Oprah and I are on the same page, because her recent book, THE PATH MADE CLEAR: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose released at the end of March and wow, what a great reminder of how we can change our lives for the better!
Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.”
That journey starts right here.
In her latest book, The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book’s ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life’s detours are there to teach us.
Oprah opens each chapter by sharing her own key lessons and the personal stories that helped set the course for her best life. She then brings together wisdom and insights from luminaries in a wide array of fields, inspiring readers to consider what they’re meant to do in the world and how to pursue it with passion and focus. Renowned figures such as Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jay-Z, and Ellen DeGeneres share the greatest lessons from their own journeys toward a life filled with purpose.
Paired with over 100 awe-inspiring photographs to help illuminate the wisdom of these messages, The Path Made Clear provides readers with a beautiful resource for achieving a life lived in service of your calling—whatever it may be.
I received the audio (thanks, Macmillan!) and the trade-off in the audio is that, rather than inspirational pictures, you get to hear all those renowned figures in their own voices, from interviews across the years.
The book is inspirational, but more importantly, it’s filled with great advice and thought-provoking tidbits that provide a pathway to change. It also reminds us how powerful Oprah has been in changing the conversation over the years. She considers her most important life work as that of a teacher, and this book distills decades of wisdom and teachable moments into a veritable feast of enlightenment. It hit real-world and spiritual buttons for me, and I’ll be keeping this one handy for the foreseeable future.
If you’re looking for a journal prompt for renewal and rejuvenation, let me also recommend Debbie Macomber’s BE A BLESSING: A Journal for Cultivating Kindness, Joy, and Inspiration. The mega-bestselling author’s diary/journal released at the beginning of April and it’s a lovely achievement, filled with inspirational pictures and quotes, plus prompts for self-reflection and creativity, including leading questions for journaling, list-making and strengthening such virtues as goodness, kindness, persistence, balance, etc. The watercolor illustrations are sweetly whimsical and the coloring book pages are a fun addition that encourages yet another type of creativity. Macomber is known for her lightly faith-based writing, and this book is no exception. The overall message is peppered with biblical passages and light references to faith, which may be annoying to some, so fair warning if that's not for you.
Finally, I saw this title posted on a page I’m a member of and I was intrigued: TAKE THE LEAP: Change Your Career, Change Your Life by Sara Bliss.
What a delightful book!
In the introduction, Bliss says:
“For this book, I found people who aren’t just dreamers, but doers. They dived in, went back to school, found mentors, ignored naysayers… What can they teach you about changing your life? Everything. People who have radically changed their lives provide serious inspiration for the rest of us.”
Bliss interviews over 60 individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds who’ve reinvented themselves. Many were already successful and wanted to do something different or slow down. Others used skills used in entry level positions to understand their strengths, then leveraged those into more lucrative or personally rewarding enterprises.
Separated into themes—“Unleash Your Creative Side”; “Choose Your Own Adventure”; “Give Back”; “Follow Your Bliss”; etc.—each section also has a “So You Want To…” takeaway with specific advice for that type of endeavor. Of course that’s on top of the knowledge, insight and guidance the interviews provide themselves.
This is a great manual for making big changes. But don’t worry. Even you’re not looking to completely reinvent yourself, the snippets and stories are interesting, entertaining, and motivating, and act as good reminders that even small changes can make positive impacts on our lives.
So there you are—three awesome books to consider as you open your heart to Spring, Easter, rejuvenation and renewal.
Any books you’ve loved that have helped you become more creative, purposeful or adventurous?