Stephanie Johnson Photography (StephJohnPhoto) | 3 Books to Help You Live a More Creative...and More Meaningful...Life

3 Books to Help You Live a More Creative...and More Meaningful...Life

March 19, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

 

   If you’ve been looking for some new reading material that will help you embrace your inner creative genius AND move you farther along on your path toward becoming a better you, these three books will offer more than enough wisdom and insight to spark your creative fire and encourage you to ‘see’ things more deeply and more meaningfully. 

     These are goals I’ve had in my own life, as I’ve worked hard to build a life that is more creative, more purposeful, more connected, and more meaningful. 

     Our lives are constantly changing and in flux, with so many outside distractions and challenges that come our way each and every day.  And let’s face it, sometimes it’s a real struggle to keep the faith and stay on the path to a better life. 

     Societal pressures, demands from daily requirements, and our own internal obstacles…such as fear, doubt, procrastination, and not even knowing where to begin…all contribute to keeping us from making forward progress.

     There is, however, good news and hope for even those of us who struggle the most.  Whenever we fall off the path, or we find ourselves going backwards instead of forwards, we always have the opportunity to get back on track.  As soon as we recognize the signs that we’re backsliding, we can stop and choose to start again right where we’re at…to pick up right where we left off before we began our downward slide.  

     Be encouraged...knowing that the creative and more meaningful life you desire so passionately is a daily process.  It’s an ongoing, never-ending journey, and because I understand the struggle all too well from my own trials and tribulations, I wanted to share three books that have served as beacons of light for me…guiding me along my own journey toward the safe harbor of increased creativity, more meaning, and a deeper sense of purpose in life.  I encourage you to check them out for yourself.

     I’m really passionate about helping people explore their inner landscapes more deeply, because I know from experience that tapping into the richness of our inner self is, by its own virtue, a creative process that generates more abundance and meaning in all aspects of our life. 

     So, here are three of my favorite books that will help you live a more creative, and more meaningful life…inside and out!

 

A Beautiful Anarchy:

When the Life Creative Becomes the Life Created  

By David duChemin

     In his book, A Beautiful Anarchy, Canadian photographer, writer, adventurer, humanitarian, and teacher David DuChemin encourages us to step outside the proverbial box of authority and established order (aka societal expectations) and to color outside the lines while listening to the voice of our souls.  While it may seem a bit counter-intuitive for a photographer to produce a book without photographs, it becomes immediately clear this is not a book about photography. 

     This is a book about living an intentional and creative life of our own making and moving beyond our comfort zones, in spite of the fear that tries so desperately to keep us small.  In an excerpt from the book, this is what duChemin has to say about an idea he calls “living above the 45”…a mathematical concept for living above the 45° line on a graph, where anything at or below the 45° mark is the comfort zone:

     “The magic rarely happens within our comfort zone, but outside it, on the ragged, scary edge, where we have to fight like hell to keep from drowning in the unknown.  This is where most of us create our best stuff, have our most adventurous thoughts, and feel the most alive.  No one lives above the 45 by accident.  You wake up every day and decide, not to wait for inspiration, but to work, to do the best work of your life, even your life’s work.  You don’t sit around waiting for your life to begin, because those that do will find it never comes, or some other unexpected horror comes first to wake us and our waited-for dreams slip away.

     This book will challenge you to think and see differently about what it is you feel called to do with your life.  If you take duChemin’s message to heart, his words of encouragement will give you the prod you need to stop letting fear rule your life, and to just get out there and do the work you are meant to create, no matter what.  I credit this book as being one of the most meaningful catalysts for pushing me to move out of my own comfort zone and to do the work I feel called to do. 

     

     Have a look at this video by David, from his Vision is Better series.  In this 6-minute video, he talks about vision and creativity in a way that complements what he has written in this book.

 


 

The Universe Has Your Back:

Transform Fear to Faith  

By Gabrielle Bernstein

     Gabby Bernstein’s book, The Universe Has Your Back, is a tremendously powerful moving read for anyone who is on a spiritual journey and needs reassurance that the Source of all creation truly does take care of our every need when we transform fear of the unknown into faith in the certainty of that knowledge.  This book will guide you towards shifting from a fear-based mind to a faith-based attitude that will help you begin to create and live the life you were meant to live.  Fear is the biggest enemy of creative freedom from the status quo, and Bernstein lays out practical lessons and guidance, based on her own life experiences, to encourage us to live bigger and fuller lives. 

     In the introduction, Gabby writes,

     After a lot of exploration, I came to understand that it’s our resistance to love that keeps us in the dark.  This resistance is the reason we stay stuck in patterns that keep us from thriving.  You may have found that you regularly experience relief with meditation, prayer, positive affirmations, therapy, or any other type of personal growth, only to sabotage that great feeling with a limiting belief, negative comment, or addictive pattern.  This experience continues to occur because the moment we lean toward the light, the darkness within us resists it….You may be doing all you can to create freedom, connect to flow, and release your fear-based habits, but it’s likely that the moment you feel some sense of relief, you’re blindsided by the shadow of fear that dwells just beneath the surface.

     The Universe Has Your Back will powerfully move you to recognize the role fear has played in your life, to understand how fear keeps us living small, and to make meaningful changes in your life…changes that will connect you physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually to the world around you in a more intentional and purposeful way.  When we are able to live in this kind of open awareness of the way fear steals our joy and limits our abundance, we can begin to live more creative lives in spite of the fear that wants to keep us small.  Through a series of universal lessons in each chapter, Bernstein provides useful tools to overcome the fear and stay faithful to the process of becoming your best version.

     Goodreads quotes Gabrielle's intention for writing this book, saying, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety, and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.

     

     Watch this powerful video trailer for her book, The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabby Bernstein.

 


 

Big Magic:

Creative Living Beyond Fear

By Elizabeth Gilbert

     Have you noticed a theme with these books?  Living beyond fear is one of the most important things we can do for more fulfilling creative, meaningful, and connected lives.  And, most creatives suffer from massive amounts of fear, so it’s no wonder books like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic speak to us on such a foundational and elemental level deep within ourselves.  We can never get rid of fear, nor should we want to according to Gilbert, but we can learn to live beyond it and create the lives we so desire to live.  Big lives, rather than small lives.  In this book, Gilbert guides us through the process of finding courage, giving ourselves permission, being persistent, trusting our inner voice, and having faith in our divine purpose. 

     In the book, she knowingly lists all the fear-based obstacles we all carry around inside us:

     Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder. 

Sound familiar?  Many of these fears are on my own list, and my ego mind repeats them incessantly at times.  But, she goes on to encourage us, throughout the book, to create anyway, because “the treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.

     

     View the inspirational Big Magic book trailer from Bloomsbury Publishing.

 


 

     Have you read any of these books already?  And if so, which ones helped you the most to tap into your own creativity and inner life?  Do you have any transformational books of your own that you would add to this list?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

     Next month, I’ll talk about three more books that have been pivotal in my transformational journey…artistically and spiritually.  They are:

  • The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  • Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Art & Fear – David Bayles and Ted Orland

If you're interested, you may purchase any or all of these three books here:

 


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