The Sunday Salon: Inspirational Reading

Although not a traditionally religious person, I am one who seeks ways to add a spiritual dimension to my life. I am also constantly struggling to define what that means: right now it’s a desire to connect to something larger and more lasting than my physical presence on earth, and to do so in a way that adds meaning to my life and to the lives of others. 

It comes through daily routines and rituals I craft for myself: time alone in the morning to think and read and write, walking outdoors, listening to and playing music. It comes from being with people I care about, bearing witness to their stories, doing things that might make their lives a little easier or more pleasant. 

And, not surprisingly, inspiration for my ongoing spiritual journey often comes from books. These are some of the books I’ve turned to - and keep returning to - for guidance and insight:

Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh: I first read this classic memoir in the 1980’s when I was a young mother, dealing with the multiple demands of daily life with children and family, much as Lindberg was doing when she wrote it. It spoke to me of women’s eternal journey and struggle, and the deeper meaning in all the myriad details of our days.

The Crosswicks Trilogy, Madeleine L’Engle: Since I read A Wrinkle in Time in fourth grade, Madeleine L’Engle’s work has touched my intellect and my heart. These three memoirs delve into her history, her family life, her love of music, writing, science, and God and they way they all intertwine together. 

Magical Journey, Katrina Kenison: When I first read this warm and meaningful memoir two years ago, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Katrina Kenison writes with an uncanny sense of prescience into my own soul. A woman's journey into and through midlife is fraught with uncertainty and change. Reading this book felt like Kenison was taking my hand and leading me gently forward into it with her, providing a guiding presence along the way.

Paradise in Plain Sight, Karen Maezen Miller: I knew nothing about Zen Buddhism or Japanese gardens when I opened this slender little book last fall. She opened my eyes to an entirely different reality - one where it’s not only permissible to let go of unrealistic expectations and perfectionism, but to embrace a sense of calm and peace, a belief that life unfolds as it was meant to do one moment at a time. 

Wishing you insight and inspiration for your own spiritual journeys this spring, wherever you may find it.