Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Tag: Books

22 Books Worth Reading Twice

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Would you like to get cozy with a good book or two?

Recently, I asked my Facebook friends,

What is one book that you would love to read again?

As you can imagine, they shared their most deeply cherished selections – ones with the capacity to transfix you in wonder, transport you to another time and place, or transform your confusion into clarity.

Maybe one of these titles will spark warm or wondrous memories for you too!

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Good Links for a Happy Life: From Overwhelm to Complete

My Morning View by Tammy Strobel

This is my occasional collection of exceptional posts, good books, and helpful resources to help you live the best life possible.  Enjoy!


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Perfect Gifts: 13 Life-Changing Books Plus Beauty from Fibre Tibet

Monk Contemplating

Words are powerful.  They can ignite positive change in your life and bring you more happiness and freedom.  They can transform the world into a better place.  That’s why I believe the right book is priceless, and indeed the perfect gift.

However, it may not be helpful to read too many books.  The key is to contemplate what you learn and then put it into practice instead of skipping immediately onto a new book.  Otherwise, it’s like leaving a collection of supreme knowledge to gather dust on a book shelf.  And then, just continuing on with automatic habits that leave you discontent.

I read less these days, try to capture the essence of what I read, and then do my best apply it.  My method is to draw a few key points from what I’ve read.  I’m beginning to play with mind maps as a simple way to remind myself of what’s truly important.  I sometimes journal or blog about an important theme from a book as another way to nudge the information more deeply into my being.

These are some of the amazing books that have touched my life in positive ways.  They might make a perfect gift for someone in your life.  That might even be you!

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Summer Reads: 10 Books Capturing My Attention

Pink Hibiscus FlowersUsually, I’m drawn to setting up a slew of experiments for the summer.  But, I have just one goal this sunny season:  to be at ease.

The essential threads of life will continue:  writing, responding to meditation students, clearing weeds and vines, and regular meditation practice, but intertwined this particular summer with ample time for rest, journaling, and reading a few good books.

As I recently said, I would like to integrate what I read instead of greedily accumulating more knowledge without putting it into action.  But, I’m not giving up books altogether, at least not yet.

I try to capture the essential points – just a few – from each book I read, and find ways to actualize them.   From this perspective, my summer reading list might seem on the longish side.  But, I’m not worried as it will be just as good if this reading happens to extend itself into the fall.

It’s time to finish reading these books:

It would be helpful to refresh myself on these outstanding primers on healing trauma:

These books are calling to me:

I’m beginning to realize my quiet summer may only be a dream as I neglected to consider a few major projects looming on the horizon.  Nevertheless, whatever happens, my goal is to expand my ability to be at ease and to read at least a few good books.

What’s on your reading list this summer?

[Please note these are affiliates links and I’ll receive a tiny commission if you use my link and then make a purchase.  Thanks for your support!]

I’m so glad you’re here!  If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

How to Let Go of Your Books When It’s Hard


If you love books, trimming your library may be one of the hardest steps you take on your path towards greater simplicity.  But, think about it for a moment.  How often do actually return to a book in your collection?

After hauling all our books cross-country (20 boxes), my husband and I sold, loaned, or gave almost all our books away when we moved to France three years later.  We “loaned” around 500 books on Buddhism to a Buddhist Center, as I couldn’t quite bear to make it final.  I sold my other titles – an assortment of health, personal development, and odd topics – as used books on Amazon.

I loved having a vast reference library on Buddhism.  Ironically, sadness and attachment welled up in my heart as the truck with all “our” books on Buddhism – all about non-attachment and impermanence – drove away from our apartment.

It was just a temporary feeling.  Soon we set off across the ocean with our 50 remaining books in tow, a small collection of core Buddhist texts.  I didn’t have a second thought for all the books we left behind.

Three years and three months later, that heavy suitcase of Buddhist texts traveled with us once again across one and a half oceans with a continent in between when we moved to Hawai’i.  After a few years, this essential book collection has ballooned to include titles on health, happiness, and healthy house design – probably 150 or 200 volumes in total.  This doesn’t include my husband’s books, just mine.

Live What You Read

Fortunately, the Kindle (affiliate link) came to my rescue a few years ago.  The Kindle represents an excellent solution for me because I’m sensitive to must, mold, dust, and printer’s ink (though better than before). Frankly, a library is a far better answer in terms of the environment, but it itsn’t a good option for me.

Despite having this electronic wonder, I don’t buy books willy-nilly for the Kindle.  I limit my book purchases because I think it’s important that I try to practice and live what I read instead of simply reading more and more.  And, in fact, all the wisdom I truly need is contained in a handful of books.

When I started my simplicity experiments last year, I reluctantly looked at my current library knowing most of it would have to go.  I began by attempting to divide my books into three categories:

  • Must have
  • Maybe
  • Give away, sell, or throw away

But, I didn’t make much headway.  I ended up with about 10 books in the give away pile and another 10 in the to be sold pile. Everything else was in limbo.

Go At Your Own Speed

This is what I discovered.  At least for book lovers, letting go of books is a process that takes time.  It won’t necessarily happen the first time you give it a shot. As time moved on, I became acclimated to the idea.  I found a few more to move over into the good-bye pile.  Then, a few more.  I promised myself that I could repurchase a book on Kindle if I really needed it.

When I recently moved into a 450 square foot studio with my husband, I allocated two shelves for books.  I’ve made a big dent into paring my books down to fit on these two shelves.  I’m a bit of a trickster though as they are wide shelves that can accommodate two rows of books.  I’ll probably end up with about 75 books.

Is this a failure or a success?  I consider it a positive step forward.  I can envision letting go of a few more of these books as time goes on, but I don’t feel I have to right now.  Downsizing is individual.  You make the rules that work for you.

Here are a few lessons to take away from my experience:

  • You won’t necessarily miss most of  your books when they’re gone.
  • You can repurchase a book if you really need it.
  • You’re library will just grow bigger and bigger unless you’re intentional about it.
  • Downsizing is a process.  Go at a speed that works for you.
  • Downsizing is individual.  You don’t need to go to an extreme – like zero books – unless that truly suits you.
  • Most importantly, live what you learn instead of mindlessly devouring more and more.

If you decide to downsize your library, I wish you the very best.  I hope it’s a positive learning experience for you as well.

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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