Transforming Reads 2

Wintering: the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

This is a book for now, for "Wintering" by Katherine May is what we are all doing during quarantine! It examines through the personal experience of the author "the emotional, spiritual and geographic reality of the cold times, the dark days, and those periods of our lives when things are neither soft nor easy." (Elizabeth Gilbert's review)

I think that this statement might describe these times for us...

Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious" (Carl Jung)

Thirty years ago, I began to explore the writings on the "shadow" living in each human being, one of Jung's major contributions to understanding human nature. I did this mainly through the teachings of Marion Woodman, in books and workshops. Today, all these years later, a friend reading this book reminded me - I actually felt a pull - that it might be time to read some of this again.

And so it turned out to be. Published in 1991 - this group of 65 short articles by major Jungian practitioners of our world fairly jumps off the pages with how prophetically the Shadow described by Jung and in those years thought mainly to be personal, is now operating on global levels, as we watch our world ripped apart daily by war and killings, and by the small mindedness of politicians and many world leaders.

I am finding this collection to be compelling reading, reaching deep into my 71 years of life and experience, and seeing more and more clearly the truth of our present world.

The Choice

Edith Eger is now 93 years old. When she was 16 she was pulled out of a pile of dead bodies in Auschwitz because her hand moved. The Choice is her story...but it doesn't dwell on her early experience in the camps as it is really about her choice to be and do otherwise. She became a psychotherapist and worked with PTSD sufferers. She went to where Hitler's house was, and forgave him. She still gives talks and has YouTube videos. Nothing is more stark, nor so confronting, for those of us who are held back in our lives for so little compared to Edith's story. And it is so well written I could hardly put it down.

God sends small messengers to peel us open...all my experience...all of it disrupts my conclusions, like pebbles of light dropped into the lake of my mind...Mark Nepo Things That Join the Sea and Sky, p.80.


In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan Richardson

This book is a companion for Reflection and Prayer, drawing on the centuries of women's hidden devotions and ways of connecting with the sacred in life. From early women-hermits to present-day women who are spiritual teachers, "this refreshing resource widens the mind, deepens the heart, and strengthens the enter The Sanctuary of Women is to risk deep transformation, proof that this book is a God-gift." (Joyce Rupp)

Vesper Time: the Spiritual practice of Growing Older

This book is an invitation to those of us - especially after seventy- to enter into our own "Vesper Time", the title coming from the evening prayer of the daily round of following the day with prayer. Seeing ourselves as embracing the years that are ours with warmth and wisdom and memory and love - thankful and peaceful - this is an invitation counter to the those of our culture, and thereby (for me) wise and welcoming. I simply love this book for where I am in my own life.

Parker Palmer says of this book: " Vesper Time is full of wisdom and guidance for all who want to treat aging as a "school of the spirit" - a time to call upon the sacred alchemy that turns wisdom into strength, loss into gratitude, and dying into new life. Wonderfully well- written, grounded in real-life experience...this is a book for all seasons...

Unbinding: the Grace Beyond Self

This new and final book by Kathleen Dowling Singh seems prophetic, as she died on October 1, 2017, just as the book was released. This is the real journey to fredom in our interior life; the peaceful movement towards releasing all that has bound us interiorly as we live out the years of our life's unfolding. This description on the back of the book focuses the great invitation to us all:

With poise and grace, Kathleen Dowling Singh points us to that in the human spirit which has never been bound, never been wounded, and has always been an un-selfed shining freedom - the radiant ground that is our diamond life." (Martin Laird)

Blood Flowers: a novel

This gripping novel tells the story of Meg, a young missionary to Chile just in time to witness the overthrow of Salvador Allende. In the aftermath of the brutal military coup the priest she works with is murdered and she herself is the target of surveillance.

The many layers of relationship and the ambivalence of missionary work give this novel depth and relevance, no matter how many years go by after the recounted events. And knowing the author, Judy Ress - her attentive integrity and her faithfulness to the unfolding of true events - made this a compelling read for me.

In fact, I could not stop reading. It is available on Kindle as well as ppbk and hardcover.

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Brenda Peddigreq | Reply 03.03.2019 17:19

Laurie...I might have my copy and will look for it. Otherwise...order from Amazon.
It is beyond inspiring. I will let you know. It's on kindle too.

Laurie Rockman | Reply 03.03.2019 16:53

Hi Brenda, I would like to read The Choice. Where would I find a copy?

Brenda 12.02.2021 08:41

Hi Laurie, You will find The Choice on

Mary Beth McCurdy | Reply 01.02.2019 10:03

I am grateful, Brneda, for your generous encouragement based on your own experience and quests.

Lee Gauthier | Reply 10.12.2018 08:27

I have browsed your comments on these books at various times and came back again now to be inspired to round out my selection for my 'winter reading'.

Mary Beth McCurdy | Reply 18.03.2018 17:38

Edith is our mentor and prophet for the times she knows we are trying to let go, be freed from whatever impedes growth,goodness and giving!

Linda McNamara | Reply 14.03.2018 19:26

Thank you Brenda for providing this resource. Your selection of books make fine companions on life's path, especially at this time.

Mary Beth McCurdy | Reply 31.12.2017 17:04

Thanks,Brenda for these your recommendations...

Lee Gauthier | Reply 28.11.2017 07:35

Perusing your musings about these books are a great help for me so I can choose my next book.. one that resonates at this time in my life. Thanks Brenda.

Lee Gauthier | Reply 22.11.2017 20:53

Welcomed reading recommendations !

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Latest comments

24.04 | 21:27

Hi Brenda,
I did some writing this last week.
Here is it. :)

12.02 | 08:41

Hi Laurie, You will find The Choice on

18.10 | 18:29

Thanks, glad you found it here. I think it's remarkable. Holly's grandmother is one of my long and close friends; it was she who sent it.

18.10 | 17:38

Thanks for posting this. I heard it read from Abbey Theatre in their "Dear Ireland" and was hoping that I would find it on the web. I thought it stole the show.

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