Tag Archives: Pema Chodron

My Top 10 Books to Inspire You

Tzivia Gover Author PicksThis post was written in response to a question posed by the librarians at Boston Public Library, where I’ll be speaking about my book Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life Thursday, January 14, at 6 p.m. as part of the Boston Public Library’s Author Talks Series. 

Q: What are the 10 Books that Inspire You Most?

It wasn’t easy to come up with my “Ten Favorite Books to Inspire You”—but it was fun to give the question some thought. As a writer I have an entire village of favorite books that inspire me on my shelves. (I live in a relatively small space, otherwise I’d have an entire metropolis of favorites!) But which ones might inspire you as well? To narrow it down, I began by flipping through the pages of Joy in Every Moment, my latest book, which includes quotes from many of the books that have inspired me to live my best life—one moment at a time. Then I added a few more to come up with a highlights list that includes books of poetry, philosophy, self-help, psychology, and fiction. I hope you find something here to inspire you! Enjoy.

  1. The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel: The fictional character, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, inspired me to “choose the better story”—a reminder I turn to again and again.
  2. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman: I re-read this book-length poem with a group of friends almost every year on the Fourth of July (the anniversary of the book’s publication). It takes us about two hours to read the entire poem aloud, and each time I feel inspired to try to do my part to live up to Whitman’s vision of true equality and democracy.
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A psychiatrist imprisoned in a concentration camp comes away recommitted to his belief that we can live positive and purposeful lives filled with meaning—no matter what the circumstances. Now that inspires me.
  4. You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay: As a young woman, this classic self-help book inspired—and empowered—me, to wake up to the role our thoughts play in manifesting our lives.
  5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jung: My dreams are a constant source of inspiration to me. Jung’s work helps me to explore them, trust them, and find meanings within them.
  6. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo: With joy as the organizing principle for getting one’s house in order, this quirky little book inspires me to experience my surroundings in a richer way!
  7. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler: This book inspires me to grab my pen, nearly as soon as I open my eyes in the morning—and start to write.
  8. Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: I turn to this book again and again when I need to be inspired to live from my heart in a time of great challenges to our magnificent planet.
  9. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed: Pearls of wisdom wrapped in humor and humility and delivered with gloves-off, gut-wrenching candor—that’s what I call inspiration.
  10. Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chödrön: I have this book in paperback and in an MP3 file on my iPod so I can read or listen to it any time, including at 4 a.m. on nights when I can’t sleep. This book inspires me to face difficult situations and emotions with a loving heart.

May these books inspire you, too. Or better yet, may you be inspired to share with others your ten most inspiring books!


[Originally Published by Boston Public Library http://www.bpl.org/press/2016/01/08/author-picks-tzivia-govers-top-ten-books-to-inspire-you/]

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S’News of the Day: A Lucid Lesson in Self-Love

After trying for over a week to have a lucid dream, I finally succeeded…

Typically I have a lucid dream once or twice a month without trying. If I want to have a dream in which I know that I’m dreaming, I usually achieve my goal after a night or two of setting my intention in that direction.

In this case, the frustration of not succeeding helped to make the night of lucidity all the more instructive.

Here’s what happened:

After a few nights of vivid, clear, but not technically lucid dreaming, I decided to pick up a book on the subject to strengthen my intentions. One of the things the authors wrote, and that I say again and again in the dream classes I teach, is that everything in the dream is an aspect of yourself. Nothing new there. But thinking about this in terms of lucid dreaming was interesting to me, because I and other lucid dreamers, including the authors of the book I was reading, experience other characters and locations in their dreams as autonomous and objective in nature. For example, multiple lucid dreamers might discover the same physical location in a dream, unlike anything any of them have visited in waking life. Likewise, dream characters in lucid scenarios often assert their autonomy, displaying opinions and desires that are separate from the dreamer’s.Field Guide to LD

So, I fell asleep thinking about this conundrum. If everything in the lucid dream is an aspect of myself, what does that say about those autonomous-seeming characters? How can they be so clearly ruled by a separate set of desires, thoughts, and ideas, and still be part of me?

After sleeping for about six hours I woke and re-set my intentions hoping to capitalize on the next and longest REM cycle of the night. I had a cold and woke at about 5:30 in the morning feeling sicker than when I’d gone to sleep. Feeling defeated and discouraged I re-set my intention to not only have a lucid dream, but to have a healing lucid dream as well.

Lucid at last!Healing Card

Sure enough, when I fell back into sleep, I became lucid. I managed to remember my intention, when in the dream, standing in my kitchen I realized I was dreaming. First I did some floating, flying and shape-shifting. then I stood still and gathered up a ball of energy to symbolize and focus my question: “What one thing will support my healing right now?” I directed my question to the wisest teachers I could think of. Pema Chodron and Swami Vishnudevananda’s images and names came to me, and I immediately received a response. “Self Love!” they said as if in unison.

The beauty of the dream was that they didn’t just say to words, they demonstrated them … on me. I was immediately swept up into an embrace of love swirling around my heart. The feeling was simultaneously so tender and strong that I was moved to tears and filled with happiness. “Of course!” I said in response. “Thank you.”

Okay, but what’s the S’News?IMG_1540

When I woke I basked in the glow from the night’s dreams. Then, as always, when I look at a dream, I asked myself, “What was the ‘News’ from the dream?”

Truth is, I’ve been on a self-growth, self-improvement, and healing path since I was a pre-teen reading Ann Landers’ columns in Newsday and taking personality quizzes in Seventeen Magazine. I went on to become a devotee of Louise Hay, Pema Chodron, Belleruth Naparstek, Byron Katie, and numerous other self-help teachers. So yes, I know (as you do, too) that Self-Love is the foundation for any healing. No news there.

What was new, however, was being wrapped in the intensified feeling of pure self-love. This was an unconditional embrace of acceptance and goodness beyond anything I’ve felt awake. This alone was extraordinary.

But there’s more. The question I went into sleep with returned to me in the morning as I pondered the dream.

If everything in the dream is part of me, and yet autonomous, then to love myself, I need to love everything in the dream, whether it’s a direct projection of my mind or something I perceive as separate.

Then I realized that the same is true awake. Philosophers tell us we are all connected. Again, as a yoga practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, meditator and dream teacher, none of this is news either. But when someone says something I deem to be stupid or behaves in a way I think is ridiculous, I have trouble accepting that this person, too, is a part of me—and I’m certainly not inclined to love them.

Enter the dream’s newsflash: It is no different to accept the seemingly contradictory facts that everyone and everything in the lucid dream is part of myself—even the parts that seem wholly independent; than it is to accept that everyone and everything on this planet is part of me.

And so, to love myself I need to love everyone and everything. I need to love. Period. There is no other way to truly love “my” Self.

Yes, yes, I know, that is much easier said than done. And just as with the practice of lucid dreaming, I know I will miss the mark more often than I achieve it. But it’s good to know what I’m aiming for.

And it’s good to remember that while I sleep dreams teach directly to the heart to reinforce the lessons I read in a book awake and understand only in my head.



Filed under Dream How To's, Dream Life, Uncategorized