Do you remember the children’s book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it (and yes, of course, we adults still get to read children’s books!). I mention it because I always loved the visual of the character Mrs. Frankweiler’s eccentric and exhaustive files, full of information, treasures, clues, and resources that were ripe for discovery, especially by the two children in the book.
Ever since I read this book, I’ve loved being a bit of a curator in my own life, actively seeking out and asking for recommendations of resources, activities, and ideas that could possibly support, help, and transform my life and those lives around me.
Treasures for my own files, if you will.
So, in the spirit of sharing some of my “files,” I wanted to share with you some gems I’ve recently found. One to read, one to listen to, and one to watch – all wrapped around the theme of “feeling less alone.”
Something I’m sure many of us are longing for, particularly in this day and age.
My hope is that the resources will help you feel a little more compassion if you’re feeling different, other, or alone right now.
And that by exploring one or all of them, you’ll feel just a little more connected to yourself, to your heart and your truth, to your significant other or your community of friends, and possibly even to your Higher Power or greater purpose.
#1. You’re Not Alone In the Struggles Of Your Relationship: Esther Perel’s New Audible Series
As a therapist, I believe that most of us feel like we’re struggling or failing in our romantic relationships at some point or another.
And most of us feel like we’re the only ones feeling this disconnected, confused, resentful, guarded or shutdown.
We tend to think everyone else has it figured out; we’re the ones who don’t.
Which, of course, isn’t true. But it’s a wildly pervasive and heavy thought.
That’s why I’m absolutely loving this new podcast from famed couples counselor, intimacy expert, and psychotherapist Esther Perel, as she firmly puts these ideas to rest.
In her new Audible series, Where Should We Begin?, Esther Perel invites real-live couples into a session with her to work through some of their most pressing issues, including rebuilding trust and intimacy after an affair, feeling connected through raising children, feeling “put off” by the personality of their mate, etc.
This series is different and special because, in my opinion, hearing the voices of real people articulating their experiences, steeped in raw emotion in the moment, is so much more relatable and visceral than reading someone describing what couples are going through.
Plus you get to hear the interventions and commentary of a master couples therapist which, even to this seasoned couples therapist, is illuminating and powerful!
Check out the new podcast through Audible, you may just feel less alone in your relationship struggles after listening to this.
#2. You’re Not Alone in Speaking Your Truth: Brené Brown’s Newest Book, Braving the Wilderness
Social science researcher, professor, author, vulnerability expert, and cultural icon Brené Brown’s books are always brilliant and I recommend all of them (yes, really!) but her newest is beyond timely.
In Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone, Brené digs deep to unearth the social science of how we feel connected or disconnected to one another and how we can shift our behavior through evidence-based steps to feel more connected to one another and, arguably more importantly, to ourselves.
Brené blends her signature combination of warmth, relatability, storytelling, and research to help us the readers see why this topic matters, how when we speak our truth and stand apart from the crowd (whether this is in our family or the Patriarchy), we may risk disconnection from the other, but we move closer to connection with ourselves.
In a time of what Brené calls a “spiritual crisis of disconnection” in our society, learning how to feel more connected to yourself and more capable of connecting to others (particularly those who don’t share your perspective!) has never been more important. In your romantic relationship, in your home, in your workplace, in your local city council meeting, in the country, etc..
So grab a copy of this wonderful book and experience how Brené marries research and compassion to show us how to weather this crisis and, indeed, to shift course.
I particularly recommend you read this if you need a big dose of courage to keep speaking and living out your truth even though your voice is shaking. It’s like having someone hold your hand.
#3. You’re Not Alone As A Woman: Women & Spirituality, The Goddess Trilogy.
In this time, of all times, you may feel less and less safe and supported being a woman in the world, particularly a woman who is standing up, speaking her mind, and advocating for her beliefs.
That’s why I want to recommend you check out the Women & Spirituality: The Goddess Trilogy.
A series of three, short, sociopolitical documentary movies produced in 1989 by Canadian filmmaker Donna Reed, The Goddess Trilogy traces and explores women’s spirituality and social and political acceptance and rejection across 35,000 years of history with themes that may feel remarkably relevant especially today.
Whether you are an atheist, Christian, Pagan, Muslim, Jew, agnostic, or none of the above, you do not have to believe in the women’s spirituality movement to benefit from the possible comfort that may come from watching what our matrilineal ancestors went through in the course of trying to live out their spiritual and world beliefs, tending (or attempting to tend) to their small corner of the world in the face of systemic, endemic oppression.
In my opinion, sometimes watching the stories of others (in this case, the multitude of stories as captured by a giant arc of history) can be heartening, enlivening, clarifying, and emboldening in a way that little else can be.
So if you have recently or ever felt alone and other for being a woman advocating for her beliefs in a world that would rather see you stay silent, I heartily recommend you check out this trio of films (viewable by streaming through Gaia TV).
I imagine you’ll feel much less alone and much more connected to yourself and, indeed, to women in general after watching these films.
What would you add to this list?
And until next time, take very good care of yourself.
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