After a year of watching all the goodies on all the streaming services it’s time for me to return to my roots. That means: reading. There are two good reasons to read. One is: Read for your brain health.
An article I read last week by Jessica Stillman reminded me of the brain benefits of reading. She opens with the other good reason for reading: You learn a lot. But then she moves into a discussion of This Is How Reading Rewires Your Brain.
Stillman sums it up:
“Reading isn’t just a way to cram facts into your brain. It’s a way to rewire how your brain works in general. It strengthens your ability to imagine alternative paths, remember details, picture detailed scenes, and think through complex problems. In short, reading makes you not just more knowledgeable, but also functionally smarter. Which is why the only thing that everyone you admire can agree on is that you should read more.”
Read for Your Brain Health: Recovery
When I lived in Orlando, Florida I had the privilege of meeting Spence Pfleiderer. He is the founder of Central Care Mission, an awesome addiction recovery program in Orlando. It has a 36% success rate.
You might not think that 36% is awesome. But it is when you find out that the national success rate for recovery programs is 12%. So CCM beats the national average by 3. And underscores just how difficult addiction is to treat.
A central part of Pfleiderer’s recovery program is … reading.
As their website states:
“The neuroscientific principle of plasticity says that a damaged or impoverished brain can be transformed and enriched. What makes CCM distinctive is our dedication to providing the time (two years), the space (therapeutic environment), the activities (reading and exercise) and the skills to reshape the brain towards being a healthy human.”
Read for Your Brain Health: Research
The title image shows the books currently in my rotation. From top to bottom: a yoga classic, a Korean novel, environmental wisdom from a Native American perspective, the 19th-century memoirs of James Capern Adams aka Grizzly Adams, and the history of marriage.
My tablet is at the bottom on the stack. The most recent book I’ve read on it is Grizzly Bears in California. Are there? Could there be? Should we? The Reintroduction Question by Guy Nixon (Redcorn). By the way, Nixon’s answer to the reintroduction question is Yes. For one the absence of Grizzlies has led to the overpopulation of sea lions and elephant seals. And these densities have led to both disease and food shortages in those populations. For another their overpopulation isn’t so great for the humans in their neighborhoods.
First, my reading is eclectic. Not deliberately so. It just happens.
Second, you will notice a grizzly bear theme. I’m doing the research for the third book in my shapeshifter series. My hero is a California werebear. So, naturally, I need to know about the bear-half of his lineage. Bears are way more interesting than I had guessed!
Third, I never would have guessed that reading about yoga would have anything to do with my interest in writing shapeshifter romance. I was wrong.
Read for Your Brain Health: Surprise!
Yesterday I hit on this passage from Iyengar’s Light on Yoga. “Whilst performing asanas the yogi’s body assumes many forms resembling a variety of creatures. His mind is trained not to despise any creature, for he knows that throughout the whole gamut of creation, from the lowliest insect to the most perfect sage, there breathes the same Universal Spirit.”
In all the years of practicing yoga, I never once considered that I was moving through my body the energy of the creature for whom the asana was named. Cat, cow, dog, pigeon, locust, even tree and mountain. But now I see that I am not separate from them. Just as my yoga practice (or reading about it) is not separate from my shapeshifter writing interests. Or even my interest in addiction and recovery. (And anything else, for that matter.)
Immediate thought. Is there is a Bear Pose? Of course, there is!
And even more than one:
Oh, boy. Merudandasana. I have my work cut out for me.
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen