Books that will LITERALLY change your mind.


I’ve been reading some of the most fascinating books and I found out why I like them so much. I found out that some books can cause, “Ah-ha” moments that can change the neuro-pathways in your brain and maybe even change your whole life.

Here is the book that explained it all:

How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain: The New Science of Transformation

by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman 

This book was written by brain scientists who use brain scans to show how enlightenment (small “e” ah-ha moments) and Enlightenment (large “E” life-changing moments) literally change the structure of your brain. Once you’ve had a large “E” experience, your brain can not go back to thinking as it did before as those neural pathways have been replaced. You can encourage large “E” enlightenment by practicing prayer, meditation, and other contemplative practices. These help prime the pump for the large “E” changes you need in your life. Fascinating.

I’ve had a lot of “e” experiences through reading so I thought I’d share books I’ve read lately and how they have changed my mind:

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell 

This book changed my mind about education, genius, and ice-hockey. It also explained why it took me fifty years to learn to write well. This book explains sooo many things. You must read it. And I highly recommend the audio edition as he reads it and is a good reader.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande 

This book helps change your mind about aging in America. It explains the history of things like Nursing homes and encourages us to start thinking outside the box in our care for the elderly. As a hospice worker, this book was very important to me.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I know I’ve talked about this book before, but seriously, this book is awesome and she reads for the audio edition. This book changed my mind about my writing and made me not give up until I found a bigger publisher for my books. And now I have a book coming out with Harper Legend in March!! Woot.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes  

I know I’ve talked about this book too. I’ve been living my year of yes and taking all kinds of risks. It’s been crazy fun. This book, read by the author, is a lot of fun and will change your mind about the things you say yes to!

Cracker by Jacci Turner 

I wouldn’t be an author if I didn’t promote one of my own books. This book has been changing minds. If you read the reviews, people don’t walk away from this book thinking the same way about things like racism and injustice. Yay! Give it a try.

I’d love to hear what books are LITERALLY changing your mind!

Photo Credit: Brain Picture

Embracing the Mystery: Moving Toward Unity In The Second Half Of Life

Mysterious Forest in the Pacific Northwest

The goal of the second half of life is to move from “doing” to “being.” I heard that somewhere, probably from my spiritual director. But what does it mean? It does not mean we stop doing things or that we should not enjoy doing things. But our jobs, roles and things we do no longer come to define us.

I was sitting in a small room in Mercy Center with my wise spiritual mentor and a candle burning between us to symbolize the presence of the holy. I was pondering aloud the love and care I get from the “older” saints from my previous organization.

If you’re new to this blog, let me summarize: I worked for a large Christian organization for 30+ years, but I was asked to leave over a difference in theology. It was kind of a big deal. I believe that my rainbow friends should be fully included in the body of Christ and allowed to marry; my employer disagreed and we parted ways. In retrospect, it was best for both of us!

That was almost two years ago. I keep in touch with a few of my friends from those days, the ones that are more like family, but also, there are these “older” saints I mentioned. When I say older, I mean older than I am. Most have retired or are looking at retirement from this organization.

I guess I thought they would be the ones who would try and correct me or “give me a talking to.” But it was the complete opposite. They have not changed towards me at all. They continue to include me in their lives as if nothing had happened, and their love for me remains truly unconditional and sweet. They are like the grandparent who watches their grandchild with love and amusement as the child tries on different personalities in middle school. “Ah, it’s Jacci, isn’t she the cutest thing? I just love her.”

My spiritual director linked these two thoughts for me. As we find our identity in “being” and not “doing” we become more loving and patient with others who are also trying to find their way.

People always quote Richard Rohr to me on this topic. His book Falling Upward speaks to this idea. As we age, we can move closer to unity with Christ, and it puts everything else in its proper perspective. We worry less about who will the next president or if a football star stands for the national anthem. We can trust, listen, love and smile, knowing that others are on their path and I am on mine. It is quite freeing actually.

In full disclosure, I have not read Rohr’s new book, but it is on my short list. I did read this intriguing quote from it though:

“People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.” 

So that is my goal. To move toward the mystery and not get bogged down in things I can’t control. I want to love like those older saints who have been so good to me.

How about you? What lessons are you learning as you mature?

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