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Disfunkshion Staff Reveals December Reads

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This month we’re taking a peek inside some of our staff’s current reads and cherished insights. We’ll be refueling monthly with featured picks by our unparalleled team of writers. Enjoy!

reading-hugetteYour name: Hugette Montesinos

Position: Editor in Chief

Title & author: Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul  by Deepak Chopra

Two sentence summary: About the mind/body connection between our thoughts and beliefs about our bodies, their abilities and their limitations. Turns out, we are a LOT more resilient and capable than we often dare to believe.

Favorite quote: “The next thing you think, the next action you take, will either create a new possibility for you, or it will repeat the past. The areas of possible growth are enormous and yet mostly overlooked.”

Most important lesson you’ve learned from this book: The mind is limitless. The body is pretty close to that, too!

reading-polaName: Pola Bunster

Position: Music Editor

Title & author: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

Two sentence summary: In 2010, an unhappily married woman discovers the life of the beloved poet, Rumi and his love for a wandering dervish. Through the dervish’s spontaneous spirit and inspiring ways, she transforms her life into one filled with the love she deserves. A beautiful new window through which to adore Rumi.

Favorite quote: “If you want to change the way other treats you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.”

Most important lesson learned from this book: Love, like life, continues to burn even after it has left.

reading-suanny

Name: Suanny Garcia Barales

Position: Managing Editor

Title & author: A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Two sentence summary:  Tolle examines how the individual and collective identification with ego is the root of all suffering and offers his own insight on how to separate from the egoic mind. The book serves as a spiritual guidebook of sorts that leads the reader toward discovering the light and consciousness that is already within her.

Favorite quote: “You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

Most important lesson I’ve learned from this book:  The one lesson I’d like to share is that while many of us are eager to change the world by way of helping others, we must not forget our innate power to influence others through our own transformations. To experience the light of our own consciousness is the most powerful ripple effect and humanity’s greatest purpose.

reading-dianaName: Diana Rodelo

Position: Food columnist for Eat to Live

Title & author: The French Chef Cookbook By Julia Child

Two sentence summary: This book is a touching series of heartfelt French recipes that Child grew up with. It also shows how her book and show became public, depicting her perserverance as the first woman to land a cooking show at the times when television was still black and white, and for women it was a novelty to be regarded as a top chef.

Favorite quote: “Drama is very important in life: You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.”

Most important lesson learned from this book:  No matter the odds, never let your dreams die down, always look to faith. Just like Julia, be unique, be you and have endless faith in yourself and your abilities.

reading-nicole-zizaYour name: Nicole Ziza Bauer

Position: Staff Writer

Title & author: Out of Doors in the Holy Land by Henry Van Dyke

One sentence summary: An American’s journey through Palestine (Israel) in the early 1900s.

Favorite quote: “But the Holy Land which I desire to see can be found only by escaping these things. I want to get away from them; to return into the long past, which is also the hidden present, and to lose myself a little there, to the end that I may find myself again.”

Most important lesson you’ve learned from this book: Humanity, for all its divisions and factions and strife and conflict, is rooted in a beautiful purpose. We’re really all the same, but just express our sameness, differently.

reading-leah-louYour name: Leah “Lou” Zorn

Position: Staff writer

Title & author: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Brief summary: Comedian Amy Shumer’s hilariously honest collection of personal essays, reflections, and curated family photos. Amy brings a refreshing and relatable energy to her story telling that will leave you laughing out loud and feeling deeply understood. Her courageous attitude and commitment to living authentically is a stronghold in every chapter.

Favorite quote: Amy designates a chapter to “How I Lost My Virginity”and though painful to read and re-live alongside her, it was gut-wrenchingly beautiful to witness her passion for educating her readers.  She walks you through her own misgivings, but in a way where a lot of us wish we had a stronger voice, at 16, for what is appropriate behavior in relationships — be it partner, parent, or friend. Amy’s ability to represent the “female experience” is witnessed clearly in this chapter.

Most important lesson you’ve learned from this book: You can look back at raw moments in your life with both wisdom and humor (removed of self-deprecation or shock value) to stand firmer in the truth of your present. You can be the woman you are now while honoring the woman you were and the evolution that’s still in progress.

reading-christieYour name: Christie Brooke

Title & author: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindebergh

Two sentence summary: An essay style documentation acknowledging the role of a woman in the 1950s, as she ebbs and flows through her many responsibilities. Mrs. Lindebergh tells her perspective with detailed aquatic imagery comparing life to the sea and its treasures while on holiday at Florida’s Captiva Island.

Favorite quote: “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.  To dig for treasures, shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith.  Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.”

Most important lesson you’ve learned from this book: To be a woman is to be dynamic and present in all realms.  Whether we mother, build careers, wife up and nurture homes, or explore our individuality, there is no real compartmentalizing of our souls, because we are capable of doing it all.  We can shift with the tides.  I especially enjoy how the brilliant author gives her account from the shores of her vacation, when her mind is most clear, her spirit soars, and her heart is sound and aware. This piece is a snapshot from the fifties, when oftentimes women weren’t expressive of their own needs, stresses, passions, and outlets.  I have learned how women haven’t changed since we have always been so dynamic, yet, our voice has become louder, from the quiet pages we write on the shore to spearheading corporations or building content for top selling magazines! 😉

reading-juliaName: Julia Kramer

Position: Editorial Intern

Title & author: Heretic’s Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution by Margot Adler

Two sentence summary:  NPR correspondent Margot Adler recounts her experience during the sixties growing up in New York City through nostalgic dialogue, written letters and memory. She covers the civil-rights movement, the Free Speech Movement, her connection with the Vietnam war through letters with an American Soldier and her journey to find herself in life and in her career.

Favorite quote: “It was that the world is infinitely varied and that variety is to be cherished; that there are an infinite number of ways to live, to love, to create structures of society and government and community; that change is the only constant and if there is a “prime directive,” it is to respect difference, to let others choose their own path in freedom, and to assume that there are always more possibilities than one can conceive.”  

Most important lesson you’ve learned from this book: If you want change, you must become involved and work for it.