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I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…

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Coming Alive Through Reading: 3 Books That Revealed and Emboldened My Way of Being


Magic Book Birds

The following books arrived like loving elders at just the right time to teach me lessons that would change my path in significant ways. Each of them gave me a taste of who I am and who I could be. It’s quite possible they move you, change you or at least prompt you to ponder too. Enjoy!


haiku-mind1. Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan: Haiku Mind with its 108 haiku poems and beautiful prose responses taught me the pleasure rich experience of pausing and being aware. Switching our attention from the self to the other whether it be a homeless man’s face or a luminous raindrop on glass, to practice resting in the moment a few minutes a day not only expands our awareness and puts us at ease, but it reminds us of our true humanity. I was reflecting/pausing, or trying to, all my life. I need to pause in order to connect with myself and everything else. For many years, I stopped pausing and I lost the deepest part of myself.

Haiku Mind’s Zen theme and soft touch on such concepts as letting go, stillness and the sacred drew me in and woke me up ever so gently.

Haiku Mind also allowed me to discover the connection between capturing a moment and creativity. Expressing what your senses experience is creativity. For months I wrote a haiku poem every day. Meditative and therapeutic.

Haiku Mind brought my attention back to beauty, humanity, experiencing and peace. It felt like coming home.


if you want to write2. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland:This book is probably the most influential read I’ve ever experienced. In Brenda Ueland I found a mentor, kindred spirit and unknowing therapist. Her belief that our imaginations are our spirit and are intrinsically fascinating whether you’re a house maid or a world traveler was just the thing I needed as I teased my own creativity into existence. Creative people don’t just make things up they write things down. Personal stories are a gift to others. Writing or any form of creating is a generosity.

Her encouragement to recklessly make mistakes emboldened me.

She pointed out that ideas slip in as we linger in solitude and stillness. Idleness wasn’t a sin but an opportunity for dreams and imagination to take form. We spend so much time in busy activity and willing things into existence that we miss lovely artistic opportunities. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the first inkling into an understanding of introversion. Stillness and solitude are comforting and generative to me. They wrap me in a dreamy world of ideas and wonder. Within them I unfold.

Love, to Brenda Ueland, was more than caring for and making others comfortable. To truly love someone you have to listen to them with your whole being. You have to be something yourself in order to affect them spiritually — which was in her opinion the highest form of love.  How to be something yourself? By working hard and with gumption at something you love and care for and think is important.

a woman's worth3. A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson: Part of our problem is that we expect love affairs to always feel good. They don’t. Actually, relationships don’t feel good anyway. We feel good…No man can convince a woman she’s wonderful, but if she already believes she is, his agreement can resonate and bring her joy. This book fed my previously piqued belief that love is found within. External sources cannot provide it. She confirmed Brenda Ueland’s belief that we have our own light within us and to share it is our gift to the world, our love.

…We were taught as children… that our value lies in what we do as opposed to who we are, we automatically switched to a masculine psychological mode —doing, doing,doing — in order to feel worthy. Williamson heralded the female goddess in all of us. Being is as important as acting. The deep meaningful experience of languishing in our inner worlds doesn’t feel valued, especially in our Western culture. As an introvert, I often felt (feel) sub-par because of my resistance to constant doing. Marianne Williamson affirmed resting in the inner world. She saw it as necessary in order to be spiritually whole.

One of my favorite proverbs or sayings is, When the student is ready the teacher appears. These books, as well as several others such as Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and Marti Olsen Laney’s The Introvert Advantage, served as teachers to this wide-eyed student. They ushered in a new way of being for me. It wasn’t as though I became a different person but rather they gave me the courage to reveal my true self. I’m forever grateful.

I feel another spiritual renaissance coming on. This time it centers on relationships.

Some of the books currently residing or soon to reside on my nightstand:

The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida

Dear Life by Alice Munro

Real Love, Right Now by Kailen Rosenberg


What books or movies have changed you in profound ways? What lessons did they teach?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:

What’s Wonderful? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Introverts Do It Passionately and Creatively: How It’s Possible to Love Solitude and Be Popular

A Room of One’s Own

Someone All Introverts Should Know: Brenda Ueland on Solitude, Creativity and Relationships





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  1. Michael Buley June 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Brenda, I’m curious if, two years after writing this, you find books to continue to be a source of inspiration and learning. I have read hundreds of books on all kinds of topics. Over the last few years, I’ve found that I’m less and less interested in what others have to say, and more interested in what I have to say, to create. More interested in hearing the voice within, than seeking guidance from without.

    We go through stages and phases and times in our lives. At 60 years old, I’m on what James Taylor, in his song ‘The Secret ‘o Life,’ simply wrote about as ‘since we’re on our way down, we may as well enjoy the ride.’ That other half of life. And while there are endlessly fascinating things to learn from others, I wonder sometimes if we use that as a way to avoid spending time with ourselves, and hearing what calls from within.

    clearly there are many things, infinite things, to be learned from others. and I wonder how much our inner voice will guide us, all by its magnificent lonesome, if we but listen … 🙂 To read intensely, learn intensely, is a beautiful thing. And our inner voice, that complex ‘real’ self, is very wise, too, perhaps wiser than all the counsel we might seek from without.

    just curious … 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles June 24, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

      I do still find books inspiring. I learn things about myself through reading.:) I’m always looking for insight into myself and others. Books still offer that. I also get it from sharing with others, like yourself.:) When I sit or lie in stillness and listen to my own inner voice, I learn what is vital to me. It helps me make decisions about all of the input I have gathered. I get ideas through cross pollination of others’ thoughts with mine. I take action based on what resonates with me, so I guess I use both. Perhaps when I’m a few years older I will want to use what I’ve gathered thus far and mostly tune into my own voice. For now, I’m still gathering.:) Thanks for your thoughtful comments Michael. They always make me pause and reflect. Love that.

  2. […] Coming Alive Through Reading: 3 Books That Revealed and Emboldened My Way of Being […]

  3. sheketechad March 30, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Since I am just back from an intense solitude experience within nature and can see and feel the incredible difference it is making in me, and how I handle things, this is a timely post Brenda. The inner workings of folks, be they extras, intras or ambis, are so often overlooked. Our strength to handle the world with grace, ease and kindness comes from within, not without – and no one can provide that for us but our awakened and nurtured inner selves, no matter our type. As always, great insight and thank you for sharing!

    • Brenda Knowles March 31, 2014 at 7:50 am - Reply

      Well said. I agree. It all starts within. I am envious of your exquisite time in nature. Those kinds of experiences seem to glue all the pieces back together. They let you see from your heart. And yes, all types can experience that delicious wholeness/love that always exists within.:) Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I have your blog on my list of what to read next.:)

  4. Matthew Leonard March 29, 2014 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Thanks for a great post. I completely agree with you about needing to pause and the fact that writing (anything) forces our minds to capture the present and hold it in rapt attention while we record it in our diction. And then we forever capture that moment of time and make it forever our own – transcending time and immortalizing it in our souls. This is why I love being an introvert…. We have the skill of capturing these moments and being one with them even at a later stage when we have some time to ourselves.
    I have since placed ‘Haiku Mind’ on my ‘Next Purchase’ list.

    Thanks again for yet another great post Ms. Knowles

    • Brenda Knowles March 31, 2014 at 7:45 am - Reply

      Aw, what a beautiful response. Thank you so much for your kind words. Writing is a sweet meditative way to savor so many things. It IS an introvert gift to be able to reflect so deeply. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Matthew.:)

  5. Doug Toft March 28, 2014 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    An intimate and mind-blowing post, as usual. You have set the bar high. Now you owe us a post on Deida. By the way, if you are infuriated with him, that is normal.

    • Brenda Knowles March 29, 2014 at 6:48 am - Reply

      I can’t wait to write a post on Deida. So far I’m not infuriated. I’m fascinated by his advice/guidance for men. Much of it is applicable for women too. I’m learning to be much more aware of the masculine/feminine dynamic. Eye-opening for me.:)

  6. J Forest March 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beatnik Flop and commented:
    I admire and respect the blogger Brenda Knowles on so I’m more receptive to her suggestions than most writers.

  7. J Forest March 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing these resources. I’ll definitely read the second book.

    • Brenda Knowles March 29, 2014 at 6:44 am - Reply

      I loved it! She was the writing hero I needed at the time. I still go back to her pages for inspiration and encouragement.

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