Self-Directed Education

“I do not consider myself a radical or revolutionary. It is white people who put such labels on us. All we ever wanted was to be left alone, to live our lives as we see fit. To govern ourselves in reality and not just on paper. To have our rights respected. If that is revolutionary, then I sure fit that description.”

Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman

Though I am endlessly grateful to my teachers for the knowledge they imparted since 1995, graduation from University marked long-awaited sovereignty over my time.  All forms of art, yoga, meditation, conversation, travel, teaching, outdoor adventure, cooking, and reading (separate words to describe the same feeling) have skyrocketed to the top of my list of priorities since May of 2013. Now that I have the ability and the pleasure of flooding my brain with the information it craves on my schedule, I can share it with you!

MAX Book List

Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin  –  Using extraordinary cases of spontaneous healing, Dr. Rankin shows how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can alter the body’s physiology. She lays out the scientific data proving that loneliness, pessimism, depression, fear, and anxiety damage the body, while intimate relationships, gratitude, meditation, sex, and authentic self-expression flip on the body’s self-healing processes.

The Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch  –  With encounters as diverse as observations of compassion amongst bonobo chimpanzees, to the story of a man who forgives his daughters killer, to teenage Palestinian and Israeli girls trying to wage peace, Barasch blends hard science and popular culture with his own hip, engaging narrative style to create a smart, provocative argument that a simple shift in consciousness changes pretty much everything.

The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird  –  Explores plants’ response to human care and nurturing,, their ability to communicate with man, plants’ suprising reaction to music, their lie-detection abilities, their curative powers, and much more. Tompkins and Bird’s classic book on the rich psychic universe of plants affirms the depth of humanity’s relationship with nature and adds a special urgency to the cause of protecting the environment that nourishes us.

The Hidden Messages of Water by Marasu Emoto  –  This book has the potential to profoundly transform your world view. Using high-speed photography, Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health.

How It Is: The Native American Philosophy of V.F.Cordova edited by Kathleen Dean Moore, Kurt Peters, Ted Jojola, and Amber Lacy  –  Viola Cordova was the first Native American woman to receive a PhD in philosophy. Even as she became an expert on canonical works of traditional Western philosophy, she devoted herself to defining a Native American philosophy.

Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis  –  A powerful study of the women’s movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders and members.  Longtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis’ message is clear: If we ever want equality, we’re gonna have to fight for it together.

The Science of Skinny: Start Understanding Your Body’s Chemistry — and Stop Dieting Forever by Dee McCaffrey, CDC  –  With scientific research, her own chemistry background, and the traditional diets of our not-so-distant ancestors as her guide, Dee McCaffrey casts new light on an age-old wisdom: Eating foods in their closest-to-natural form is the true path to sustained weight loss and, in fact, the remedy for almost any health problem. We are so far removed from foods in their natural state that we now call them “health foods,” a sad admission that we’ve compromised our health for the sake of convenience. The Science of Skinny aims to create a space for change–to educate and enlighten readers on the value of proper nutrition so that they can find a healthier and more life-affirming relationship with their bodies and the food they eat.

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey  –  Neoliberalism (the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action) has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage.

The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times by Rob Hopkins  –  What if the best responses to peak oil and climate change don’t come from government, but from you and me and the people around us?  The book tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where enterprise, creativity, and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy. The first part discusses where we are now in terms of resilience and vulnerability in the face of rising oil prices, climate change, and economic challenge. It presents a vision of the future if we do not address these issues, and how things might change if we start to do so.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman  –  Based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.

Soul Rebels: The Rastafari by William F. Lewis  –  A cult, a deviant subculture, a revolutionary movement… these descriptions have been commonly used in the past to identify the Rastafari, a group perhaps best known to North American readers for their gift of reggae music to the world. With both compassion and a sharp sense of reality, anthropologist William Lewis suggests alternative perspectives and reviews existing social theories as he reports on the diverse world of the ganja- smoking Rastafari culture. He carefully examines this culture in its confrontations with the law, its growing ambivalence about itself as well as the continued conflict between many Rasta and contemporary middle-class values.

Radical Simplicity by Dan Price  –  A hand-lettered, illustrated book that speaks directly and elegantly to that craving we all have for an authentic life, one that we’ve each “hand made” for ourselves, rather than one dictated by outside circumstances. The author’s message is: “You can live a life of freedom, in harmony with the rhythms of nature, and your own internal rhythm and creativity. You can live very well with very little money. That’s what I’ve done, and I can show you how.”

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog  –  Mary Brave Bird grew up fatherless in a one-room cabin, without running water or electricity, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Rebelling against the aimless drinking, punishing missionary school, narrow strictures for women, and violence and hopeless of reservation life, she joined the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the sixties and seventies. Mary eventually married Leonard Crow Dog, the American Indian Movement’s chief medicine man, who revived the sacred but outlawed Ghost Dance. Originally published in 1990, Lakota Woman was a national best seller and winner of the American Book Award. It is a unique document, unparalleled in American Indian literature, a story of death, of determination against all odds, of the cruelties perpetuated against American Indians, and of the Native American struggle for rights.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander  –  With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”

The Twentieth Century: A People’s History by Howard Zinn  –  Highlighting not just the usual terms of presidential administrations and congressional activities, this book provides you with a “bottom-to-top” perspective, giving voice to our nation’s minorities and letting the stories of such groups as African Americans, women, Native Americans, and the laborers of all nationalities be told in their own words.

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones  –  Van Jones’s provocative and cutting edge New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy delivers a viable plan for solving the two biggest issues facing the country today—the economy and the environment.

The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy by Cyndi Dale  –  Welcome to the first comprehensive encyclopedia of the human energetic anatomy. Here is a reference that no personal or professional health-care library should be without—an in-depth, illustrated guide to the invisible energies of the spirit, psyche, and consciousness that influence every aspect of our well-being.

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2 thoughts on “Self-Directed Education

  1. I would like to read Lisa Rankin’s book. I saw her Tedx talk and I was really impressed. The science of epigenetics and how our thoughts influence the workings of our body has me fascinated.

  2. The Art of Non- Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau –

    If you’ve ever thought, “There must be more to life than this,” The Art of Non-Conformity is for you. Based on Chris Guillebeau’s popular online manifesto “A Brief Guide to World Domination,” The Art of Non-Conformity defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. You’ll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure. Inspired and guided by Chris’s own story and those of others who have pursued unconventional lives, you can devise your own plan for world domination-and make the world a better place at the same time.

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