The best books for building resilience in hard times

Molly Young Brown Author Of Growing Whole: Self-Realization for the Great Turning
By Molly Young Brown

Who am I?

As a teacher, counselor, and author, I aspire to support people’s personal and spiritual unfolding for the benefit of all life. I studied psychosynthesis with its founder, Roberto Assagioli, and explored peace psychology and eco-psychology. During my Masters of Divinity studies in the 1990’s, I began working with Joanna Macy, which led to our co-authoring Coming Back to Life and focused my professional life on the Work That Reconnects. The challenges of climate disruption, systemic racism, and economic inequity and instability require us all to act from our most mature, creative, and loving dimensions, which I believe these books can help engender.

I wrote...

Growing Whole: Self-Realization for the Great Turning

By Molly Young Brown,

Book cover of Growing Whole: Self-Realization for the Great Turning

What is my book about?

Based on the transpersonal psychology of psychosynthesis, Growing Whole guides the reader along a path of personal and spiritual growth in order to participate more fully in the Great Turning toward a just, harmonious, and sustainable future. The book offers numerous psychosynthesis exercises that build the self-awareness, inner strength, and resilience we all need in these challenging times.

Chapter titles include: Self-Awareness; Strengthening Center; Dreams, Vision, and Purpose; Working with Blocks in Our Path; Transforming the Demons Within; Living Will Fully; Challenges of Spiritual Awakening; Relationships—Growing Whole Together; Service: The Practice of Wholeness.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy

Why did I love this book?

The enormous challenges humanity faces today can be overwhelming to even think about, much less know how to respond. Drawing on the empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, Active Hope has helped me do the inner work needed to face challenges like the climate crises, social and economic injustice and upheaval, species extinction, systemic racism, and increasing threats to democracy. The perspectives and practices the book offers have enabled me to tap into gratitude, resilience, and creativity, and find my own “path of heart” in service to my community, humanity, and the living Earth. (Revised edition to be published in 2022.)

By Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Active Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play…

Book cover of Savage Grace: Living Resiliently in the Dark Night of the Globe

Why did I love this book?

These two well-known and courageous authors confront us with the stark realities of the global predicament and our desperate need to develop “Reconnection, Resistance, Resilience, and Regeneration” in response. I especially appreciated their “no holds barred” approach to truth-telling and their call to act from our deepest most sacred Self.

By Carolyn Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Savage Grace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the boldest and most daring book either author has ever written, Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker confront us with the life and death reality of the global crisis and the fact that four crucial strategies must be employed not only to survive the dark night, but to inhabit our bodies and our lives with passionate authenticity, honesty, vigilance, community, compassion, and service. These strategies are Reconnection, Resistance, Resilience, and Regeneration. Deep and unprecedented reconnection with self, others, and Earth must be our mission, regardless of the outcome. Distinguishing between “problems” which have solutions and “predicaments” which can only be…

Book cover of Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change: A Clinician's Guide

Why did I love this book?

This very readable book gave me insights into the psychological causes of climate denial (which we all suffer from to some extent) and helpful suggestions and practices for breaking through denial with courage, integrity, and resiliency. Although the book is written especially for therapists and counselors, I believe everyone will find it enlightening because we all face the catastrophic effects of climate collapse together.

By Leslie Davenport,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although the environmental and physical effects of climate change have long been recognised, little attention has been given to the profound negative impact on mental health. Leslie Davenport presents comprehensive theory, strategies and resources for addressing key clinical themes specific to the psychological impact of climate change.

She explores the psychological underpinnings that have contributed to the current global crisis, and offers robust therapeutic interventions for dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, trauma and other clinical mental health conditions resulting from environmental damage and disaster. She emphasizes the importance of developing resilience and shows how to utilise the many benefits of…

Book cover of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth

Why did I love this book?

I found this book to be an inspiring and practical self-help book for the 21st century, challenging us to overcome denial about the global climate emergency and honor our grief, fear, and anger, so we can better take part in the urgently needed transformation of our society and economy.

By Margaret Klein Salamon, Molly Gage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Facing the Climate Emergency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Face the truth of climate change, accept your fears, and become the hero that humanity needs.

Facing the Climate Emergency gives people the tools to confront the climate emergency, face their negative emotions, and channel them into protecting humanity and the natural world.

As the climate crisis accelerates toward the collapse of civilization and the natural world, people everywhere are feeling deep pain about ecological destruction and their role in it. Yet we are often paralyzed by fear. Help is at hand.

Drawing on facts about the climate, tenets of psychological theory, information about the climate emergency movement and elements…

Book cover of Blessed Disillusionment: Letting Go of What Cannot Save Us, Turning to What Can

Why did I love this book?

This highly readable exploration of our global predicament and its underlying causes and dynamics is at once alarming and enlightening. Goldstein offers a way to radically change our economic and political systems for the benefit of everyone—including the ecosystems that support life. Local groups could use the book as a manual to study what needs to change and how to take effective and loving action in their communities as part of a larger movement of radical transformation.

By Michael Goldstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blessed Disillusionment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you tired of hoping that those beholden to the wrong people will do the right thing?

Decades of electoral work and activism have failed to bring us sustainability, peace, or a just society. Blessed Disillusionmentshows that there is a reason: the political system operates to absorb discontent while averting the fundamental change we urgently need.

This short book (140 pages before appendices) explains why the crises and upheaval we see in the U.S. will inevitably increase. The question is whether our country will fall to neofascism or ascend to true democracy and, in time, the beloved community.

Finally, the…

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