PCC’s 2023 Storytelling Show

PCC’s 2023 Storytelling Show, Stronger Together. Recorded live on November 15, 2023 it features host Elizabeth Arend Dutta and storytellers Leslie Graham, Ashley Bone, Mary Joseph, Sonya Bruton, Liza Greenberg, and LaTonia Rich.

Dr. Sonya Bruton, CEO and President of CCI Health Services tells her story about spending 21 days in an Outward Bound program as a teenager. During that time, she felt her confidence soar from two to 10, and learned life lessons from the experience and her fellow campers, which she shares.

Book Reviews

The best books to get you out of the way, so you can find your way

Who am I?

As a clinical psychologist I know how critical it is to have someone help you see beyond where you can see yourself. Authors have served that role for me at every stage of my development. It boils down to a pretty simple equation, how we think and feel determines how we behave. The path to different starts in your mind, and books are one of the most successful activators of your thoughts. My path of self-discovery led me to these books and the wisdom within them continue to expand my opportunities. I hope they serve as a launch pad for you.

The books I picked & why

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

By Shonda Rhimes

Why this book?

I like this book because it reminds me that we often hold ourselves back with two letters – “no.”

I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC with young parents. That was fitting because I was an old soul. I came into the world obedient, self-disciplined, future thinking, and very contained. I realized at 16-years-old, pushing limits in the Outward Bound program, that I had tightly packed myself into a box.

I was afraid of heights, so I didn’t want to rock climb. I didn’t eat raisins, so I refused to eat when they were added to the bulgur.

In the program that included hiking, rock climbing, a 3-day forest solo, and whitewater rafting, I learned that living small wasn’t an option. This book reminds me to live outside the box.

Meditations of the Heart Cover

Meditations of the Heart

By Howard Thurman

Why this book?

We all know that the way to enlightenment is through meditation. 

As a psychologist I also know that meditation has the healing power of self-regulation, thought reconstruction, and relaxation. But for the always-in-motion, production, or contemplation people like me, it can be so hard!

This meditation book, though dated, works for me because it focuses your meditation on thoughts or concepts rather than asking you to clear your mind. It was originally written in 1953 by a theologian, so it does not sound like the speech of today or offer inclusive language. 

It also anchors its focus on religious teachings, but it has concepts that are applicable to all. I have been able to find peace by sitting with the wisdom shared in this book.

The Conscious Professional: Transform Your Life at Work Cover

The Conscious Professional: Transform Your Life at Work

By Jessica Hartung

Why this book?

This book brought me valuable mindset and skillset shifts as promised, but one of the unexpected jewels was the language that it gave me for valuing work. 

I have never been good at negotiating the highest salary and therefore had to learn pretty early in my career not to equate my pay with my worth. I received from this book the language that I needed to represent that money is not the only form of payment in a job. 

The reader learns that wages are the first paycheck and there are three more. I have learned along the way that my greatest earnings have come from the emotional rewards from my work in the nonprofit sector (2nd paycheck) and the added skills and professional growth gained (3rd paycheck). 

The Dream Giver: Pursuing your God Given Destiny Cover

The Dream Giver: Pursuing your God Given Destiny

By Bruce Wilkinson, David Kopp, Heather Kopp

Why this book?

This book fosters inward reflection, perseverance, and pathways to your big dream(s). 

I read it at a time in my life when I was stuck. I have built my professional reputation on successfully taking people, places and ideas from one level to the next.

The conviction that everyone can achieve their goals was cemented for me in this book about a Nobody named ordinary living in a place called familiar. Rooting my life in things that were familiar, had me unable to move. 

After reading this book, I earned two master’s degrees and a Doctorate, and moved three times. The second half of the book offers coaching with a religious foundation that may distract some readers from the lessons. The first half of the book is sufficient in those cases.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Cover

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

By Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu

Why this book?

For me enduring joy has been elusive and too easily stolen. 

This book provides an active course for capturing it and holding on to it. One area that hit the bullseye for me was the need for laughter in the maintenance of joy. I was rewarded as a child for being serious and responsible. 

As a result, they are my learned defaults. The truth, however, is that they are not my natural way. Those close to me always note that I am funny, but if you are just meeting me or encounter me in a work setting, you would never guess this. 

Unleashing laughter in all settings has become my new goal.