My personal growth journey started about nine years ago when I was on a work trip, sitting in an airport, contemplating my life. For whatever reason I walked by an airport bookstore and was drawn to a book on Buddhism. I bought the book and didn’t understand a word in it but I kept reading the same book over and over until it clicked and I slowly (very slowly) started to make some changes in my behaviors and thoughts and interactions. Since that first book on Buddhism I have read many more by the same author as well as most of the trending self-help books.
Sometimes a particular book really doesn’t mean much to me the first time I read it yet I will be drawn to read it a second or third time and it will mean much more. It all depends on where I am in my life, what challenges I am battling and what I need to hear or learn at that time. I have always been a very avid reader so it is not hard for me to plow through a book really fast. I know for some people reading can be very painful so this post may not apply to you. For those of you that are looking for a good summer read check out a few of my favorite books that have been instrumental to my healing and growth. Not all of my faves are pictured because they are either in my kindle, I leant them out, I lost them or they are sitting in my husband’s work bag for him to read (which will probably never happen)!
I will give you a very brief highlight for a few of the books to further your interest. Don’t expect Cliff Notes here, just my heavily skewed perception of the book and/or a review on how it personally helped me. In alphabetical order by authors first name…
The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul – Danielle LaPorte
This book has been number one for me when it comes to manifesting my dreams. I do the workbook at least once a year if not twice to reevaluate where I am at and where I would like to be. I even held two book clubs specifically for this book. I may have a small girl crush on Danielle LaPorte. I love listening to her speak and I also highly recommend her first book The Fire Starter Sessions. This is the book that helped me finally make the leap from the corporate marketing world to becoming a wellness entrepreneur.
The Path to Love – Deepak Chopra
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
Short, easy read that packs a huge punch. This book is discussed often in my household.
Spirit Junkie – Gabrielle Bernstein
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
This is not a self-help book! I threw it in the mix because it is my all-time favorite fiction book. It is about a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison and flees to India. I was so intrigued by the vivid portrayal of life in Bombay. It is a very long book but worth every minute!
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin
I had a lot of fear around childbirth and did not want to go into labor consumed by this feeling. Ina May’s book really helped me let go of the fear and I was greatly inspired by all of the great stories of other women’s experiences. I felt empowered and was able to have the natural birth I desired. (If I get pregnant a second time I will have to read this one again because I think the fear is now back).
The Conscious Cleanse – Jo Schaalman & Julie Pelaez
This book is written by a couple of fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition graduates and is a great jump start to healthy, clean eating. A lot of other cleanses are very strict and hard to maintain but this book is different in its gentle approach. Each chapter gives you a new topic to write about in your journal and is full of really amazing recipes. Worth the purchase if only for the recipes.
The Reluctant Shaman: A Women’s First Encounters with the Unseen Spirits of the Earth – Kay Cordell Whitaker
Buddha Is as Buddha Does – Lama Surya Das
This is the book that started it all for me. I was fatefully drawn to it at the airport years ago and have since read many of Lama Surya Das’s books including my favorite Awakening the Buddhist Heart. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a Buddhist but I would say the teachings serve as a foundation for most of my beliefs. Surya Das is my favorite Buddhist author, I find his writing to be easy to read and relatively easy to understand.
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles – Marianne Williamson
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Read this book in high school as part of mandatory course work. Meant absolutely nothing to me back then. Read it again this last year and it was so heartwarming and beautiful. I love this book and all of its amazing messages. Read it and you will be encouraged to follow your dreams.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times – Pema Chödrön
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children – Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Bottom line of this well-written book is to take care of your own shit before you unconsciously pass it along to your children. Makes total sense to me.
Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life – Sylvia Boorstein
Buddhist Boot Camp – Timber Hawkeye
Wonderful, relatable stories from a refreshing perspective. Timber presents Buddhist principles in short, simple chapters that give anyone of any faith some tools to try to live a more serene and enlightened life.
I urge you to pick up a real, tangible book and see how good it feels AND smells. The less screen time the better. Happy reading!
I am always looking for good reads, especially inspirational books so please share your favorites in the comments below so I can do some binge reading this weekend!