Christmas and the summer holidays are the perfect time to dive into some great reads. And as most of us want the New Year to be a fresh start with new plans and goals, it makes sense to read at least one life-affirming, soul-sustaining book to support you on your life journey and life purpose.
This post marks a major milestone. As I hesitantly wrote my first article in July 2012 I never dreamed I would reach 100 posts. To honour this 100 post milestone I have collected a few of the books that offered me inspiration and guidance, and influenced my journey along the pathway to health, happiness and a fulfilled life.
I am a total book addict. Curled up with a book, reading in my bedroom, is my go-to-happy-place. These are not my favourite books although some are certainly ones I do love. These are books with a purpose.
Because I always want to know the answer ‘right now’ these are books that present a poal or a purpose and then tell me how to get there. Most importantly, they all definitely played an important part in signposting the pathway for me.
This selection can give you the tools to make enormous life changes for yourself too. Take a look, and maybe find an inspiring book to add to your summer reading list, one that will open the doorway to allow big changes into your life in 2015.
WARNING: Long but awesome post ahead! Feel free to skim
In no particular order (apart from which one I pulled off the bookshelf first)
#1. Love The Life You Live: Ten Steps For Happier Living by Anne Hartley
This book guided me to the Life Coaching course I chose. I‘d wanted to do it for over two years before I found a course that really resonated. During that time I stumbled across this book in which Hartley outlines her “Heart Process”, the essence of the Hartlife Coaching Course I studied.
The Heart Process is basically a guideline to reclaiming your “happy.” Starting with her own story Anne takes you through a series of heart-based steps to find your joy in life again. This is solid stuff that has been around for generations, but it is presented in such a way that you don’t just get excited about the message you are also guided as to how to achieve it in your own life. The book is packed full of helpful hacks for mastering each of the ten steps.
Anne has been a Life Coach for over twenty years during which time she has refined everything she has used in her work, and here you have her most successful techniques.
#2. Walking Meditation by Nguyen Anh Huong & Thich Nhat Hanh
The practice of mindfulness has recently taken the world by storm, but my introduction came a while ago from the Master of Mindfulness himself through this book. This is more a kit than a book and is a wonderful tool if you want to introduce mindfulness into your life. It contains an instructional DVD, a CD of 5 guided meditations to get you started, and a small book to guide you through so you get the most out of your practice.
Someone once said to me that women gained most from active meditation and men gained the most from still meditation. I don’t know if it’s true or not but the concept of women engaging in the active, masculine Yang, and men in the passive, feminine Yin has a beautiful poetic balance to it.
An excellent and simple meditation for all women (and men) to master.
#3. Goddesses In Everywoman – Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives by Jean Shinoda Bolen
This is the book that launched me into the healing work I do with women today. Exploring the goddesses from ancient Greek mythology Bolen opens up our understanding of the age-old psychological patterns that modern women still follow. This is one of those books that bring incredible ‘aha’ moments as you suddenly recognize yourself in one or another goddess. It places the patterns, whether actual or potential, that you fall into in your life right there in front of you, where you can’t help but see them for what they are.
I love this book – it was such a solid foundation to understanding women’s archetypes and led to my ability to hold space for women’s healing groups, as well as to presenting their life patterns in a far more easily understood way to my Coaching clients. It’s easy to read, easy to understand and very insightful.
#4. The Inner Goddess Makeover: A Step-By-Step Makeover by Tanishka
This is the book that inspired me to go train as a Red Tent Facilitator and then later, a Women’s Rites Of Passage Facilitator. I came across “The Inner Goddess Makeover” after I read about women’s archetypes in ‘Goddesses In Everywoman’ and was left hungry to discover more about the feminine archetypes we all embody.
Tanishka uses each of seven goddess archetypes to embody seven universal psychological feminine aspects. Each one also governs a chakra. As you work through the exercises for each, consciously exploring the issues raised, you experience energy shifts and clear old blocks that were limiting you and stopping you from experiencing your personal empowerment and potential.
I worked through this awesome and exciting journey, one chakra/goddess per month. Some of the goddesses were easy but with others I was really challenged. It was so empowering that after I finished I contacted Tanishka and went and trained with her.
This book is challenging but F.U.N. Even more fun when you set up your own goddess circle to work through it with the support of your Besties. Tanishka pulls no punches! Totally down to earth, her vibrant personality shines through, and she speaks to the reader as if you were both hanging out and chatting over a coffee.
#5. The Botany Of Desire by Michael Pollan
This is an odd book to have here but it is the book that galvanized me into opting for organic produce whenever I could, especially potatoes, changing my eating habits forever. It is about the reciprocal relationship between people and four domesticated crops. Pollan links four desires – sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control – with four plants that we use to satisfy them. He uses the story of the potato to illustrate control.
In his examination of how potato growing has evolved he visits commercial potato farms, an organic farm and Monsanto, the developers of genetically modified potatoes. Reading about the intense chemical spraying program and the permanent toxic state of the commercial farms was more than enough to turn me away from commercially grown potatoes forever. It also set me to investigate which other commercially farmed crops are highly toxic and which are relatively safe.
My very first post on this blog, Telling Tales on ‘Taters’ was inspired by this book and is about organic vs commercially grown potatoes.
The other stories about the apple, tulip and hemp are also fascinating.
#6. Healthy Home, Healthy Family by Nicole Bijilsma
Nicole is a Building Biologist and Sick Building Syndrome expert who is passionate about environmental medicine. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR), allergens, drinking water, and toxic chemicals pervade our living and working spaces and here Nicole shows you how to reverse their damage on your body, your mind, your emotions and your health.
An accomplished Naturopath and Acupuncturist with a young family of her own, she has produced a book full of practical ways to determine and remedy the levels of toxins you are being exposed to everyday.
This book contains lots of questionnaires and checklists to assess your own home. There is also advice on selecting cleaning products, air cleaners, plastics, and more. It even includes a guide for anyone about to buy, rent or build a house, with what you need to investigate or ask before you start.
With resource lists, useful websites plus so much more this is a great book to have on hand.
#7. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro
I was a Mum who used homeopathy for my family long before I was a professional Homeopath. Back then I needed a book that was comprehensive enough for me to find the correct remedy for the symptoms that presented, but not too complicated for my purely amateur ability.
Miranda Castro has written a book that nails it. It includes the homeopathic history, principles, myths, how to actually take a Homeopathic case and work out a remedy, then a comprehensive Materia Medica and Repertory to guide your remedy choice.
This book has it all for the ‘Home Homeopath’ and clearly and simply presents everyday homeopathic prescribing as the individualized effective treatment system it can be, when it is done correctly and well.
#8. Eating For The Seasons by Janella Purcell
I rarely recommend diet or cookbooks. But this is so much more than just a set of recipes. This book is all about eating in tune with the seasons and the rhythms of nature. By so doing your body gets just what it needs for the time of year.
This means more than simply eating light, raw food in summer and heavier, warming food during winter. Purcell’s eating recommendations are based on the principles of Traditional Asian Medicine.
Recipes (with alternative suggestions) are grouped by season. Each section also contains advice about health objectives of the season, preferred seasonal cooking methods, what to avoid, and which body organs need support.
A great book to remind you of seasonal eating patterns, even if you don’t use any of the recipes, it helps to keep you connected, by tuning in and aligning yourself with the rhythms of the Earth and life itself.
#9. The Life You Were Born To Live by Dan Millman
I love numerology and once studied it avidly, but it was so complicated. Not any more! Dan Millman changed all that. He has devised the “Life-Purpose System” from the ancient wisdom of Numbers, and it’s amazing, clear, and easy to follow. As Millman says “ the drive to understand our life purpose is as important to our psychological growth as eating is to our biological survival.” And he sets out all the information you need to help you in your quest.
It’s a big book but you only need to read the sections that apply directly to you and can ignore the rest. Millman shows you the simple way to calculate what is relevant to you. As you work through your picture he breaks it down into detail that applies to you, along with specific issues in your life and guidelines for action.
Millman’s book can help you sort out conflicts in your life and help you find your life purpose.
#10. Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer
Wayne Dyer has been turning out awesome books for decades. But I love this one. After doing lots of work learning to recognise my inner critical judge, this book taught me about changing the lifelong self-defeating habitual thinking that the inner critic thrives on.
It teaches about stepping up and recognizing that although we can’t control everything that happens around us, what we make of our situation, and how we deal with it, is completely up to us and the way we choose to think. Powerful stuff!
It is easy to recognize the excuses we habitually use that Dyer places before us here. He takes us through the Seven Principles of Excuses Begone, with exercises at the end of each principle to help cement them in place. He then looks at seven questions surrounding the paradigm shift such as “What would my life look like if I couldn’t use these excuses?” and “What’s the payoff?”
But what I really love and often go back to just to remind myself, are the Four Cardinal Virtues and how they manifest – reverence for all life, natural sincerity, gentleness and supportiveness.
#11. 29 Gifts: How a Month Of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker
There are so many “Challenges” around now – 5 day, 7 day, 30 day. But this 29 day story of the role that gift giving and the practice of generosity and gratitude played in Walker’s battle with Multiple Schlerosis is heart-warming and life-affirming.
She shows that by placing our focus outside ourself and the problems of our own life we move the energy of our life away from our problems and illnesses and give ourslf the room to heal.
As she embraced the practice of Gratitude and Gift-giving on her month long journey Cami’s health and happiness turned around. Initially filled with thoughts of ending up in a wheelchair and in extreme pain her experience was transformative.
From her own experience Cami began a movement that has spread across the globe – millions of people on a 29 Day Gifting Challenge.
This is beautiful story of her journey that you can take on and apply to your life.
#12. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
We all talk about living in the moment, but not that many of us actually manage it. This is the basic message that we hear so often is the essence of Tolle’s book. But what makes it different is how he explains so clearly how our thoughts and emotions get in the way of achieving this, so we actually understand what is going on.
Tolle likens the mind to a destructive disease, and as long as you allow your mind to stay bonded to the inherited collective mind-patterns it will continue in its diseased state and you will continue to suffer.
He leads us to an understanding that enlightenment is found through consciousness, that through surrender we can find happiness and ultimately peace.
It is resented as a dialogue with many questions you would ask yourself.
This book really helped me get through some tough times in my life.
#13. The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham
This tiny little book revolutionized my shopping. It lists by their number all the additives found in foods, personal care and cosmetics. Beside each it grades the danger the additive poses for you, what the adverse effects are (such as asthma, dermatitis, cancer), why it is added, along with the types of products it is used in.
Luckily for you it is now available as an app for iPhone or Android.
#14. Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain
One of the first books I read that turned me onto the path of creating the life I really want, this book was written over 35 years ago and still holds today. An anniversary edition has just been released and is a great book to start with if you are just beginning your manifestation pathway.
So this is just a starter. It doesn’t include the writings of so many brilliant teachers. I hope you are drawn to one of the books on this list. Happy reading!
Please add the name of any book that has guided you to make huge change in your life in the comments section under “LEAVE A REPLY” below. I’d love to know, and am always ready to open the cover of a new book and discover another new life lesson.