For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a book worm. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I love getting lost in the words. I love the way a great book can truly change your life.
Over the years, I’ve had many books that spoke to me in a profound and magical way. I don’t question when I feel drawn to a book, for I know that there must be something it needs to share with me.
I also have a habit of opening my favorite books to a random page and allowing whatever I need to know wash over me through the words of the page- almost like a fortune cookie relaying the exact information I seek at the exact right time.
Here, I’ll share with you five books that have changed my life in some shape or form. I’m hoping they can do the same for you. I’d also LOVE to hear what books have changed you and how, so please share!
“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.”
Many, many years ago, I was walking through a book store with my mom when I saw this book on the shelf. I was so drawn to it that I knew I had to buy it, without even stopping to discover what it was about.
Upon reading the first chapter, my heart skipped beat after beat as Psychotherapist and Buddhist Meditation teacher Tara Brach spoke directly to my brokenness. She speaks of the deep pain of believing something is inherently wrong with us, something I’ve dealt with most of my life.
She offers guided meditations, personal stories, and case histories to address this sense of shame within ourselves that keeps us from living a truly authentic life. This book was also one of the first introductions I had to Buddhist philosophy, and a wonderful one at that.
Since finding this book, I’ve followed her teachings through her free weekly podcasts and her other book.
If you desire to break free from suffering and trust your innate goodness, this book will change your life.
“If we want a joyous life, we must think joyous thoughts. If we want a prosperous life, we must think prosperous thoughts. If we want a loving life, we must think loving thoughts. Whatever we send out mentally or verbally will come back to us in like form.”
I use this book, and its accompanying workbook “Love Yourself, Heal Your Life,” almost every single day. And I’ve seen significant changes in my life and my attitude since implementing the exercises in these books.
Louise Hay is the master of positive affirmations. Her whole life’s work is based on the power of changing our negative thoughts into positive, loving, healing thoughts. She teaches that a thought it just a thought, and it can be changed.
As someone whose thoughts can get very anxious and out of control, finding this book has been amazing in turning my negative thinking around. Every time I catch myself drifting into fear-based obsessing, I think of a positive affirmation to replace it with.
The workbook in particular delves into our deep seated beliefs and how those beliefs affect and manifest in our lives. Hay believes that the beliefs we hold actually influence the course our lives take.
If you are prone to negative thinking, this book will be so amazing for you.
“Every time you encounter something that forces you to “handle it,” your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way your fears are diminished immeasurably.”
Before I even got a chance to read this book, I saw the title, and that phrase alone- feel the fear and do it anyway- was monumental in my recovery from panic disorder and agoraphobia. When I read that line, something clicked in me.
Oh, you mean fear doesn’t have to stop me? You mean I can still do whatever I want to do by allowing the fear to be there but not letting it take over?
I used to go to grocery stores, or restaurants, or movie theaters and as soon as I would start getting panicky or feel the sensations of fear, I would retreat. I would run back to my car or find a way to leave the situation, which only made the fear of the place worsen.
After adopting this phrase into my affirmations, I would go to the scary place, feel the fear, and keep going. I would do it anyway. Even though I was terrified. Even though all I wanted to do was run or avoid the place. Over time, that scary place got more and more peaceful as I saw that I could handle it.
A few months later, I finally rented this book from the library. Susan Jeffers does a wonderful job of reassuring us that whatever comes our way, we can handle it. She describes how a lot of fear is based off the idea that we can’t handle what comes our way and that we need to be prepared in some way. She tells us that whatever it is, we are strong enough to handle it, so there really is no reason to fear anything. Just trust in your strength.
If you are struggling with anxiety, panic, or agoraphobia, I can’t recommend this book enough.
“You can open your heart more by loving yourself. Love all the parts of yourself, even those thoughts and feelings you may have labeled as negative. If you feel anger or doubt, love those feelings as much as you love your feelings of joy and peace. Love your humanity as well as your divinity.”
This is an oldie that I found in my parent’s pile of books, and I found this gem when I was experiencing the worst of my panic disorder. I was in the middle of the darkest time of my life, and this book brought me so much hope and peace.
Spiritual Growth teaches you how to be your higher self, create a vision for your higher purpose, and manifest what you want in your life. It helped me to see past the horrific turbulence of my life to remember who I am at my core: my highest self which is true love.
If you’re going through a rough time, or desire to be more in line with your spiritual self, this book is a wonderful read.
“To know the Self is to allow everything, to embrace the totality of who we are, all that we think and feel, all of our fear, all of our love. Our problems come when we draw a line and say: ‘Everything up to this line is okay with me. But everything on the other side I just can’t accept.’ Every time I draw a line, I create artificial boundaries which prevent me from feeling joy and peace in my life.”
I found this book on one of my parents’ many bookshelves. It’s an older book, but one that I love to come back to over and over, especially if I’m experiencing a difficult time with a situation.
Author Paul Ferrini draws on teachings from A Course in Miracles to explore our authentic experience and our journey back to wholeness. This is one book that I would recommend reading slowly and in small chunks. It isn’t one to binge read, as it is quite dense with information that I believe takes time to absorb.
Some parts of this book really didn’t speak to me, while others were so profound. This was the first book that truly taught me the power of surrender.
There are so many other books that affected me in profound ways. What are some of the ones that have helped you??