Books that changed my life!
I love to read. And I love to buy books. I also buy way more books than I read, but here are the ones I regularly buy and give as gifts to friends and clients – my most life changing and inspiring reads listed below in no particular order. I’d love to read your comments, thoughts and ideas from books that change the world.
Nonviolent Communication: A language of life by Marshall Rosenberg.
When I first read this book I felt so much hope and joy! It started me on a path of learning a new way to speak and to listen to others, along with the confidence that I could experience deeply satisfying, connected relationships, connections and true understanding. As I immersed myself in this learning, I started to see how my worldview was distorted by judgments that caused me so much pain and prevented me from connecting fully with my own, and others, needs. Slowly, I learnt how to listen to the precious messages, the needs calling to me under all my words and actions, and to translate all I saw and heard as an expression of love, a cry for love, or a please or a thank you. Today I am so grateful to Marshall Rosenberg for sharing this gift that has lead to me, and thousands of others, to experience so much more joy, love and peace with the world.
The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brené Brown is up there for me as one of my top 10 ‘Oh Yes!’ life changing moments. After I saw her Ted talk, I quickly bought this book and devoured it in one sitting! The Gifts of Imperfection explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to live wholeheartedly, even when faced with our imperfections and the messy, dark and uncomfortable aspects of our lives. She gently shares her understanding of shame and vulnerability with such compassion, that I challenge anyone to not be inspired to make that journey from ‘what will they think’ to ‘I am enough!’
I also really enjoy Daring Greatly, another of Brené Brown’s books. It’s an invitation to step up and dare to show up and live life wholeheartedly and the reason I trained as a Daring Way™ Facilitator.
The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential, intensive training based on Brené’s research, and is designed to support men, women, and young people to learn how to show up, be seen, and live braver lives. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent and lead.
Below is the quote that inspired the title of her book and please feel free to contact me for more information.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. —Theodore Roosevelt
Women, Food and God – An unexpected path to everything by Geneen Roth
“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.”
This book is so full of wisdom and tender loving care and, as someone who has always had a challenging relationship with food, I have a deep gratitude in my heart for what Geneen shares about learning to trust ourselves and our bodies. How we are with food and our bodies is inseparable from how we relate to life itself. When we use food and diets to numb or as a way to prove our worthiness, we loose ourselves, our connection to source and the way to live wholeheartedly. This book, and Geneen’s loving and gentle guidance, is a journey from obsession and control, to relaxed presence with our bodies, our food and our lives.
Buddha’s Brain or Just One Thing by Rick Hanson
I read Budha’s Brain as part of my mindfulness facilitator training some years ago and have given away more copies than I can remember! It is an easy and clear description of how mindfulness changes the brain and how you can be your own (thanks to it’s amazing plasticity) brain surgeon! It combines neuroscience with with loads of simple and effective practices to show you how to sculpt your brain. My favourite practice is Taking in the good – a process for balancing out our brain’s negativity bias. here are two links, one is a step by step process and the other is a podcast.
Die Wise -A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul by Stephen Jenkinson
This book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life was utterly devastating and such a precious gift during my husband’s dying. We were introduced to Stephen just after Richard was given the news that his cancer was not going to be cured and the book came out a few months later. Richard’s hand written notes in the margin are a sweet reminder of the struggle to die in a culture that doesn’t believe in endings… Here is an excerpt from the book and the video trailer.
The Smell of Rain on Dust by Martín Prechtel
If there ever was a book that makes a case that grief is vital to the ability of our culture to survive then this is that book. Declaring that grieving what we lose and praising what we have are two inseparable parts of the love of life.
In every case where grief and praise are still honoured, there is one aspect that remains the same with all people: grief, even for an individual’s loss, is a thing for which a lot of people are necessary. A tribe is necessary even if it’s just to be a kind of resilient nonjudgmental human basket, against which the griever is able to thrash. I doubt if anybody’s relatives could be that for us. A tribe lets us say things we may or may not believe, be filled with the grief in whatever form it takes without hurting ourselves or anybody else, unworried that the sometimes uncharacteristically expressive being we might turn into when in the necessary state of grief will be held against us when the blessing of life has healed, and we can continue slowly returning to its more regular flow.
The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller
Excerpt from his book:
The First Gate: Everything We Love, We Will Lose
I’ve have come to have a deep faith in grief; have come to see the way its moods call us back to soul. It is, in fact, one of the voices of the soul, asking us to face life’s most difficult but essential teaching: everything is a gift and nothing lasts. This is a painful truth. To accept this fact is to live on life’s terms and not try to deny the simple truth of loss, what the Buddhists call impermanence. When we acknowledge grief, we acknowledge that everything we love, we will lose. No exceptions. Now of course, we want to argue this point, saying that we will keep in our hearts the love of those who depart his earth before us: our parents, or our spouse, or our children, or our friends, or, or, or – and yes, that is true. It is grief, however, that allows the heart to stay open to this love, to remember sweetly the ways these people touched our lives. It is only when we deny grief’s entry into our lives that we begin to compress the breadth of our emotional experience and live shallowly.”
Braiding Sweetgrass : Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
This book has been a bedside companion for the last two years. It is an exquisitely written reminder that everything is alive, and how hard it is on the human soul to forget this truth!