My own ‘awareness’ journey began in earnest in the late 1990’s – a time when I was questioning a lot of the events in my life and attempting to discover ‘who I am’. Along the way I have read a number of books that truly made a difference whether it was to ‘open my mind’ or concrete a belief. I learned to meditate and I explored my perception of spirituality. I came to think of myself – within the context of this world – in a different way. I will, from time to time, recommend books or activities to clients that proved helpful to me and someone recently asked for a consolidated list of the most helpful. I am sharing it now with a brief blurb about WHY I found it helpful.
It is good to understand that these books or activities may not affect you in the same way – I believe that I was only open to the things that were good for me AT THAT TIME – and I have since re-read many of them only to ‘hear’ something new the second time around. Some of them I keep close by for inspiration. Some of them I started but set aside and finished years later when I was able to absorb the message. Some I read from cover to cover all at once, others a paragraph at a time in random order.
I believe growth is a constantly evolving process, and one that we must engage within in order to move forward. Your journey is yours and this list simply serves as a potential supplement to what is working for you now.
1. The Celestine Prophecy (1997) James Redfield
This book speaks about universal energy and the absence of coincidence. It was perhaps, my first true ah-ha moment and the unofficial beginning of my self-discovery.
2. Conversations with God - #1, #2, & #3 (1996) Neale Donald Walsh
There are actually three books in this series (the link takes you to a consolidated volume) and it changed the way that I think of God, a belief system that had been deeply rooted in Catholicism. Initially, I read this series with women in a Book club but later re-read them and used a highlighter – that is how profound much of its content was to me. It’s not about religion – and regardless of your ‘religious’ views, I believe the world would be a better place if we all read this book and took it to heart.
3. Messages from the Masters: Tapping into the power of Love (2001) Brian Weiss
I chose this book during a time when I needed to cultivate a stronger presence of LOVE in my life. It was during a particularly difficult time and I needed to create calm and loving energy in my environment. This book helped. It is hard to swallow if you don’t have an open mind or if you have very rigid religious views but I encourage you to get from it – what you are open to hearing.
If you find that you are interested in the metaphysical topic – treat yourself to the rest of Brian Weiss’s books! Eventually, I trained with him in New York and learned regression therapy.
4. The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) Brené Brown
I recommend this book to clients more than any other as I think the drive to be perfect – to fit someone’s expectation of who we are – is rampant in our culture. Learning how to live authentically is paramount to good mental health and understanding our humanness is essential. You think you know until you read this and then it all makes sense somehow.
5. The Power of Positive Thinking (2007) Norman Vincent Peale
This is a go to book whenever I need to be reminded about what I already know. It is the book I pick up and browse when I need encouragement. It reinforces everything that I believe and motivates me to stay on course in terms of positivity. It has a very ‘Christian’ orientation which may or may not be helpful to you. If God is your thing, great… if not – substitute the word Universe or Energy and I believe you will still get the benefit of the message.
6. Eat, Pray, Love (2007) Elizabeth Gilbert
I enjoyed this book for its story – but more for the idea that I had to find ‘me’ before I could move on with the rest of my life. For me, it was more about becoming authentic. About defining what was authentic to me versus an expectation that I felt others needed me to fulfill. Definitely one that is highlighted with meaningful thoughts that I want to remember!
Retreats and classes are beyond doubt underutilized (IMHO) and one of the most wonderful ways I have utilized the concept of “self-care”. Yes, they cost money but the ‘therapy’ I received in terms of enlightenment, rest, and inner peace was priceless (truly).
The OMEGA Center in Rhinebeck, NY is one of the best that I am aware of. I have spent time there on a couple of occasions and have always come back refreshed, humbled, and definitively more self aware. Making the commitment to go has been one of the kindest things I have ever done for myself.
In addition to the training I did with Dr. Weiss, I’ve attended meditation workshops and a women’s empowerment series. They do amazing couples workshops and Yoga training. It is a simple environment and almost completely self-sustaining. The lodging is varied in style and amenities, able to accommodate almost every budget and the food is GREAT (much of it grown right there).
I encourage you to visit the website, browse, and if something calls to you – GO!!
CD’s – Guided Meditations:
Meditation: Achieving Inner Peace and Tranquility
My all time favorite because I love the sound of Dr. Weiss’s voice. After training with him at Omega, I found it particularly comforting. Buy this for the guided meditation CD – not for the ‘little book’.
The Calming Collection – Goodbye Worries
This is great for just relaxing or going to sleep – it does a great job of quieting my mind when I can’t seem to stop it from running away with my thoughts.
If you have a book, CD, or class that you have found profoundly helpful in your journey, I would love to hear about it. Just shoot me an email with the title! : ) [email protected]