“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends, they are the wisest of counsellors and the most patient of teachers. “ Charles Eliot
Allow me to let you in on something. Choosing only three life-changing books? Incredibly difficult! (Especially for a bookworm. What was I thinking?)
I contemplated which – of all the books I’ve read – continued to make a lasting impact after I’d read them. The books I kept reviewing over and over in my mind. The books that made me reflect, question, start discussions with friends. The books that touched a deeper part of me. The ones that lit a spark and encouraged me to make changes in myself and my life.
As I write this, there are several more books knocking at the door of my mind. I’ll share more of these soon. For now, here are a few of the most significant books in my life.
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
After graduating from university, I found myself in a career that stifled me. Feeling trapped, I was looking for answers when this book caught my eye.
I read it travelling to work. I couldn’t put it down. And for those moments when I had to (like driving!) I even bought the audio-book so I could listen to it.
The connection between mind and body had always fascinated me. Finding a book that brought in the spiritual dimension too was incredible to me.
In Anatomy of the Spirit, Myss illustrates this connection through examples of people’s lives, their challenges and ways of being. This book was what I needed to help me explore my inner and outer worlds.
Chapter by chapter, Myss guides the reader through the energy anatomy of the body, the chakra system. She discusses the physical ailments, disease patterns, mental and emotional patterns linked to each energy centre in the chakra system, giving an insight into how our thoughts and attitudes affect our wellbeing. (Or as Caroline puts it, how our biography affects our biology.)
This book opened my eyes. It taught me to pay attention to my way of thinking and being, how I was holding myself back in life. It woke me up to taking care of my energy anatomy. It triggered a whole new thirst for knowledge in me that ultimately led to leaving behind the corporate world and eventually coming back to myself, with more compassion and understanding than I’d ever known.
I recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in the mind-body-spirit connection, how illness can manifest, how we can help ourselves by becoming aware of our thought patterns and limiting beliefs.
How Yoga Works by Christie McNally
How Yoga Works is a work of fiction based on Patanjali’s yoga sutras. It tells the story of a young girl, who ended up in prison in India. The girl begins teaching fellow prisoners and prison staff about yoga and the teachings of Patanjali. A simple yet complex philosophy to apply to daily life, woven so beautifully through the story.
This book put into words what I had begun to glimpse on the yoga mat, but was unable to articulate. It brought the yoga sutras to life.
If you’re curious about the philosophy of yoga, what yoga is really all about, whether you have only ever thought about going to a yoga class, are an occasional or regular yoga student or a yoga teacher, this book will help you to recognise the magic of yoga in your everyday life.
I’ve included it here as it renewed my passion for yoga and yoga’s ability to nurture, heal and support our lives.
Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser
This book brought me back to life during a time of grief. It shows how you can emerge from your suffering.
In Broken Open, Lesser talks about using difficult times in our life, the times that bring us to our knees, and allowing them to burn down our lives in order for us to rebuild ourselves whole again. She calls this ‘the Phoenix Process’. A large section of the book talks about loss and grief, gently guiding yourself back to life and coming to terms with a life you never planned.
I believe that – in life – there are no mistakes. In every and any event, there are lessons to be gleaned.
The simple shift in mindset from broken to broken open was a powerful one.
Trusting that everything in life changes, every emotion good or bad evolves, allowed me to believe that everything would be ok. It helped me transition back to hope from a place of despair.
If you are facing loss – a job, a marriage, a loved one – through sickness, redundancy, divorce, bereavement, or any other life experience that has bought you to your knees, made your world stand still, then I recommend this book to you. It is honest, gentle and wise. It’s the friend you need by your side as you wade through those difficult times and the painful emotions that come with them.
I’d love to connect with book lovers out there, and I’m forever grateful for a good book recommendation. So, let me know the books that have had a profound impact on you in the comments below.