"When I get a little money, I buy books; if any is left I buy food and clothes." ~Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)
And, yes, like Desiderius Erasmus as quoted above, books can be considered a form of addiction. However, if one must be addicted to anything, I think being a book-a-holic is one of the more benign and beneficial ones.
Recently, a friend asked me for some recommendations of books that focus on creating optimal wellness and using various techniques of positive affirmation and creative visualization to bring about desired life changes. In other words, to learn how our past experience, current frame of mind, intentions and words come together to create the reality in which we sense our world. Well, it took me a week to narrow the list so I wouldn't overwhelm my friend!
Here are some of the books that have guided and changed me, enriched my life, deepened my understanding of my own empowering choices, and helped me to create a rewarding and fulfilled life. I share them with you in hopes they may bring any who are seeking wisdom and direction closer to creating a beautiful, abundant and optimally healthy physical and spiritual life.
The first is a book that introduced me to the concepts of creating optimal wellness in all areas of life: self-responsibility, breathing, sensing, eating, moving, feeling, thinking, playing & working, communicating, sex, finding meaning, and transcending. It is the Wellness Workbook: How to Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality by John W. Travis, M.D. and Regina Sara Ryan. This book came into my life at a time when I was poised on the precipice of a major life change. It allowed me to truly understand where much of my thinking about health and wellness originated, how to make balance and optimal wellness in all areas of life a priority, how to analyze what was not working and why. It empowered me with tools by which to affect the changes I so desired. Looking back, I can see that it was nothing short of miraculous in the impact it had on my life. When I say this is a life-changing book, I mean it! Now in its third edition, it packs a great deal of information and help into this interactive, workbook design in a way that leads to self-discovery and balance in all aspects of life. You can explore it using the link above at Amazon.
Another book that made a significant difference in my life is Alan Cohen's Daily Dose of Sanity: A Five-Minute Soul Recharge for Every Day of the Year. This book has a magical way of bringing clarity and insight, with humor, warmth, personal anecdotes and stories, as well as inspiring quotes and questions which prod the reader into taking action. It distills so much wisdom into one-page daily readings that one can use it year after year, finding new meaning, depth and application to our ever-changing lives. Alan is a gifted teacher, with an engaging style, bringing his wisdom and insight as a nationally-known author, speaker, and life coach to uplift, encourage and empower readers to become their best selves.
One of my favorite authors is Oriah Mountain Dreamer, whose poem, The Invitation, went viral and inspired the augmentation of her beautiful prose into a book, then a series of books, with breathtaking honesty, integrity and eloquence. She paints the inner workings of our hearts with her stories and embodies gentle wisdom and vision to cut through the outer trappings of life to the core of our emotions. It's difficult to choose one of her books as my favorite because they have all been dependable, well-loved companions on the journey, but I think The Dance is the one that speaks most directly to me now. From the cover: "What if the question is not why am i so infrequently the person i really want to be, but why do i so infrequently want to be the person i really am?" And, the back cover brings it even closer to home: "Don't tell me how wonderful things will be...someday. Show me you can risk being completely at peace, truly okay with the way things are right now in this moment, and again in the next and the next and the next..."
So, there you have it. Three of my most trusted companions on life's journey. What books have you found completely captivating, that speak to your heart and open the eyes of your soul? Please share in the comments. We can all use some inspiration!