Happy New Year!! My word for 2015 is FAITH. This is a word I was 100% totally and completely uncomfortable with before this year. It's not a word you would have found in my everyday vocabulary.
So what happened? This experience required I have faith in uncertainty and trust in my new path in life. It was either this or a total depressive episode which I knew just wasn't me anymore. So I chose faith for the first time in my life...
...and it changed my life.
I've borrowed my definition from Sue Monk Kidd. She says faith is, "paying attention to where we belong."
I believe that in order to change your life you need a certain amount of faith to create some certainty about the change you want. Wait...faith creates certainty?? Yes. And more on this in another post.
As a big supporter of books what better way to start the New Year than with a list of 15 books to read in 2015.
My book recommendations change every year because more and more great books are being published. This list is a compilation of old favorites plus a few new ones I think you need to know about.
This list of books will help you cultivate a loving relationship with faith.
If you need a little more certainty or understanding in your life then these books will help create it.
1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Often it’s the simplest of things in life that have the biggest impact. This book is just that – simple. The four agreements are: Be impeccable with our word, don’t take anything personally, always do your best, and don’t make assumptions. He teaches you the real power behind taking personal responsibility for yourself and your actions and detaching from the actions of others. We all see the world through our own unique lens and when you do the best you can within that, happiness is inevitable.
2. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This book is enchanting. The author’s use of metaphor here is so brilliant and yet still so true. Anne Lindbergh wrote Gift from the Sea in 1955…1955! Here is a book with themes about womanhood, inner-peace, life transition, social roles, solitude, connectedness, love, and faith written over 59 years ago and it feels like it could of been written this year.
This book will stand the test of time. Why? Because I believe these themes are in our blood. Although she mostly focuses on the role of a woman in society today I think all can benefit from reading her words.
3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
This is easily my most recommended book. Brene Brown easily shows her readers how letting go of ‘supposed-to’ and ‘should’ is liberating and needed to live a more happy, fulfilled life. In a 10-year research project she did on the topic of shame, what Dr. Brown discovered were a group of very happy people living what she calls a wholehearted life. What is this exactly? Living life with courage of an open heart, vulnerability, and embracing failure. In her second book here, she shows you how to do the same and reap the benefits of a wholehearted life.
4. Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan
This book was published over 20 years ago and I had never heard of it until last month! It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. I loved this book. I sat down to read the intro one day and read the whole book. I couldn't put it down! This "fiction" story follows Marlo on a destiny journey through the Australian outback with a small tribe of Aboriginals. Without any notice she is invited on a walkabout across Australia, a 3-month journey by foot. The messages and lessons she learns are imperative to our health, happiness, and ability to thrive as a global society. Please read this book.
5. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.
I picked this up maybe a year ago and finally read it...in one sitting. It's one of those books. Easy to read and easy to understand intellectually but you might fight what he has to say. Dr. Alexander is a neuro-surgeon. He operates on the brain. And has had many patients who come out of surgery with NDE (near death experience) stories. Which he never believed until it happened to him. What's so beautifully perfect about his experience is that it is an unprecedented one. The part of his brain that can account for story and imagination didn't exist because it was being eaten by bacteria. And yet he not only survived to share his story but has quite the vivid memory of what happened. Coincidence that he's a neuro-surgeon? I'll let you decide for yourself...
6. Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra
What I love about Deepak Chopra is he can take very dense concepts and help them feel light so you can easily understand what's he's teaching you. In this book he discusses the idea of non-local reality. A sort of web of neither space or time but of total connectivity. It is the underpinning of the Law of Attraction. If you're interested in how miracles work, read this.
7. Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
Perhaps this should actually come before #6 - I loved this book. He wrote this in one sitting on a plane from L.A. to Melbourne, Australia. And in it are 7 irrefutable laws of the universe. Laws like karma, pure potential, and giving. For only being 111 pages it contains everything you need to know about the sheer power and potential at your fingertips every single day.
8. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
This book caught me by surprise and I'm grateful for that. Be prepared for this read to challenge you and to think from your higher self. That place that can't rationalize, but can only feel and experience like you already know. Michael Singer outlines in his first book how to release your Self from your ego and reconnect with a place of infinite energy and our collective soul. LIke I said, be prepared to be challenged. But if you can embrace his concepts you will find yourself also embracing the most truthful form of happiness - total presence of body, mind, and spirit.
9. Awaken the Spirit Within by Rebecca Rosen
Rebecca is a medium. She delivers messages from people who've passed on back to people who are still here living on Earth. I didn't know what to expect when I picked this up but I quickly fell in love with one simple thing - she shares messages from spirits that parallel some of the greatest teacher's lessons throughout history. Themes like The Hero's Journey and reincarnation. It may challenge you or it may sooth you. Either way I recommend this book to anyone who is feeling a bit lost in the shuffle of the world.
10. Money - Master the Game by Anthony Robbins
Read. This. Book. Go out and buy this right now. I'll wait...Got it? Good. Ok, I realize it's 642 pages and it took me even a month to read. But this is single handedly the most resourced and useful book available today. Anthony Robbins hasn't published anything in over 20 years (maybe even longer) but he made his point with this book. He spent years interviewing some of the most successful investors from the past 50 years and took all their knowledge and crammed it into this book. Why am I recommending a book about money here? Because. One of the #1 causes of constant stress & anxiety is money. It comes down to TWO things: self-worth and education. Money is not something to fear unless you don't understand it. This book is easy to read and full of easy strategies.
11. Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson has made a career of spreading the messages from A Course in Miracles. 'Return to Love' is her synopsis of her work. In a nutshell - love is all there is. And if love is all there is then compassion is all there is to do. If you're feeling uncertain, unfulfilled, or lost then read this book.
12. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Sometimes I get on a Brene Brown kick, I can't help it. I love her. In her third book, Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown talks about what it means to have the courage to live in the arena. What might you ask is the arena? It's that place in our lives where we are authentic, vulnerable, and open but it also means you should expect some criticism. And that's ok. Because you're in the arena, declaring your worth and that's hard work. Vulnerability, once thought of as weakness, turns out to be this awesome thing that can change your life! There can not be authentic happiness without authentic vulnerability.
13. Your Survival Instinct is Killing You by Dr. Marc Schoen
This book pretty much sums up the work I do. Dr. Schoen has spent years studying the adverse effects of an overly sensitive survival instinct, aka your limbic system. I wrote extensively about it here and here. However I recommend you read the data for yourself. If you find yourself agitated, always reaching for something to do or eat, or on edge constantly this book will provide answers and solutions.
14. E Squared by Pam Grout
I read this one weekend at the beach and found myself in a sort of magicians game with the universe. She outlines 9 energy-based experiments you can do to bring more of what you desire into you life. Think manifestation, affirmation, and synchronicity all in one. Powerful stuff that all starts with your mind and awareness. It's a fun read and there are several laugh-out-loud moments.
15. Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer
If you like E Squared then read this as the follow-up. This is the book where I learned the sheer power behind the statement, "I am..." and how it's basically a universal wish granter. Now I am watering this down because there's more to it than this. But I love his concepts. Makes you think twice about what you actually have power over in your life.
There are many more I want to recommend but need to read first! In light and love, Andrea
You can read my previous books lists here: 10 Favorite Books for Fall & 8 Super Awesome Books for Happiness.