I’m leaving a Chicago coffee shop, clutching a book, as eyes of a stranger meet mine. He says: “I don’t see many people your age reading on a Friday night. What are you reading?”
“Anatomy of the Spirit”, I say. As I check my own coolness. He pulls out his wallet and hands me a card almost instantly. He says that he knows a great holistic doctor that works with energy. I was a bit taken back, as I did not ask for this, but a few weeks later, as I found myself feeling physically (and spiritually, though I did not realize this) broken, I called this doctor. It was one of the best things I’ve stumbled upon.
This meeting was 9 years ago. Since then, I have worked with this doctor off and on for many years. As an applied kinesiology chiropractor and energy worker, he helped me learn how my body was a tool for intuitive knowing. This changed my life and set me on the course of healing and therapy for my whole body and soul, as well as understanding my true wisdom. It was the beginnings of me shaping into a holistic healer myself.
While this book, and meeting, sparked an interesting life change, it also was life-changing because of its content… of course!
Today, I’d like to share 10 books that have changed my life in some form or another. Whether it was to impact my personal or professional healing and know how, to feed my soul, to nourish the spiritual nerd in me that wants to know how the universe works or to lead me to connections with people that have transformed my life, I have found each of these helpful.
Many people ask me what books I would recommend they read, especially based on their healing work with me. Some have been interested in the many modalities I’ve culminated in the orchestra of my holistic healing practice. I’ve described below how I found each book interesting or growthful for me and would recommend many of these to clients and people that are interested in deepening their healing and growth.
I’ve often found that when I’m making a decision or approaching a challenge, there is an internal mental argument happening. If we take the mental chatter in our minds beyond the general category of “thoughts.” we find that each thought can be understood by getting to know the many parts of ourselves that develop within our psyche. Embracing Ourselves explains the inner workings of Voice Dialogue, a modality I offer in my healing work that supports understanding the agendas, needs, wishes, and embodied experience of each of the many parts within. My inner critic, inner child, inner divine mother and father, inner human parents, the part of me that is “great-grandma,” my protector, creative, teacher, and more… all show up at different times. This book has supported me and others in exploring what parts of us are calling for healing, why we do what we do, and which parts of us we want to lead the way with.
The most powerful insight I received, among the many in Anatomy of the Spirit, is that “Your biography becomes your biology.” This book provides one of the most solid understandings I have read about energy medicine, the chakras, and how our beliefs, attitudes, and dynamics of aspects of ourselves map a blueprint for the physical body. She offers an inventory of information on physical illnesses and how to heal and understand them from a deeper spiritual place. In addition, she bridges the traditions of the Kabbalah, Hinduism, and Christianity for a broad understanding.
Set within an adventure story, 9 essential insights of life are offered. I found it incredibly helpful as a guide to connect the dots of why I have had certain past experiences, understand why I am where I am now, align to my personal path, perceive what happens in the unseen space between me and the outer world, and open to interactions (rather than block them) that could bring me a powerful message. I began to see purpose behind all my experiences and see into my future with heart and vitality to move forward. The insights are so powerful that I have integrated them into my way of being and interacting.
When I read this book, my soul is completely nourished and reminded of the powerful Wild Woman that I am. I’m fired up with fierce passion, creative drive, instinctual knowing, aliveness, juicy, soulful, honest, courageous and naturally bold– all the aspects of me that are ageless and fortify that I am home inside myself. Women Who Run with the Wolves speaks through vibrant intercultural myths and stories to the endangered species of Wild Women: women whose whildish nature has been hampered and deadened by society. If you’re looking to bring life and beauty back into your feminine nature or to cultivate your connection to the ancient power of women, this is a wonderful and fertile book to dip in and out of.
For the eternally geeky part of me that is interested in the nitty-gritty of the cohesion of the universe and its essential principles, the Science of Breath excited me. It brought me to see the way I am of the same magic and substance as the stars and space. From the anatomy of the breath from a scientific view, to the understanding of prana (vital energy) in the body, to the cosmic breath (the expansion and contraction of the whole universe), the simple idea of breathing in and out has helped me understand my natural states and how to align with them.
When I have a moment, I enjoy picking up this book and receiving the tidbits of knowledge with a pleasantly artful touch. This translation of the classic Chinese text, by Stephen Mitchell, transmits energy of serenity and being in accordance with the basic principles of the universe. It feels full of spirit and ease, reminding me of balance, being in stillness, and virtue. I recommend it to bring simplicity and effortlessness into daily life.
A must read in terms of how the body stores the experience of trauma or something overwhelming if the experience isn’t complete. It brings together important concepts and practices of Somatic Experiencing healing work: a mix of understanding the nature of our instinctual and animal body, scientific understanding of the nervous system and fight/flight/tonic immobility states, and what they have to do with our current experience. It shares ways to heal and restore safety innately.
While there are many books about Family Constellations, an experiential modality of healing challenges and resourcing love through the bonds of one’s family lineage, I enjoy this one for the activities that they suggest you do to explore your own conscious and unconscious bonds with your family lineage. As a foundation, it provides an entry into some of the vast theory behind this phenomenological and evolving approach to healing. If you’re interested in learning about how your family ancestry might connect with your current life and struggles, and the unity of all the layers of us (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.), this is an excellent choice.
I was so inspired by Marie Kondo’s clear step-by-step guide and philosophy in this book, that the night I read it, I was instantly going through all of my belongings, decluttering with fury and excitement. I most enjoyed her ways of interacting with objects in her space as if they had a personality; that she considered how the items in her home felt. Did they feel abandoned, well loved, etc.? I learned to ask myself and feel the answer to: does this item spark joy in me? And I learned to let go of some attachments- learning about myself and why I kept those things along the way. I recommend this if you’re interested in cleansing your outer and inner space (your psyche) and finding a new way to relate to yourself and what’s in your life.
This book offers a pathway to ancient and modern shamanic ways and principles. It teaches how to navigate the experience of maintaining personal power, energy and energetic boundaries, shamanic states of consciousness, spirit and power animals, dream worlds, and more. I like that it offers an understanding of shamanism and practices that everyone can try for self-healing, growth, and restoring and being power-full.
If my experience inspires you, get your copy, make a cup of tea, light a candle, and get cozy under a blanket with one of these life-changing books. I hope you find something for you on this variety list and that it gives you some insight, development, and nourishment for your soul. And please feel free to share your experience with any of these (or other books) in the comments below. I am always looking for a new life-changing read.