I’ve been a bookworm since I was little and I’m a self-professed self-help junkie. I’ve always got a few books on the go and I’m usually working on implementing the techniques and strategies I’ve learned. I thought it would be fun to share a peek at my bookshelf by reviewing the books I read each month. April’s books were particularly powerful and a couple of them represent complete game changers for me.
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
Discovering Elaine Aron’s work has had such a profound impact in making me feel less alone and less crazy. She’s a psychologist whose pioneering research shows that 80% of the population (in humans, but also in animals) have a psychological trait called “high sensitivity.” This sensitivity shows up in a myriad of ways: sensitivity to emotions, crowds, lights, scents, textures, tastes, and so one. Our trait means that we can become “overaroused” (or overwhelmed) more easily than most people, which often leads to us being perceived as (and feeling) weak. But what Elaine outlines in her book is that this trait is not a weakness. Like all traits it has its benefits and drawbacks but being sensitive can be a huge advantage. Many of the world’s great thought leaders, artists, and spiritual teachers are highly sensitive. What this book taught me was not how to “cope” but how to thrive. How to best take care of myself and make decisions given my trait. If you think you might be highly sensitive, taking this test is a great place to start and if you are, reading this book would be a wonderful gift to yourself.
Body Calm: The Powerful Meditation Technique That Helps Your Body Heal & Stay Healthy by Sandy Newbigging
I saw Sandy speak at Hay House Ignite in March and was instantly drawn to his work. As I've written about before, I've been struggling with my health this year and going through something of a healing crisis. Sandy has developed a meditation technique called CALM (which stands for Conscious Awareness Life Meditation). It's really incredible, and different than other meditation styles I've tried, as it allows you to access present moment awareness instantly rather than grappling with your monkey mind for ages before managing one moment of inner peace. Through the book Sandy outlines powerful ways to tap into your body's own self-healing capacity. He also busts a lot of myths about meditation and illness and created a profound shift for me by demonstrating that forgiveness and healing from past events doesn't have to be a long, gruelling process like I always thought. The techniques he shares for healing an unforgiven past are incredibly powerful and effective. For anyone who is interested in looking at healing in a new way, starting a meditation practice, or deepening an existing practice, I highly recommend reading Sandy's books (and you can sign up for a free month in his Calm Clan to get access to his guided meditations).
#HIGHERSELFIE: Wake Up Your Life. Free Your Soul. Find Your Tribe. by Lucy Sheridan & Jo Westwood
What can I tell you? I love these babes and their book did not disappoint! It's just as sassy, hilarious, and profound as they are. Lucy & Jo are the founders of #HIGHERSELFIE, a spiritual lifestyle brand and the only spirituality un-conference in the world. Their book is a millenial's guide to waking up spiritually and navigating a spiritual life in this strange, digital age we live in. They've translated age-old spiritual lessons into a modern, pop culture laden vernacular and peppered its pages with real-life anecdotes from their own lives. Struggling to focus on your own path when everyone else's highlight reel is being shoved in your face via social media? Not sure how to stay positive while clocking into the 9-5 job you've outgrown? Feel like the only "woo" in the village and that everyone around you is judging your crystal habit? Lucy & Jo have you got you covered.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
This one isn't self-help; at least it wasn't written that way. Somewhat strangely, this book came up as one I should read during a reiki (energy healing) session I had with Alli Woods Frederick a couple of months ago. I didn't understand why but I'm serious about honouring the wisdom of my body, plus I love Patti Smith, so I went with it. This is a memoir of Patti's coming-of-age as a musician and poet in the 1960s and 70s, while she was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Janis Joplin and being mentored by Allen Ginsburg (NBD). It's also an incredible, but unconventional, love story. For me, this book what full of secret soul messages about committing to my craft, living a full life, and showing up for love but anyone with a big dream or an interest in music or literature should give this book a read.
Coincidentally, just as I'm starting this column, I've made a commitment to myself to set the self-help books aside for 30 days as I embark on a month-long journey with Qoya and reuniting with my body's wisdom. I found that my mind had become an overwhelming melting pot of personal development advice and spiritual jargon and I that my own internal guidance was getting lost in the mix. My intention is just to slow things down, tune in, and listen.
I'm also looking forward to this as a chance to read more fiction and do research on a topic that has peaked my interest as of late, so I'll still be sure to share with you what I decide to read in May.
And I'd love to know: what are you reading this days? What books have had the most profound impact on your personal journey?