ON THE READING LIST: 4 Books to Help You Shine Your Light

It’s been forever since I was last able to sit down and write; so I know that this entry is long overdue. In the last three months, I decided to take a step back and re-calibrate by doing a lot of extra reading. In psychotherapy we call this bibliotherapy - the use of books as therapy in treatment. As I was going through my own soul-transformation, I found myself turning to books that reminded me of my light and power.; and this is what I want to share with you all today.

In my years of work, life has proven to me time and again, that we go through cycles of death and rebirth. We cycle through burnout and recovery. And if we are lucky, we are able to sustain the recovery a little bit longer each time. But there’s nothing quite like turning to wisdom and thought to help us re-align, re-calibrate, and remember who we truly are and what we were made to do here. It’s about accepting where we are, knowing where we would like to be, and taking steps in that direction. So here are my top 4 faves that I believe will help anyone get in touch with the power that dwells within.

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THE UPSIDE OF YOUR DARK SIDE by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener

This book is for anybody who has had to feel like their “negative emotions” were not welcome and not allowed. It challenges the notion of today’s world that lives on “Good vibes only” and “stay positive”. A world where preaching the message of “positivity” can lead to isolation and detachment.

The book teaches us that “negative emotions can be highly motivational” and that "negative emotions can help you focus on the situation at hand”. This is because “negative emotions like anxiety and suspiciousness”, the authors write, “can act like an attentional funnel that narrows the mind’s eye to important details”. Research also shows that those who are anxious / depressed can better detect if a person is being authentic or genuine .Imagine that! Your moral compass and internal GPS are basically the best tools that you could have on you in these moments. And what this is really saying is - TRUST YOUR GUT FEEL. Talk about power! But with great power means that we need to “lean into those feared conversations”, the authors suggest. And finally, when making complex decisions, there’s nothing like flexibly using our conscious and unconscious (gut feel) thought to guide us.

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DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown

Brene Brown is known for her work and research on vulnerability. She has dedicated the last decade to understanding human emotion and what it means to be brave. And this has shown her that courage is about being authentically human.

In her book, Daring Greatly, she too helps us see that the moments when we break and are weakest are the moments that can transform us. Daring Greatly urges us to become our most authentic selves - with ourselves and with other people. Not just with anyone - but with people whom you can TRUST. For “once you are real”, she says, “you can’t be ugly, except to the people who don’t understand”.

Brene puts out a word of caution on selecting the people that we surround ourselves with. To know when it is appropriate to share and to establish boundaries in all our relationships. While going into the depths of us is recommended, not everyone deserves a look-see of our inner world. By knowing who we let in, we take control of our energy, our power, our inner light.

THE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS by Oprah Winfrey

I loved this one. It filled my soul to the brim with every story that was so carefully selected and put into this book. The Wisdom of Sundays is meant to make you think about the different themes in your life, such as “spirituality”, “mindfulness”, “love and connection”, “forgiveness”, etc. through the many conversations taken from Super Soul Sundays.

This one isn’t meant to be devoured in one sitting. It is a journey. A conversation - with the author, her guests, and your soul. I got my copy with an accompanying Wisdom Journal which encouraged me to write out my thoughts and re-calibrate on my most desired life and purpose. Do yourself a favor and take a bite into this. It will move yo.

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A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle

A new earth is a new consciousness. Eckhart Tolle brings forth age old wisdom into modern day experiences, encouraging us to awaken to a new way to looking at ourselves and the world around us. “In Hindu teachings”, he says, “this transformation is called enlightenment. In the teachings of Jesus, it is salvation, and in Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are other terms used to describe this transformation.

Eckhart Tolle taught me that we are most awake in the present moment - it is all we have right NOW. He also offers a very unique explanation to bible scripture, helping me appreciate the Catholic faith mixed in with new age spirituality. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a religious text. But he presents religious teachings in a way that I may not have understood it before. A New Earth offers new life, new hope, and a new perspective; most of all, it will encourage you to re-align your life in order to shine your brightest.