This stack represents all of the books that have guided me along my journey of recent past; one served as my Bible, many served as inspiration, and while I didn’t finish some, they spoke to me as much as I was ready to be spoken to.
I offer this list of chosen titles in hopes that they provide the same light out of darkness in your life. I pray the words soften your weary heart. Although many of these books changed my life, at a certain point, I had to leave the comfort these pages offered and find my own sense of solace. It was time to face my life, the life that these books helped give so much meaning to.
My temptation was to hide from life between these pages. I wanted to keep reading, to keep learning, and to keep discovering; yet I knew until I learned the lessons that these books offered me, reading would begin to be a great disservice. What I learned in the pages of my own life is we must relive our lessons multiple times (even if they seem to already resonate in our hearts). So, I set down my security blanket and put my heart back on the line.
I began to experience the very feelings I try to avoid through knowledge gathering or my busy schedule or with food. A soulmate returned to my life (much like Broken Open foreshadowed months prior). This blessing of a human reopened the wounds that I so carefully kept shut—wounds I was afraid to shed light on, afraid of how facing them might feel.
Not only did I begin to feel the depth of longing, despair, grief and sadness that buried itself in the walls of my heart, but I was able to feel what possibilities lingered in soul-level connection, passion and desire. When the light of day was revealed after the passion of night subsided, I was left raw, open and wounded; I was ready to do the healing I was once afraid to tackle.
When I realized I still had many lessons to learn, the discovery hit me like an unexpected wave. I wanted to crawl back inside the safe walls of comfort with this person instead of face the loneliness and depths of my broken heart.
The blessings of opening my heart to new experiences (albeit with a familiar soul) were many, but the most poignant lesson was certainly to love myself first: love myself enough to heal my shattered heart and pick up all the pieces from my failed relationship and the pieces from my latest love affair.
I turned back to the pages, but this time I was writing the story and the subject was me. I often turned to the pages of my favorite books to glean inspirational quotes from and to tie my experiences back to what I read. The revelations that followed allowed me to put the pieces together one by one. Each ah-ha moment lead to the next ah-ha moment.
I stumbled repeatedly while living my story out in real time, but I always returned to pen and paper. It’s where I created the glue for my life. It’s where I reset my intentions and reflected on failed attempts and lessons yet to be learned.
When I was tempted to pick up where I left off in a book or pick up a new book, I stopped and deciphered if this book would serve as an enlightenment or a distraction. At this point in my life, I was still learning to act valiantly and courageously on that which I had already learned. I vowed to set my booklists aside only to revert to inspirational quotes and passages when I needed a loving reminder to live out what I read (whether it be from someone else’s book or my own journal pages).
Sometimes it helps to not only know where you’re going but to know where you’ve been. Take this opportunity to pat yourself on the back with a job well done, to recognize how far you’ve come, and to know you’re doing the best you can in that moment.
While the pages of my book are still being played out (and will always be playing out), I am nearing the final chapter of my current journey—one that will hopefully see the shelves of a bookstore one day. If my story can one day provide the words of wisdom that serve as inspiration to a lost or grieving soul, then I will have given more purpose to my story than I could ever dream of.
Until that day comes, I am still living many lessons and putting certain lessons to work. The universe has continuously tested me, and I feel I am ready to begin the final test of this journey of self love—the journey of my patchwork heart. And one day, when I feel i can wholeheartedly resume reading, I will begin to mindfully pick up whatever book speaks to me most at the time.
What I know for sure: there is no shame in putting a book down if your heart is not ready to consume the message. I have set books aside for years, only to pick them up again with an astonishing smack in the face. It is then that I know I am open to the gift revealed in each page. I have also reread books that spoke to me on an entirely new level based on where I am in my journey of self-discovery. That’s the beauty of books, knowledge and lessons—they will always be waiting for the moment you are ready.
My booklist is ever-growing and that will never change. But what has evolved is my self-awareness to live more than read and to experience more than write. I urge you to keep on living that beautifully scarred life you were given.
Books pictured (and un-pictured):
Best Thing Ever by Sky Blossoms
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth
The Courage to be Yourself by Sue Patton Thoele
The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram by Sandra Maitri
Cast in God’s Image: Discover Your Personality Type Using the Enneagram and Kabbalah by Rabbi Howard A. Addison
Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne W. Dyer
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser (my personal bible after heartbreak)
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should read this book)
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, PH. D.
Update: This post was written in October 2015. As 2016 approaches, stay tuned for my new booklist as I step into living my new, spiritually-charged life journey.
I am blessed to be on a journey that I feel needs to be shared; not only have I tapped into the writer and poet I am, but most importantly, my heart has reached a level of openness and consciousness that I feel elevates my writing from words on a page to messages from my God-self, an unlimited soul and whole heart.