Five Books That Can Change Your Life
Holding Treasures in my Hands
These five books are the crown jewels of my personal library, the ones I refer to again and again to enhance all aspects of my life from opening my heart to being a better mommy and even to my own safety.
Nurturing my Inner Bookworm
My love of reading began at the age of three. I inherited this passion from my mother who was always reading at least four books simultaneously. One day, she presented me with a piece of paper where the word “look” had been written down for me. I was just learning to recognize small words, and I was curious to see that my mother had made the O’s into a pair of eyes looking up at me. Suddenly, I got it. The meaning of the word was unlocked. A whole new world of reading stretched out before me, and life would never be the same again.
There are a handful of books in my vast collection that I can truly say have transformed my life for the better. I refer to them again and again, finding something new every time that I hadn’t seen before. Reading them always touches my soul, inspires me, and frankly makes me feel a little bit envious, as the authors express their words so beautifully. It’s a talent I have always aspired to.
Below you will find five treasures, the Top 5 books that I consider to be truly life changing.
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
Imagine you are waiting to enter an elevator. Suddenly, you spot a menacing-looking person waiting next to you. The hairs on the back of your next instantly stands at attention, and your stomach is turning over onto itself. You hear the elevator approach your floor with a dinging sound, but rather than walk away you enter a soundproof metal-based chamber with a complete stranger who could potentially cause you serious harm simply because you didn't want to hurt their feelings. Just like all animals, humans were born with natural instincts to sense danger, yet lots of people ignore the gut feelings. This is especially true for women. We are people pleasers and would rather put ourselves at risk than cause somebody to feel offended.
I admit that before reading this book, I lived in a fearful state most of the time. How could I not with the barrage of news out there telling me the world is a scary place and should be treated as such? For me, The Gift of Fear was sheer freedom. The instincts that God gave to every one of us, when followed, keep us in a much more safe place. Gavin de Becker owns a security company that protects celebrities from stalkers and those who would cause harm, but with this book he has given us the power to protect ourselves in the same way he protects them. Did you know it's safer for an employer to fire somebody on a Friday as it gives the former employee time to cool off rather than potentially act out on any rage they may be feeling? The Gift of Fear is full of wonderful information like this that you can apply to your own life. I no longer worry about who or what could be out there waiting to cause me harm, and I believe I have a more fulfilling life experience because of that.
Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh
Everyone at some time has pondered the meaning of life, wishing they could ask God or a higher power what it’s really all about. Conversations with God steered me in the right direction. Mr. Walsh is considered to be somewhat of a guru in this area. One could question whether the content of the book was actually provided by God Himself, as the author claims, but the words inside are inspiring regardless of personal beliefs. I learned that each of us is a small part of one giant entity, going forth into the world for various life experiences both wonderful and terrible before returning to the oneness. This belief made me feel more connected than ever before, and I began to look at the world and the people in it very differently after reading the book. We’re all in this together in love, and Conversations with God was the most awesome reminder of that I could have asked for.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Life is not always about the “big picture.” Sometimes it is the simplest of moments that can bring the most comfort. The smell of homemade soup that you cooked with your own two hands, the accomplishment of having reorganized your clothes closet, even the objects you place around your home to make it your personal sanctuary. Sarah Ban Breathnach urges us to stop and smell the roses, and maybe even grow a few of our own. The book is divided into months with different areas of our lives to focus on, and it’s not necessary to be read cover to cover to derive inspiration, calmness and more passion for your life.
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
Based on her reading of “A Course in Miracles,” the recurring theme in Ms. Williamson’s amazing book is that God is love. I think of my favorite part of this book which I apply often is the sentence where she reminds us that every day, every hour, every minute is a chance to make a new start in life. The writer is very honest about her own shortcomings, but she approaches them with a wonderful sense of self-forgiveness and the certainty that she is loved no matter what. She teaches us to be gentle with ourselves, and who couldn’t use a lot more of that in their lives?
The New First Three Years of Life by Burton White
As a first-time mother who had virtually no experience with children, I admit that I was terrified of screwing it all up. I read every baby book I could get my hands on, trying in vain to memorize the information so I wouldn’t make a mistake. Of course, I made plenty of mistakes along the way and still do, but Burton White’s approach to raising your child from infancy through the toddler years remains a fresh approach to giving your baby the very best beginnings possible. The author focuses on child development, how to stimulate your baby’s brain and open up their world in preparation for their later years. His views on discipline are not heavy handed but instead are tools used where your child actually learns rather than just experiences punishments. He shares ideas for the best toys to buy to help stimulate your child’s environment and even touches on how to toilet train the most effectively.
Of note, I had the honor of speaking by phone with Mr. White several years ago. I called the number in the back of the book for more information on available material, and Mr. White answered the phone himself. I couldn’t help gushing over him and singing his praises. I probably embarrassed him, honestly, but he took the time to elaborate on some of the subjects written in the book and even things specific to my own child. It was clear that he cares about his readers and truly wants to help them be the best parents they can be. Through my own writing, I hope someday I will be blessed enough to reach people like that.
You Can Read Them, Too
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.