Often, we begin bringing more balance into our life, paying attention to our emotions and psychological patterns, healing ourselves or engaging onto our spiritual path after a significant unexpected event (for example: illness/injury, separation, loss of a job, stress, or even a sudden spiritual awakening) and/or when starting a book.
We all agree that we cannot – by definition – predict an “unexpected” event. But we certainly make the decision to read a book, listen to a particular audio program or watch a particular movie. And this decision can change your life.
When I ask my friends what made them take their first step in their personal growth or healing, they often reply that it all started with a book. In addition to initiate us to more self-care and spirituality, supports such as books or programs can play a significant role in continuing to inspire us and helping us refine what truly works for our own balance and healing path.
In this post I want to share my favorite sources to cultivate wisdom and balance in my life and bring more truth, empowerment, and authenticity in myself and all my relationships. My wish is to inspire you to find and unfold the path of growth that is right for you.
No doubts there are lots of self-help sources – of more or less good quality, covering an extensive spectrum from psychology to mindfulness, psychic healing, astrology, meditation, angels & spirits, shamanism, religious teachings from eastern as well as western traditions from older time, the new age or more recently.
If you feel the urge to go explore all of them or even dive blindly into any particular one, that’s great. Yet I would suggest a way to save you some time – and perhaps induce your own spirituality… I invite you to take a minute or two to notice the curiosity arising in you, maybe even right now as you are reading this post. Close your eyes and notice where curiosity appears in your body. How does it feel like? Stay with those sensations for a few breaths. And then start bringing an open attitude into your own being: let this curiosity, with no expectation, spread wherever in your body it feels most alive (maybe your chest, your belly, the center of your head) or even in your entire body. If bodily sensations are difficult to track, you can picture a spacious, empty, light room and allow yourself to walk and enjoy the vastness of that room for a little while. Whether your attention is on the body or a picture, start to bring one of these questions to your mind: What domain would be most valuable for me to explore? Where can I find the book or program that can truly serve me? Be open to anything that may come up, a picture, a word, a memory, or even a felt sense. Write down whatever comes to mind, and do not expect a precise book reference you never heard about before (!). Stay playful and detached from any (even a zero) outcome.
Whether you’ve got a hint or not, here comes my favorite list of books and other sources that I (or closed ones) explored and found useful.
And PLEASE ADD YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OR SOURCE AS A COMMENT BELOW!
Psychology – body-mind integration:
Issues in your tissues by Denise Labarre: This book was THE one that expanded my perspective tremendously. It opened my eyes and made me understand how our physical pains, emotions, tensions relate to our psychological realms and how we can use our body to heal them. Denise is a wonderful, kind, and accessible woman who has healed people and worked on bodies for decades.
Hold me tight by Sue Johnson: This best seller was recommended to us by our couple therapist and definitely helped me relate to my sweet one and myself in a new, more loving and compassionate way.
Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood: Written in a different, maybe slightly more spiritual, way than Hold me tight, this book helped me awaken to the direct link between personal growth and relationship – and Love with a big “L.”
Body-centered psychotherapy, the Hakomi method by Ron Kurtz & Hakomi, Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy, Multi authors: I am training in the Hakomi method and simply love it. The authors of those two books, all experts in the method, explain how psychology, mindfulness, and our physical experience can work together to heal our deepest wounds and help us shine our inner beauty and truth.
Meditation & Mindfulness:
Meditation for the love of it by Sally Kempton & Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton: Sally is the most creative, soft, and inspiring meditation teacher I have met. She brings somatics, spirituality, teachings from old eastern yogic traditions to form a meditation practice that helps us navigate our busy western lives. Her style is unique: she combines her endless creativity, deep knowledge of the eastern teachings and Indian goddesses, and warm presence (even through the screen of a Yogaglo’s streaming video).
Pema Chodron: American-born Buddhist nun. A lot of wisdom to share and a talent to transmit how to navigate, learn and grow from the biggest life challenges. I recommend any audio, interview you may find and the book “When Things Fall Apart“, translated in many languages.
Tich Naht Han: Amazing world-known Vietnamese monk now based in Plum Village (in France). He has introduced the world to simple wisdom and mindfulness, applicable to everything even the dishes. It is very suitable for both beginners and “advanced” mindful-lers…
Anam Cara by John O’ Donahue: Through this audio program, the unfortunately recently deceased author takes us through major life themes (work, love, friendship, spirituality) sharing his thoughts and wisdom inspired by Celtic teachings (he is a Irish native). I strongly recommend.
Rumi, the book of love by Coleman Barks: If poetry moves you, check out this yoga go-to Middle Eastern poet and philosopher.
The Bhagavad Gita: THE reference in yogic and Eastern wisdom, revealing the discussion between Shiva and Arjuna with beautiful metaphors and powerful teachings that are still applicable millennia and continents away. There are hundreds of version, choose your favorite.
Men’s personal work:
Backbone, by David H. Wagner: I love David’s direct and wise way to help us, western men, fully embody our inner divine masculinity. This book is an easy read and super helpful, full of practical exercises that will truly help you be a more fulfilled man (and understand “true” – aka authentic – men if you are a woman). Be ready for the change!
To be a man, A guide to true masculine power by Robert A. Masters: The title says it all. Masters is a well-known therapist with decades of experience working with men and couples. This book is a must have if you want to embody a fully conscious and awakened masculinity or understand men from a deeper and more complete perspective. The author deals with important, thus far undiscussed themes surrounding men’s lives such as anger, power, sex and addictions (including porn) and offers wisdom for men to live a more empowering life.
Other audio sources:
www.Soundstrue.com: Search for “insights at the edge”, a new free 1-h interview released each week with Director Tami Simon and an inspiring teacher/healer/writer/… who is publishing something with Soundstrue. Tami is one of the best interviewers I have heard, and the diversity of the people going through her studio is impressive. The “insight” is always inspiring in one way or the other and high quality. I got to know most of my inspiration sources listed above while listening to those podcasts. Check it out.
The Shift Network: Offers beautiful and life-changing programs and other resources too.
Dharma seeds: Free talks from well-known meditation and Buddhist teachers, often recorded at retreats.
Note: spirituality does not need to have anything to do with religion. To me spirituality rather alludes to connection with your higher self and your essence – linked to a greater, universal consciousness.
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde