This time last year, I published the post 11 Books I loved Reading in 2016. When I reread it, I had chosen mainly novels, memoirs, and YA titles. This year, my selection is focusing on non-fiction. And it makes perfect sense, as 2017 has been one of the most challenging years in my life, as I decided to separate from my husband. Since my life-changing Kahuna massage experience at the end of 2016, I have been travelling a rocky road looking to find the freedom to live my truth. If I have learnt one thing this year, it is to trust in the Divine Order. Over the past 12 months, the Universe kept sending me messages and people when the time was right. Everything happened in the perfect time and space sequence, as Louise Hay put it in one of her books.
So it comes to no surprise that my list of books this year concentrates on non-fiction titles in the mindfulness and self-development space. I found myself highlighting and flagging pages after pages. I hope that my selection makes you a bit curious to pick up one or the other title for an inspiring summer read.
1. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
This book was recommended to me by one of my yoga teachers. When I read the subtitle Heart Advice for Difficult Times, I didn't think twice and ordered it. The author is an American Buddhist nun and studied with the renowned meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. The idea for this book was born in 1995 during a sabbatical where for 12 months she "essentially did nothing" apart from cooking, eating, sleeping, hiking, reading, meditating, and writing. The result is an inspiring read for coping with pain and suffering in times of changes. Highly recommend it!
2. At Home in the World by Thich Nhat Hanh
If I could choose a public person who I would love to meet, it would be the humble Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. One day, I came across a few of his books in our local bookshop and found myself devouring the first pages. As a memoir writer, I was particularly intrigued by his collection of autobiographical stories from his life. They span his life from his childhood in rural Vietnam, his years as a teenage novice, young teacher and writer in the war-torn country. When his country of birth encouraged other nations to no longer honour his passport because he had dared to condemn the war against Communism, he sought asylum in France where he obtained an apatride travel document, which meant he didn't belong to any country, he had become stateless. He then founded Plum Village, a now world-famous Buddhist meditation centre in southern France. A place to visit on my bucket list!
3. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
You might have heard of this bestselling book and the author of the famous TED Talk about vulnerability. I only found it earlier this year, and it was one of those things that came into my life when I was ready to discover it. The subtitle How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead says it all. If you are frightened of change, avoid difficult conversations (I did that often) or still hold on to the belief that you are not creative, dare to read this book!
4. A New Earth by Eckart Tolle
Another bestseller recommended by my yoga teacher. The (German) author wrote this ground-breaking book, which became a cornerstone for personal development, back in 2005. It took me some effort to get into it but persistence pays off, and I ended up reading it with a yellow highlighter in my hand because I found so many passages worth marking. If you are interested to explore new levels of consciousness and inner peace, get your hands on it.
5. Goddesses Never Age by Dr Christiane Northrup
Dr Northrup came into my life when I googled books on menopause. She is the author of the bestselling 'bible' The Wisdom of Menopause. After I had read this book, I subscribed to her newsletter and discovered Goddesses Never Age. The book covers research on health and ageing as well as principles for ageless living incorporating healthy eating, releasing stuck emotions, embracing our sensuality, and, most importantly, connecting with our Divine Source. What fascinates me most is her approach to focus on what can go right in the second half of a woman's life instead of portraying menopause as the beginning of the end.
6. Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins
One day, I found this book on Amazon when I looked for something else. I had read another book by the author, who was the Director of the Institute of Spiritual Research in the US. Over 20 years of research, Dr Hawkins analysed the spectrum of human consciousness and developed "a map of the geography of man's experience." This map lists the entire spectrum of human emotions and their respective energy levels. The more loving, joyful, and peaceful human beings are, the higher are the energy levels they calibrate in. It was a very scientific read and sometimes challenging to stick to it, but I'm glad I did because I finally found a scientific explanation of the spiritual experience during my Kahuna massage.
7. The Golden Louise L. Hay Collection
In September this year, I had a very ugly accident in our kitchen when I chopped part of my right thumb off while grating cheese. I ended up in the emergency ward for 11 hours and it took eight weeks for my finger to heal, luckily without surgery. During this time, a good friend reminded me of Louise Hay's bestseller Heal Your Body. I not only found this one but also two of her other books You Can Heal Your Life and The Power is Within You in this special limited edition to commemorate the 25th birthday of Hay House, the publishing company she founded.
First, I looked up the mental pattern behind hurting your fingers and thumb in particular. The thumb, for example, represents intellect and worry, the fingers, the details of life. I was not surprised to read this after all I have been going through this year. I then looked up other diseases I had in the past and found many references to the life I have been living. Heal Your Body is an eye-opener for anyone who is interested in understanding the mental causes for physical illnesses and how to overcome them.
I also enjoyed The Power is Within You, which focuses on self-love and how to listen to and trust your inner wisdom to overcome emotional barriers.
Which books have been your favourites this year? Share your tips below.