When I’m on holidays, I like nothing better than getting lost in a thick, well-written novel, usually one I’ve put aside weeks before and labelled holiday reading. Every year I also make sure I bring with me a few inspiring holiday reads, something to stimulate and resource me as I rest and recharge. Here are some of my all-time favourites.
Building on his inspiring work The Power of Now (another favourite of mine) Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, which has the subtitle ‘Awakening to your life’s purpose,’ provides the spiritual background for creating more meaning in your life. He dismantles the modern ideas of ego and entitlement, introduces the concept of the pain-body and gives us a road map for discovering the joy of being. A New Earth is one of Oprah’s favourite books; it even has its own masterclass on her network, where she discusses the book chapter by chapter with the author. I’ve read it four times, the spine is broken and on each reading I find something new to underline.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
“What you react to in another you strengthen in yourself.”
This book blew me away when I first read it back in 2009. Part novel, part spiritual blockbuster, it’s the story of a man whose daughter is kidnapped and murdered. (The movie will be out soon.) When he visits the shack where she was killed, he has an encounter with God.
The central question of this book is one we have all asked – Why did God let that happen? This book changed me. It turbo-busted by spiritual development and broaden my understanding of what life is really about. It will be in my holiday suitcase again this summer.
“People are tenacious when it comes to the treasure of their imaginary independence. They hoard and hold their sickness with a firm grip. They find their identity and worth in their brokenness and guard it with every ounce of strength they have. No wonder grace has so little attraction. In that sense you have tried to lock the door of your heart from the inside.”
“Marriage is not an institution, it’s a relationship. I don’t create institutions; that’s the occupation for those who want to play God.”
The wonderfully named author (it’s her Native American Indian name) challenges us to discover our true selves and to live fully our heart’s desires. The book opens with a beautiful poem titled The Call and the subsequent chapters dissect it and expand on the rich and heart-felt sentiment it contains. Like all great reads, this book gives language to the feelings, hurts and hopes we all share, but can’t voice ourselves. The author generously shares her own story too, the challenges and the triumphs. For me, it is a book full of Truth. It doesn’t sugar coat the spiritual journey. It is a practical book too as each chapter ends with an exercise or meditation.
I also love the authors other books The Invitation and The Dance, but this one, The Call is my personal favourite.
“Who would you be if you did not do what you do every day?”
“The only way for you to know what you are, to know your essential attribute, is for you to be in a position where you have to use that attribute, test it, feel its strength, its power to heal when healing seems impossible.”
This is the fourth book in the author’s Christ Mind series. Each book is a powerful and insightful read, but this one is my favourite. In it the author builds on the themes of learning unconditional love for yourself and others, spiritual healing, and staying connected to love in the face of challenges.
For me, self-forgiveness is a big theme of Paul Ferrini’s work, moving beyond blame and shame. What I also love about this book is that it challenges us to step up and take responsibility for our lives.
“You alone know what course of action is best for the fulfilment of your purpose here. But that knowledge is often buried deeply in the heart. Sometimes, it takes a lot of listening to connect with your own wisdom. In some cases, connecting to yourself is not possible until you stop listening to what other people think you should do.”
“We cannot escape ourselves by moving into a relationship.”
For over thirty years Esther Hicks has been sharing (they never use the word channelling) the wisdom of Abraham (a collective consciousness from the non-physical dimension.) Renowned authors such as Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay refer to them as the best teachers on the planet today.
I love their book Ask and it is Given, but Getting into the Vortex really resonates with me. What is the vortex I hear you ask? For me, I describe it as being aligned with my higher self, that place of flow, ease, peace and joy. That place where we are at one with Life/God, feeling guided and connected. Our essence is Source Energy and conscious connection to that non-physical part of ourselves is necessary for us to feel truly fulfilled. This book along with the accompanying audio CD shows us how to align with our ‘vortex.’ It focuses on four key areas, general well-being, financial abundance, physical well-being and relationships.
“When you find a way to stop resisting who you have become and allow yourself to become a vibrational match to who you have become, you are in the Vortex, and you are in a state of thriving.”
“Being happy is a very personal thing and it really has nothing to do with anyone else.”
“Your life is supposed to feel good to you.”
The author shares in an honest and heart-felt way her spiritual crisis, when life seemed to lose meaning for her. Sue Monk Kidd wrote the acclaimed novels The Invention of Wings and The Secret Life of Bees which I loved. When I learned she had also written a book about her own spiritual journey I bought is straightaway and wasn’t disappointed.
As many people struggle to answer the question ‘what should I do next?’ trying to force things to happen, the author reminds us that everything is always taken care of, if we just stop pushing so hard. She talks about the caterpillar and the cocoon. If someone pokes a hole in the cocoon before it’s time, the butterfly will emerge with un-developed wings, unable to fly. And let’s face it, we all want to fly.
“Addictive behaviour keeps us unaware of what is going on inside us.”
“Being still and waiting in one place, going not forward but inward was the sort of progress that really counted, the sort that gave us wings.”
“Avoiding pain, rather than having the discipline and courage to confront it and live it through, only compounds suffering in the long run.”
As I glance at my book shelves and Kindle there are many other books and authors I could recommend. If you are browsing in a book store, or online, here are more of my favourite voices in the field of spiritual and personal development.
Sydney Banks, Brandon Bays, Brené Brown, Barbara Brown Taylor, Frederick Buechner, Pema Chodron, Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho, Anthony DeMello, Panache Desai, Wayne Dyer, Victor Frankl, Byron Katie, Anne Lamott, John O’Donoghue, Caroline Myss, Richard Rohr, Don Miguel Ruiz, Iyanla Vanzant, Doreen Virtue, Brian L. Weiss, Marianne Williamson, Gary Zukav.
Holidays are a great time for rest and relaxation. They are also a chance to reflect, renew and re-evaluate. If you are seeking a deeper, thought-provoking read this summer, do check out the above life-enhancing books. My own copies are full of my notes and underlining as well as smears of sun lotion.