2020 has been a year most of us will never forget… unfortunately, not for the best reasons. So many of us are feeling more stressed, more depleted, more exhausted, more uninspired than ever before. It’s so incredibly important to nurture your body, mind, and soul with the utmost kindness right now, and what better way to do that then to curl up with a great book under a warm blanket and lose yourself in another world? Books have a way of taking us away and easing our stress more than almost any other past time, whether you prefer a good romance novel or an uplifting self help book to flip your perspective. Books have the potential to save and change lives.
The past few weeks I’ve been healing from appendix surgery, and I’ve been on the emotional roller coaster that comes with healing from such a life event. With all this time and a mind that needs easing, I’ve been reading a lot more than usual lately and appreciating it more than ever. That got me thinking about a few books I’ve read this year that have really made the difference for me, and maybe you’ll love them too!
5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Okay, hopefully you didn’t roll your eyes at this one. Eat, Pray, Love has been given a reputation for some reason as a cliche and basic read since the film was made in 2010; (which is honestly so good too if you haven’t seen it!) But this book is truly one of my favorites and I only read it this past year. Eat, Pray, Love is the true story and memoir of author Elizabeth Gilbert’s life altering journey when she decided to follow her dreams of travel and spend several months in Italy, India, and Bali completely alone after facing depression and an intense divorce. Liz tells the tale of her epic adventure in such a beautiful, poetic way that really captures the heart and pulls you in. This book is such an amazing and inspiring true tale to me because it teaches us all that there is so much that can happen when we take a leap of faith and follow our heart. The beauty of the world is really conveyed through her stories of the hospitality she experienced in Italy, the peace she found in India, and the culture she soaked up in Bali. I HIGHLY recommend listening to this one on Audible, because Elizabeth’s voice is just so soothing and hearing the emotion as she tells her own story makes the experience that much better. If you haven’t given this one a chance yet, do it now. Maybe it’ll inspire you to travel somewhere you’ve always dreamed, and even if not, your mind will get the vacation it needs.
4. DailyOM: Learning to Live by Madisyn Taylor
I am a sucker for routine and those “devotional” style books that you read a little bit of each day. There’s so many out there, from inspiring quotes you can read each morning to religious texts that help you stay connected to your faith in the hustle of daily life. I’ve found a few of these books that have really touched me and made a difference in how I live, and DailyOM: Learning to Live was one of them. This book came to me from my dear friend who isn’t with us anymore and it holds a special place in my heart. This book is like reading a little love letter to yourself each day, and we all could use that in our lives. The DailyOM started as an email chain sent out by Madisyn and her husband meant to reach out and send real love and encouragement to those who needed it. They received such positive feedback that she began to put their letters into books in order to reach more people. This book is written with such sincereity, love, and compassion and touches that spiritual, deep part of your soul. It is broken up into many different subjects for whatever you may need, from “Drawing Strength from Nature” to “Helping Others.” I highly recommend reading a bit each day with your morning coffee or after your yoga practice like I do! DailyOM still sends out these emails; you can check out their website and sign up here. ❤
3. A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
This has become my absolute favorite book that I have ever read. I picked this one up walking through Barnes and Noble after it caught my eye, and I had a hard time deciding between it and The Alchemist. I am so GLAD that I chose A Secret History of Witches. It took me by surprise with how well written, touching, and magical the story was and how much I found myself caught up in it and thinking about it. I’m not usually one to read books more than once (there’s just sooo many books to read and so little time!) but this one I will read again and again.
A Secret History of Witches takes place over 100 years, from 1834 to the time of World War II, and follows several different women; five generations of a family of witches as they discover the pros and cons of their powers. You can tell that so much effort went into researching for this book. You really get swept away in each girl’s story and I found myself feeling overwhelmed with emotion more than once. The personalities of all the characters are so well developed, and Louisa Morgan’s creativity and brilliance really shines through each of them. A Secret History of Witches is an empowering tale of women taking back their power and finding out the importance of love and family along the way. I highly recommend you pick up this book as soon as you can. It’s a perfect Fall time read and the perfect story to get lost in! Louisa Morgan has also written other witchy books such as The Age of Witches, which just came out this year, and The Witch’s Kind.
2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This one I fell in love with after listening to Eat, Pray, Love on Audible and really wanting to hear more from Elizabeth Gilbert. I find her courage and determination to live the life she wants so admirable and inspirational. In Big Magic, she shares stories from her life and those who inspire her as she gives you her take on how to live a fearless and creative life that really honors who you are and what makes you happy. The book is broken into 6 sections; courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity all with the focus on unlocking your creativity and freeing your mind for a fuller, happier life. She presents brilliant advice for working through the creative process and urges you to create for your own wellbeing. I find Elizabeth’s humor and writing style so charming. If you’re in need of a little encouragement or feel stuck in a creative rut from the energy drain that is 2020, Big Magic might be just what you need to get going again.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
1. The Daily Seed by Sheila Whittington
“Dedicated to all of you who, in your desire to grow and live your best life, are open to receiving the wisdom of the universe without expectation of how it will be delivered.”
I found the Daily Seed after finishing DailyOM, and they’re strikingly similar. Transformation coach Sheila Whittington was asked to create a course for women with depleted self work or who were feeling stuck in life, and she began sending a daily email out to the women she was coaching. She describes sitting down each day and asking, “what do they need today?” Her emails ended up reaching far more than just the women in her group, and she decided to call it the Daily Seed; a transformative thought to plant in your mind and ponder on throughout the day. I love the concept and I LOVE the Daily Seed. There are over 400 “seeds” in this book, and I’ve been reading one each day for 140 days now! I’ve also been sharing these on my instagram story each day and so many of my friends have appreciated them. This book is also broken into sections in case you’re ever needing mental clarity on a particular subject. I find that these books that you read a bit of each day tend to stick with you and make a much bigger impact over time versus a self help book you fly through and forget about later. The Daily Seed has been making a big difference in my mornings, nurtures my spirit, and helps set the tone for my day. Here is todays:
“So you’re ready to bust a new move but thoughts appear in your brain, such as: “There are rules about that. You shouldn’t do that. That’s not the way it’s done. Good girls/boys don’t act that way. Who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to…? They’re not going to like you if you…” and these thoughts are keeping you from doing what you long to do. I invite you to ask yourself, “who’s rulebook am I following? Is it working for me?” Maybe it’s time to write your own.”
If you pick up any of these books, I would love to hear what you thought about them! ❤ And even better, if you have any book suggestions to share, I’d love to see them in the comments down below! As we head into the colder months of the year, I hope good food, good friends, and good books bring you comfort and peace.