There are times in our lives when change finds us. We may not want it. We may, in fact, actively avoid it. But, still, it comes. Our lives are upended, and it becomes time to sink or swim. Maybe we think that we’ll sink, and yet we find ourselves floating, or at least treading water. We find ourselves changing. Whether our awakening comes to us slowly or develops over time, we may look for guidance to get through the upheaval that has become our daily lives.
I have been in this place at so many times in my life. From career changes to the end of relationships, my life has evolved so many times. Luckily, my change game is strong- even when I wish that it didn’t have to be. During these times, like any self-respecting bookworm, I’ve taken solace in reading about awakening and transformation. It always helped reinforce my own changes, assuring me that I can and will survive whatever comes. Here’s my recommended reading list for awakening and change:
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron- We can learn how to grow and to incorporate art into our lives. The questions and homework assignments help us address blocks to living our dreams.
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin- While this doesn’t have the happiest of endings (spoiler alert), it does explore the ideas of convention and whether or not we live according to our own inner compass or the dictates of society.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf- This book explores our need for space and independence to live out our dreams.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- While I recommend this for gender-related awakenings, I sincerely believe we should all read this book. If we don’t identify as feminists, it’s a great way to explore our own belief systems.
- Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd- This nonfiction read explores a spiritual awakening and how we can reconcile the belief systems of our culture with the dictates of our hearts.
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes- Mayes explores what it’s like to follow a dream. Food and travel lovers will get lost in her descriptive prose.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- This book should be on any reading list on transformation. Gilbert takes us along on her journey to three countries, but she also leads us to understand the personal and spiritual changes that happen along the way.
- Literally anything by Brene Brown- Seriously, I couldn’t recommend just one. Brown explains the role of strength, vulnerability, and resilience in so many aspects of our lives. Any awakening can be helped along with her straight-forward and yet entertaining books.
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery- This fictional story explores the lives of a concierge and the residents of an upper-class building in France. Beautifully written and redolent with descriptions of food and philosophy, Barbery explores individual awakening and how life’s changes can influence it.
- The Bliss Principle by Kellye Davis- I chanced across this one years ago. I briefly met the author at a book signing at my local bookstore. I purchased the book out of curiosity but quickly added this to my must-read list. Davis gives us 5 simple ways to reduce stress and increase bliss in our lives. Going through a transformation can be enormously stressful. These self-care strategies can help us manage the very real stress we’re likely experiencing.
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur- I could not create a reading list without a volume or two of poetry. Transformation is best accompanied by the lyrical beauty of well-written poetry. “but what is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and lives” -rupi kaur
- Salt by Nayyirah Waheed- This volume of poetry is also necessary to read while we are experiencing change in our lives. “the greatest teacher will send you back to yourself,” Waheed writes.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho- When following our dreams and experiencing setbacks, Coelho reminds us that the Universe is guiding our journey.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl- Stark and heart-breaking, Frankl explores what gives life meaning from the perspective of his time in a concentration camp. When experiencing change and searching for meaning, Frankl gave us hope.
- Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch- This is particularly apt for spiritual awakenings. It explores the questions we have for a higher power- and how we might already have the answers we’re seeking.
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron- When we’re making our transition, Chodron helps us transform our obstacles into opportunities for joy.
- The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama- I’ve heard the Dalai Lama speak, and I will recommend anything that he has to say. With gentleness and humor, the Dalai Lama helps us find “Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.”
- The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein- Change can be scary. Bernstein helps walk us from fear to faith and transformation.
- The She Book by Tanya Markul- We can follow Thug Unicorn’s Tanya Markul on her journey of transformation and awakening while we experience our own.
- The Unravelled Heart by Kathy Parker- Parker’s writing shows great strength and courage, and it reminds us of our own resilience as we navigate life’s changes.
Our awakenings may vary, but it’s nice to have guideposts along the way assuring us that we’re headed in the right direction. This reading list can help make a difficult experience even more richly rewarding. What books would you add to this list? Which helped you in your transformation? Comment to add your suggestions to this list!