This might sound unusual, but I’ve always aspired to be an avid reader. Until a few years ago, I had willingly read only about ten books, all of which were enjoyed during vacations.
Concentrating on a story had always been a struggle for me. At times, I even suspected I might have some attention disorder. As it turns out, that wasn’t the case. It was only in the last few years that I discovered I had been battling anxiety and depression, both of which had gone undiagnosed during the first 28 years of my life due to my high functioning nature.
In 2020, a book recommendation from a complete stranger, who is now a dear friend, changed everything. There was something about this book, “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle, that compelled me to read it. To say this book transformed my life is an understatement, but I’ll come back to that in a moment.
With “Untamed,” I felt like I had finally broken the seal on reading at home. Not only that, I found that reading helped soothe my nervous system before bedtime, something I desperately needed after enduring an activated stress response for 28 years straight.
Thus began my new bedtime routine, which included reading just before sleep. It has been a game-changer for my sleep quality. Today, I can proudly call myself a reader. I derive immense joy from reading, and I’ve delved into some truly remarkable books since then. Some have been around for years, while others are more recent. Regardless, all of them have played a significant role in my healing and spiritual journey, to the point where I feel compelled to share them.
Here’s my Fall Spiritual Reading List:
- “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle
- “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch
- “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
- “What Happened to You” by Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Bruce Perry
“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle easily ranks among my favorite books. As someone relatively new to recreational reading, I’ve already read this book twice. I’ve gifted it to friends and will continue to recommend it to every woman I know. “Untamed” marked the beginning of my healing journey. This book is not only fantastic, but Glennon herself is also incredibly inspiring. Through her story of unlearning her inherited religion and redefining her spirituality to better suit her life, she forced me to confront my own spirituality. Opening up to spirituality, in any form, was once foreign and terrifying to me. From a young age, I learned to dismiss any beliefs about a higher power. It wasn’t a topic of conversation at home, except when I visited my religious father’s family. I was forced to decide as a child which was right and which was wrong. My young mind couldn’t grasp the idea that there might be no absolute right or wrong, that choices were not necessary. I am grateful for being guided towards this part of myself. It has been a significant catalyst for my current journey. “Untamed” is a memoir, Glennon’s third, and in my opinion (shared by many!), her best work yet. She unpacks her untaming journey in a captivating and inspiring way, addressing societal pressures, generational trauma, religion, and the patriarchy. I also highly recommend her podcast, “We Can Do Hard Things.”
Conversations With God:
Next up is “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch. I owe my open-mindedness to Glennon Doyle, who led me to this book. A dear friend recommended it to me, and I’m grateful for her trusted opinion. I couldn’t put this book down, even though it can be challenging to follow at times. It’s a book I’m eager to read again because it’s packed with so much wisdom that you can’t fully grasp it in just one or two readings. Essentially, it’s a real conversation with God, handwritten by the author, Neale. He asks the questions we all ponder about life, love, spirituality, and its history. Reading this book brought me a lot of peace and provided answers to questions I never thought I’d find answers to. Even the unanswered questions felt easier to accept.
Eat, Pray, Love:
The third book on my list is “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Most people have heard of this book, or at least the movie adaptation starring Julia Roberts. It served as a refreshing break from heavier content while still offering valuable insights, as any great memoir does. What I appreciated most about this book is its emphasis on the importance of balance in our lives. We all know we should seek balance, but I don’t believe we truly comprehend its depth. With a focus on the body (eat), spirit (pray), and mind (love), you gain a sense of what it means to achieve balance and the significance of self-care. Additionally, the book provides a delightful escape to destinations like Italy, India, and Indonesia.
What Happened To You:
Lastly, I want to mention “What Happened To You” by Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Bruce D. Perry. Dr. Perry, a child trauma specialist, joins Oprah, who opens up about her childhood trauma. Together, they offer insights into how brain development is influenced and why we react in certain ways. This duo masterfully blends personal storytelling with scientific explanations, making it eye-opening to understand how a child’s brain develops under different circumstances. Personally, I found this book required my full attention and couldn’t be read when I was too tired or distracted due to its technical nature.
These four books have been instrumental in guiding me through my healing and spiritual journey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. If you’ve read any of them or plan to, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. Did you find them helpful or insightful? What was the most significant takeaway from each book?