On being fully human:
How to Be Here | Rob Bell
How to Be Here served as a signpost for me in my journey accepting my humanity and the work I’m here to do in the world. For the longest time I was looking for the next thing, striving for perfection somewhere else. Bell gave me permission to see that the juice of life, the good stuff, it’s all happening right here, and that my path is completely perfect as it is. This book is essential in what it means to come alive.
“You cannot control how people are going to respond to you and your work in the world. Surrendering the outcomes does not mean that we don't care or we aren't emotionally involved or we are indifferent to the results. We want to connect with people and move them and inspire them - and we want more kids to learn to read. Surrendering the outcomes is making peace with our lack of control over how people respond to us and our work. Surrendering the outcomes is coming to terms with the freedom people have to react to us and our work however they want.”
Emotional Agility | Susan David
David is a PHD and psychologist at Harvard who offers her knowledge and wisdom about the experience of human emotion through this book. Emotional Agility helped me relate to my personhood and my own “dark” emotions with understanding, and also gave me tools to use in my coaching practice. David offers so many tools to help yourself become what she calls “emotionally agile” and what I like to call resilient to face challenges. She also personally regrammed one of my instagram posts when I quoted the book on my account. Check it!
"It's only when we stop trying to control the universe that we make peace with it."
Daring Greatly | Brené Brown
Daring Greatly was one of the very first books I read on embracing vulnerability and it came at the perfect time in my life. I was just about to become a coach and was finishing up an intense season of trauma therapy. Brené gave me permission to be seen by close friends and embrace my imperfections.
“I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits.”
Scary Close | Donald Miller
Scary Close, like Daring Greatly, came at the perfect time for me to shed my old identities and shame and step into a new story. This book is about taking off the mask (that I wore for so long) and starting to let the safe few see my true colors. It came at a very sensitive time in my healing journey, and I don’t know what I would have done without Donald’s story and wisdom.
“I am willing to sound dumb. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I’m afraid. I’m willing to contradict something I’ve said before. I’m willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I’m willing to apologize. I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.”
On the path of liberated womanhood:
Unbound | Steph Jagger
Steph Jagger was my personal coach when her book was released, and because of all the work we had done together around stepping into my true self, her book was particularly meaningful. She was only a few years older than me in the book when she took the risk and went on a journey (a literal skiing journey) that turned into an internal journey of liberation. Her story paralleled my own awakening and coming into myself. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys the occasional F-Bomb, loves adventure, and knows they can have more in life.
“Strength isn’t necessarily defined as our ability to get up when we’re knocked down. Nor is resilience found in our ability to continue getting up-- over and over again. That’s just sheer willpower. That’s called being stubborn as fuck. True resilience is different. True resilience is found in our ability to get up, to create space for a message we may not want to hear, to listen like we’ve never listened before, then to act on that message – even if that means changing the way we’ve been hurtling down our path in life for decades.”
Women Who Run with the Wolves | Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This is one of those books I’ve had to pick up and put down again. It’s heavy, deep, and profoundly impactful in helping me see areas of myself I want to own, step into, and come alive to. Women Who Run has helped me claim my wild feminine heart and is a never failing fallback when nothing else is working. It’s not for the faint of heart, but I didn’t peg you as one to shy away from the deep stuff.
“We all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
Dance of the Dissident Daughter | Sue Monk Kidd
This book actually came at the recommendation of Steph Jagger when we first began working together. It is Sue’s journey from the Baptist faith to a more feminine, mystical experience of the Divine. I shed tears into this book, underlined most of it, and feel like it was the book that helped me the most in 2016. If you’re wanting to shed old stories of femininity and the patriarchy that no longer works for you, this book is a must.
“The more we enact our feminine consciousness in our ordinary lives-- living out the truth in our souls, the convictions in our hearts, and the wisdom in our bodies-- the more empowered we become and the more capable we are of affecting the world immediately around us.”
Finding God in the Waves | Mike McHargue
I discovered Mike through his podcast Ask Science Mike where he riffs on science, faith, and life. He is a Baptist turned Atheist turned Mystic and has so much to offer on so many levels. His book though, Finding God in the Waves is his journey through his faith transformation. What he goes through paralleled my story in so many ways I couldn’t put the book down. If you’re doing through a deconstruction or know someone who is, this book will help you walk through that season feeling understood and less alone.
“When someone in vulnerability tells you everything they’ve known has fallen apart, the correct response is not to quote scripture, the correct response is not biblical apologetics, the correct response is a hug. The correct response is to say, I love you. They have to encounter an impossible love. It’s the only way the gospel comes to life.”
Falling Upward | Richard Rohr
Falling Upward had me canceling plans, staying in, and working a whole lot less… and if you know me, that’s not a normal occurrence! I hung on every wise word Rohr spoke. This book helped me walk through a reconstruction of sorts, giving me understanding of why I needed a literal, legalistic faith at one point in time. Whether you’re religious or not, Falling Upward is about the second half of life, once you’ve had a death to your ego and begin to open up to a new way of living. Going to come back to this one again and again.
“We all become well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly. That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while. Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself, along with a very inflated self-image to boot.”
A Return to Love | Marianne Williamson
A Return to Love was the first book I read that started to help me expand what the Divine meant to me. I’ve always felt a universal divine love, but Marianne’s use of Christian language spoke to me because of my strong Christian roots. She helped me see God in a new way, a more loving way. I started to realize my purpose in this lifetime through this book and it still remains in my top 3 transformative books ever. It’s a must if you feel stuck in your purpose, ashamed of your giftings, and wonder why you’re here.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”