A list of Spiritual Books that helped shape me into who I am today, and a few tips to get out of a downward spiral of depression...
If you just want the book list, scroll to the bottom!
People often think that because I’m a Yogi and Personal Trainer that I’m super happy, positive and perfect with my health all the time…. That is absolutely not true.
I certainly still have my bad days (or even weeks!) but the difference these days compared to my past is that I know how to deal with it now. I know how to not let it escalate to damaging proportions. I know how to accept it, feel it and forgive it. I know when it’s time to let it go and get on with it.
I was once a very negative, dramatic and emotional person, and I subconsciously enjoyed playing the victim so that I could get love, attention and sympathy from others. My past experiences led me to partying hard to escape the pain, and I didn’t eat well or look after my physical and mental health. Although I must admit that I did manage to have a lot of fun throughout that partying period of my life, ultimately this life style led me to battling deep depression and thinking that the world was a better place without me….
I desperately wanted to be loved and accepted and it would destroy me whenever I was judged (or thought I was being judged, which was constantly), eventually resulting with me retreating into my toxic dark shell within the mind where I was my own worst enemy. Once very outgoing, I began to struggle to put on a happy face in social situations (I called it my performing monkey act), and then I struggled to face the outside world at all. People eventually stopped trying to include me and then I hated myself even more as I knew it was all my fault that they were giving up on me because I was pushing them away. It was easier to shift the blame and get angry and hurt that they didn’t love me enough to keep trying. It was an endless cycle between logical and illogical emotional reasoning.
Logically I was aware that it was a mind set and I could clearly see how my brain was functioning and that it wasn’t normal nor beneficial. But it was constant cycle of war between fact and fiction. Sometimes I thought it would be so much easier if I wasn’t aware of the truth, that I had a problem, and that I needed help. It would be so much easier if I could just ignorantly continue on my crazy thought patterns and think that I was doing nothing wrong and it was perfectly ok to live this way.
But I knew. It wasn’t healthy. Living this way wouldn’t lead to happiness. Even when I did find chances at happiness, my thought processes would sabotage it by finding drama to fuel the fire. But the alternative was daunting. Having to change – shit – was it even possible? Where do you even start?!
Unfortunately there is no quick fix. You can’t just find the switch deep within the brain, flick it, and suddenly the world is perfectly peachy. You can’t just take a pill and it all goes away. It takes time. A LONG time. It takes a life time of mindfulness practice, of putting one foot in front of the other each second of each day, and then one day you wake up and look back on where you once were and think, “Wow, look at me go!, I’m a whole different person now”.
I used to always feel like I was on the outside looking in. Like the real ‘ME’ was floating outside my body watching this other person live my life. It all felt fake, like it was part of a movie that was scripted. I guess it was because I wasn’t being the real me. I was acting how I thought I needed to act to get people to love and accept me. This all began to change around 2009, the year before I met my now husband. Step by step I found myself and put all the puzzle pieces together. I no longer consider myself broken. Over the past 9 years I have learnt to accept and love myself, and to not expect others to be responsible for my own happiness.
We will never reach the moment where we are perfect and we know everything, so there’s no point looking for that end game. This is a life time commitment to finding the best version of you that you can be. The first step to healing is – ACCEPT WHERE AND WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. Take responsibility for your life and forgive yourself. Stop blaming others and forgive them too.
When others wrong us, it’s easy to want to blame them. Their behaviour and actions could be inexcusable. They may not deserve forgiveness. But forgiveness is the only thing that will set you free. If you hold on to hurt and hate, you only make yourself suffer, not them. You allow a special place in your mind for them to live in and you carry them around with you every second of every day. Your experiences with them begin to affect new situations in your life as you will automatically react to past pain and blame those in the present.
As evil as people can be, try to remember that they weren’t born that way. Sometimes it can be a neurological disorder so technically they cannot be at fault for their actions, but a majority of the time it is because that person has been emotionally damaged in some way in the past and it’s the only way they know how to operate now. It’s nothing personal. They’re just reacting to past pain in the present too. We’re all on the same journey to find our way back to self-love and happiness. Sadly, many people never find it in one life time….
My mum used to tell me that how we feel was a choice. At the time I was not in the right head space to hear it, even though she was right. I couldn’t understand it. My emotions were too strong and they consumed me. Some part of me knew she was right but it only made me feel worse that I couldn’t control my feelings. I’m glad she said it though, as it was one of the many turning points towards my transformation.
One of the things that played a huge part in my transformation was constantly reading and listening to spiritual talks. We are very adaptable creatures and we are easily brain washed. What we hear constantly is what we believe, it becomes our truth. There have been many scientific studies and experiments over the years proving this. Hitler is an example. If we are constantly told that a certain type of person is superior, it won’t take long until we believe that to be the honest truth. It’s pretty scary how much power the media has over us these days too! So what we think, we also believe. Being aware of your thoughts is a great step to rewiring the brain. We cannot change what we are not conscious of! Repeating positive thoughts about yourself in your mind, even if you don’t believe them at first, definitely makes a difference if you are consistent. Reading and listening to things often also creates great change, it certainly had a huge impact on me.
I quite often get asked which spiritual and inspirational books I would recommend. Below is a list of authors / books that I can highly recommend to get you started:
Wayne Dyer – Loads of excellent books to choose from. I can recommend – Your Erroneous Zones (from his earlier days) and Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life - Living the Wisdom of the Tao.
Watch his movie The Shift - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SnWOTDykAc
Listen to any of his talks on You Tube. This one was at the Wanderlust Festival not too long before he died - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNrEFpkgWQo
Ekhart Tolle – The book the Power Of Now was a game changer for me. A definite must read. He also has a book called A New Earth which is very good, but the concepts can go beyond what most people are capable of believing, even though logically it makes sense. He also has many fantastic clips on YouTube worth watching.
Marianne Williamson – I would call this powerful woman my spiritual mentor, even though I haven’t met her in person. She makes the spiritual mindset make sense in a way that’s not too fluffy or hocus pocus. She’s even involved with a political party in the USA and if she managed to get to the top, she would help heal this world more than any political party ever has. She is the most well-known Teacher of A Course in Miracles.
Check out any of her books, I loved - A Return to Love (audio book is on You Tube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDcHlqzJMOs) and Tears to Triumph.
She also has many inspirational talks available on You Tube.
Gabrielle Bernstein – Marianne’s protégée. More ‘trendy and fluffy’ but still very inspirational. Her book Spirit Junkie is a good read.
Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping – Great book on healing oneself through the power of forgiveness. Spot on.
Western Mind Eastern Body by Anodea Judith – If you’re interested in the bodies energy centres – Chakras – then this is the book for you! In depth knowledge about each Chakra, it’s characteristics and childhood development patterns, and how to heal and maintain balance. A mix of science, philosophy, psychology and spirituality.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – This book helped start a radical shift in my perception to life. Its core teaching is to be Grateful for all that we already have, and this resonated within me big time, and still does. It teaches that through the Law of Attraction, what we are grateful for and what we visualise to be our truth, we will attract into our lives and receive. Although this is very true, I now see that this book can promote self-serving tendencies…. Definitely worth reading but try not to get caught up on your superficial desires such as wealth, material things, having the perfect body etc Yes we can still want things and have goals to achieve, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s important not to bank our happiness on receiving these things. Try to release your desires to the universe and ask ‘How can I serve, How can I give back’ instead of “I want this and that”.
Celestine Prophecy – I read this book a very long time ago so my memory is hazy, but I do remember that its spiritual insights made a big impact on me at the time. I didn’t understand the ending back then though and thought it was very strange, however many years later with the knowledge I have now, I understand its meaning.
You Were Not Born To Suffer by Blake Bauer – I met this Australian author at the Mind Body Spirit Expo a couple of years ago in Melbourne and his presentation resonated with me so I brought his book. I agree with his message in the book and I enjoy reading it, but it does waffle on a bit so it’s not one to be read in one sitting. Best to read a chapter here and there and reflect on the insights it raises.
The Voice That Calls Us Home, A Buddhist Guide to Meditation and Living by Christian O'Toole - A very simple easy to read book that brings about many light bulb moments. Wonderful to read more than once as each time a different part will stand out and relate to a current challenge we may have. Christian also runs Meditation work shops and discussions in Rosebud and other various locations around the Mornington Peninsula (including at my studio!) which I highly reccommend attending to get further guidance. It really helps to have someone with vast knowledge to ask questions and discuss your mindset and meditation challenges and experiences with.
Other inspirational authors worth looking into - Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Dalai Lama, Rumi, Ram Dass
After reading each book I would have so many questions about parts of them that I didn't understand. Some things seemed to contradict others and it was confusing. But the more I read and the more my knowledge increased, I started to find the answers, and I realised that not everything that is written is literal and black and white. It's all open to interpretation. So take what resonates with you and leave what doesn't. At the end of the day it's what you believe and what works for you that's important. When I started practising 'mindfulness' and looking for signs from the universe I thought that maybe I was a bit crazy. But the results have proven it to me. This stuff really works. My incredible life now and balanced mind and soul is living proof! (Yoga definitely helps too hehe). I hope this helps you on your journey to enlightenment.
Much love x