Over the years, books have become some of my dearest companions, especially during the darkest days of my journey. If you're currently committed to the healing journey, you too know how painful and relentless the challenges can be. Sometimes you feel like no one understands your pain and suffering. The loneliness experienced can be incredibly isolating and discouraging. When I was healing auto-immune issues I had all but one person to talk with who really understood. What I did have though, were stacks of books that empowered me with the knowledge that others had walked this path and survived. Not only that, but they came out the other side happier, healthier and wholer than ever before. The knowledge of this gave me faith and strength to carry on, determined to overcome what burdened me. I became tireless in my pursuit of truth and wisdom, tearing through books and living in the library in order to stay focused on my healing.
Now, these books are like old friends that I open up from time to time and reconnect with fondly. Some of them sit right next to my bed as to remind me of where I've been, and how far I've come.
I want for you to know that you're not alone. That no matter what level of despair, disharmony or disease you are experiencing...others too have stood there naked, afraid and hopeless. We are never as alone as we perceive ourselves to be and beauty is never far from us. This is one of the many gifts that healing teaches.
I encourage all of my clients to read for self-empowerment and knowledge. Doctors don't know everything. Psychologists don't know everything. "Experts" don't know everything. You, my friend, have everything you need inside of you - sometimes you just need someone else's journey to remind you of that first.
The following list is broken down into physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. All of these components are essential when healing anything in your life. I suggest finding one of each and spending as much time as possible filling your mind with the successes and strength of the women who came before you.
:: Physical Healing ::
Alissa Vitti has pioneered the "cycle syncing method" which empowers women to connect with their natural feminine cycles. Her book outlines how to heal your hormones naturally and take back your right to vibrant living. Alissa teaches that a woman's body is not chaotic and messy but a perfect symphony that must be decoded like a language. I love this book so much because it truly empowers women to own their unique female body. She breaks down complicated scientific ideas into accessible, easy to understand nuggets. This book is particularly useful for women in their twenties, thirties and forties who want to enhance fertility, heal their period and supercharge their libido. If you're struggling with fibroids, PCOS, irregular periods, or any other reproductive disharmony then its time to learn your WomanCode. If you want to become a master of your hormones and menstrual cycle, this is a must read!
"Many of us have the opportunity to have and do it all - but the downside is that while juggling careers, love, travel, and families were not giving our bodies the support they need to sustain these demands."
Dr. Christiane Northrup is an OBGYN with over 30 years of experience in women's health. Her book, WBWW, is a sort of bible for self-healing women. She goes in depth into the diseases women face, and how to support them holistically. I love her work because she always concludes that any physical illness is directly connected to an emotional imbalance. She empowers women to let go of "who they think they should be at a certain age" and just embrace their bodies with love and admiration. Her books are particularly helpful for peri-menopausal or menopausal women who feel lost and confused during this juncture of their life. In this bible, you'll find more than enough information on both the science and spirit of women's healing.
“The secret to thriving is the knowledge that we are never simply victims of our bodies. It’s very reassuring to know that we all have within us the ability to heal from anything and go on to live joy-filled lives.”
-Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
:: Mental Healing ::
Kelly Brogan is one of my favorite doctors! I never liked psychiatry until I found Kelly, and goodness is she a bad ass women's health warrior! She has been called every name under the sun for her integrative work in mental health - and nevertheless she carriers on being a beacon of light for women suffering from every version of mental health disorder. Her book, A Mind of Your Own, empowers women to heal their mental dis-ease naturally and slowly wean off anti-depressants and other drugs. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, depression, bi-polar, etc you need to make Kelly's book a friend in your home. You'll learn the truth about the modern medicine approach to mental disorder and why using other methods is actually far safer and more sustainable. Dr. Kelly makes transitioning off pharmaceuticals an accessible journey for any woman, any where!
"when you have a symptom—when you feel cloudy, sad, sore, gassy, weepy, tired, or unnecessarily anxious—bring some wonder to it. Ask why and try to make the connections. Your body’s symptoms are telling you something about equilibrium. Your body is trying to tell you that it has lost balance."
-A Mind of Your Own
Geneen Roth is an amazing woman who recovered from years of multiple eating disorders, depression & suicidal ideation. In her book, Women, Food & God, she teaches women how to overcome eating disorders stemming from mental imbalances. I don't think there is a woman on planet Earth who hasn't experienced SOME form of disordered eating, body shaming or toxic mental dialogue. She combines spirituality and psychology to bring you the truth of why you're REALLY eating the way you are and how to overcome it with strength and grace. Her words are compassionate and fierce and resonate deeply in the woman struggling with emotional eating, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and shame! Geneen's motto is, "your life is on your plate," and I could not agree more. This book is for you if you want to create a loving, nourishing and healthy relationship to food and your mind.
"compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can't stand it any longer, we binge."
-Women, Food & God
:: Emotional Healing ::
There are few books that have touched me as deeply as Tara Brach's, Radical Acceptance. I read this book during an all time low in my life, and finding it was truly a blessing. Brach shares that emotional healing can only occur when we embrace the darkness we are experiencing with complete acceptance. If you're anything like me, you've been kicking and screaming your way through the pain because thats what we've been taught. Reject the things that cause us pain, and accept the things that cause us joy. But what if our pain was actually a vessel to deeper understanding and bliss? The notion of radically accepting our circumstances seems counter intuitive but in actuality becomes the most transformative tool in our healing. Tara teaches that when we accept ourselves, our lives, our pain and our suffering with total compassion we are able to transcend them and perceive them as blessings. This book is for anyone disturbed by emotional unrest or pain. Tara's profoundly touching words will gently guide you into a place of fierce and rejuvenating acceptance.
"Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is."
I remember feeling absolutely pathetic purchasing this book. I remember feeling hopeless, helpless and completely disconnected from myself. My holistic counsellor recommended I read it, and I couldn't help but think "wow, this is what my life has come to. Everything, really has fallen apart." You'll likely feel the same way when reading the title, but let me assure you that buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, has the most beautiful way of approaching disaster and despair. While this title doesn't exactly invoke a sense of peace, it does however, confront you with the truth you may be avoiding. My favorite part of Chodron's book is that she reminds us that life is always in transition and if we befriend the moments of uncertainty, we open up a portal into deeper understanding of our circumstances. She teaches the importance of sitting in the middle, between what is happening and what will happen, and trusting that the letting go is what liberates us. This book is for anyone who has been met with extreme loss, heartache, or loneliness. Pema will assure you that everything that happens to you, happens for you, in order to bring you back into the present moment.
"The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That's what we're going to discover again and again. Nothing is what we thought. These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment."
- When Things Fall Apart
:: Spiritual Healing ::
The work of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is deep and timeless. In her studies as a psychologist, she came to understand that the death of a woman begins when she loses her wildness. Estes discusses how the culture has "tamed" and "quieted" the wild woman within us for fear of her power and potency in the world; because a domesticated woman is more easily controlled than a wild one. This book is a coming home for every woman, it is a remembering of our deepest, wildest nature. In her book, Women Who Run With Wolves, Dr. Estes shares multi-cultural myths, folk tales and personal experiences to explain the journey of our wild woman. This book is profoundly soul waking, heart activating and body empowering - you will shake with moments of "YES" and "THANK YOU!" If you want to awaken the truth of your womanhood, and the wild nature of your soul, this book is a must read.
"The way to maintain one's connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls."
-Women Who Run With Wolves
Louise Hay is one of the OG's of spiritual empowerment and healing. She died at age 90 after spending most of her life helping others find healing. Her book, You Can Heal Your Life, is about recognizing your limitless potential as a spiritual being and using that force to heal your ailments. You'll learn why your digestive disorder has more to do with your feelings of extreme worry and unworthiness, than what you're eating. She bridges the gap between the physical world and the spiritual world by helping us realize that everything we experience is self-created as a means to reach spiritual enlightenment. I love Louise Hay so much because of her absolute devotion to helping others self-heal. If you are certain there is more to your illness than what you see with your eyes, than I promise Louise will show you the way. She focuses on forgiveness, positive affirmations and addressing childhood wounds. This is a must read for any woman who wants to access her inner healer and spiritual liberation.
"If you think of the hardest thing for you to do and how much you resist it, then you're looking at your greatest lesson at the moment. The things that are so difficult for us are only the lessons we have chosen for ourselves."
-You Can Heal Your Life
May these books journey with you on your path to healing, empowerment and freedom. I hope you discover as much truth, wisdom and power in them as I have on my journey.
DISCLOSURE: The links above are affiliate links, meaning that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.