Over the last few years in conversation with students, clients, and friends, folks have asked me to recommend books where they can learn to be more peaceful and present.
They want to know how to deal with negative emotions, how to reduce stress, how to live with more calm, and how to enjoy life more.
I am happy to announce a new series:
Books to Feel Better With.
Over the next ten weeks, I’ll be sharing a personal review of the books that have helped me overcome the pain of divorce, become a better parent, and navigate the stresses of my daily life. These books have inspired me, they’ve helped me feel better, and they have helped me be happier.
I hope that they will also help you feel better.
These are the first ten books I’ll be sharing reviewing:
Click on the name of a book below
to learn more about it.
My First Review Coming Next Week: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, by Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children, by Thich Nhat Hahn
- The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime: Tales of Compassion and Kindness for You to Read with Your Child – to Delight and Inspire: by Dharmachari Nagaraja
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron
- The Art of Happiness, by H. H. The Dalai Lama
- The Meditation Experience: Your Complete Meditation Workshop in a Book, by Madonna Gauding.
- Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana
- Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck
- Building Emotional Intelligence: Techniques to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children, by Linda Lantieri & Dan Goleman
Why am I doing this new series?
To Feel Better by
Returning to Wisdom Teachings.
These are writers – teachers, really – who have transformed my life.
They have helped me navigate challenges and have helped me heal. They’ve shown me that life does not have to be so heavy. It can be light and free. They have helped me catch glimpses of a bigger perspective, to put things in context so I am not trapped in negative, recurring thoughts about the past or the future.
These teachers have taught me new ways to listen deeply, to be with people calmly, and to love more fully. They’ve brought peace and joy into my life, or, more accurately, they have revealed peace and joy and have shown me how I can access them anytime I want to feel better.
By re-reading these books carefully I’ll be learning from them once again. Although these teachers have been in my life for almost ten years, this will be a refresher and a new intentional learning. For me, it’s a return to the teachers, their wisdom, and the peace they inspire.
By returning to these books, I am also going back to paper and to the art of slow reading with attention and with intention. This is something that seems to be fading in an age of digital tid-bits and social media.
Think about it, do you actually remember the last bit of “inspiration” you read on Facebook? Can you talk about the wisdom you learned there?
See, with a book, you can always go back to it.
The strategies, wisdom, and inspiration will always be inside those pages in that book – not lost in cyberspace.
With a book, you also get to see how concepts connect to one another. They make up a systematic, logical, and comprehensive way of understanding and of “doing” life. And, yes, they take time to read – time where we can relax and savor.
With a book, you can also write, mark, circle, comment, even highlight those words that speak to your heart. You can process your own ideas and integrate them within the book so you can always refer to it the next time you open those pages.
Books offer us a different way of learning. So, I am happy to go back to my books as a way to connect to the wisdom. I may even recognize myself in my notes and even admire the ways I have changed since the last reading.
I invite you to join me in the act of holding a book, reading slowly, savoring the words of wisdom, writing comments, circling, and underlining the words that resonate in your heart.
To Help You by
Returning to Sharing, Teaching, and Serving.
For those of you who are meeting me for the first time through this post, I am a life coach and meditation teacher. Through my podcast, meetups, public talks, workshops, classes, and individualized coaching practice, I have helped thousands of people across the world live with more inner peace, enthusiasm, and happiness. You can learn more about me and my journey on my web site.
As many of you in my circle know, in 2016, I took sabbatical from my workshops and classes to heal from what has been a painful chapter in my life. Last year, my marriage of 14 years ended. The family structure and home I had known for many years changed radically.
Divorce is one of the most traumatic events in life, often leading to major depression and other health issues. These are major painful challenges that I also had to navigate. (Note: meditation does not prevent challenges from arising, it just changes how we deal with these challenges!)
I have three dear children. Every day I recommit to being present, engaged, and adoring as their dad. So as I navigate the challenges of a new life of a divorced man, I am pulled forward by the desire to be my absolute best, most peaceful, and most loving self, so I can be a great dad to my great kids.
In this journey of healing and nurturing my best self, I have learned -and continue to learn- from the practice of inner peace that I had cultivated and taught over the last ten years.
In other words, meditation and my practice of reflection, peace, and love prepared me for the struggles that life presented to me in 2016.
And the books I will share were at the heart of this practice. Indeed, they remain at the heart of my journey.
These teachers are are my companions and my guides. Sharing them with you is a way to share the power of these wisdom teachings in the hope that you also benefit.
One of the most rewarding things I have ever done has been to “curate” and “teach” this wisdom in my podcast, life coaching, and wellness programs over the last several years.
It has been an honor to learn that my teaching has helped so many people learn to meditate, become better parents, enjoy work, find forgiveness, discover their purpose, love more, and nurture inner peace. It’s an honor to have had a positive impact in so many people’s lives.
My hope is that by sharing these great texts, we are all inspired.
I hope that you can benefit from the lessons of these masters. I hope that you can also use them to live a healthier and happier life. I hope these books give you new ways to heal, feel better, and live with enthusiasm and joy. I hope they can help you be your best self, the best parents, partners, friends that you can be.
I hope within these books we discover new ways to support each other through life’s challenges and help each other flourish. I hope that these books teach us new ways to nurture love for ourselves and for one another.
To Help Our Society by
Reclaiming a Space of Positivity in Our Collective Lives.
It is my heartfelt opinion that recent events in our society are troublesome at best and dangerous at worst. It seems our shared public sphere has been overtaken with shock, anger, and resistance to the results of the 2015 election. It seems that many of us have all taken up arms to resist and rebuild in our own capacities. Rightly so! Action is needed to protect our rights, justice, respect, love, and, yes, our planet and our humanity.
I believe that an important part of this political action must also include a reflection, wisdom, and perspective. These can inform our agenda and align us with peace, joy, and love.
I think of the great Dr. Martin Luther King whose political work was preceded and inspired by his many years as pastor doing the work of God.
Indeed, a reflective journey across shared spiritual teachings can align us with our very humanity.
So, in sharing these books, I want to help our society. My goals is to create a positive space in our shared public sphere where we can come together to share wisdom, to witness a greater perspective, to reflect on what it means to live with peace and to cultivate the love we want to see in our fragile world.
I invite you to try these strategies out. Experiment with something new, with new ways to navigate your life's challenges. See how these new strategies work for you, how they help you feel better. Then bring your new open heart to whatever religious practice you love.
So, to sum up, in the coming months, I will share the books that have inspired me personally. I stress this because it is simply my humble contribution, it comes from my personal experience.
These books have given me strength, peace, and joy. They have shaped the way I parent. They have shaped the way I work and the way I love my children, my family, my friends, and just about everyone I meet.
These books have taught me to meditate and be present to life. They have taught me to forgive, to surrender, to heal, to learn, to accept, and to give love. They have inspired me to share with others and to inspire others through my meditation classes, wellness workshops, and life coaching programs.
These books have changed my life, and I am happy to share them with you.
I hope these reviews and the books spark a curiosity and open your heart as these have opened mine.