What a year it’s been! 2018 was a year that spun me around and turned me upside down. It was a year filled with chaos and beauty (but aren’t they all?) and one that filled with me with both dread and hope, sometimes at the same time.
Over the past twelve months, I made a deeper commitment to my personal growth through new experiences, workshops, writing, and reading and listening to lots and lots of books. There wasn’t a second of my downtime spent without a book or journal in my hand or an audiobook playing through my headphones or a nearby speaker. I even got this Bluetooth shower speaker so I can listen while conditioning my hair.
Experiences were the highlight of my year. I met a new mentor, Catrice M. Jackson, who I’m sharing with you through one of her books, Antagonists, Advocates, and Allies. I traveled to three of her racial justice events in 2018, and I highly recommend you do the same for yourself in 2019. I took a children’s fiction writing workshop that inspired me to start writing my first self-care book for kids, and that will feature a little brown girl as the lead character (an effort that is so critically important—representation matters). And I finished two new books, which will be published in late 2019 by Hay House and Quarto Books—I’m especially excited for Managing the Motherload!
But one of my best moments from 2018 was seeing my Forever First Lady Michelle Obama on her Philadelphia book tour stop for Becoming. I always include memoirs on my book lists because other people’s stories of “becoming” are what inspire me most. There are so many lessons in the struggles, triumphs, and everyday lives of the people we admire.
This list of 12 of my favorite books for healing your body, mind, soul, and the WORLD also features brand new books by some of my dear friends. First on the list is Erin Stutland’s Mantras in Motion. I’m thrilled to share this book with you. Here’s what I wrote about Erin’s writing debut: “I’ve spent endless hours in the gym, doing mindless reps and running on treadmills to nowhere. And I’ve worked for decades on my spiritual health. I couldn’t have imagined there was something I could do that would nourish my soul at the same time as supporting my physical fitness. Mantras in Motion and Erin’s methods deliver just that—a wellness practice for all of me (mind, body, and spirit).”
You’ll also find picks from my friends, hardcore legend John Joseph and inspirational yoga teacher and realest mama on the planet Jennifer Pastiloff. And of course, I had to include my book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life, because it’s my baby and I think it’s great.
I hope you enjoy these titles as much as I have and that you’ll share this post on social media by copying the URL or clicking this message to share on Twitter:
My list of 12 Books to Change Your Life in 2019 has been divided into three categories: Books to Heal the Body + Mind, Books to Heal the Soul, and Books to Heal the World. Happy reading! (All book descriptions taken from the editor’s notes on Amazon.com.)
BOOKS TO HEAL THE BODY + MIND
1. Mantras in Motion by Erin Stutland
Mind-body wellness and fitness expert combines mantra, self-reflection, and movement into an accessible 14-day routine for manifesting your best self.
Holistic wellness and fitness expert Erin Stutland harnesses all the body’s mental, physical, and spiritual energy in her tri-fold approach to creating change. When you move your body while repeating mantras—speaking your desires aloud—manifesting is no longer a purely intellectual exercise or an occasional craft project. Instead, you are expressing your passion through your voice and your body, putting every ounce of your energy in service of what you want.
Each chapter breaks down one mantra to use to focus on a key step to achieving your best self, including unearthing your desires, releasing resistance, and taking inspired action. Alongside each mantra, Stutland provides stories from her own life and those of her clients, a meditation or visualization, a journaling exercise, and an easy movement to accompany the mantra to help enhance its resonant power. And to put it all together, you are provided with a 14-day plan so you can design the life you want, infusing the power of movement, mantra, and self-reflection.
2. The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
A global movement guided by love.
Humans are a varied and divergent bunch with all manner of beliefs, morals, and bodies. Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies.
The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world – for us all.
3. The PMA Effect by John Joseph
Stuck in a rut? Lack the discipline to accomplish your goals? Always find yourself waving the white flag in surrender? Having a string of sh*tty days, weeks, months, maybe even years? If you answered yes to any of those, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for. The PMA Effect teaches the methods for achieving your goals no matter how high you set the bar comes down to one vital principle: Developing a Positive Mindset. Change your mindset Change your life. PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) can sustain you through any difficult circumstances. You’ll learn to deal with stress more efficiently. You’ll develop the skill set and determination to never quit at tasks. To push through fear and manifest your thoughts, hopes, and dreams into reality. In essence, The PMA Effect is the blueprint to becoming that badass, super-human that lives inside each and every one of us.
4. You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life by Rebekah Borucki
“I don’t have time to meditate!” Rebekah “Bex” Borucki has heard this a lot. A certified yoga and meditation teacher, she’s taught hundreds of thousands of people how to create simple yet powerful meditation practices. In fact, as she’ll show you in this book, in as little as 4 minutes, you can change your life.
After years of suffering from anxiety and depression, both as a child and as an adult, Bex took control of her mental and physical health by establishing a rigorous fitness and yoga routine that quickly evolved into her own regular, homegrown 4-minute daily meditation practice. Bex’s 4-minute meditations combine mantras, affirmations, breathing and bodywork techniques, and they’re designed so that even the busiest people can fit them into their lives.
In this book, Bex guides you through 27 different meditation practices and shares personal stories that demonstrate how meditation has helped her overcome various challenges. She also answers commonly asked questions like “Do my eyes have to stay closed?” and”What do I do if my body starts to hurt?”; provides technical information about props, postures, and mantras; and offers tools to cope with complex issues such as grief, body acceptance, and relationships. By spending just 4 minutes a day with this practice, you will find deep, meaningful, and lasting healing.
BOOKS TO HEAL THE SOUL
5. Becoming by Michelle Obama
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
6. On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff
An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.
Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.
Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”
Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.
7. The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.
Don Miguel Ruiz has dedicated his life to sharing the wisdom of the ancient Toltec. For more than two decades, he has guided others toward their personal freedom. Today, he continues to combine his unique blend of ancient wisdom and modern-day awareness through journeys to sacred sites around the world.
8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
9. The Tao of Wu by The RZA
From the founder of the Wu-Tang Clan—celebrating their 25th anniversary this year—an inspirational book for the hip-hop fan.
The RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, imparts the lessons he’s learned on his journey from the Staten Island projects to international superstardom. A devout student of knowledge in every form in which he’s found it, he distills here the wisdom he’s acquired into seven “pillars,” each based on a formative event in his life—from the moment he first heard the call of hip-hop to the death of his cousin and Clan- mate, Russell Jones, aka ODB. Delivered in RZA’s unmistakable style, at once surprising, profound, and provocative, The Tao of Wu is a spiritual memoir the world has never seen before, and will never see again. A nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation from the author of The Wu-Tang Manual, it will enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
BOOKS TO HEAL THE WORLD
10. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned and crystallize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor’s seminal essay “The Meaning of a Word.”
11. Antagonists, Advocates, and Allies by Catrice M. Jackson
Dear White Women: In the lives of Black women, women of color, you are an Antagonist, Advocate, or Ally. This is your WAKE UP CALL; a dramatically sobering reality check to wake you up from the detrimental denial of your White Privilege. Antagonists, Advocates, and Allies delivers uncomfortable truths and painful realities about the conscious and unintentional pain you have inflicted on Black women, women of color and shares how you must use your power to eliminate racism and stop the hypocrisy within the feminine movement.
Antagonists, Advocates. and Allies boldly beckons White women to come from behind their White Picket Fence, enter the classroom of “Living While Black and Brown 101”, take a seat, don’t talk, listen and finally hear what you’ve failed to hear for centuries. The elimination of racism starts and ends with you. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
This guide helps White women identify what role they play in the lives of Black women and women of color and provides valuable interpersonal insight and strategies to help them transition from Antagonist to Advocate and Advocate to Ally.
Antagonists, Advocates and Allies is a must-have guide for White women who want to unlearn their personal racism and use their White Privilege to help improve relationships with Black women and women of color, foster racial harmony and advance feminism and the women’s empowerment movement so that it becomes intersectional and inclusive of all women.
12. Getting to Hell Yes by Alexandra Jamieson and Bob Gower
Getting to Hell Yes is a book about building better relationships. We believe passionately that the world needs more people who know how to build aligned and empathic relationships—in businesses, communities, and families—through powerful, clear conversations. Our intention is to help you be the catalyst for positive change in your organization and your life. This is possible when you know how to get in alignment, and create common cause, with other people. This book will teach you a simple, guided methodology that allows groups to increase empathy and trust. It can be used in sales, when launching a team, or at any point during the project where some refocus is needed.
SPECIAL NOTE: I love the method taught in this book so much that I’ve been teaching it to my audience for years and wrote the foreword for the book. And I even included it as a lesson in my upcoming book, Managing the Motherload (Hay House 2019). Watch my video interview with Alex and Bob here.
I’d love to hear what your personal must-read books for 2019 are, so be sure to connect with my community in my private Facebook group. And before you run off to buy all my picks, click on the Pinterest button below to share my first list of favorites.
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BexLife.com and the Blissed In® wellness movement, is a mother-of-five, TV host, meditation guide, author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. Her first book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (Hay House 2017), is available now, wherever books are sold.