I love listening to audiobooks. I have an Audible account and I use it like it was about to go out of business. As a real food / Paleo person, I am always in the kitchen. I do big meal preps on the weekends, getting all my food ready for the upcoming week — I seriously spend most of my weekend in the kitchen. And, I love my meal prep time. I love it even more because I get to listen to audio books and podcasts while cooking and prepping (see my posts with Paleo meal prep tips here, here, here and here).
In addition to my interest in cooking, I also have an interest in learning. I have always loved being a student of something. Instead of paying tuition, I am now a student of life — specifically of MY LIFE, tackling little questions, like: who am I, what is my purpose, etc. (No big deal.)
In fact, these last couple of years have been about recreating my life. A second chance at life, if you will. These years of recovery have been about finding out who I am. They have been about finding meaning in life. Because ultimately I believe that is what we all want and why we are “here” — to create a life that is meaningful.
The audio books listed below are helping me I believe, to do that.
I have found, so far, that my true meaning has come from the spiritual path I’m pursuing, AND by channeling my (formerly compulsive) energy into a creative passion that fills me, namely writing.
To that end, there is no book that has done more for me this past year or two, than Anne Lamott’s, “Bird by Bird.” I have NOT included “Bird by Bird” in this list as I intend to do an entire post about it soon. While you are waiting for my post, start listening to it now, by downloading it here.
WIth all that chit-chat out of the way, here are my top picks for audio books — self-help section.
I hope you enjoy these. I would love to hear what you think. Please leave me YOUR recommendations in the comments section below the post.
Thanks, guys! Happy reading (er, listening)!
MY FAVORITE SELF – HELP AUDIOBOOKS:
1. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
The advice column Cheryl Strayed answered as SUGAR has been compiled into a book, and, is read by none other than Cheryl Strayed. There is also a podcast now, Dear Sugar Radio (see my podcast post here), where she and Steve Almond answer new Dear Sugar questions. If you have never heard Cheryl Strayed’s voice … you are in for a treat. It is like butter. And this collection of letters and answers? Amazing. Filled with nuggets of beauty, like this: “the best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the mother fucking shit out of love…”
2. Through the Dark Wood. By James Hollis
Another one read by the author himself, which I absolutely love. There is a real authenticity about a writer narrating their own work. I think, anyway.
There are so many great things said in this book by James Hollis, a Jungian therapist. Chapter 2 of the book is about romantic relationships, an area where I struggle for sure. HE says, “when we let go of the search for the magical other … we begin to encounter … the immensity of our own unfolding mystery …” Amen, James Hollis. Amen.
3. Emotional Sobriety by Tian Dayton
In this my third year of recovery, I am all about BALANCE and BOUNDARIES. This book is helping me get to a balanced life with appropriate boundaries. Emotional sobriety consists of learning self-regulation and how to live in balance. These are things I never knew before. I used to go from zero to sixty in a flash. I used to have an idea (a crazy idea, no doubt) and act on it without ever a moment of hesitation to ponder whether the idea was actually good for me or not (usually, it was not). This book is helping to change all that for me. If you are in recovery from anything, I cannot recommend this one enough.
4. Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood
I have avoided reading this book for ever. The title totally turned me off. For whatever reason, I assumed it was about women who loved bad men. And I could not relate, because with the exception of one really awful person, I have loved pretty good men. But this book is not about bad men. It is not even really about men, at all. It is about women. It is about women who are love and sex addicts — which includes addiction to romance, relationship and/or sex. This is an area where I still need some work. I am doing the work. This book is helping. BIG TIME.
5. The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday
A great book on stoicism. Like a good stoic, I will say little about it.
6. It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
I have written about this book before in my post on compulsive overeating (see post here), but it is so good, that it definitely deserves another mention. It is not really a self-help book, it is a memoir. But If you struggle with compulsive overeating or any other body issue at all (in other words, if you are a woman), this book is a must read, and will, I believe, help you. Hence, its inclusion in the self-help category. I listened to this 7 hour audio book in one day (so, straight through). It is yet another book read by the author, which you know I love. As if I needed to sell this to you all anymore, I left a review of this book on Amazon. And I never leave reviews (although I should — new resolution for 2016?!?!).
7. Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup
Ruth Soukup helped me to create a closet that looks like this:
Now, I realize you probably needed to see the “before” pic to really understand what a difference that is, but look at all those empty hangers.
The beauty of her “40 hangers” approach is the ease in which I can get ready in the mornings now. There are only a small set of options, and while that seems like a bad thing, it has been a beautiful thing —- as it has meant FREEDOM!
8. Straight Talk No Chaser by Steve Harvey
What to say about this “straight talk” guide to understanding men by Steve Harvey? Everything! Seriously, I have been involved with men for all of my adult life, including a 19 year relationship with my ex husband, and two (2) live in boyfriends, a father and a brother, and still … I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT MEN … until I read this book. I recommend it to all my girlfriends.
9. Letting Go and Becoming by Marianne Williamson
Geez, there are so many Marianne Williamson books and audio books I would and could recommend. She is my primary spiritual teacher and my “go to” whenever I am in a real funk. She has an amazing way of bringing “A Course in Miracles” into real life, and with the softest “tough edge” possible. She teaches us that LOVE is what we are and what we are here for, but she does it in such a firm, almost tough kinda way … I am doing a horrible job explaining it, you just need to listen. I picked this particular title pretty much randomly. I have ALL of her books in audio and print form. She is that good! (And I have addictive tendencies, so …. )
10. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This little book changed my life in a big way. I now have an uncluttered life. I have a minimalistic closet. (WHAT?!? GET THE F&^K OUT!) I could pack a bag if zombies were attacking this house in about 10 seconds and be out the door. Nothing is in my space unless I truly love it. You guys!! That is huge for me. I had so much stuff, prior to the reading and implementing of the practices suggested in this book, that I was drowning in it all. Ugh. Give yourselves the gift of freedom from stuff. Read (er, listen) to this book today!!
—-that’s it! —– enjoy!
I leave you with a video of one of my favorite songs for your listening / viewing pleasure: