My Six Life Changing Books of 2015

by Melissa West on

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My Six Life Changing Books of 2015

Here is a list of my favourite and more life changing books of 2016. These books will not have you doing more and producing more. In fact, most of these books will have you reflect on doing less. I begin with a book that lets you relax into your Divine Feminine Power, then one that encourages you to nap, with real scientific research to back up the benefits of napping. Greg McKeown’s Essentialism asks you to reflect on what is truly important in your life and let go of anything that isn’t essential. There are two books that are more relationship oriented and give you specific, useable skills for communication in your interpersonal relationships. Finally, Hal Erod’s miracle morning will get each and every day off to an uplifting start.

The Book of SHE: Your Heroine’s Journey into the Heart of Feminine Power by Sara Avant Stover
The Book of SHE: Your Heroine’s Journey into the Heart of Feminine Power

This book only came out in October 2015. However, it was probably my favourite book of the year. As soon as I realized Sara Avant Stover’s second book came out (I was a huge fan of her first book, The Way of the Happy Woman, one of my all time favourite books), I purchased it and I began reading, and re-reading the book chapter by chapter. I think I read chapter two, Entering Your Inner House, four to six times upon first encountering it. It felt like Sara had written this book just for me. This is a guidebook for fully empowered feminine spiritual awakening. A much different guidebook than that traditionally offered on the male spiritual path. My favourite aspects of this book are Sara Avant Stover’s personal connection with the Goddess Mother Mary, her willingness to share her stories of personal defeat, Stover’s commitment to her own personal practice and evolutithrough yoga, meditation and therapy in an ongoing way.

Take a Nap, Change Your Life by Sara Mednick Ph.D.
Take a Nap! Change Your Life.

This book was published in 2006 and recommended to me some time ago by one of my most dedicated students. It was only in September of this year that I got around to reading it, and am I ever glad I did. What this book did for me was allow me to get over some of my own misconceptions about napping and read some of the documented research that Sara Mednick did as a Ph.D. on the research of napping.

The two big things that stood out for me were that #1 daytime napping does not disturb your nighttime sleep and napping was shown to alleviate migraines and reduce their severity by reintroducing the growth hormone while sleeping.

Upon reading this book, I decided to implement daily naps. No single intervention has helped alleviate the migraines that I experience as much as the daily nap.

In the late summer of 2015, I began exploring Marshall Rosenberg’s NonViolent Communication. I started with Judith Hanson Lasater’s book What We Say Matters. This was another book that I read twice.

What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication

What is beautiful about Judith Lasater’s book on Nonviolent Communication written with her husband Ike Lasater is that they blend the yogic principles of satya (truth) and ahimsa (compassion) with Marshall Rosenberg’s system of nonviolent communication. In this book I first learned about feelings and needs and giving empathy to myself and others.

From there I moved into Marshall Rosenberg’s book, Nonviolent Communication A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenbeg in September 2015.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

I am still slowly and carefully making my way through this book, trying to absorb these principles and apply them in my life. As somebody who has a strong desire to create compassionate connection in my relationships through communication, I believe this will be a lifelong study. In fact I have begun to enroll in courses here in Victoria, BC to get more assistance with this style of communication and to be a better wife, mother and leader.

I returned to Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown in August 2015.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This was my second time through this book. This is a business book, but it is so incredibly yogic. This book is about eliminating everything that isn’t essential from your life, period. It deserves a re-read regularly.

I began my year with The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

Hal Elrod is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. This book allowed me to tweak my morning routine just a bit. I was already doing a lot of what he recommended in the mornings, but with just a few tweaks, my morning routine had even more exuberance than ever before and I don’t think I’ve missed a single morning since I heard a podcast with Hal and read his book. I’ve since completed a year of daily meditation and journaling. I’ve gifted this book to several of my friends as well. 🙂

I would love to hear from you, what were your most life-changing books of 2016 and why?

If you would like an outline of my morning routine which is slightly tweaked to be more yogic than click below.



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