Whenever I’m going through a tough time, I reach for a book.
Books not only teach me how to become a better writer, but they’ve also helped me live a better life. Some books exist to help get us through the tough times–they keep us resilient until we can reach the other side of our darkest hour.
Now, there’s no denying it: the world’s going through a tough time right now.
So, for those of you having trouble making sense of all the difficulties that may plague you and this world, I recommend reading the following books:
8 Books To Help Get You Through Hard Times
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
In the past, I recommend this book to cure writer’s block. But this book has also taught me how to live my life more fully. It has taught me how to become more aware of the moments when I am betraying myself and my soul’s calling. This book has taught me how to be more protective of myself, and how to make more sense of what plagues me as a person. It’s a book I’ll always cherish and look to for guidance when “the going gets tough.”
The Heart of The Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh (and also Buddha Mind, Buddha Body by Thich Nhat Hanh)
After reading a book by Hanh, you are instantly at peace. The world is simple. All is joy and happiness, and suffering and pain cease to exist. Everything becomes more clear. You no longer fear death, disease, or evil. You no longer fear bad news. Because you know that there is no such thing as bad or good. Everything is as it is. Life is perfection and you are already perfect. If you want to find bliss amid your suffering, simply listen to the master, and he will guide you directly there.
Minding The Body, Mending The Mind by Joan Borysenko
I use the relaxation excercise Joan outlines in this book almost on a daily basis. I used to get panic attacks in the past, but now, because of these relaxation techniques, I don’t anymore. Just for that alone, it’s worth reading Joan’s book and learning the great wisdom detailed inside.
Full Catastrophe Living: Using The Wisdom Of Your Body and Mind To Face Pain, Stress, and Illness by John Kabat-Zinn
Zinn outlines his entire relaxation course in this bible-sized book. Even though its long, every page is worth reading. Understanding and mastering the art of “Mindfulness” is one of my new life’s purposes. It will amaze you how, if you only pay attention to a pain, the pain ends up being not as bad as you had once thought. If we simply feel the chair we sit in, sense the air we breathe, and pay attention to the texture of the keys we press, we realize that we really don’t need anything else but this moment. This is a handbook for how to deal with the FULL catastrophe that is life. Also, for those looking to finally understand and implement a meditation routine to radically transform their everyday existence—this book is it.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
If only for the moment when Gilbert teaches us how to rise up from any depression by embracing that which gives us joy. In these tough times, we must wrap ourselves around our greatest joys and allow those joys to lift us up, keep us afloat, and keep us strong.
The Book of Awakening: Having The Life You Want By Being Present To The Life You Have by Mark Nepo
Every story told is a treasure for the mind, heart and soul. Every page is a paradigm-shifting lesson. Every word is a pearl. Every excercise is a game-changer. I’ve quoted Mark Nepo and referred to him many times on the C2C. He’s become very influential to me and the work I do. I think the biggest lesson he teaches us is that our greatest teachers are right under our noses, that suffering is only the catalyst for our growth and wisdom, and that our greatest life is not somewhere, far away, but right here at our doorstep—waiting to be lived.
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’ Donahue
This is one of the most beautiful non-fiction books ever written. Anam Cara is a wisdom book anchored by a Gaelic word meaning “soul friend.” O’Donahue guides us through every part of life in this book: birth, friendship, work, marriage, death and, finally, the afterlife. He approaches every issue with his strange—yet perfect—mixture of poetic, philosophical, academic and spiritual intellect. He can be at once whimsical and thoughtful, both sexy and conservative, simultaneously meandering and yet painfully focused in his prose. He must have been a man more fully himself than most. Ever sentence has within it the whisper of a blessing, and like the introductory poem suggests, this book is a wonderfully warm cloak that will mind your life for years to come.