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Ever since I can remember, I have loved books. Curled up on the couch with a mug of hot tea, I can get lost in a deliciously deep book as the hours pass by. Fiction. Non-fiction. Science fiction. Historical. You name it, I love it! So it’s no surprise that one way I’ve continued to live beautifully with a chronic illness is to READ!
About five years ago, I started reading very purposefully. I wanted to grow as a person, to learn to love myself beneath the chronic illness, to employ new strategies in my life for dealing with the good times and the bad. The books that I have uncovered on this journey have absolutely changed my life for the better.
These books (I call them Game Changers!) aren’t specific to chronic illness; they are accessible to anyone at any point in their lives. But as a woman living with multiple chronic illnesses, they have spoken to my Soul in a deep way! I have compiled many of these books into a brand new book club I’m launching in September, but I also want to share some of them here on the blog so you have the opportunity to experience shifts like I have!
Without further ado, here’s my list of the top 10 game changing books for women living with chronic illnesses! (affiliate links)
10. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert – This may be the most cliche book on my list, but I don’t care. Liz’s semi-fiction book speaks to all of our hearts as we ask: Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Where am I headed? Do I like the path I’m on? It’s worth reading, even if you’ve read it before (or have just seen the movie).
9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – This book is different than all the others on here, but its message is profound: clean up your life (physically, emotionally, and mentally) and you create space for new things to come into it that are even more meaningful to you. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness tends to change our perspective of what is important in our lives, and this book takes that to a whole new level.
8. No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh – This one is a no-brainer for women with chronic illnesses. We live our lives in the mud and the muck, so why not figure out how we can help a beautiful flower blossom in that environment, just as the lotus does?
7. Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts: Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World (How to Use the Power of Pleasure) by Regena Thomashauer – You may have to forgive me a bit for this one, but it’s so worth it. This book is outrageous in the best kind of way. It challenged me to rethink the way I did everything from taking a bath to balancing my checkbook to building relationships. Who doesn’t need a bit more pleasure in their life?!
6. Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron – This books hit me right in the feels. Pema Chodron is a beautiful soul who conveys a powerful way of living an incredible life while faced with the inevitable darkness we all experience. This one is definitely a must-read for anyone living with a chronic illness or experiencing loss or major changes in their lives.
5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – Liz is the only author to make it on here twice (although several of them could have) because she just speaks to my soul. This book highlights the creative nature we all have within us and also how we allow fear to hold us back from truly living. It will challenge you, inspire you, and make you rethink your fears.
4. Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr – This is where the list starts to ramp up a bit! Tara coached a LOT of women while essentially asking the question, “why don’t women realize how brilliant and amazing they are?!” Her book is the answer. And a powerful one at that.
3. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks – This book required a couple of reads for me to soak it all in. It challenged my perspectives and some deeply held beliefs, and in the end, stretched me outside of my comfort zone. Isn’t that what we all need in life?
2. Rising Strong by Brene Brown – Brene is a brilliant researcher who spent years studying concepts like shame, vulnerability, and worthiness. Her (many, many) books are all profoundly written and poised to help us answer some of life’s most challenging questions about our own self-worth. Even if we could wave a magic wand and get rid of our chronic illness tomorrow, I’m willing to bet that issues of self-worth would continue to plague us (especially as women). So needless to say, this book packs a powerful, but loving, punch right in the gut.
1. The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte – This book changed the way I view goals. Living with a chronic illness, I lost sight of my dreams and the “hustle” it would take to reach them. This book shifted everything for me and expanded my thinking into totally new and beautiful realms. If you’re ready to “create goals with soul,” then this is the book for you!
These books and many, many more have the potential to change your life by opening your mind to new possibilities and allowing for tears, laughter, insight, love, growth, and new strategies. But in the end, these books only serve to motivate you; they won’t change your life for you or make it better simply because you read them. The hard work always begins after you read books like these, because that is when you have the opportunity to take action, implement strategies and new habits, and shift your life in subtle ways that have a big impact over time. It is also when you have the opportunity to remember that you are enough and that all the “self-help” books in the world won’t make you more worthy than you already are of living a life you love.
But imagine if you could read these books (and more!) with a supportive group of women who just get you and are on the same journey! Imagine if you could use these stories as a launching point for your own self-love. Imagine if you could be supported on the path of asking yourself tough questions that come out of these books.
Now you can! In September, I am launching my Game Changers book club for powerful women living with chronic illnesses. Come join us on this journey and launch yourself into major life shifts with fellow chronic illness Goddesses! Learn more about the book club here, and make sure you sign up by August 24th to get your first book (The Desire Map!) on time!
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