Spiritual Technician | Soul Surgeon | Bush Woman | Metaphysical Lawyer | Alchemist | Teacher | Sister-Friend
I Am the youngest child of Horace Lester Harris and Sahara Elizabeth Jefferson, neither of whom lived long enough to witness my struggle to break and live beyond the pathology I inherited from them.
I Am a grateful servant of the Creator who continues to be humbled by the grace, mercy, and love that have been present in my life.
I Am my best when I have done my meditation and yoga consistently for 10 days which only happens three or four times a year. At all other times, I am human, curious, loving and prone to make mistakes for which I have learned to immediately ask forgiveness.
I Am a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who refuses to bake cookies and continually checks her chin for those stubborn, make-up resistant white hairs that always show up on HD film.
I Am a perpetual student and committed teacher, who thrives on sharing what I learn in an effort to eradicate unnecessary suffering.
I Am sharing my 10 best books with you with a clear intention to support you in reaping the benefits of honoring all from which you have come; so you will be willing to serve others and the world with loving curiosity; in the hopes that you will develop self-discipline; and live authentically; doing what you can, when you can with the best of who you are. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the hairs that will inevitably pop out on your chin.
IYANLA VANZANT is one of the country’s most celebrated writers and public speakers, and she’s among the most influential, socially engaged, and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time.
Dedicated to facilitating the growth and evolution of human consciousness, Iyanla’s body of work spans over three decades and includes 15 published books, six New York Times best-sellers (translated into 23 languages and with sales exceeding eight million copies), CDs, television, radio, and stage performances. https://iyanla.com
My 10 Best
Love Without Conditions by Paul Ferrini
This is a must-read book for all those who have experienced religious or spiritual abuse that has resulted in a dysfunctional, fear-based relationship with Christ, also known as Jesus. In my Institute where I train Spiritual Life Coaches and Ministers, this is the first assigned reading.
Based on the teaching of A Course In Miracles, LWOC will answer so many questions about how and why it is absolutely essential for you to do your own “independent investigation”of all things spiritual. It will also unpack some of the mystery around how and why religion has been used to control and manipulate so many. Like I said, this, for me, is a must-read.
A Course in Miracles
I was 30 years old, living in the mess my life had become when a friend invited me to a Miracles Study Group. At the time, I needed several miracles. It never dawned on me that a Native American medicine woman would be involved with a group of Europeans studying a book about the teachings of Christ. After the first meeting, I knew my mind had been changed forever, and if my mind could be changed, my life would follow suit.
The Course is not a casual read. For that matter, I do not believe it is a book that the average person can read alone or on their own. There must be an introduction to this work. There must be support and guidance to move through the language of this work. More importantly, there must be a willingness to surrender everything you now believe is true and allow something grander to take its place. The one line from The Course that I learned in that first meeting and hold on to this day, 37 years later, is this: “There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” I believe that with all of my heart. I am still learning to live fully in that belief.
Legacy of the Heart by Wayne Muller
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is a saying most of us have encountered at one time or another. What I learned from this book and its author is that the teacher is not always a human being. This book was my teacher. This book taught me everything I needed to know about how to understand and heal the wounds of a dysfunctional childhood. This book taught me the importance of recognizing the blessing hidden in every painful experience.
This Book taught me that Jesus and Buddha did not have any issues with each other and, therefore, neither should I. This book taught me that I did not come from a legacy of pain, but a foundation of love. This book taught me how to open my eyes and recognize the love that I always had, and the love that I am.
The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes
If you want to understand how to use the most incredibly amazing tool ever known to man – the mind – this is the place to start. Ernest Holmes was a master teacher, a gentle being, and a lover of life. Spiritually endowed with a depth of wisdom, insight, and understanding that has never been duplicated, he shares with exacting detail how to use the mind, your mind, to become the truth of who you were created to be. He was a scientist for sure. A metaphysician with impeccable integrity. He believed in the exacting science of the divine nature of life, which he shares generously in his writing. If you want to know how and what you came into this life to be, do, and experience, this is the primer. It will take you into the depths of your mind and soul in a way you may have never realized was possible.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
If you loved, respected or simply heard the name Maya Angelou, you must read this book. This is the first of seven autobiographical works by Dr. Angelou that became the most widely-read book ever written by an African American woman. It is a story of how the imprint of a family need not become the blueprint of your life. A story of how the strength of spirit and character can and will overcome any indignity visited upon you.
While Caged Bird is one woman’s story, it tells the story of hundreds of thousands of little girls who grow into unbreakable women. It is a story of sorrow and strength; of pain and resilience; of powerlessness and powerfulness that addresses many of the ills still present in the world today. Every woman knows a caged bird. Many have been that caged bird. Dr. Angelou offers those women, us women, the music we need to sing a beautiful song.
Your Body’s Telling You Love Yourself by Lise Bourbeau
At age 62, I had never been ill a day in my life until one day, without any warning or symptoms, my colon ruptured, and I almost died. After the emergency surgery, I spent 10 days in the hospital. I left the hospital with a colostomy bag attached to the left side of my body. For the next 90 days, I had to watch everything I ate deposit itself in the bag, which I then had to clean. It was the most humbling and empowering 90 days of my life. I knew that neither the rupture nor the bag was simply about a problem in my colon. Prayer and meditation took me to a deeper level. I had been stuffing crap for most of my life. Mental crap, emotional crap, even spiritual crap. I had been so afraid of failing and “being like them” that I had learned clever and acceptable ways to abuse myself in order to get ahead. I was grieving the loss of my child, my marriage, and a 20-year business relationship at the same time as I was trying to save the world and everyone in it. I had fallen out of love with myself, my life and, quite frankly, God. This book taught me how and why that had happened and how to get myself back on the self-love train.
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun who took a year-long sabbatical from her life and service to the world. As she turned within through meditation, she came to recognize and understand that the way to overcome fear, pain, loss, and anxiety is to confront those negative emotions. The process she shared has been coined as “self-care-frontation.” Gently, and with great compassion, Pema shares that in order to transform suffering and negative patterns you must learn to focus on the joy rather than the hardship. Trust me, I tried it, and it is not an easy thing to do. However, Pema offers the reader the magic key to staying sane and centered when things fall apart; you must practice compassionate, loving-kindness toward yourself. Once this skill is embodied and practiced, it can and will grow into loving kindness toward others. While compassion and loving-kindness are basic foundational tools in Buddhist traditions, when I read this book, they were foreign concepts to me. Today, they are staples in my spiritual practice toolbox.
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
After many years of practicing what I thought was meditation, I learned there is a distinction between quiet time and true meditation. I knew how to get still, breathe deeply, and allow my mind and thoughts to rest. . . for a few minutes. I knew how to focus on a particular thought or passage of sacred scripture, to reflect on it to gain insight or guidance. I knew how to pray and become inspired, and become one with an energy or entity that inspired me. What I did not know was how to take a pilgrimage, a journey into the great unknown within myself. What I learned from studying this incredible work was that the practice of mindfulness meditation does not mean you will not have thoughts. It means you will not engage the thoughts that arise once you still your body. Meditation is also the training, focusing, and directing of your attention in a deliberate way. A way that leads you into the depths of the self, without judgment or fear. While there are many paths and practices in a variety of Buddhist traditions, I thank Thich Nhat Han for sharing The Miracle of Mindfulness with me and the world.
The Way of Mastery by Shanti Christo Foundation
The great Christian Mystic, Dr. Howard Thurman once wrote, “I just want to be more loving.” For many years, that was my battle cry. Then, I discovered The Way of Mastery and my battle cry became a clear, heartfelt intention.
WOM is three books in one, each of which guides the reader into a deeper understanding of and relationship with love. In many ways, it reminds me of A Course In Miracles but, there is something more that I cannot quite put my finger on, and cannot begin to explain.
What I have discovered is that the best way to move through this work is to breathe deeply, place the edge of the book to your forehead, contemplate and ask for what will serve you best at this moment, and then open the book.
If you are looking to be or give more love, demonstrate more love, receive more love, or simply understand love as a living, breathing essence of life, this is an excellent place to start.
Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant
I had to think long and hard before I put this book on my list. At first, I thought it would be shamelessly self-promoting. Then, I thought it would be seen as selfish and inappropriate. Then, I remembered the truth of who I am as a teacher and metaphysical attorney, one who embraces the practice of universal law as a way of life. This book does what I have dedicated my life to do, it teaches universal law and spiritual principles. Twelve months, twelve principles. A different approach to the same principle every day of the month until it is time to move on to another.
When I reflect on how lawlessly people live their lives and, in the world, I recognize they are also ignorant of the operation of universal law. When I see how many people suffer needlessly because of bad habits and bad behavior, I understand it is because they are deficient in their understanding of how spiritual principles build strength of character. Universal laws and spiritual principles are the focus of this work. If you have the desire to incorporate either of these two infallible building blocks into any area of your life, this is a book you want to own and keep nearby at all times.