Wholehearted Seeker | Compassionate Witness | Infinite Space Holder | Intuitive Healer | Cosmic Storyteller | Channel-Driven Writer
Coming up with my list of 10 was a fabulous journey for me. So many more books came to mind than would fit into this refined list. My intention was to pick books that irrevocably shifted my pathway, books that came in at just the right time and taught me something that was essential for me to learn in order to move forward in the way that I did.
My second desire in assembling this list was to share books that may be new to the viewer. I have to state my profound gratitude to authors who wrote books that have been so important to me, but for one reason or another didn’t make it onto this list. I would love to sprinkle their magic on this page by sharing their names! Thank you to Pema Chrodron (When Things Fall Apart), Hank Wesselman (Spiritwalker Trilogy), Allison Bradley (Personal Infinity), Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), Brene Brown (Daring Greatly), and Lee Harris (Energy Speaks).
Books are magic. They have the capacity to transform us, teleport us to other times and places, give us tools to implement, and remind us of truths that we would have otherwise forgotten. I believe all great books are works of channeling and that these books are truly gifts from Spirit. In these uncertain times, I feel great encouragement and comfort from the solidity found in ink on paper under my fingertips. This list-making process has encouraged me to reassemble a library of my beloved favorites and to perhaps buy a few extra to share!
MaRiza Noyama-Zee is a dedicated guide for people on the path of awakening all around the world. As a shamanic healer and mentor, Riza has served individuals and groups for over 17 years to move through the energetic, emotional, spiritual, and mental blocks that keep them from waking up fully to their inherent potential. Always a student of suffering, Riza is committed to using her own life as a vehicle for internal transformation so that she can make effective medicine for the communities that she serves.
She believes that knowledge and truth are best served and utilized once they are embodied fully. To that end her intention is to guide people back into their bodies and to help them to make their bodies and the present moment a safe place to be. Only in the present moment can truth become actionable wisdom!
As the Founding Director of Full Awakening LLC, Riza shares her unique healing and guiding style through an online 21-part process called Rise and Shine. This process has been wildly successful in creating transformation in people’s lives through 1:1 work and group classes. The process is now available as an online Self-Study program to be completed at an individual’s own pace. In addition to this heavy hitting program, Riza serves her greater community through a monthly Magnetic Heart membership circle of audio teachings, a free video podcast called Stories of Awakening, and online Facebook Live video teachings and meditations.
Riza is an advocate for accessibility in the transformational community, believing the call to awaken is worldwide and so the tools should be made available to all. To this end, Full Awakening has an Accessibility Fund to help participants pay for mentorship and classes that would be otherwise out of reach. You can learn more at www.fullawakening.net or by emailing Riza and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My 10 Best
Many Lives, Many Masters
by Dr. Brian Weiss
I first came upon this work at the tender age of 17 while working a summer job at Barnes and Noble. I remember reading it at lunch in the cafe and allowing the walls in my mind to bend and crumble. This was an age of discovery for me, where I was beginning to accept that there is more to life than what my eyes could see and what my mind had been trained to believe.
This book is a non-fictional chronicle of one therapist’s accidental discovery of past-life memory in one particular patient, through regression hypnosis therapy. This idea of time/ dimensional bleed-through, and in-between-life teachings, opened me up to a subject that would become significant on my path of healing. Over the next 20 years, past life healing and recapitulation would become an important part of my personal process and professional calling. I have noticed in my work that past life remembrance and healing is significant for some but not for all. For those who do consider it work they are called to, this book can help open you up to remembering. I would also consider it a great read for anyone who is confronting their own impermanence and wondering what exists beyond. This is a great bridge between mainstream scientific and mystical!
The Fifth Sacred Thing
This book is foundational for me. I received it in 1999 as a gift from a beloved college friend and it opened my mind and heart to what fiction could offer me. In this future-gazing vision, Starhawk shows us the light and dark side of human nature and societal potential. I found the story not only riveting, but also deeply instructional.
The city to the North is an ideal civilization birthed from nonviolent resistance against the darkest of domination society agendas. In the North, the city is brought into a state of balance with nature, the protection and reverence for 4 sacred elements is the basis for governance, diversity is celebrated, and everyone has a place at the table. While bolstering us with this beautiful example of what humanity can evolve into, the crux of the story is the continued conflict with an opposing force of dominance and oppression. Through this engaging narrative, I was able to look the darkness of human potential in the face in a way that I had never been able to before. This book undoubtedly made me a better healer and visionary.
The Sorcerer’s Crossing
by Taisha Abelar
I first read this book in my early 20s, alongside a whole gaggle of similar autobiographical accounts from a company of shamans in Carlos Castenada’s lineage, including books by Castenada himself. Of all these books that I consumed, this book in particular left a lasting impression and is something that my mind bends back to often. All of the magical books on my Top 10 List opened internal gateways for me; connecting me to certain dimensional realities, revealing latent capabilities, and reminding me of something I had forgotten. This book is no different.
I read this book in 2002, at a time in my life where I was quickly approaching a major initiation and threshold that I could feel, but had no way to predict. I was a theater professional in NYC, having lived through 911 and feeling like the work I was doing in the theater wasn’t enough, it wasn’t the fullness of my path. I could feel that there was more beyond the veil calling me. At that point I had been having breakthrough spiritual experiences for 12 years and no teacher to help me contextualize or train. This book was a mini-training for me. Through following Taisha’s journey, I felt what it was to be called to a path, to go through rigorous training in non-ordinary reality, and most significantly to go through the process of recapitulation. This idea of calling back your power from each moment of life was new to me. It was my first introduction to the idea that in shamanic healing the name of the game is to regain power that has been lost through both trauma and the act of living, so that you can be as present as possible and able to act with intention. I would recommend this to anyone looking to have their mind bent and dilated around what is possible for humans to experience, perceive, and do.
Speak Peace in a World of Conflict
by Marshall Rosenberg
I remember standing in Powell Books in Portland, where I moved in 2005 from NYC, searching through a stack of Marshall Rosenberg books. My spiritual mentor, Dr Allison Bradley, is a big fan of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and she had recommended I have a gander. As I paged through the many tomes under Marshall Rosenberg’s name, I came upon this little gem. This book contains case studies and stories from the field, of how applying this therapeutic communication style can defuse a conflictual situation. I enjoy how Marshall explains NVC as applied in a variety of situations. There are stories of grid-lock struggles between parent and child, restorative justice between someone in jail for a violent crime and the person who suffered that crime, all the way up to healing generations-old tribal conflict. The usefulness of this understanding is so simple and yet entirely revolutionary. To this day, I use NVC concepts to care for myself, my relationships, my kids, and my clients.
In a nutshell, Dr Rosenberg posits that all our emotions arise from needs we have that are either being met or unmet. The secret is to be able to identify the needs we have and then find more constructive ways to get our needs met. This simple understanding, paired with a variety of case study conversations, gives you all the information you need to start transforming conversations with yourself and others. I highly recommend this book, or any of his books really, to get started on understanding the needs and desires that underpin your emotions and impulses! I like to pair this work with the Buddhist idea that understanding is the foundation of love. This book and the work of NVC can make us more loving to ourselves and others.
Anatomy of the Spirit
by Caroline Myss
Now this is a classic! I tried to pick books for this list that are slightly lesser known. This one, however, is likely known to many folks reading this, but the wealth of information found here is so precious, that I had to include it on this list! I first came upon this book when I was well on my healer’s path and the ideas that she presents here created a new framework for me to operate from. Caroline Myss walks us through the chakra system and talks about them each as a stage in human evolution. I inherited a fascination and love for human evolution from my father and seeing this energetic system set side by side with the evolution of humanity, society, and individuation, really spoke to me. It was like a light bulb illuminating a secret bridge between these seemingly divergent parts of my mind, and in one fell swoop, my internal scientific mystic was born!
This book is perfect for oracle style reading, which is mainly how I have used it. One day I flipped to a section and read this absolutely beautiful explanation of how anger makes people feel powerful at a time when their overarching feelings might lean more towards powerlessness. Anger informs us that we have a boundary that has been crossed, and thus is really helpful. But if we choose to hold onto that anger for the power we feel in this emotional state, then the anger starts to burn us up inside. This seemingly obvious truth really changed my relationship with anger at a time when I was having so much ancient, boxed-up anger escape from my body. Having this wisdom in my back pocket has helped me to respond in a much more conscious way when anger arises and I become aware that my boundaries have been crossed. This is such a small nugget out of a treasure chest of awareness! If you want to have extra fun, listen to her audiobooks sometime. Her voice and way of expressing herself is a delight!
His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials included the books: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. This riveting piece of fiction was made for young adult readers, but like all good pieces of fiction, there is so much truth embedded in here! This story takes place initially in a parallel dimension where each person has a visible spirit ally called a daemon that is in the form of an animal, an intriguing idea in and of itself. This animal spirit aspect has the ability to shapeshift during childhood to reflect the developing character of the person. Around adolescence, the animal takes on its permanent form and becomes an accurate expression of an individual’s true nature. As a reader, I couldn’t help but be intrigued and to wonder what my animal companion would be like!
The part of this odyssey that really grabbed me though was the description of cosmic dust, or dark matter. The description of this matter and the intelligence that it carries struck me to the core, because at odd times throughout my life I have had the experience of seeing it. To think that these sparks of light that travel around spaces in dancing clouds was perhaps actual dark matter containing pure truth energy made so much sense to me. I felt clear, at that point of reading The Golden Compass, that all forms of divination call upon the wisdom of this dark matter, and that I myself was training to become my very own instrument of truth. This is more or less how I experience my gifts of intuition now, like tuning my instrument to read the dark matter or god particles, as I sometimes call them. So for that information alone, these books have been extremely valuable on my path. With all of that aside, these books provide something I also find to be priceless, they are a dang good read!
All about love
by Bell Hooks
Oh this book. This one right here came to me at a time when I was sitting in the depths of despair over what felt like the end of my marriage. I read this book while sleeping on the couch of a friend’s house, trying to gain a little bit of perspective and understanding for why my heart was hurting so much. What I found here was the most thorough, intellectual, guttural, raw, and pointed book about love that I had ever come across. Leave it to Bell Hooks, a feminist acedemic who studies the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, to deliver a book on love that offers no apology for ripping the issue wide open.
Through telling her personal story, Bell Hooks investigates the lovelessness which plagues our families of origin and causes us so much pain and confusion when we seek love from partnership as adults. This issue is presented in a way that is a revelation. I myself am dedicated to understanding human suffering, the roots of pain that cause us to suffer and enact suffering on others. For this, I have had my fair share of personal pain. Fortunately, I believe that the wounds we suffer and heal offer us the raw ingredients for the medicine we can make for others. This book shows that Bell Hooks is indeed a medicine maker, and understanding love is a medicine we all need.
Living in the Heart
by Drunvalo Melchizedek
I first stumbled upon Drunvalo Melchizedek while wandering through the metaphysical section of Powell’s Books. The first book I found of his was Serpent of Light: Beyond 2012. The book both repelled me and called me in. I bought the book, having never heard of Drunvalo, and it sat on my shelf untouched for a long while, perhaps years. One day it flew off my shelf and presented itself to me. It was finally time. I was fascinated by this story about the movement of the Earth’s kundalini from the Himalayas to Andes and although it all stretched my beliefs of what I knew as truth at that time, it also felt undeniably plausible and right.
The second book of Drunvalo’s that I read is this one, Living in the Heart. I chose this book to share on my Top 10 list because the meditations and instruction in this book have been deeply meaningful to me and have informed the meditations that I guide today. I also had the unique opportunity some years ago to take a class taught by one of Drunvalo’s students and that deepened my understanding of these secret realms of the heart as well. I find this man’s work to be significant and super helpful! He has 4 books total and has started a number of esoteric schools including most recently The School of Remembering.
by Robert Bruce
When this book appeared on my list, I was surprised and delighted. So many of the books on this list I have loved so much that I long ago “lent” them out and they never returned. Perhaps this should be the fate of all great books! I haven’t seen this book in many years. Nonetheless, this book was incredibly meaningful to me around the time of my big initiation as a healer. I mentioned earlier, in my description of Sorcerer’s Crossing, that in 2002 I was working in theater in NYC and was feeling like a big change was coming. I asked my director one night as we waited for the curtains to rise, “Do you ever feel like going into the desert and meditating in the dark?” She looked at me for a long moment and then said, “No.”
As the fates would have it, about a month later I suffered severe 2nd degree burns on a third of my face from a cooking accident. I immediately started to do energy work on myself even though I had no training, out of pure necessity, in the hour it took to get someone to take me to the hospital. After being at the hospital for about eight hours I was released into my own care as I had inexplicably healed myself from a burn on the sclera of my right eye. I was given strict instructions on how to care for myself, including covering all my windows with blankets to block out the Sun, staying indoors, and of course keeping the 13 individual wounds clean. It was summer in NYC and I got my cave in the desert after all. With the pain and the goop in my eye blurring my vision, I couldn’t do much except meditate. During this time, I started to have some truly bizarre experiences, including many lucid dreams and astral projections. This book was deeply helpful in training me in these new skills.
by Justin Michael Williams
This is the book that I am reading right now. I am including it even though I haven’t completed it, because I can already tell it is going to be a classic. Notice the subtitle, “A meditation guide for the rest of us”. I love that the author is devoted to showing that meditation is for everyone, and that it is a vital part of living a balanced, creative life. One of the core beliefs and values that I carry is that it is our right and responsibility to take ourselves on a healing journey. No one else can do it for us. There is no greater bridge to the divine than you are yourself and anyone telling you otherwise is suspect.
This book is vulnerable, confident, soft, and loud. It is one person’s story being sung to millions. I can’t think of a better anthem for our times. Internal evolution, understanding, love, and compassion is a freedom offered to all and the tools of it should also be visible, findable, and relatable!