Today I wanted to share with you the books that have helped me as my life changed. I have always fought against audiobooks, always preferring the touch and smell of a paperback. I especially loved the ones from the library they had an oaky, musty smell of history to them. You just don’t get that connection with a tablet or phone. There was no longer anything I could do about that. I had no choice but to listen to audiobooks or listen to the screen reader read a kindle book to me. I tell a lie, there was a choice, I could just not read anything and that was not a choice I wanted. Even though I have lost my sight I have not lost the thirst for knowledge.
As I moved forward in my recovery, I listened to podcasts for the first time. These really helped me get used to the spoken word. Some of the podcasts introduced new books to me that I could not wait to hear. I found podcast a great foundation block for my future learning. I began with one, then two, then three and now I have listened to over fifteen audio books and I have a lot more in the library waiting to be played. I wanted to share with you the top five books that I have found the most impactful, inspiring and helped me to look at things differently. They are not in order of favourite just my top five.
- You are a bad ass – How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero
This book was one of the first books I listened to after I came to terms with using audiobooks. It was a great book to start with as Jen’s style is very light, funny, with a few swear words, yet very impactful. Jen asks you to be open minded as she wants us to do some ‘far out’ things.
Jen says “if you want to live a life you have never lived, you have to do things you have never done.” Jen shows us that our subconscious mind runs the show and this is based off beliefs that were set up in our minds as children. This was hard to read and I didn’t really understand the connection until I read about and then attended The Bridge Retreat. Jen sees us all as energy and connected to the universe through these energies. If we attract the high vibrations we will achieve like for like and run at a higher vibration. I thought this was a great thought and seemed quite obvious once I read her book.
Jen believes we are all connected to source energy and we should focus on the bigger things because when we worry about the little things, it distracts us from the amazing things the universe can offer. Jen encourages us to have more self-love and self-belief. Within these lessons she teaches us that listening to the ego can be destructive and we should give up self-deprecating behaviours and use affirmations to help instead. The most powerful thing I took from this book was the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness of yourself and your past mistakes, through this Jen shows that no experience is a bad one. We learn from them all if we look at it from the perspective of “this is good, because” as she says, and this encourages decision making. So after reading this book I decided to get further help with dealing with my sight loss contacting the Bridge retreat and then going away to start my inner work. This book was my start, and my journey continues.
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I heard of Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray Love, a classic that was turned into a multimillion pound film starring Julia Roberts. I didn’t know much more about Elizabeth until I listened to the podcast, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day. Elizabeth Day interviewed Gilbert and I was mesmerised by her and had to read more of her work. Big magic is the genius of a profound writer. She shares so much of her knowledge and journey. Her insight into how it was becoming a writer and the lessons she learnt along the way.
Elizabeth also shared her ideas of creativity and inspiration and how it can find you but if it doesn’t land then that is not the end of the world it just means that it is the wrong time or the wrong idea for you. She talks about how having a creative life is not just about the degree or training you hold that it is in how you live. She shared how rejection is a part of creativity and we just have to accept that with open arms.
It definitely helped me look at the darker side of creativity and shone a light on it, helping it become positive. I want to share a quote with you it is not from this book but from Eat, Pray Love it is still Elizabeth’s work and it inspired me, here it is: “Ruin is a gift, Ruin is the road to transformation” This helped me see that even when things a bad and in ruin, it is just the start to change. I love this woman!
- Keka and me by Dr Armid Patel
This book is the first book I listened to that was written by a blind person. I did buy a kindle book around five years ago called Awake. This was a story of a blind girl. I thought it would help me get an insight but I was to wrapped up in my own life and pushing against acceptance of my sight loss to read it. This book however, and now my being a pro at audiobooks, well I just loved it! It was a kind of memoir of Dr Patel and Keka his guide dog. As I am on the waiting list for a guide dog and wanting to learn more about my sight loss community, I was eager to hear his story.
What a story! He was an accident and emergency doctor in London. His sight deteriorated later in life to the point of sight loss. I won’t give too much away but he has been on a journey. Dr Armid has seen the lighter side of this journey and has shown that in the book. It is a great insight and a light read. Well it was for me as I think I have an understanding of what he went through. You may find it a little hard or upsetting. Let me assure you though, he is a wonderful and very strong man.
- The gifts of imperfection By Brené Brown
I first came across Brené Brown when my aunt shared a TED talk video of her. Wow what a woman! She is a PHD researcher and writer specialising in shame, vulnerability and whole hearted living. I know ‘self help’ books have some kind of stigma, and if I am being honest, I thought that too.
This book is nothing like that. It doesn’t promise to jump in and fix all your problems. It simply gives you the tools to look into your life and the things you do in a different way. Brené breaks down this whole hearted living into 10 posts, which she delivers in such away the it is not accusing or demanding. She simply shares her research and experiences and shows what you can learn from it and how to approach certain situations differently. She has a great humour and compassion about her. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is run down, overwhelmed or if you feel you are missing something, Brené removes the stigmatism associated with shame and empowers you. I also listen to her podcasts which is very entertaining and Brené shares so much.
- Learning to love yourself Gay Hendricks
This book caught my eye because of the title. In my newest part of my sight loss journey, I have had to start to learn to love myself as I am all over again. This book looked like it could help with that. Gay Hendricks is a psychotherapist specialising in relationship transformation and body mind therapy. The book was first published in 1982, the same year as a certain person was born, Me!
The book focuses on helping people to look at their feelings and learning to develo a positive sense of self-worth. This book was not a light read like some of the others but was definitely readable or should I say listenable. It certainly helped me to start to look at my own self-worth and open up to the idea of loving myself more.
I have so many other titles that have helped to and I could be here all day sharing with you but I won’t keep you that long. I truly enjoy listening to books now as much as I used to when reading them. The bonus to an audio book to is that you can multi task, well as much as a blind person can! I say that as you do need your attention especially if you are moving about the house. I mean in the sense that I have been able to knit, cook, fold the washing and all manner of stationary tasks whilst listening to my audiobooks. I also sneak my headphones in when the football is on the television, as a good book is far more interesting. Don’t tell my lads!
Thank you for reading and I have including the links for each book on audible. I would guess some of the titles maybe available through other streams such as RNIB Library or Google audiobooks. There is a great blog post on the top ten sites here, The best audiobook sites 2020 from TechRadar
If you like the look of any of the books above and have a go at listening. Why not leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Sending love and positivity