Books and Mobile Apps
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A beautifully woven novel about following your heart and trusting in the universe. Each time I come back to this tale I take away a new profound message. It seems to speak differently to me at different points in my life and a delightful read.
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This is a simple and straightforward cookbook for developing a mindfulness meditation practice. Developed by docs and first used for patients with chronic pain at UMass Medical, it is grounded in scientific research and proven itself an invaluable resource for thousands of people, including myself. I am forever grateful to have encountered this life manual early in grad school (it certainly helped me to make it through the long days and nights in one piece) and its pages of wisdom continue to influence my experience with physical, emotional, and spiritual pain (the full catastrophe) just as they are.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
This book helped me begin to acknowledge the roles that shame and perfectionism played in my day to day life and sense of my self. Brené Brown has written several additional best sellers on the topics of shame, vulnerability, and courage as well as an abundance of blog posts and talks, all of which can be found on her website www.brenebrown.com
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach.
Throughout all the personal inquiry I have done, Tara Brach has the voice that resonates with me the most. When I am feeling lost I come back to this book or any of her enlightened podcasts which she produces weekly. I relate to work both on a professional level, as a Clinical Psychologist, as well as a person. She pontificates on Buddhism, spirituality, and compassion in a wise, humorous, and humble way that makes approaching a heart-centered life seem doable. Find her podcasts, writing, and list of retreats at www.tarabrach.com
This gem arrived in my mailbox from a friend while I was awaiting the arrival of my first daughter and it has since been the one parenting book that remains on my bookshelf. Honest, to the point, humorous, and deeply moving in easy to digest chapters that helped bring levity to the long moments of motherhood.
Insight Timer App
This app has become the only one that I tend to recommend, though there are seemingly new ones every day popping up for your to explore. This has become my go-to app because there is no-cost for most of the features and it is community driven. Practitioners participate in the community by uploading their own audio recordings for various meditation and healing exercises. Last I checked there were 7000 different audio recordings so there is a good chance you will find a voice and essence you will like. There is also an option to simply set a timed bell to ring if you want more of a silent practice. Insight Timer is on a network so in any moment you can see who is meditating with you around the globe building an awesome sense of a conscious community. It also is highly reliable and well organized as apps go.
Head Space app
I have not personally used this one, but hear really good feedback for people looking for a structured introduction backed by science that has a built in sense of accountability. After a basic intro, there is a small fee for subscription, but worth it for the amount of space in your head you will get. It also gets earns high marks for being easy to use and well organized.