Recommended

BOOKS

Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy
by Panache Desai

This is truly a beautiful book. It’s like a vibrational valentine of love and support for each person who holds it in their hands and decides to discover their soul signature. The 33-day path of 3 reading passages a day is just brilliant because you really feel Panache’s presence with you every step of the way. His writing is personal and conversational as well as poetic and wise. He probes, pushes, encourages, and inspires through sharing his own life stories. And then he eases you into sleep with nighttime meditation-lullabies–I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps as I read many of these divine messages. I have been participating in Panache’s events & programs for almost 3 years, and I am so thrilled to have this tangible daily reminder of his wonderful teachings. Discovering Your Soul Signature is very clearly a key part of Panache’s own soul signature in the world–and we are blessed to have it! Highly recommended!

Living the Season: Zen Practice for Transformative Times by Ji Hyang Padma

Ji Hyang Padma has a long personal history of Zen practice and teaching, so she is deeply knowledgeable on the subject. It is her intuitive wisdom and experience beyond concepts, however, that makes this book one you will want to read more than once. The anecdotes and stories from her own life and those of her students enrich each chapter, and her lyrical summations of basic Zen teachings often read like poetry in prose form. She also draws from many cultures and art forms to round out her already expansive view of Zen Buddhism and its relevance in today’s rapidly changing world. I learned a great deal from Ji Hyang’s insights and will carry them with me in my heart. Recommended for everyone, from all backgrounds.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

I loved Refuge, but When Women Were Birds is an even greater work of art. Terry Tempest Williams has a gift for language, and for evoking deep feelings beyond words. Her writing is prose, poetry, and inspirational personal narrative all in one. When Women Were Birds explores the known and unknown aspects of her mother’s life, as well as of the natural world, in particular birds (always so much a part of the author’s writing). Mystery is interwoven through the book’s pages–the mystery of a woman’s life (her own in relation to her mother’s), of all women’s lives, and of life itself. The sheer beauty and profound wisdom expressed brought me to tears, over and over. Exquisite, and very highly recommended.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.

Dr. Eben Alexander is one more intelligent and eloquent voice bridging the scientific and spiritual worlds with his extraordinary book Proof of Heaven. The fact that a neurosurgeon, of finely tuned and solid scientific bent, was the individual who found himself having a NDE (near-death experience) is beyond coincidence. Heaven chose the perfect spokesperson! Dr. Alexander writes from the heart, which makes his book so readable, but he also includes some of his own scientific observations, which may be helpful to those with a more skeptical mindset. I loved reading all of it, and I especially appreciated the way the book was organized, with chapters describing his own other-worldly experience alternating with chapters describing the experiences of his family members who sat by his side while he was in a coma. This is not a dry factual narrative–the beauty of his thoughts, feelings, and perceptions brought me to tears at times. A beautiful uplifting book!

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Although I liked this book very much the first time I read it several years ago, it was on the second reading in 2012 that I deeply connected with what Eckhart Tolle is sharing about the extraordinary times we are living through, wherein “consciousness is awakening from the dream of form.” Perhaps it is the rising 2012 energy that lends greater significance to his words. At any rate, I found A New Earth to be one of the best books I’ve read about what some have called the Great Shift in awareness on our planet. Tolle’s analysis is at times conceptually dense, which some might find hard to make their way through. (Stick with it; it’s worth it!) I myself wished for a little more personal, emotional content when I first read it, but that is not really his style. As I reread the book, I was so inspired that my own feelings carried me on a wave of enthusiasm and epiphany right to the last word in the last chapter. Outstanding and truly visionary!

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani

I first saw Anita Moorjani on Wayne Dyer’s PBS special, where she was a featured guest. After hearing her talk about her near-death experience (from “terminal” cancer), her spiritual epiphanies during the time she was out of body, and her miraculous full recovery afterward, I immediately ordered her book. Dying to Be Me is every bit as compelling as Anita’s in-person descriptions. I was fascinated and inspired by the details of her time beyond the physical realm as well as by the expansive wisdom she tapped into while there. What she writes about reminds me very much of the teachings of spiritual master/avatar Panache Desai–oneness, being your unique self, unconditional love, etc. Both of them are consciously connected to a divine presence that lives within us all. The time has come for each of us to open to that connection and live our lives full out as the person we came here to be. Anita’s book is a gateway; her words spark the opening. What a gift she has given us!

Kinship with All Life by J. Allen Boone

J. Allen Boone was way, way ahead of his time. He was writing about telepathic communication with animals in the 1950s, long before even a glimmer of such an idea had reached public consciousness. It’s still not that well known today, but at least there is a substantial segment of the population who recognizes the truth of such experiences. In Kinship with All Life, Boone takes the reader along on his journey of discovery about the high intelligence and superior psychic ability of so-called “lesser” beings, from Strongheart the German Shepherd to Freddie the Fly. Each chapter is both touching and enlightening, as our eyes are opened along with Boone’s. I absolutely love this book!. I first read it 12 years ago, recently reread it, and found it just as wonderful. I have talked to many people who have said it changed their life, and I would agree. It’s a stand-alone classic.

The Gift of Kaballah, Discovering the Secrets of Heaven, Renewing Your Life on Earth by Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.

As someone who knew very little about Kabbalah before reading this book, I found it to be an excellent, clearly written overview of these wonderful ancient teachings at the heart of Jewish mysticism. I was not raised in any particular religious tradition, and I have been eclectic in my spiritual exploration as an adult. The teachings of Kabbalah touched something very deep and universal within me. I was moved to tears at times by the eloquence of Dr. Frankiel’s descriptions of the Tree of Life, which is complex and multidimensional, yet very grounded in the human experience on Earth. Kabbalah wisdom reminds us that we are “vessels of the Divine” and “co-creators with God.” Ideally, human beings go within to find a deep connection to the Divine and then move outward to embody that Divinity in “caring involvement in the world.” I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore a profound, expansive spiritual view of the universe and our place in it. The last section of the book, “Techniques for Spiritual Growth,” includes meditations, prayers, and affirmations to personalize the teachings on a daily basis.

Healing Yourself with Light: How to Connect with the Angelic Healers by LaUna Huffines

I used this book in a daily self-healing practice, and I found it to be powerful and full of spiritual wisdom of the highest calibre. The healing journeys/meditations are beautifully written and flow easily, using stillness, images, sound, color, and emotion. Each time I used them, I felt transported to a different dimension, surrounded with angelic healing. The light that filled me during those times overflowed into my daily life, and I found myself drawn to other healing practices that complemented the angels’ guidance (e.g., network chiropractic, green smoothies). I would recommend this book not only to those with specific physical healing challenges but to anyone who wants to recalibrate his/her physical body to accommodate the higher vibrations coming into the planet at this time. Sometimes physical symptoms can be a sign that the cells are having difficulty adjusting to an individual’s soaring spiritual growth. Our bodies may need assistance in raising the light in our cells in order to bring our bodies and spirits into harmony. This book offers that assistance–and much, much more. LaUna Huffines was clearly angelically inspired when she wrote it.

Traveling at the Speed of Love by Sonia Choquette

This is my favorite of Sonia’s many books. I really enjoy everything she writes, but this one was especially inspiring to me because of the emphasis on love (instead of fear) as the core consciousness in daily life–and because of the stories from her own life. The analogy of airplane travel that she uses throughout the book (“Travel Lightly,” “Turbulence,” “Catching the Jet Stream of Grace,” etc.) made her points vividly and well, and I was particularly moved by the last chapter, “Round-trips” and the epilogue, “”Our Final Destination,” in which she shares some of her and her family’s heart-opening experiences of recent years. The book’s message is clear: Love is the only thing that matters in this life–and beyond. We all need to be reminded of that–thank you, Sonia, for doing that in such a personal, loving way.

Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko

My vegan diet has included much raw food for many years now, and I always eat huge green salads, but juicing was so much work (especially the cleanup) that I could never really get into it. Green smoothies are the perfect solution! Until reading Victoria’s book, I had never thought of adding greens to my morning smoothies. Now I add romaine lettuce, spinach, and lacinato kale, and a quart a day is easy to make and drink (tastes great too!). I feel healthier and have more energy. I wish everyone could read this book and take it to heart. It’s the perfect antidote to America’s processed-food dependence and so simple to include in anyone’s diet, vegetarian or not.

When Fear Falls Away, the Story of a Sudden Awakening by Jan Frazier

Jan Frazier’s journaled chronicle of spontaneous enlightenment at midlife is unlike any other book I’ve read. I was intrigued as well as heartened by her day-to-day descriptions of the changes in the way she experienced her life. She makes the awakened state of mind (“falling away of fear,” as she calls it) seem both accessible and possible. Some of the ideas she presents reminded me of Eckhart Tolle’s fine books. His words, however, though compelling, always had a somewhat elusive, affectless quality; I always wanted to know more about how he lived his life. Jan Frazier provides that missing personal link. She describes her daily life and relationships in detail as she processes her inner shift. Her deeply insightful narrative of awakening stands as a helpful signpost with arrows on the path so many of us are on at this time of great planetary changes in consciousness.

The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby

Ilie Ruby’s The Language of Trees is the finely crafted creation of a highly evolved artist. Every word is perfectly chosen, every character portrayed with great insight and compassion. The story line is as compelling as a mystery novel, the imagery as heartbreakingly stunning as a world-class poet’s. The story and the images flow together seamlessly, carrying the reader deeper and deeper into the lives of the residents of Canandaigua. There is such a profound essential reality to these characters–they suffer, yet they survive. And even in the midst of their pain is the beauty of Lake Canandaigua: the trees, the birds, the light on the water, and the spirit world that interlaces everything. I can’t recommend The Language of Trees highly enough–it is one of the best books I have ever read, of the caliber of Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, or Mary Oliver. A true spiritual/literary work of art.

The Book of Destiny, Unlocking the Secrets of the Ancient Mayans and the Prophecy of 2012 by Carlos Barrios

This is a very good book for anyone interested in an authentic overview of Maya teachings as they have been handed down for thousands of years. Readers should be cautious about relying too heavily on the information in many of the books now available on the Maya because they are often based on archeological studies that use interpretations of Maya history and culture made by the Spanish conquerers hundreds of years ago, which, not surprisingly, are completely inaccurate. Carlos Barrios’s book is not one of those. I found it fascinating reading.

Listening Below the Noise, A Meditation on the Practice of Silence by Anne D. LeClaire

Anne LeClaire’s book on the practice of silence is compelling, convincing, and essential reading for all of us in Western society who are bombarded by increasingly incessant noise in our daily lives. TV, radio, piped-in music in stores, leaf blowers, snow blowers, traffic–to find a quiet, peaceful place to sit in silence becomes more of a challenge all the time. But a worthy endeavor, one that could save our lives and our sanity. We have become so used to multitasking while text-messaging and listening to our IPods that we aren’t even aware of how distracted and off-center we are. Anne LeClaire writes of the changes in her own life that came about by taking a day of silence twice a month; her experiences are so down-to-earth and heart-felt that one cannot help but want to follow (quietly) in her footsteps. A personal and beautifully written account.

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

This book, read in conjunction with Anne LeClaire’s Listening Below the Noise, is a perfect recipe for solace and sanity in a world gone mad with busyness and noise. Wayne Muller describes how the natural rhythms of nature include a period of rest (day/night, summer/winter), and plants and trees cannot seed, flower, and bear fruit without rest. Humans, too, need this time of withdrawal/renewal, and in the not too distant past, most cultures did include a day of rest, or sabbath, as a basic part of the week. Some still do, but western society has lost this connection to peaceful time apart from daily life’s responsibilities and activities. Our physical and mental health suffer for the loss. This book jogs our collective memory and points us in a direction that will help us recover balance in our lives. Excellent cultural/historical information combined with diverse spiritual traditions.

Unfinished Business, What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life by James Van Praagh

I always feel both comforted and reminded of life’s higher meaning when I read James Van Praagh’s books. This new one is my favorite so far. The context he uses–“unfinished business”–gently guides the reader to an understanding that all of us are on journeys of growth and learning in our lives, and those journeys don’t end with death. The spirits that James speaks for in Unfinished Business are moved to contact their loved ones through him in order to clarify or explain matters that were left undone or unclear at their deaths. They also come back to reassure those left behind that they are still “alive and well.” This latter aspect is very powerful, both for those who receive the messages and those who read about them. James Van Praagh provides a great service in sharing story after story that shows that life continues after death, just in a different form. The wisdom he has gained from his years of working with the spirit world is clear in the passages that introduce each section in the book. He emphasizes living life to the fullest–with compassion, gratitude, and openness to a wider view of both life and death. Uplifting!

Chakra Gardens: Opening the Senses of the Soul by Carol Cumes

The photography in Carol Cumes’s book is absolutely breathtaking, and the writing that accompanies each garden and chakra is informative as well as poetic and inspiring. I have visited the Chakra Gardens at Willka T’ika, and they are truly as stunning as these photographs. Carol has created a small paradise on Earth in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Visitors there are transported by the beauty and the energetic vibration. If you can’t visit Willka T’ika’s Chakra Gardens in person, this is the next best thing. You will be lifted to a place of peace, wisdom, and inspiration by the words and images in this book. To call it a “coffee table book” is to do it a disservice; I would call it an “altar book.” You will not regret owning your own copy.

Awakening to Zero Point, the C0llective Initiation by Gregg Braeden

This is the first book I read by Gregg Braden, many years ago. It remains my favorite. Gregg is absolutely the best at combining scientific information with spiritual traditions to create an overview of the new world age we are moving into. Much has been written about the year 2012 and the associated “shift of the ages.” This book presents scientific backup for ancient spiritual prophecies about the earth changes we are living through. It is both compelling and inspiring. Highly recommended.

Dolphins into the Future by Joan Ocean

Joan Ocean is a wonderful writer, and she has had countless extraordinary experiences with dolphins, swimming in the open ocean with them in Hawaii. This is her second book about those experiences (the first was The Dolphin Connection), and it delves deeper into the mystical connection that people feel when they swim with dolphins. Joan’s open-hearted relationships with the many dolphins she meets in the water give her direct access to the spiritual information that they send her psychically. The dolphins’ wisdom and Joan’s own visionary insights give the reader a front row seat to interspecies communication and interdimensional travel beyond the time/space continuum. This is a fascinating book, and the experiences Joan has with the dolphins are very real. I’ve swum with Joan and the dolphins several times and have had many of those experiences myself. Great book!

What Do We Know and Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

All of Mary Oliver’s poetry collections are exquisite, but these two, published in 2002 and 2004 respectively, are the ones that I return to over and over again, for the sheer beauty of the language and for the way I feel when I read them. Mary Oliver’s greatest gift is her ability to find words to express the ineffable—those timeless moments when one is a silent witness to Nature’s miracles. Choose any poem—”One Hundred White-sided Dolphins on a Summer Day” or “Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?”—and you are transported to a magical place of wonder and celebration. Mary Oliver is spiritual without being heavy-handed, evocative without being wordy. She is a poet of the heart.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert writes so well that she could write about almost anything and make it humorous and readable. The title pretty much describes her topic: In Italy, she eats; in India, she prays; in Bali, she loves. If you’re looking for a deeply spiritual, revelatory book, this one is not for you. If you want a cooking travelogue, this is also not for you. But if you’re looking for a lively, richly descriptive story of one woman’s journey through despair to enjoying life again with open-hearted abandon, then read this book. I laughed out loud repeatedly at her humorous descriptions of people and places, as well as her own emotional and spiritual ups and downs. Yet, there were times when I was also emotionally moved by her story. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a spiritual book, though I appreciated her describing that part of her life. It’s not entirely a romance either, though that certainly will draw people to the book and film. It’s just a really really good read–I loved it!

CDs

SongVersation by India.Arie

I recently heard India.Arie sing “Break the Shell” on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday and then bought her CD. It is just amazing!! I’ve been moved to tears by more than half of the songs, particularly “One” and “I Am Light.” Exquisite artistry–music, lyrics, and voice are all stunning. I can’t recommend it highly enough!!

Awakening by Panache Desai

Panache Desai has been called an avatar and a “catalyst for vibrational transformation.” That means that he transmits energetic vibrations through his voice, words, and presence that can shift individuals into profound changes in their lives. Having experienced his gift via CDs, webcasts, and in person, I can attest to the power of what is transmitted. He has several CDs for meditation and expanded awareness. Awakening includes guided meditations and music on themes such as “Freedom from Fear,” “Embodying Peace,” and ” Infinite Love and Abundance.” They are of varying lengths, so you can choose the one that fits your emotional state as well as your available time. I have found them deeply calming and peaceful to listen to. An excellent introduction to Panache’s work. Visit www.panachedesai.com for information about webcasts and events.

Experience Connection by Panache Desai

I love this CD. It was one of the first two of Panache’s that I owned (the other is Awakening). Whereas Awakening has shorter selections geared to specific emotions or states of being, Experience Connection has longer ones that take the listener to a deep inner space of divine connection. The background music is lovely, but it is Panache’s beautiful voice (English accent) that provides the loving support for this inward journey. The sound and soul vibrations within his words frequently move me to tears as I listen. Recommended for both meditation and inner journeying.

Dance Away Your Density by MC I-AM

MC I-AM is the alter-personna of Panache Desai, avatar turned rap artist. Although Panache has spent the last ten years in the role of “catalyst for vibrational-transformation” (often called a spiritual master), his original background growing up in London was with music. Now he combines those two worlds in a groundbreaking CD that merges rap rhythms with mantras and creates music just made for dancing and meditation in movement. The intense vibrations also cause emotional densities to lift up and out of those listening, so playing this CD is a freeing experience on many levels. My favorite selections for dancing full-out are “Ganesha,” “False Dreams,” and “Guru.” The two that take me on a deep inner journey are “The Middle Path” and “Oneness.” Even if you’re not a rap fan (as I wasn’t until I met Panache), take a chance on this CD. The lyrics are inspiring, and the music will make your body and soul move, move, move!

Deva Premal & Miten in Concert

I absolutely LOVE this CD! I play it every morning during my yoga practice and am uplifted and inspired as I move into my day. Deva Premal’s and Miten’s voices intertwine in such exquisite harmonies that I find myself wanting the CD to go and on endlessly. The sound quality is excellent, with no external noise (the sound on the DVD that is part of this package is muffled at times, however). All the CD selections are wonderful, but my absolute favorite is “In the Light of Love,” which is sheer heart-opening beauty in musical form. It alone is worth the price of the entire package. If you have yet to hear their music, this is a great CD to buy; if you already are a fan, you’ll definitely want this as part of your collection.

Encompass Me by One Journey

This second CD by the group One Journey is even better than the first. A lovely grouping of spiritually uplifting songs in the folk tradition, Encompass Me includes original music and lyrics by group member Helen Fortier. The lyrics of the songs range from prayers for peace (“Every Day”) to inspiring calls for global harmony (“If We Can Hold On”). Two of my favorites are “Positive,” an upbeat message about positive thinking, and “Love, Won’t You Come Through Me,” a heart-felt request for connection to the power of love. So many of these songs keep running through my head throughout the day, lifting my spirits and filling my heart with song. A real gift to listeners.

Heart’s Desire and Dance Your Spirit by Mark Stanton Welch

These are two of my favorite CDs by Mark Stanton Welch, the musician/sound healer who provides the music for Sonia Choquette’s workshops. I absolutely adore Mark’s songs. His music is so varied that I never tire of it–everything from ballads to up-tempo dance music. My favorite way to listen to Mark’s music is while I do yoga each morning. His inspiring lyrics always get my day off to a positive start.

Hymns of the 49th Parallel by k.d. lang

Of all k.d. lang’s CDs, this is the one that moves me the most and that I play over and over. All the songs are by Canadian songwriters, including Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jane Siberry, Leonard Cohen, and k.d. herself. No matter how many times I hear them, I still weep when I hear her interpretations of Neil Young’s “Helpless” and Jane Siberry’s “The Valley.” Absolutely beautiful.

Under the Desert Sky by Andrea Bocelli (CD and DVD)

I love all of Andrea Bocelli’s CDs, but this one is my particular favorite because of one duet:  “The Prayer” with Heather Headley. The two of them sound like angels singing together–the most stunningly powerful blending of voices I have ever heard. It will make chills run up and down your spine and tears come to your eyes.

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