These Will Change Your Life : 5 Favorite Inspirational Books & Movies
The end of the year is an exciting time to let go of bad habits, to get rid of things and people that aren’t good or for your, and to start with a fresh, clean slate of possibilities. It’s a great time to align your mind and body on the path to becoming your best version of yourself.
I am always looking for people, books, movies, and anything that inspires me to grow and evolve as a health practitioner and also as a human. I want to pass on a few of my favorite gems that I’ve found over the past year. This list will likely change over time, and I plan on updating every year to keep the spark of inspiration going.
Sometimes it’s great to simply find a good read or movie, but sometimes people need a shift in perspective. Chronic pain, emotional trauma, and destructive thinking can impact your whole world. The human condition is the most fascinating thing on the planet (to me). People have overcome HUGE physical and emotional obstacles, have made the best of their situation, and many have changed the world.
See below my top 5 favorite inspirational finds of this year that will hopefully change your life as they did mine. Some will bring you to tears, but hopefully all will make you feel grateful for what you currently have and what is truly possible.
1) The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday
If there was only 1 book I would gift to every person I meet, this would be the one. The Obstacle is The Way draws ideas from stoic philosophy about turning pain and obstacles into triumphs and success. It gives a ton of true stories about great leaders in politics and business who have turned extremely difficult situations into huge successes. It teaches you some of the most valuable lessons in life: that even if you cannot control your circumstances, you can always control your thoughts; that your thoughts create your reality; and that your challenges become your path to your goals. It has helped me SO much in worrying / stressing about things I can control vs. things that are out of my control. It has also helped me embrace conflict and challenge as a learning tool, not as something I need to fight or control. One of my favorite quotes of the book comes from Stoic philosopher and Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This book will change the way you view and approach any hardship that comes your way.
2) Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer
The Tao Te Ching (The Path) is one of the oldest texts of all time (written 500 years before Jesus was born) by a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu. Wayne Dyer reviewed hundreds of translations of this text and meditated on each of the 81 verses over a year to write essays of how to apply this wisdom in the modern world. Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life is about guiding you to lead a happy, balanced, and spiritual life. It’s not about following a religion, but about living in harmony with the world around you and living in alignment with your deepest, truest self. It’s a book to be read slowly, 1 passage at a time, over a period of time. It’s a classic read that for me solidified the concepts of acceptance and compassion. These qualities are not only extremely useful when diving into your own self, but accepting and loving the people and world around you. It really does bring a sense of calm and peace to your everyday life.
3) The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perserverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday
Similar to the concept of Wayne Dyer’s book, The Daily Stoic : 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perserverance, and the Art of Living is meant to be read slowly, over a period of time. Each passage begins with a quote from one of the Greek Stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, or Epictetus, followed by real-world commentary, questions, and exercises. The lessons learned from these Greats are on overcoming challenges, being resilient and self-aware, having control over your thoughts, and being a good person. I usually read 1 passage per day and journal a few thoughts on how I can apply that day’s lesson into my current life. It’s an awesome way to start the day – I always feel calm and ready for the day ahead. I am still working through the book, but the biggest thing I get from it is realizing how powerful your thoughts are – and how those thoughts create the world that you live in.
Probably one of my favorite documentaries of all time. Meru follows the story of alpinists and videographers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk as they attempt the first ascent (as in – no one has successfully completed the climb) of a once-impossible mountain– the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in India. It is believed to be more challenging than climbing Everest; there are no Sherpas to carry your equipment, and it is way more technical in the world of big-wall climbing. Not only is the videography spectacular, it shows just how resilient the human body is – what type of conditions and physical expectations it can withstand. It also shows an amazing medical recovery by one of the climbers, and how what the doctors recommended did not stand in the way of his goals and dreams. It’s probably one of the most inspiring movies I’ve ever seen – it makes you feel like you can really achieve anything you really put your heart and mind into.
Get your tissues for this one. I literally cried for 2 hours straight watching Gleason. This is a story of 34-year old ex-NFL player who got diagnosed with ALS. For those of you who don’t know, ALS is a progressive neurological disease that attacks the nerves that cause muscle movement. You lose your ability to walk, move, even speak. At the end stages of ALS, it affects muscles that control breathing and other vital functions, and leads to death. Steve Gleason wanted to document the process for his son, and teach him valuable lessons about growing up, being a man, and living life, before he was unable to. It shows the progressive downfall of his medical health and the emotional and physical obstacles he was faced with alone and with his family. He used his disease as a platform to make huge progress in legislation for patients with ALS, and it brought a lot of media attention to his non-profit Team Gleason. This movie makes you appreciate EVERY thing that you have and are capable of – the blessing we have even to speak. This is a huge wake up call that life is short, we never know what is going to happen, so enjoy every moment and live your life in gratitude.