Leah Recommends

Leah RecommendsLeah Recommends

The New Codependency


Codependency used to be a word that described a cluster of behaviors found in people who were in relationship with alcoholics. However, the new definition is not isolated to an “addict scenario”, and refers to tools for letting go, detachment, setting boundaries, and making friends with the idea and practice of self-care. This book is for the people pleasers, the controllers, the “focus-on-everyone-but-me’ers”, and those who want healthy relationships but aren’t sure how to create one, or be in one. I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Road Less Travelled

What I love about this book is the down-to-earth, direct conversations about the necessity of suffering, and how understanding that life is not fair is the key to finding our peace. M. Scott Peck speaks directly about our responsibility to grow emotionally/mentally, and how self worth is created. He introduces the tools to deep discipline including delaying gratification and others that encourage a grounded look at driving your personal growth journey with maturity, awareness and discipline (in the Buddha sense). He explores the places we have human troubles (in work, love, power and others), and provides pointing which demands emotional responsibility and growth. There is also an updated version of this book that makes some of his concepts more “contemporary”.

In Sheep’s Clothing

This book provides information and strategies about how to understand and deal with manipulative people. It answers the question of “why do they always seem to find ME”, and helps you install the necessary esteem, insight and boundaries to help you find your way.

Daring Greatly

The supplementary title for this book by Brene Brown reads: “how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead”. Those of you who know me, coach with me, or have coached with me may recognize this theme. Our ability to realign our relationship with, and definition of “vulnerability” (it is not synonymous with weakness), is essential, transformative and freeing. Yep, it is also really uncomfortable and unfamiliar.

Since I am at the risk of just quoting the whole book in this short description, I will hold back and say this: If being a human came with an instruction/insight manual, I believe it should be this book. There are important and digestible revelations that are applicable to both men and women. I really can’t articulate the impact and importance of the concepts and human experiences contained in Brene’s latest work. And to steal a page out of Brene’s book–“if you think these concepts do not apply to you, read on”, get the book and read on–

Pssst…no really, please do it.

The Yamas and Niyamas

Ok, this one was a total shocker! A friend of mine showed me this book and told me she was enraptured with it, and was chewing on the practices and framework in it. I picked up this book, opened it to a random page—and it hooked me!! This is a book that explores yoga’s ethical practices. It isn’t teaching you how to pose your body, but rather how to work with the mind (spiritual) practices of restraints and observances. “What matters is how well you have participated in your own life, both the ordinary routines and the extraordinary surprises” How do we gain mastery over our own choices while being battered around by the human experience? Start the journey toward mastery of self: pick up the book and see.

Radical Forgiveness

Do the same harsh interactions repeat themselves inside your head and with others? Do you hold onto things and not let them go? Do they fester inside you quietly, while still, there is a trigger, and anger or apathy are familiar “friends”? Forgiveness of self and other, is some of the most powerful work you could ever do–and it frees you. If you let it.

The Self-Centered Marriage: Rebuilding Your “We” by Reclaiming Your “I”

In partnership, it is easy to lose ourselves, and in some cases we get into partnership without really knowing ourselves. So when we wake up one day wondering “why am I here with you?” it is almost inevitable. For those of you who know me, I use a term “centered-on-self”. This means being connected to you–your thoughts, needs drives and emotions. When everything you do is rooted inside you, your expression in this world is honest and real. You make sense to you, and you make sense to others. You can meet your partner for who they are, while you are being who you really are. Realign your marriage by finding out who you are as individuals, and connecting there first. Find you-Find each other. No kidding. Marriage realignment is a normal part of long term relationship. Dig in.

Intimate Communion

David Deida speaks about the wonder of masculine and feminine energy polarities and what can happen when we become “shelled” and unable to access our essence in relationship. Deida writes in an intentionally provocative way to bring strong attention to the currents that flow through you (man or woman). As he states in the book “If you are not delighted by (and I insert or intrugued by) a style of intimacy involving deep passion, deep devotion and deep understanding-all three-this book is not for you” So, is it for you? Reach beyond the neutered relationships of 50/50 fairness, and taste a new balance and deeper intimacy (which he calls open-hearted surrender).

I’ll tell you one damn thing, and that’s all I know!

Alright, I happen to think that Jann Arden is hilarious! She is a Canadian singer, songwriter, author and performer. This book contains journal entries from May 15, 2002-February 22, 2004. They are sweet, sad, funny, thought provoking, and at times deeply personal. When I write (or draw) in my journal, I assume no one else will see it. I think she did too. Sometimes the work we do for ourselves, serves others too.

The Gifts of Imperfection

As the author says in her preface “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process, is the bravest thing we will ever do.” What gets in the way of YOUR wholehearted living? “Gifts” guides you to cultivate authenticity, self-compassion, resiliency, gratitude, trust, creativity, play, calm, meaningful work, and laughter (and more). This book is a kind, impactful, and useful read. It is a skinny volume (126 pages), that is jam packed. Let go of who you think you are supposed to be, and embrace who you are.

This Time I Dance

There is so much to love about this book! Tama is an engaging writer with a wonderful message, and if you take out the word “work” and replace it with “life”, her journey is inspiring no matter what change process you are up to. She speaks from her heart, and with spirit, addresses the feelings behind the process of change, growth and aspiration. Personally, I have read this book many times, and get different things out of it each time.

The Invitation

Another soulful read. Oriah speaks in a deep meaningful way about yearning, and the “being” behind making life shifts. The poem “The Invitation” encapsulates the wanting behind deepening your knowing of yourself and others. This book invites you on a journey of the highs and lows of true intimacy with yourself, others and the world, for the sake of having a fully expressed life. This is the heart map to living beyond, and allowing yourself to taste it all without minimizing it.

The Untethered Soul

Dive into this one, the water is beautiful! This book contains a deep message with many layers. It seems to be made for reading and rereading. Freeing yourself from what holds you back, are simple words and a complex process. This book contains a soul/spirit context and salve for the heart that is questing.

May you parent your passion exquisitely.

— Dawna Markova