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Personal growth is something that we each have the power to cultivate within ourselves, no matter whom -or what circumstances- we come from. It is something to which there is no limit, and something that no one can take away from us. When you are able to quiet your mind and envision your highest self, all of the negativity, labels, and noise fade in to the background. Sometimes in our spiritual infancy we lack the knowledge and verbiage to identify the symptoms of awakening that we are experiencing. The following five books will help you not only tap in to your potential as a spiritual being by allowing you realize the power that lies within you, but also help identify patterns, energies, and self-limiting beliefs that prevent you from living at your highest level of grace.

1.) A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle

eckhart tolle a new earth we are wildness

In A New Earth, German-born author, Eckhart Tolle, points out that the suffering we experience is the result of our identification with our own ego. He suggests that our attachment to our stories and the “pain-body” dictates how much (or how little) anger, resentment, and defensiveness can prevent us from tapping in to our own presence and potential. Tolle spent many years in deep depression before realizing the power he had within himself to change his mental state. In focusing on the present by asking the question, “am I still breathing?”, Tolle illustrates that the only thing we ever truly have, is the now.

Favorite quote: “Even if blame seems more than justified, as long as you blame others, you keep feeding the pain-body with your thoughts and remain trapped in your ego. There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges—the power of presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.”

2.) The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

the alchemist paul coelho we are wildness

The Alchemist, originally written in Portuguese and published in 1988 by Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, is the allegorical tale of a young shepherd named Santiago who sets out on a quest to Egypt after a recurring dream in which he finds hidden treasure located there. Along the way, Santiago learns to follow signs and omens that lead him to his truth. Upon arriving at his destination, he realizes that he was the destination; the treasure was already within him, it just needed to be found. The Alchemist is filled with timeless wisdom and teaches the reader to listen to their heart and follow their dreams. Through focusing on positive projection and welcoming abundance, Coelho shows the reader how to be one’s own hero.

Favorite quote: “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

3.) Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson We Are Wildness

Written by 19th century American essayist and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance is a modern-day punk rock handbook. In this collection of essays, Emerson emphasizes the importance of non-conformity, self-expression, and personal accountability for one’s own path. He emphasizes the importance of authenticity and sincerity in a society that wishes to compromise our values in order to maintain a consistency of ignorance. Emerson argues that to blindly adhere to patterns established by history or establishments for the sake of sentimentality or tradition is to do a great disservice, not only to our own personal growth, but also in the collective growth of a society.

In short: Be a doer, not a sayer. Question authority. Trust thyself. Do your thang.

Favorite quote: “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.”

4.) The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements We Are Wildness

The Four Agreements, written by Mexican author, Don Miguel Ruiz, highlights four essential beliefs based in Ancient Toltec wisdom that allow us to reach our highest potential and highest level of happiness. Ruiz drives the point home that we are our own worst enemies; we buy in to the lies we tell ourselves through labels others have assigned to us, creating limitation in our own growth. Through making agreements with ourselves, we establish the ability to transform our path to personal freedom, inner-peace, and unconditional love.

The Four Agreements:

1.) Be impeccable with your word. (If you don’t have something nice to say, save it.)
2.) Don’t take anything personally. (The way people treat you says more about them than it does you.)
3.) Don’t make assumptions. (Making assumptions creates inner-conflict and emotional poison. Just chill.)
4.) Always do your best. (If you always do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself.)

Favorite quote: “If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

5.) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck

mindset we are wildness

Mindset, written by American author and Stanford University psychology professor, Carol Dweck, is the youngest book on this list. Dweck compares the two prominent types of mindsets that people subscribe to arguing that either you believe that your inherent abilities are carved in stone (fixed-mindset) or that your potential is limitless, and that your highest self can be reached through diligence and focused effort (growth-mindset). Through perseverance and resilience, anyone can convert life’s hiccups in to future successes, it all depends on the view you have of yourself. Dweck says that adopting a growth mindset creates a passion for learning and for stretching yourself to overcome life’s biggest challenges. Changing your mindset and attitude can change your path, literally.

Favorite quote: “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”

What’s on your reading list?

Sarah Mickulesku

Sarah Mickulesku

Sarah is a mother of two, adventure-seeker, and limit-pusher. She received her BA in Journalism from Metro State University in 2007 and is a published children's book author ("The Woodchuck That Could Chuck" on While she’s not homeschooling her kids, she spends most of her time immersed in the forest. She currently lives in Denver.