I’ve always been a book worm, for as long as I can remember I’ve loved reading. Its always been a part of my life, how I’ve learnt things, how I’ve removed myself from daily life and kept my imagination alive. I can’t imagine a life without books in it and there’s very little I won’t at least try reading. My love began with Roald Dahl books as a small child, and my autographed copy of Matilda was my absolute favourite for years. Me and books had a bit of a temporary break after sixth form when I’d become fed up of having to dissect everything I was reading, instead of just enjoying the story and the language. But the break didn’t last long!

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In March 2016 I was introduced to Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life and soon after that I stumbled across Gabrielle Bernstein. I’m not really sure how exactly I found it, but the book Spirit Junkie ended up on my kindle. I was going on holiday for a couple of weeks so downloaded a bunch of books, rather than buying more real ones to take with me. I hadn’t actively searched for this one and was pretty sure I hadn’t even pressed the download button, but figured as it was there I’d read it anyway!

I read the whole thing in a couple of days, although didn’t do all the exercises and meditations it suggested. It might sound crazy to some, but it really spoke to me. It felt like this book was talking only to me, that it knew everything about how I thought and felt and something just clicked inside me. I know that’s a terrible cliché but it’s exactly how it felt. From the very beginning of the book where she talks about the tiny mad idea that takes root in your mind at a young age, that shapes how you think and feel and how you react to people I knew exactly where my own self-doubt came from.

My inner guide (or my ~ing as Gabby calls it) was shouting at me – this is the idea, the belief you’ve lived with and its nothing more than an illusion! I had believed that just about everyone and everything in my life wasn’t real, that relationships weren’t genuine and it was all just some game other people were playing where I didn’t know the rules. It was like I thought I was in The Truman Show or something! I had no idea that was going on in my subconscious, but from the moment I read about the tiny mad idea I knew. And I knew how utterly ridiculous it was. And exactly where it had come from too – my early primary school friend who would decide each day which one of us was in her gang, and which one of us would be the target for the day. I’d do anything not to be the target so went along with whatever she said. Yet some days I still ended up her target, before being her best friend again the next day. I was 6/7 years old. That was no friendship, and it was something I’d hidden away in a dark corner of my mind ever since that time. I vividly remember sitting on my sun lounger by the pool feeling like I could just cry, like I finally saw the truth and now things could change.

When I got home I bought the paperback version. I wanted to be able to keep reading it, to dip in and out of different parts of it as I needed to. To be able to spend time working on the journaling Gabby suggested and to meditate on it all. It talked about how the universe supports and guides us, if we’ll just pause long enough to listen. So I finally started listening.

My copy is pretty battered looking now, full of page markers and scribbled notes. I guess it must be love!

It led me to read so many more books that have helped shape how I see the world now, helped me understand more and changed my beliefs. A lot of the time it feels like I’m remembering, rather than learning something new. My shelves, my kindle and the audiobooks folder on my phone are now full of other Gabby Bernstein books, as well as Rebecca Campbell, Kyle Grey, Lisa Lister, Gala Darling, Yasmin Boland, Mel Wells, Emma Mildon and many more. As I write this it’s just been announced that Louise Hay has passed away, on the 30th August 2017. I’ll forever be grateful to have been introduced to her and the other Hay House authors I’ve come to love. These are the books that shaped me.

Most of the time I’ve read these books I’ve wanted a place to talk about them, about the ideas they discuss, the history they share, the beliefs the authors have and the personal things they bring up. To find others going through a similar journey, or even a totally different one but who’s path crosses with mine. Over recent weeks and months I’ve found others online and in person and learnt even more from them, and that has given me the courage to start the book club I spent so long looking for.

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#thebooksthatshapedme is a place where we can read together, talk about how it is affecting us, ask questions and share what’s coming up. Each month we’ll vote on which book we’ll read next and have weekly check-ins in a private, members only Facebook group to see how everyone is getting on. Once a month we’ll have a live, online meet where we can chat things through in person – virtually speaking. We’ll be able to share anything and everything related to what we’re reading, and our community will grow to be a supportive place full of people who love to read, to learn and to grow.

I would be honoured if you would join us. It’s totally free (bar the cost of the book if you choose to buy it rather than borrow from your local library) and there’s no pressure to get through a new book each month if time doesn’t allow, or its not a book that speaks to you that month.

I know that there are so many books out there I’ve yet to read that will help me grow even more. I’d love it if we went on the journey to find #thebooksthatshapedme and you together! If you’d like to sign up, just fill out the form below and I'll send you all the links and info you need!