It feels so great that something that's so helpful to me can help others, too.

By Emily Abbate
Updated: November 19, 2018
Photo: Amazon

There's nothing better than a well-thought gift. I was surprised in the best of ways last year on my birthday when my friend pulled out a neatly wrapped gift from her purse. By the shape, I knew it was a book. As someone who always has a new book in tow, I was amped. (FYI, these are the five best books about running.) I opened it, looked down, and saw the title: Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul by Melody Beattie.

I paged through it and looked up at her. "It's going to change your life," she said to me. That feels like a bold statement, I thought to myself. I smiled at her, beamed reading the card that went along with it, and then we went on our way to some local bar downstairs.

For some time, the book lived on my bedside table without being cracked. That was until a rough breakup a few months later had me looking anywhere and everywhere for a little extra support. Snuggled in my covers one morning, I caught a glimpse of the red-and-tan cover on my nightstand. And so, I opened it.

What It Is

Each day of the year has a new meditation that interweaves the author's personal experiences with actionable advice about getting over life's hurdles. They cover a variety topics, but most of them dabble in self-help and discovering one's true purpose. It's the first thing I do every single day. For the past 365 days, I've spent five minutes reading, digesting, and turning the page. (Related: These Books, Blogs, and Podcasts Will Inspire You to Change Your Life)

Let's break down an example. "The Light Will Illuminate Your Path," from November 15, in which Beattie writes about a drive she was taking in Colorado. She didn't have a place to stay and was driving based on how she felt. Finally, she came upon a small cabin that seemed to be marked by the moon. She compares this experience to other times in life, when we have to trust our instincts, follow our inner light, and believe that what is meant to be will be.

Why I Love It

I feel like Beattie has this bizarre way of knowing what's going on in my life. Which of course, is not true, since the words have been on the page since the book was published in 2010. But the daily meditations have an odd power of coinciding with the advice I need at any given moment in time. A prime example: I was recently dealing with a hamstring injury, and woke up one morning feeling bad about taking a rest day. I open the book, and the text said "replenish yourself." Because of passages like that, I look forward to those quiet few minutes with the text in the morning, often before the sun comes up. Time to breathe before jumping straight into my busy day. (Trick yourself into becoming a morning person-it's worth it.)

When I realized how much this book was resonating with me, I started posting photos of the daily mantras on my Instagram story to share with friends and followers. Without fail, I get about five direct messages each time I do asking for the name of the book and author. (Yes, I regularly post the name and cover of this book in an effort to avoid this.) And although, yes, it gets repetitive typing the same four-word title over and over, I can't help but think how much Beattie's words have helped me. So each time, I reply, knowing that they're going to do the same thing for someone else.

Where to Buy It

You can find this book in most major bookstores and retailers, including Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.

Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul ($13.59, amazon.com)

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