Book Review: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

I absolutely loved everything about this book.

Part One is devoted to the biology of the brain, the subconscious mind and quantum physics. Don’t let these terms scare you. Dr. Dispenza writes this part in easy to understand terms and with examples that will leave little doubt about the existence of a higher intelligence.

Everything is laid out simply and with the intention of you learning how the brain works, so you can then learn how to unlearn the things that aren’t working for you. 

I actually found it fascinating. There were many moments of being blown away, and making my family turn to look at me like I was losing my mind when I would simply cry out “Holy Shit!” in the midst of reading. (side note: yes, my children hear me swear and they are so awesome as to not mirror mommy’s foul-mouth…at least not yet. I’m sure they’ll find the perfectly inappropriate opportunity to do so).

Part Two delves into the way the subconscious mind and our established patterns of behaviour are so ingrained in us, we don’t even notice how our body and mind have taken over and, in essence, sabotage our best intentions to change, to do better, to achieve our greatness.

Part Three teaches the meditations necessary to tap into our subconscious mind and reprogram our brains so that our minds can work with us and for us, instead of against us. We are in charge once again.

My biggest take-away from this book is the understanding that there is a higher power, an intelligence, or, if you’re a religious person…God…who is all-loving and truly wishes to work with us and allow us to express our greatest gifts and bring them to the world. It is through this work that abundance, joy and our biggest dreams manifest into reality.

Another resonating lesson for me is to stop trying to control everything. My job is to create an image of the WHAT. It’s the universe’s job to concern itself with the HOW. Giving up control? Yeah…working on that. More to follow, indeed.

For someone who perhaps isn’t thirsty for this knowledge, this book might feel like somewhat of a chore. But, I encourage you to keep reading. It will impart some wonderful tools to help you shape the life the universe knows you deserve. You just have to get out of the way and let it happen.

For those of you who, like me, are in the work, I feel this is a must read. It compliments all of the other literature out there encouraging you to release old habits, beliefs and patterns of behaviour holding you back. Here, however, you receive scientific evidence that manifestation and a greater power do in fact exist. And, you receive the meditation tools which will allow you to connect to that higher intelligence and co-create your life with it.

Did you read Dr. Dispenza’s book? Would love to hear from you and what your take-aways were.

#BookReview Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

courtesy amazon.ca

I took longer to read Anatomy of the Spirit than I expected because I found I could only read it in short sittings. This was partly due to a busy home life, but I felt I needed to really concentrate during each sit and required longer periods to absorb the information and lessons Myss was imparting.

The book has a phenomenal introduction to both Myss’ work as a spiritual healer and to set up the content.

I appreciate the way she aligned Christian, Jewish and Eastern belief systems and how they all lead us towards the same purpose: to live in deep faith in a power beyond our own, to know ourselves deeply and give up the illusion of control.

The book is organized according to the 7 Chakras. Within each section she links each Chakra to a main Christian or Jewish tradition. She also weaves in many stories about people in suffering due to blockages at that particular chakra and how they either heal or remain in suffering due to their ability or inability to confront the decisions made in their life which brought them to where they are.

I will read this book again because I think this is one of those books which will offer me different insights at different points in my life.

The most inspiring lesson of the book is how much power we have to change our situations while simultaneously giving up control over our life. That is a lesson which I think will challenge me quite a bit and I am eager to allow unfold.

If you’re interested in deepening your spiritual journey, I think this is a definite must-read.

Book Review: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

If you have a goal, a mind-blowing dream, and haven’t done anything about it yet…

Get. This. Book.

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image courtesy: goodreads.com

I heard the audio book during my daily commute and I literally felt like Ms. Hollis wrote this book for me. Maybe not the entire book, but definitely the chapter on “Not Having Enough Time” in the excuses section of the book.

Ms. Hollis is straightforward and bold as she encourages women from all walks of life to finally get themselves into action and make, yes MAKE, their dreams come true.

She addresses excuses we all use to avoid tackling on a project head-on. And, chances are, there is at least one excuse which resonates so deeply with you, Ms. Hollis will unpack and dismantle it in minutes.

The audio book is rich with examples from her personal story of success and she keeps each point relevant to the pressures women face in modern-day society.

A print copy of the book would be useful if like me, you love to underline, note-take or highlight sections to remember. However, if you’re also like me and have your day pretty much planned out between work and family, the audio book delivers her message rather effectively during your commute.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels stuck or is unsure of where she’ll find the drive to truly go after her goals. Ms. Hollis will fire you up and get you going! (I hope).

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Vulnerable. Worthy. Authentic. Take Aways from The Gifts of Imperfection

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Oh, this Book! I will write about this book again, and again…and maybe even again as I re-read it, and let the lessons unfold.

For now, I will say that my biggest take-aways were:

We can choose with whom to be vulnerable.

Not everyone earns the right to see our vulnerability. Holy Crap. That’s huge! Let me tell you something about Colombian families….everyone knows everything. Always. And, they all have an opinion they believe is meant to be heard – which can create a lot of shame even though that might not have been the intention. So, I guess you grow up believing your life/triumphs/failures have to be an open book. Don’t get me wrong here. I didn’t misinterpret Brown’s words. I’m not saying she’s advising to close ourselves off. She reminds us of the power we have to select who has the right to our vulnerability. We can choose those who support us, nurture us, and challenge us to be the best version of ourselves with compassion. These people have earned that right.

Stop the hustle! We are worthy as we are.

That’s it. So simple…yet, so hard to do, right? This is the equivalent of teaching our children: never try to get someone to like you. We are perfect in our imperfections. Shit happens. Life happens. Stop trying so hard because regardless of what happens or what does or doesn’t get done, we are worthy of love. The End.

Remaining true to ourselves. Using another, very popular term du jour, be Authentic. 

Authenticity goes beyond being truthful. Brown defines it as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” (50). I guess it means shedding all of the ways in which we’re expected to show up in our different roles. I remember I had a therapy session with a friend of my mother’s. I was feeling extremely depleted at the time; she worked with my energy and chakras. During the session she asked me to bring to mind all of the expectations I had of myself, or believed others had of me, and to see them, as though I was looking in a mirror. She asked me to hold that vision for a few seconds. And, then, with all my might, I was instructed to shatter that mirror. As the pieces fell away, she asked who was left. The only answer, of course, was me. It was one of the most powerful moments in my life. I go back to that moment often when life becomes too demanding; when I need to go back to me and let go of the bullshit.

Perfectionism Sucks

While this wasn’t a new lesson for me, it was a great reminder to let go of any nagging need to satisfy appearances. It’s part of the everyday flux…what to let go of because it doesn’t serve and what to embrace because it makes up the imperfect person I am.

I think this book has something to offer everyone. From those well into their vulnerability journey to those who are toying with the idea of facing down their shames in order to live a fuller life. Brene Brown teaches, reminds, guides with compassion, humour and stories which show she is in the trenches with us.

Hope to hear about your own journey, whether through this book, or another you might recommend.

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Bookish Thursdays: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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from goodreads

Summary from deborahharkness.com:  When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer. For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume. Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

This book is long. As much as I would’ve loved to make it a marathon and just read into the wee hours of the night, my lifestyle (ha! what lifestyle? I’m on maternity leave)…anyway, it wasn’t possible.

So each time I opened the book, I allowed myself to just enjoy the writing and let Deborah Harkness spin her tale and wrap me in it. 

I loved the mix of historical fiction/fantasy. Harkness’ background as a scholar really comes through in her writing. It is thorough, and my guess would be in the historical fiction part of it, accurate – and if not, it felt accurate. Which in a work of fiction is probably more important.

Each character is flawlessly created and distinct. I really felt that I was shown the layers that make up each character – no matter how minor and I loved that! It is a rich, rich story that truly offers readers the chance to get lost in a story.

So, it wasn’t until I finished the novel and shook my head a little, that I realized that there were a few things that bothered me. I found Diana very immature. Her reluctance to accept her legacy was thoroughly annoying. I mean she has all this power – just learn how to use it already! And, why is it that an intelligent female character always has to be low-maintenance? Maybe it’s the Latina in me but women can take care of themselves, appreciate their own beauty and be intelligent. Don’t know why it bothered me so much…perhaps since the narrator always makes sure to tell us what she’s wearing and it’s usually not all that appealing…

I also thought Matthew was a little too controlling. And his pet name for Diana “ma lionne” was too much…sure she survived being tortured by a fellow witch, but other than that I wouldn’t call this character brave…at least not yet.

My annoyances with the characters were minor and didn’t really affect my overall opinion of the book. I liked A Discovery of Witches. I enjoyed the slightly different portrayal of vampires and witches. The writing and character development were superb. And, I loved the way Harkness weaved history and major historical events into the plot and the lives of the characters. It was fun to see the love story between Matthew and Diana develop thought at times it was a bit juvenile (I fell in love with you before you fell in love with me). The narrator treated the reader with maturity so it was easy to overlook instances like those. A Discovery of Witches was a little dense at times, but I think it worked.

I will definitely be reading book two of the All Souls Trilogy, Shadow of Night.

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