Rigolosi identifies commitment, awareness, goals and exercise (CAGE) as the key ingredients to transformation in her blueprint for changing one’s life.
The author’s guide to self-improvement is told as a fable. Gretchen, Hans and their children, Little Gretel and Little Chaunce, live on The Lake and believe their Lily Pad is mysteriously shrinking, perhaps as a result of their creation of The Well of Many Spirits, a method of food storage. Eager to find out why the Lily Pad is shrinking (or perhaps how to make it bigger—the goal is not quite clear), Gretchen and Hans seek the advice of The Great Wizard of the Lakes, who promises to teach them the secret to “unlocking your CAGE” in four discrete lessons. Returning to The Great Wizard’s Lily Pad each time, Gretchen and Hans learn that by aligning their thoughts, feelings and actions, they can take control of their lives. Each of the four chapters is followed by a distilled lesson for the reader, offering visualization exercises as well as directions for how to enact the four lessons. Many of The Great Wizard’s directives seem wise and true— “Your CAGE exists only if you give it life by feeling CAGED—by being unaware and uncommitted and by feeling unable to control yourself. You direct what you believe to exist.” The world of The Lakes, while charming, often distracts from the larger lessons of the book. The presence of so many capitalized alternate names— “The Warmth in the Sky” for sun, “Water Petal” for cup and “The Well of Many Spirits” for an ice box—bogs down the story. While the lesson recaps appear to be applicable to various life challenges, the fable seems peculiarly focused on weight (much is made of Gretchen and Hans eating more as a result of their new food storage capability) and their preoccupation with their small home. A shrinking lily pad seems like an odd stand-in for what should be read as a universal obstacle to living one’s best life.
Helpful techniques for achieving life goals, but often sidetracked by the minutiae of an allegorical world.