A thorough, accessible investigation that will guide seekers through the difficult but ultimately satisfying journey of...

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THE LIFE YOU WANT

A guide to personal exploration of enlightenment.

Burgess Novak’s debut self-help title makes a strong case for acceptance and surrender as a path to one’s higher self. Expansion of the mind can come by following a simple three-step recipe: “Awareness leads to Consciousness, which leads to Enlightenment.” Put in practice, these transcendental transitions may be difficult, but they are profoundly worthwhile. Through an in-depth look at our four aspects—mental, emotional, physical and spiritual—Burgess Novak tackles such issues as the holographic universe (how can we know anything within or outside of ourselves?), the daily struggle against the ego and the unique path each of us must follow to reach Consciousness. One noteworthy chapter devotes itself entirely to exploring the concept that everyone is a unique aspect of God; with faith and trust, she says, we must open ourselves up to embrace this simple, beautiful idea. The energy radiating from us allows us to manifest our desires, Burgess Novak says, and the only real obstacle between each of us and enlightenment is our “egoic child’s mind,” or ecm: “I use lowercase letters for this acronym because I want to emphasize that this is a small, limited, and spiritually, mentally, and emotionally immature part of us despite the fact that this energetic construct of the ego often runs the show.” Its tendency to keep us alive and safe through fear of change and the unknown presents an antagonistic force we must overcome. The ecm develops during the first few years of life, as one struggles to comprehend the world, building a worldview based on misperceptions and contradictory emotions; the somewhat-flawed assumption, though, is that the ecm always forms in a dysfunctional environment and is therefore always fear-based. Despite this subtle logic gap, the central tenet holds true: In surrendering the energy we use for survival and opening up to using that same energy toward creating the life we want, we find peace and enlightenment.

A thorough, accessible investigation that will guide seekers through the difficult but ultimately satisfying journey of enlightenment.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1491232132

Page Count: 186

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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