Rogue Nirvana by Sally Naylor

Rogue Nirvana

Beyond Woo Woo
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This ramble through a spiritual seeker’s playfully skeptical but openhearted personal philosophy is part autobiography, part encouraging self-help guide, part poetry chapbook.

Coming from a viewpoint that “Nirvana is now. There is no need for attachment or aversion”—though naturally disinclined to that equation—debut author Naylor shares her exploratory journey through the contemporary cultural and social landscape to find her essential self. “Join me,” she says. “Adopt an idiosyncratic metaphysics, low in mumbo-jumbo, airy fairy or Woo-Woo. Construct a pragmatic skeptic’s stance.” She begins with the basic cultural borders that can define us: family, religion, education and community. Dropping the names of the things that helped her and things that didn’t, she then shares her metaphysical travels via her thoughts on “transformational entrepreneurs,” group practices, trainings in alternative methodologies like neuro-linguistic Programming, and the study of quasi-biological epigenetics and mystical physics. Her personal stories alternate with free verse poetry to illustrate her points. The poems aren’t particularly spiritual, nor do they seem to be intended to be inspirational. Although they make an attempt at the playfulness that Naylor espouses, the effect is often heavy, wordy and sometimes gracelessly overfull of detail. Nonetheless, Naylor comes across as approachable, thoughtful and clever, coming to her ideas from a lifetime of embracing or rejecting ideas depending on how they affect her. Her final advice is to look at everything with a critical but nonjudgmental eye; do what works for you, whether it makes rational sense or not, and never take yourself or the world too seriously. “The world can be a terrible place if you take it seriously or have been trained to or have chosen hypersensitivity,” she says. Her open-mindedness gives readers permission to take mysticism for a ride without becoming married to it.

Approachable advice on seeking and finding joy.

Publisher: Lioncrest
Program: Kirkus Indie
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