Reviewer Michelle Kaye Malsbury:
Michelle was born in Champaign, IL. Currently, she resides in Asheville, NC
and is in her second year of doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern
University in Ft. Lauderdale with specialization/concentration in
conflict resolution and peace studies. She has over six hundred
articles published on the web and one book published thus far with
many more in the wings. Hobbies include; reading, writing, music, and
playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Abu.
Author: Renee Linnell
Renee Linnell describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur”. (2018, p.301) She has a MBA from NYU and has founded or co-founded five companies. Prior to that she modeled and danced professionally. At this time she is embroiled in beginning a publishing company. Renee lives between Colorado and Southern California. To learn more about this impressive woman please visit her website.
This book is a memoir. Renee’s personal journey began with a meditation class in 2006. She admits that she was reluctant to attend, but that changed the path of the rest of her life. About the meditation leader’s seminar she says the following, “I didn’t want it to end. I was hooked. I had to know more.”(2018, p.28) The leaders name was Lakshmi and her advice was intensely transformative.
After having time to digest how profound this leader and her words were she, Lakshmi, invited the attendees on a “power trip” that was heading to the great pyramids. Supposedly this might place those who came along well onto their own paths toward enlightenment. “Lakshmi made it sound like we would meditate our way into enlightenment, that if we meditated long enough and tried hard enough, we would one day blast through a portal into another realm, and life from that point would be different, we would utterly be changed.” (2018, p.57)
Lakshmi also told them that “…by changing our living habits, we could increase our personal power. With increased personal power, we could make more money and have more influence in the world. We could get more accomplished, and we could reach higher states of mind in meditation.” (2018, p.68)
Eventually Renee gets to know another person affiliate with Lakshmi who tells her to keep their new friendship from Lakshmi. Renee find this weirdly exciting. She later got weirded-out and called upon Vishnu, her new friend to help her calm down. He said that this new program was a little based on fear and that they “…feed on fear.”. (2018, p.96)
The book flashes back to Renee’s childhood and her days as a dancer/model. She was able to travel extensively while doing both activities and had opportunity to learn Spanish too. It is this very astringent lifestyle that precipitated the necessity to seek change and enlightenment for Renee.
Lakshmi invites all of her group to detach themselves from the material world. Renee is not entirely at peace with this wish, but endeavors to try it to please Lakshmi. Renee embarks on releasing her attachment to these things by doing the following. “I burned carloads of my belongings… I was so desperate to get rid of the old version or myself, so sure they were wrong and holding me back from enlightenment. I gathered my mother’s jewelry, gifts my father had given her…items I loved—and stuffed them into my wetsuit. I paddled out on my surfboard as far as I could into a stormy winter ocean and let it all fall into the water.” (2018, p.117)
As I read this book I began to pity Renee and her weakness and lack of resignation toward Lakshmi and Vishnu. As Renee builds her determination to live her own life; she gets back into school and works on her degree and her MBA.
I do not want to give the entire book away, if it piques your interest buy it, read it, and learn from it.