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BOOK REVIEW

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaiming Your True Nature 

by Martha Beck

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is a truth that will manifest itself over and over as this exciting new book is read and shared and read again.  The number of markers and underlines and margin notes in my preview copy are testaments to the fact I was ready. I devoured it and now am going back to start practicing the many exercises. The book’s purpose is to help you more clearly identify “what you should be doing with your one wild and precious life.”

The author, Martha Beck, has outstanding educational and life experience credentials for writing this book. It is both a sharing of her own life journey as well as a manifesto for anyone ready to embrace their own best life. With a B.A. in East Asian Studies and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Harvard University, Beck is a trained observer and analyst. Her coaching specialty is helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She first got on my radar screen as a columnist for Oprah Magazine, where I am regularly impressed with her no-nonsense, delightfully humorous approach to issues about life’s questions, fears, and psychological roadblocks.

I recently read Beck’s bestselling book Expecting Adam, the story of her 1987-88 pregnancy and giving birth to a Downs syndrome child (new edition in 2011). Its subtitle is “A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic.” The unabashed revelation of her own fears, neuroses, and personal/professional challenges at the time was both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Martha has known and overcome tragedy, sadness, and self-limiting thoughts. She is an excellent guide for empowering others to overcome their own life issues. Finding Your Way in a Wild New World is her ultimate guidebook, the best of her teaching and philosophy in one zinger of a book.

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World is not going to resonate with everyone. Some will dismiss it as just another pop cultural self-help book. Others will use terms like “woo-woo” and “New Age nonsense.” They’d be selling it short. I am a devout Christian with an insatiable curiosity and open mind about spirituality and human potential. This book was filled with research-based findings on the power of our connectedness with each other and with all living things in nature (flora and fauna), and I believe people of any faith will find it enriches, rather than contradicts, their core beliefs.

Beck includes many practical exercises for each section of her book, all designed to exercise the parts of our brain that we don’t use enough, to train ourselves to focus our attention, and to tap into the energy that is mostly likely to allow us to find and cultivate our own best selves. They’re designed to get us out of our mental ruts!

Here are some hints that this book might be perfect for you right now:

  • If you feel a yearning that you can’t identify or suppress.
  • If you feel the need for clarity and purpose in your life.
  • If you’re afraid to do things that you think you’d love to do.
  • If wild success and abysmal failure both scare you.
  • If you feel fragmented with no clear focus in your life.
  • If your wild fantasies seem impossible but won’t let you go.
  • If you feel you’re about to explode with possibilities and potential but can’t grab on to that one thing that feels just right.
  • If you suspect your self-talk is holding you back.
  • If you feel like you’re bumping your head against one obstacle after another but you’re certain there’s something better on the other side.
  • If you feel the world is changing so fast you can’t keep up.
  • If you feel stuck and unproductive.
  • If you feel in need of emotional healing before you can move on to your real purpose of healing others.
  • If you desperately want to make a difference with the rest of your life but don’t know what on earth you that might “look like.”

If any one of these rings true, you owe it to yourself to read this book. There is a generous excerpt available for free on Amazon. If it doesn’t grab you by the time you finish reading those pages, either the book is not for you or the timing is not right in your life.

If the timing is right for you, you’ll gain clarity, focus, and powerful tools for living abundantly in the best sense of the word. Order this or any of Martha's other books by clicking on the cover in the carousel below.

Photo of Dr. Martha Beck

Dr. Martha Beck

Connect with Martha Beck on Facebook or Twitter.

What books have helped YOU identify your true calling in life? Please share in the comments below or join the conversation on my Facebook Page.

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