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Today I Begin A New Life - Book Review
This is one of the most influential books of our time! The principles of Og Mandino's writings (such as The Greatest Salesman in The World) compelled Dave Blanchard to compare his own life experience with Og's writings, principles, experiences, victories, and hopes. The book is one of those 'cover to cover' non-fiction style books with many inspirational mini-stories (in the style of Chicken Soup for The Soul) packed with the compassion and wisdom we have grown to appreciate from Mandino, yet, Dave has his own personal touch and heart felt humility as well as a desire to help others along the path of intentional creation and complete surrender.
The reason this book has moved my own heart so deeply is because I have admired and treasured the principles over the years but until now I hadn't truly understood from my own experience the depth of surrender these perfectly imperfect humans were sharing about. I suppose that is the case with many of us. We can be inspired and learn all the wise words, the right things to say and think, with just the right impact to begin to change our lives for the better. Yet, until we experience our own dark night of the soul we will not fully embrace the truth about our unique human ability to allow ourselves to be broken and ultimately lifted out of the ashes of seemingly impossible life circumstances.
Dave has delicately given us a gift by sharing his own pivotal moment of surrender without candy coating the experience. Simply put, he shares God's wisdom in allowing pain (that's right... God allows pain) instead of coating it with God's Love and Mercy (which we definitely needed when our souls were fearful children) but as we develop a relationship with our Creator there comes a time when He is not only going to allow us to experience pain, He may very well cause a bit of it, by pruning our pride, our misplaced identity, and our resistance to surrendering to His Plan for us.
The book isn't 'religious' as some might begin to think based on the God Centeredness of the topic. In fact there are few if any references to any religion. One thing I did sense was Dave's reverence to Og Mandino's writings. Not in the sense that Og is Dave's savior but rather in a way that brings the writings into perspective for our era. Since I have held the writings in high esteem for a couple of decades that isn't surprising to me. But, if someone reading Mr Blanchard's work isn't familiar with the vast outpouring of love and wisdom in those writings they might begin to read more into the new book than is intended.
Og Press Book Recommendations
I have also read these two books and highly recommend them.
This is another book by Dave Blanchard which delves into the thought and word life we share with our self. What we say to ourselves about ourselves and about the world around us. It is a process of discovery and choice once again proving that until we discover the choices we have and how to implement them we are not going to be able to change our lives.
This book has been in my life for many years. I have had several copies of it over time and have given away many of them. It is a book I return to time and time again.
I am so delighted to find Today I Begin A New Life (the topic of this book review), because it is a more modern and applicable review of the principles by another who treasures the work and has experienced the transformation from hopelessness to intentional creation.
There are four sections in this book. The are:
- The Furnace of Adversity
- The Art of Connection
- Mental Creation
- Physical Creation
What many people may not know is before the term 'metaphysics' was so commonly used there were teachers of this concept already sharing about how we are unique in creation as we have the ability to rise up above our circumstances, above our thought process, above our addictions, above the seemingly hopelessness of certain situations in our lives, in our hearts, hurts, habits, and our hang-ups, While cognitive training is possible for just about every living being (shown vividly by the human ability to tame a wild horse for example) we are the only creatures with the ability to choose and co-create with our creator.
We can choose to change our life. We can choose a perspective on any situation which will ultimately transform it into a negative or positive story. We can focus on the storms and the damage (for example) or we can focus on the heroism of the people who step up and help their neighbor when the going gets obviously tough.
But what of those circumstances which aren't as noticeable? It isn't surprising the word of God and those who teach are repeating this simple truth more and more often "only God knows our hearts" and the pain, the bruises, the wounds, the challenges, the obstacles, the seemingly overwhelming situations we are going through now or which we have gone through in the past which come up again and again fermenting with time to poison our life today.
Our personal dark night of the soul can turn out to be any number of stories. We have a choice. That quote once angered me. In a state of deep unhappiness someone said "you have a choice to be happy or unhappy' and they backed that up with quotes from a number of wise souls (President Lincoln was one I remember the most). My anger at that statement was just another spark of fire for the flames which were consuming my vitality and my enjoyment of life. I was drowning and crying out to this 'god' person who in my earlier years I thought was against me, later being taught He as All Loving All Forgiving, then even later being taught that He would not help us when we could help ourselves.
The confusion is a bit tricky to express. I was overwhelmed by life and overwhelmed by what some would label as the answer to life. Yet in the background I would hear teachers like Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Og Mandino, and now since 2012 Dave Blanchard.
I hope that you have the opportunity to read this book. Perhaps even others in the collection which spans a few decades or more.
The bottom line is we do have a choice.
We can only access our choice by learning how to, learning where our perception has been flawed, and learning from others who have experienced the transformative passage which puts us in a place where we can access this unique gift.
How Many Og Mandino Publications Have You Read?
My Guest Book
I have been on my own transformative journey for many years. I recall the process and how each dark night of the soul seemed insurmountable. Times when I could not imagine climbing out of the dark tombs I found myself in. That process always seemed like a curse to me. Yet, now I have discovered how even curses can be applied to the process in positive ways, ways that wouldn't have been possible without the experience.
Og Mandino said:
"I love the light, for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness, for it shows me the stars."
There are stars in our lives waiting to be discovered and nurtured. We are the star. We have unique gifts and a unique purpose. We are being molded by the fire (as the creator shapes us and refines us). We are growing into our purpose and will receive our blessings in ways we could not have imagined.
My prayer for us is that we find our place in connection with the life source and we are fully aware of the lessons in this life which prepare us fulfill our potential and our purpose. Without wasting time trying to figure out 'what is my purpose' or 'why am I here' we can suit up and show up, be of service, practice (as we discover our natural gifts), rise above the difficulties in this life, because, those deep painful overwhelming pains aren't permanent...they are pathways, passages, into serenity and peace.
© 2014 Deb Bryan