I love learning about how people cope with this thing called life. Anything that will help me on my journey to enlightenment I will read or I will watch. The book that immediately came to mind when I was thinking about female authors was, “One day my soul was opened” by Iyanla Vanzant. Anyone who knows me knows I love Miss Iyanla Vanzant. She is who and what I hope to be some day. What is not to love about her? She is a lawyer, author, TV personality and inspirational speaker. She has been on the list of the 100 most influential black Americans. At 63 years old her “say it like it is” attitude is still celebrated on her show, Iyanla fix my life. She also shares her knowledge on Oprah’s Life class. Personally, what I love about Iyanla is that she teaches people basic principles to make life a little easier.
Struggle for control of your lifeIyanla dedicates her book to Ego. In case you are wondering you read that right. Ego is not a person, she dedicates the book to the ego we all know. She writes ‘This book is dedicated to Ego, that part of us that continues to worry, lives in doubt, is afraid, needs to be rescued and beats up on self’, and with these words the whirlwind journey of introspection begins. When you pick this book up you do not expect to be called out and forced to face the truths of your life but that is exactly what this book does. Iyanla does not beat around the bush, she puts you through your paces and requires you to do the work yourself. You read it at your own pace and you decide what you learn from it. All she asks is 30 minutes of your time a day and to not stop reading the book.
She writes about her struggles in life and how she went from being content with her life to being miserable overnight. The reason for her misery was telling herself the truth, she hated her job, she was dating a married man, she felt she had been a horrible mother and she was lonely. Everything in her life fell apart and she went through what she calls temporary insanity which she defines as being upset. She mentions that ‘it is a kind of insanity that keeps you in a struggle for control of your life and everyone in it’. She goes on to write that she has met hundreds of thousands of people she recognizes from her own experience to be utterly insane: ‘These insane people stay in relationships were they are cheated on or cheat and they remain in situations where they are neglected, demeaned and overlooked.
The insanity I am identifying here is the kind that makes you forget who walks besides you and who lives within you’.
Tell yourself the truth
Being called insane is enough to stop anyone in their tracks and make one throw the book across the room but something about the way Iyanla puts together her words will make you continue reading. If you do, you are in for a treat! It is not an easy read but it is necessary and even Iyanla writes that the good thing about the book her misery was telling herself the truth.
I encourage you to get your hands on a copy of this book, think of it as an investment even. You will find yourself on a journey of self-compassion and self-knowledge as you read this book and the good thing is you get thirty minutes a day to just relax and take time out from the constant “busy-ness” of the world. Other books by Iyanla include Yesterday I cried, Forgiveness and until today. As Iyanla would say ‘As you move through the day be aware of how you treat yourself’.