Note: The author was given a free copy of this book. However, all expressed viewpoints, positive and negative, are that of Amy, and Amy alone. Read on!
I appreciate a good self-help book.
While I’m generally a positive person (depending on how much sleep I’ve had the night before), there’s still that little gnome on my shoulder who whispers self-doubt in my ear. To quiet his nonsense, it helps to read stories of other people who struggle with their own doubting gnomes and to take in advice from well-meaning experts.
If done well, a self-help book can give you a swift kick in the bum and be a catalyst for genuine change. When done not-so-well, you can’t help but feel like you’re buried in fluff, with no real wake-up call or directional star to guide you to better pathways. Baron Baptiste’s Being of Power: The Nine Practices to Ignite an Empowered Life got it right…most of the time.
In his book, Baptiste outlines nine practices that will “allow you to dissolve the blocks standing in your own path and access inner knowledge that you already possess.” He provides good advice on what you need to do to get unstuck, but he’s sometimes sparing on the how.
For example, in Practice #7, Embrace Naked Reality, he points out that fear shows up when “you get all caught up in your thoughts—you isolate from what’s really going on out there and start spinning stories.” Yes, true.
He then suggests that “the key to making fear disappear is to root ourselves down in reality.” Ok, how? He goes on to explain that our tendency to create stories is part of our “survival mode.” To counteract this, he suggests bringing your awareness to your body, taking a breath and asking yourself “what’s actually happening?” That is all helpful, yes, but those of us who are a little thick-skulled (me included) may need more insight on how to stay focused on the present, particularly when our noisy psyches get in the way.
These seemed like a simple answers to a complicated problem. I felt that fear, and our destructive reactions to hide it, needed more solid solutions.
That said, I found Practice #8, Defy the Lie, to be the most honest and useful suggestion. He defines this practice as:
“Bringing your central lie into view and understanding that you did this to yourself—no one else did it.”
I often notice this in my own self-defeating behavior. I make my own negative ideas true, especially those directed toward me. Baptiste explains:
“When you’re stuck inside your limiting point of view, you don’t experience it as a lie. You experience it as the truth, and its rigidity constrains you to only what the present tells you is possible.”
He offers more insightful nuggets throughout the book, such as:
“The truth always stands up to anything, and we have to trust that.”
“There is nothing you need to change. There is nothing you need to fix. There is nothing you need to figure out.”
“Being right is a kind of power born out of fear.”
“The path of transformation has no end. It’s a profound, lifelong commitment to moving up to something bigger.”
But, every now and again, a fluff-like thought would sneak in and take away some of the inspirational momentum, like the obvious “often our need to know shows up as a question of how” or the vague “our space is where we’re coming from, and our purpose—our goals—is where we’re going.”
However, I appreciated his honesty with his own struggles in statements like:
“What I know now is that having the idea of change isn’t enough. I needed to go through a series of accidental breakdowns and breakthroughs in order to shift away from a life of dogmatic discipline to one of my own personal power.”
Overall, I found the book to be a good, easy read with some helpful advice and insight. I was pleasantly surprised to see yoga mentioned less than I expected. With Baptiste’s wealth of yoga knowledge, I anticipated more of a yoga-focused book. Instead, he based it more on life practices and observations with some yoga principles added in here and there.
Baron Baptiste fans will undoubtedly enjoy the book. And for someone, like me, who is somewhat new to his teachings, Being of Power has given me an appreciation of his work. As Baptiste eloquently states:
“The true secret to a great life, as I see it, is making a difference for others.”
I have no doubt that Being of Power will do just that.
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Ed: Sara Crolick
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