One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth, by Iyanla VanZant. "About Iyanla" at the back of the book describes her as a Yoruba priestess, an ordained minister, best-selling author, workshop leader, lecturer, who has been a criminal defense attorney and hosted a radio talk show.
It seems as if most of us spend most days going through times of transition, doubting, planning and wondering, anticipating that "one day" everything just might come together for us. On Christmas Day 2001 the person I shared dinner with gave me her extra copy of this book partly as an after thought and partly because she'd read it and discerned it might help me during that particular time of transition, doubting, planning and wondering what now. Since then I've read and journaled through this excellent handbook and I've seen Iyanla VanZant on TV. She impresses me as smart and savvy and someone I might relate to as spiritual director, therapist, counselor, or life coach (a type of intervention I've never pursued). The person who gave me this book is someone else who now is out of my life and comparing oneself to others or even to our former selves and states of being isn't usually a great idea, but said person commented she believed both of us were more spiritually advanced than sage and guru Iyanla. Be that as it may or maybe not, this seemed like a good book review for this blog, preservation project, though it would have fit desert spirit's fire!, my main theology blog almost as well. Providentially i've blogged quite a few times there this month, so here it is.
I journaled through One Day My Soul using a board cover, prettily designed, non-looseleaf notebook and found the readings and exercises settling, centering and helpful. Although there are places in the book to write, even if I didn't have the hardcover copy I definitely would have journaled separately, but some people like an all in one arrangement.
The biblical number of 40 days worth of chapters include topics such as creativity, choice, compassion, disappointment, fun, surrender, lonely, authenticity (you get the general idea), working definitions, a short commentary on each topic, what to remember, some fairly direct advice, and writing topics related to emotions, realizations, affirmations and resolutions. It's divided into ways to honor the Divine, honor yourself, honor others and honor the process, in which hopefully others, God and self will be intricately interwoven and involved. Although it's somewhat New-Agey, nothing conflicts with the great Abrahamic faith traditions and I imagine working and feeling through One Day My Soul Just Opened Up could benefit almost anyone of any age or gender, any religious of spiritual practice or tradition or maybe even someone who claims none, though it feels oriented toward women.
I appreciate the daily workbook format, but definitely would like a table of contents. Especially if you were working through the readings and exercises a second or third time, it would be very helpful to be able to go to the section or subject you needed at that time. Possibly later editions have included a ToC or an index, I don't know. Quotes from scriptures of different traditions or from writers known for their great wisdom would be an asset, but you can add your own choices as you go along. In any case, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up is a keeper!
my amazon review: that one day might be any day now