New Year, New You, and if that’s your thinking as 2021 opens, then you could do much, much worse than to pick up a copy of Jaya Jaya Myra’s The Soul Of Purpose. As with all self-help books, what you put into the process is what you get out of it, and I’ll plainly state that as far as self-help books go, this one is devoid of most of the toxic nonsense that permeates the industry. While I’m not a huge fan of books that purport to be able to heal all your woes with positive thinking and special diets, I did like how Ms Myra emphasized that adopting these doesn’t mean you have to throw conventional wisdom out the door either.
Her process begins with the four-step WELL Method, which encourages you to figure out your purpose in life in accordance with the gifts you were born with. She subscribes to the Eastern belief that all people are made up of five elements — air, earth, fire, water and space (I’d say void but I’m an L5R nerd) — and that while some elements are predominant in one’s physique and personality, true health comes from having these elements exist in harmony within you. One key observation is that harmony is what you’re looking for, and not balance, as the latter implies the exhausting work of juggling and, possibly, forcing greater quantities than necessary to be present in your make-up.
She hews back to more standard Western rhetoric in emphasizing harmony also in the mental, physical and spiritual, while illustrating how each aspect feeds into the other. Atheists may not care for her firm belief in having a spiritual connection to God, but her beliefs have less to do with religion than with a belief in a higher power where you can rest your burdens when everyday life gets a little too overwhelming. I also enjoyed her embrace of both modern medicine and traditional, as she discusses the importance of exercise and breath work in maintaining all aspects of one’s health. I’m a little skeptical at the idea that deep breathing and meditation will keep most illnesses at bay, but I do appreciate that she presents these as practices to add to your everyday life and not as alternatives to going to the doctor and practicing good physical hygiene.
Probably my favorite thing about this book is that it doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all method, which is a wonderfully fresh perspective in this industry. Despite believing that all people are defined by the combination of five elements, she doesn’t believe in strict recommendations according to same, as each individual’s make-up is unique. What’s important is that readers figure out their own make-ups and work mindfully from there, with her mostly sensible guidance along the way.
I’m not one for self-help books myself, but thought this was the kind of book that does more good than harm, especially as it encourages people to reflect on what makes them feel healthiest and not to worry if the latest fad doesn’t seem to work for them: we’re all different people with different needs, and we should embrace that and move forward with love and positivity. Lovely, thoughtful, healthy sentiments that I can endorse whole-heartedly even if this plan — which includes waking up every day before the sun rises like, lol, no — isn’t necessarily for me.
The Soul of Purpose: A Step-By-Step Approach to Create A Purpose-Driven, Healthy Life by Jaya Jaya Myra was published today January 5th, 2020 by Post Hill Press and is available from all good booksellers, including
Want it now? For the Kindle version, click here.