How to Live Your Passion
And Fulfill Your Dreams
Stacie Zinn Roberts (What's Your Avocado? Press 2014, Trade Paperback) 130 pages
This is the best book of its kind I have ever read and believe me, I've read and reviewed more personal advice books than elephants have had runny noses. Yes, I realize that is a concluding sort of statement and as such properly belongs way down there at the bottom of the page. But I know what you lot are like! You'll see the cover and the title and think, 'Oh, Justanotherselfhelpbook' and at best you'll read the opening sentence. So there. I tricked you. Nyah.
Now let's get down to proper business. Perhaps the key principle within this elegantly written short book is found on its fifth page. Author Stacie Zinn Roberts asks the reader directly:
What passion have you been secretly harboring, too afraid to truly pursue it,
without the fear of being judged as reckless, irrational, irresponsible or out
of touch with reality?
Well for me, it's pretty much everything I've done for the past two years, but that's a story for another day. Or wait, actually it is not, it's for right now. On a hot summer's afternoon in July 2012 I decided that I was going to completely change my life and live its passions, pack up and leave Canada to move to Ireland, where I had wanted to live since age 10. Yes, I said 10. Zinn Roberts would call my moment in the sun my Avocado Moment, with that assuredly odd terminology based off a dream she had about an avocado plantation, a dream which in turn convinced her to live according to her own passions.
Ah, but I can hear the bleating cries of readers now – or perhaps that's the sheep across the fence. In any event someone out there is bleating that it is all well and good to talk about indulging passions and living true to one's self, but there are bills to pay, jobs to go to, taxes to be avoided and that's not the way Dad taught us. 'Bleeeeattttt...I can't do that!...Bleat!' To use a grand olde Irish word, what a load of bollocks. Of course you can.
How to Live Your Passion and Fulfill Your Dreams has a series of exercises within it and provides the page space to actually do them. Oh I know, it makes my hand twitch too when I start taking a pen to pages in a book, but I wanted to do it. For one reason, I want to take this book off the shelf at regular future intervals and see how I'm doing and what has changed. These exercises involve lists, analysis of how you feel about the vents through your day, and a strongly urged suggestion that one should meditate. Having been trained at the (Deepak) Chopra Center in California, one of the best things Zinn Roberts does in this book is that in just a few pages she teaches the reader three basic forms of meditation. Yes, trust me, they work. After a half an hour's time spent breathing with or without a mantra, you will be amazed how incredibly refreshed your body and mind will feel.
I think really the only thing I would change about this book is its title. The content I have described to you as wonderful. The case histories in the latter half of the book from remarkable men and women who have learned to live their lives as themselves are excellent and quite entertaining. Actually, two people I consider dear friends are among them. It is a particular joy when one turns a page and, 'Oh look at you! You're in here!' If you're curious, they are the formidable and joyously profane author and founder of Women Who Write, Vicki Abelson as well as the syndicated astrologer and all-around good egg Zoe Moon.
But the title. Drat. How to Live Your Passion and Fulfill Your Dreams just isn't something that is going to fly off the shelves and that is a goddam shame. I've lived my own latter years following, unbeknownst to me until now, Stacie Zinn Roberts' teachings and philosophies. They work and I still learnt a lot from reading her book. So that is why, dear reader, I have done my damndest to write you as entertaining a review as I possibly can because this book deserves it. And, you deserve to read this book.
Be seeing you.