Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know by Leonie Dawson

If I had a daughter, I’d want her to know about this book. I’d share it with her in bite size pieces, from infancy to adulthood, making sure to reinforce its lessons along the way:
Dream big. Trust your intuition. Believe in your gifts. Make joy. See yourself as radiant. Know yourself as beautiful.
And this is just a sampling. Possibly the most powerful text in this entire book, the most powerful words that could be told to any girl child, teenager, or even grown women are as follows: Inside you there is the wise one. The shamaness. The dreamer. The lover. The creator. The wife. The mother. The daughter. The sister. The artist. The one who knows best. The one who knows all manner of things in this world can be healed with a cup of tea, with an hour of listening, with those lightbeams we call love, and sisterhood. Inside you there is a goddess. Beautiful. Wise. True. Divine. (Can you feel her?)
This is my favorite page of the book, my favorite passage, my favorite bite size piece of wisdom from Leonie Dawson, a mother, artist and author who has made a life for herself and her family by inspiring women to be the goddesses that they truly are. No one told me anything like this growing up. Not even close. The highest compliment I can remember striving for, as a young girl, was to be called 'pretty'.  I wonder what might have been different in my life if I'd heard the passage above from childhood, if I'd not put so much stock into being considered 'pretty' (which, as a young tomboy with unruly dark curls and a swarthy complexion in a sea of blonde first-grade princesses, I rarely was) and put more stock into being myself? I wonder how my teen years might have been different if I'd internalized those powerful words as a child? I wonder how much stronger I might have been as a young woman had I known the truth of those words, as I do now?
73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know is not the first book I’ve read that deals with these concepts, but it is certainly the most outstanding. Why? Because Leonie doesn’t write in a matter that elevates her, the author, to a wise, benevolent sage position, posessing wisdom far greater than that of the reader. She isn’t writing from the standpoint that she knows more than you, that she is at some higher level of awareness than you. Leonie writes as if she were you, because the lessons she illustrates in this beautiful book are lessons of life, lessons we’ve all had to learn, lessons we’ve still yet to learn. Many of her heartfelt admonitions and stories about her own life are so easy to identify with, sometimes I felt as though I were reading from my own journals. Like Leonie, I lost a brother when I was young. Like Leonie, I’ve seen the things which I thought were the worst that could happen actually come to pass. And like Leonie, I’ve fought against the universe – hard – when it didn’t give me what I so desperately wanted.
And like Leonie, I learned that through it all, I could survive. That I could still find happiness. And that I could come to understand (not fight against) the higher purpose of the universe delivering to me a lesson that I wasn’t aware I needed, and come to be grateful for it. Reading Leonie’s writing is like reading a letter from an old friend, someone who knows you, who has seen what you have seen, who has been where you are. And guess what? You’re gonna want to write back.
The good news is, 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know is an interactive book, with spaces for writing, doodling, pages to remove. The chapters are Joyful Goddess, Creative Goddess, Sacred Goddess, Radiant Goddess, and Mama Goddess. And along the way of reading, you’re gonna find that you want to write…something. In the book, in your journals, a long-overdue letter (I for one am a huge proponent of bringing back the lost art of real letter writing), an email, a blog, or just some words across a nice piece of paper, words which you can decorate with sequins, glue and glitter, maybe even some paint, preferably pink or turquoise…this book should come with an advisory label: Warning, reading the contents of this book might lead one to feel inexplicably drawn to create bright, colorful things, write letters and include happy tokens of love, walk barefoot in fields for no particular reason, bake sweet yummy things for loved ones, and relish in the happiness of just  being. Just being you.
Yes, if I had a daughter, I’d want her to know about this book. I’d share it with her in bite size pieces, from infancy to adulthood, making sure to reinforce its lessons along the way. I do, however, have a son, a magical little being who has led me into dances with my soul I never could have learned the steps to had I not become his mother. And I’ve decided the wisdom of this book is certainly worth sharing with him, too. In bite size pieces, from infancy to the man he will someday become, making sure to reinforce its lessons along the way so he will understand not only women, strong, healthy women, but also how to recognize a kindred spirit in a woman, and how to relate to, appreciate, respect and ultimately make a life with the woman he will someday choose to love beyond measure, for that is the only way. As I write this he is here beside me now, thumbing through the pages of the book, watching his creative mama goddess wrap up this review. (You can guess which chapters were my favorite, right?) He has his own lessons to learn in life, and I shouldn't try to keep him from them. Still, I hope that I can teach him to recognize the true and authentic, the radiant, the type of woman who is real, who is not plastic, but whole, and truly worth pursuing.
And so, if you’d like to start your New Years with a gift to your daughters, mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, sons, or even better, yourself, you can order 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know by visiting Leonie at www.GoddessGuidebook.com. Of course, you can also visit www.Amazon.com, but that won’t be nearly as fun as visiting Leonie’s site. There’s much magic and happiness to be found there. So come visit Leonie at www.GoddessGuidebook.com,  and discover the Goddess in you!!!
*I prefered using my own image of the book cover rather than a stock photo. You can see my knitting basket as well as my letter writing basket in the edges of the photo, and my personal artwork on the bookmark that extends from the book. Somehow I think this is more appropriate than a slick, stock photo would have been. And I think Leonie would agree... :-)