Disclaimer: This book review is about a book that has nothing to do with gardening, the nursery, or anything related to plants or horticulture!
Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33 Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy by Panache Desai is one of the most unique self-help or spiritual books I’ve read, and probably the best one I’ve read all summer, and I’ve read a lot of spiritual and self-help books during summer and quarantine. I’ve re-visited some of my old favorites this year (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho aged well for me, the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield has not aged as well) and have followed up on some sequels (Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior a very good follow up to The Way of the Peaceful Warrior which I read probably 15 years ago). I’ve also read new books, and this is the one that has stood out the most and had the biggest impact on me so far.
Desai’s book is set up with three readings a day, one for morning, one for noon, and one for night. Each day is set up around an emotion or principle, and there are practices to implement around these things during the day. There are days about sadness, anger, self-judgment, and much more (I’m only about 9 days into the book, and I feel that the past 9 days have helped me incredibly). The practices involved in the book are mostly based on observing and accepting feelings like sadness and anger, that are natural parts of the human condition. For things like self-judgment and shame it starts with observing, feeling, and accepting, and how to feel and let go of these these ingrained emotions.
Each of the days builds on the previous day’s knowledge and practice, and issues that relate to each other like guilt, shame, and self-judgement are weaved together splendidly. I feel I found this book at the right moment as I’ve recently started a mindfulness meditation practice during quarantine and have been trying to work through some issues that I need to work through to grow. This book, and the practices, are not easy. Feeling emotions that I’m not used to just sitting with and feeling is not easy. Desai makes it clear that none of us are alone in our struggles, and that every human being has struggles with emotions like this. He also delves into the ways we use addictions or distractions to keep us from feeling these emotions and living in the moment. He again reinforced that everyone has these coping mechanisms be they heroin, porn, obsessive cleaning, hours spent in the gym, or anything else we use as a band aid for internal hurt. All of us have some behavior we use to distract ourselves from our feelings of unworthiness, feeling less than, or lonely, or whatever our struggle may be.
The readings take no longer than 5 minutes. Each reading that is, so it’s no problem knocking out the morning reading before work, or the afternoon one at the end of lunch break before heading back. This is not a book to just read intellectually. I feel if I just read through and didn’t actually do the practices involved that I would not feel the same transformation as I do internalizing these concepts.
This is an excellent book for anyone with the human condition. Particularly if you suffer from self-judgment, shame, guilt, and many other very human feelings, then this book is a great way to feel these things, accept them, and move on. I’d recommend Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy to anyone. I has been an experience for me that I am very grateful for.
Side note: After reading The Alchemist myself I read it outloud to my kids, who are 8 and 10. The 10 year old loved it. My 8 year old did not love it quite as much. I think it was well worth reading, and I hope they come back to it later in life. I think they both understood, and it made for some interesting family conversations.
Another side note: At the insistence of my 10 year old, we read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo out loud to the whole family, wife included. This is a fantastic book. It is for children, but everyone should read it. It is truly magical!