For Pity Sake Publishing founder and CEO Jen McDonald talks about one of her favourite reads from this year, Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. I've read my fair share of woo-woo self-help books like The Secret (Rhonda Byrne), Leveraging the Universe (Mike Dooley) and E-Squared (Pam Grout), all very valuable in their own way, reminding us that our thoughts can and often do become 'things' in our reality. Many of these books come with techniques and suggestions about what one should do to manifest 'the life of your dreams' and even in The Secret's case, a Rolls-Royce in the driveway if that's what you truly desire.
Still, for a very long time after reading these books I felt I must be going about this manifesting thing all wrong. A lot of the stuff I asked for while being very specific in the asking (as one is bidden to do in these books) never eventuated. This led me to think that, in some instances at least, the Universe might know better than I what it is I actually need as opposed to what I think I want. Add to that a comment made by the veritable 'father of motivation', the late great Dr Wayne Dyer to the effect that while the science behind the law of attraction is sound, he was uncomfortable with the concept of always 'getting' from the Universe. I confess I hadn't thought of it like that. Perhaps the Universe wasn't giving me what I was asking for because it thought I was greedy or worse, unworthy.
Thankfully, I hadn't wandered too far down this unfortunately well-worn track before the Universe saw fit to provide me with exactly what I needed. It came in the form of a wonderful book called Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver, bearing the tagline of 'Letting the Divine Take the Lead'. It was just what I was looking for - a book of short essays adapted from two years of Ms Silver's column-writing for the SF Spiritual Examiner at examiner.com that were supposed to be about astrology. What transpired was a collection of instructive stories about 'Divine Order' and how to align with it, to be 'outrageously open' to the signs and answers coming out of the 'Force of Love' (whether you call it God, Shakti, the Source or the Universe) on even the most mundane of life's challenges like 'how am I going to pay this electricity bill'?
And while Outrageous Openness doesn't poo-poo the idea of manifesting that Rolls-Royce in the driveway if that's what you really want, it does go quite a long way to explaining why you might not get it. And that's not because you're doing the manifesting thing incorrectly, it's just that the 'Force of Love' has other ideas, ones that work to more effectively to your highest good. You might even get your manifested desire but if it doesn't align with Divine Order, other problems will undoubtedly follow.
As if on cue, while I write this piece, Outrageous Openness falls open at a story that begins with a quote from Florence Scovel Shin, author of The Game of Life and How to Play It - "Anything forced into manifestation through personal will is always 'ill gotten'". That's interesting and when teamed with one of Ms Silver's own quotes about 'allowing' it lifts the weight of having to 'make things happen' from my fallible, mortal shoulders - "Let what wants to come, come. Let what wants to go, go. If it is mine, it will stay. If not, whatever is better will replace it".
I have a terrible habit of turning the corner of the top of the page in any book I'm reading if something on that page has resonated with me. If there's more than one resonant thing on that page, then the bottom corner gets folded too. I'm happy to report that Outrageous Openness has more turned down tops and bottoms of pages than it has flat ones. Moreover this book now sits permanently on my bedside table, ready for consultation whenever I get confused, lost or simply rattled by life. To date, it's never disappointed.
Click here to buy Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver, and click here to see Jen’s own self-help guide, Vegetarian Vampires.