Who better than a children’s book author and educator to teach adults how to better accept themselves and move optimistically through a dangerous world? That’s who Susan Verde is and what she accomplishes in this book of interweaving essays.
Comparisons to the work of Anne Lamott are not out of place. Verde, like Lamott, writes revealingly, disarmingly, and with humor. For example, the introduction includes many anecdotes, such as the one that begins: “During one of my lowest points as a young adult, a friend who always seemed to have her sh*t together and was still for some reason hanging out with me took me to my first yoga class…” After listing all the words that people at the yoga studio might have used to describe her — “Ugly, Unfit, Out of place, Worthless, You don’t belong here” — Verde writes, “But the beautiful soul behind the counter did not say any of these things. Instead, she smiled softly and said, ‘Welcome, so happy you are here.’”
That might be a good summary of her book as a whole. Realize how the world is happy you are here.
Verde wants to help you rewrite your “inner dictionary.” She then wants to show you how to give thanks, live free, see all the ways you are your own hero, open up ways for loving in your life, and teach you to exhale more freely and fully, as in: “Give your disappointment, sadness, anger a little loving attention and ask them why they have shown up, what do they need to tell you? Expand and contract with the moment. Then let it all go. Nothing will ever be perfect or permanent. A new experience is around the corner. Exhale. Don’t get too attached.”
The voice throughout is Verde’s own. She speaks of spiritual situations and practices such as compassion, mindfulness, loving, and stillness without quoting experts; throughout, she insists, you are your own best expert.