Inspired Mama: The Empowered Mother’s Guide To An Intentional Life, by Sez Kristiansen
For reasons that are mysterious to me, I am frequently asked to read and review books that are written by, for, and about women despite not being a woman. This book is aimed very clearly at mothers from a woman whose life has been an interesting one as it relates to the subject of intentionality. In reading this book, I frequently found myself feeling a bit torn between the pro-New Age and pro-Buddhist tone and language of the book, which speaks in ways that would be familiar to those who have read many books on intentionality and positive psychology, and the content of the book in providing a message of personal responsibility and reflection and self-awareness in seeking to avoid the messy and soul-destroying ways of living a life without concern for the repercussions of one’s behavior. Despite my issues with the words that the author was using to describe her disciplined approach to life, the very aspect of that discipline itself was compelling and is certainly an example that deserves to be encouraged by others.
This book is a relatively short one at just over 150 pages long. It begins with a discussion of the author’s discovery of wisdom and insight while having a particularly rough day. The author spends the first five chapters of the book discussing the importance of having freedom of mind (I), which includes consciousness (1), wisdom (2), what the author calls the manifestation cycle (3), the “higher” authentic self (4) of the reader, and one’s inspired actions (5), followed by a summary. After that the author discusses the freedom of life (II), with chapters on intentional living (6), how to align and redefine one’s life (7), create one’s own purpose (8), eat a “high-vibrational” diet (9), after which there is a summary. The third part of the book then discusses the freedom of comfort zones (III), where the author blends a discussion of the comfort of the familiar that we have in our habits with an encouragement to enjoy adventure and wanderlust (10) and exploring that which is not familiar. After a summary of this third part of the book the author then provides a short epilogue that looks at life beyond the book and then closes with some information about the author and her dramatic and complicated life.
Among the more notable qualities of this work is the way that the author seamlessly blends a discussion of her own personal life and experiences along with observations she has gained with the advice that she considers. This personal touch helps the reader to understand that the author does not look at these subjects from the point of view of someone who has mastered life and can look down on lowly peasants seeking guidance in the face of the difficulties of being a contemporary mother, but demonstrate her fellowship with and understanding of the struggles facing mothers and women in general. As the author grew up in South Africa from a family with a complicated background and lived abroad for quite a while before marrying and settling down in Denmark, there is a lot in here that will resonate with cosmopolitan women who have a taste for this sort of material. While much of the advice of this book is pretty straightforward and obvious, sometimes people need to pay attention to the obvious when it comes to improving the state of their life in the face of the pressures that it brings.