If I had to sum up Diane Pienta’s new book in one sentence, it’s about choosing to embrace life. Embrace life, in all its glory – and that includes having a level head about the ups and downs that come with this thing called ‘Life.’ It’s fitting the title of Pienta’s book is the enjoyably verbose Be the Magic: Bite-Size Nuggets of Wisdom to Feed Your Joy, Nourish Your Soul, and Open Your Heart.
Part of what makes Pienta such a reliable and effective communicator of her philosophy is that she makes it personal. The read is equal parts memoir as it is self-help guide to self-improvement and self-empowerment. Because Pienta is willing to reveal what charted her own course to being a true believer and practitioner in what she preaches, you feel at ease. This isn’t even in the most cynical of people’s eyes enjoyable, holistic, homeopathic spin. It’s a real change agent, designed to help enhance the gift you already have – but may not be fully aware you have.
“I was one of those highly intuitive children, tapped into the energy of people, situations, places. And, I had a mother who routinely engaged in negative thinking and speaking; a person who consistently replayed hurtful scenarios and ruminated on comments, regrets and mistakes like a skipping record,” Pienta writes, in aforementioned vein. “We all do this to some degree, and, there are extreme examples like my mother who most likely endured undiagnosed depression or other contributing illness. She lived in a time and place where even admitting you needed help with this was unthinkable… I came into this world hard-wired as a fixer and a pleaser, and so, my gifts of observation and intuition got finely honed as I watched for when the dark clouds would start gathering and found ways to interrupt the storm.
Kids are smart, no? When I look back, I realize that I was intuitively exercising many of the practices science is now validating as effective methods for changing our brain patterns… Though I couldn’t know then that happiness is an inside job, I could see that redirecting her thinking towards people and places she loved or appreciated, getting her to move her body in new ways, or moving her from monologue to dialogue had the ability to shift her thoughts toward the light. And if her thoughts shifted toward the light, she could see the magic in life again.”
Happiness is an inside job is one of many articulations that resonated with me regarding Pienta’s book. Plus her willingness to be so upfront with dealing with mental illness in her family, as I have to contend with the same thing in mine. This made the read personal for me, as much as something I wanted to adopt anyway given our similarities in belief. “The practices in this book can be viewed as games we can play to help pacify our internal wars and allow us to be the eye of the storm as the storm of life may rage around with a fury.
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Even now, after decades of working with these practices, I’ll randomly turn to a page and find exactly the wisdom I need to make me smile, shift me into awe, or bestow clarity on a murky situation,” Pienta writes. “…sometimes, they just make me laugh at myself for how seriously I can take this life, which honestly is going to be gone in a blink of an eye.”