Catherine Duncan’s self-help book Everyday Awakening is the culmination of what she’s learned at critical junctures in her life.
At age 11, Duncan was given a slim chance of survival when battling cancer. But she beat the odds, and “this childhood experience cracked me open,” she writes. “….I had awakened to the preciousness of being alive.” She has since lived fully as a minister, blogger, corporate executive, holistic healer and, her latest incarnation, integrative spiritual consultant.
Throughout these many experiences, Duncan has learned to connect with the energy that makes her feel most alive by practicing five habits that she recommends to readers: staying in the present; connecting with something greater than yourself; learning to trust in yourself and your “connection with something greater”; embodying love; and remaining open, which allows you to “move and flow with the energy of life, instead of limiting, resisting, or trying to stop it…”.
The author devotes a chapter to each habit, describing how to stitch each into the cloth of everyday living. For instance, in the first chapter, readers learn to quiet their thoughts, pay attention to their senses and use various meditative modes to stay in the present.
Most of these habits will be familiar to readers of self-help books, with the possible exception of learning to “grow” trust, an intriguing concept that implies trust isn’t a commodity but a skill requiring patience to develop. Duncan illustrates this with vignettes from her work as a spiritual consultant in hospice care.
Duncan’s tone is reassuring and convincing, yet she doesn’t shy from stressing that readers must maintain these habits to achieve a measurable difference. Her writing is clear, well-organized, and easy to follow. She also offers useful exercises to support these habits and a bibliography for further information.
For those who haven’t encountered such information elsewhere, Everyday Awakening provides solid advice that teaches readers how to become actively involved in the lifelong process of becoming fully alive.