2 out of 4 stars
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PURPOSE: The Alignment Guide: 28 Days of Inspiration, Reflection, Intention and Creative Expression by Michelle A. Vandepas is Volume 1 of the SPARK: The Radically Authentic Life Series. This volume seeks to introduce the reader to the SPARK series, as well as guide the reader in discovering their own life’s Purpose through self-reflection. (The author capitalizes “Purpose” when referring to the greater concept throughout the book. This review will follow the same guideline.) The author begins with a disclaimer, letting the reader know that she developed the theories in her book from her own experience, and she is not claiming that they will work for everyone. As the title indicates, Volume 1 focuses on the concept of Purpose. In the introductory section, the author explains that this book is for internal reflection, finding your true self, and making you feel fulfilled. Purpose will not necessarily manifest itself in material wealth, career success, or other external factors. It’s all inside you, and this book will help you hone in on it.
As a whole, SPARK is a nine-part series. Each of the nine books is designed to be read and experienced in a 28-day period. Each book focuses on one main topic: Purpose, Intuition, Authenticity, Mirror, Void, Passion, Intention, Wisdom, and SPARK. The author also offers extras, such as podcasts, downloadable coloring pages, cookbooks, card decks, and more to help the reader connect and explore. These extras, as well as the other book volumes, are referenced throughout the book. Ms. Vandepas consistently refers the reader to her website for further exploration. The SPARK series and the extras are intended to be combined into a system to help people discover their best qualities and potential.
PURPOSE: The Alignment Guide is the introductory volume for the series. The author explains that finding your Purpose is a journey of self-reflection and truly listening to what’s already inside of you. On page eleven, Ms. Vandepas sums up the central theme: “Listen to yourself and acknowledge what emerges.” This book is designed to help guide the readers in the process of digging into their hearts, minds, and souls to uncover their Purpose. The book is split into two major sections. The first part contains introductory and background information. The second part contains the guided exercises to be completed over the course of 28 days.
At first, the book’s layout is somewhat confusing. The first 30-plus pages give the reader some background information, but it is disorganized and difficult to follow. The first part of the book introduces the series, it gives details about why the Purpose is important, and it explains how to best use the book. Mixed in with the background information are some preview pages of how other people have used the book. For example, later in the book, readers are encouraged to complete an Elemental Mind Map workbook page. In the beginning of the book, the author provides examples of the workbook pages that others have completed. However, the completed workbook example pages are presented without context, and it is difficult to understand their function. The first part of the book also provides some assessments based in numerology, astrology, elemental energy, and more. Altogether, these assessments give readers a jump-off point to begin their journey.
The second section gets into the daily tasks and reflections. There are exercises to cover 28 days. Each day has four pages: a mandala to color; an area to free write, draw, or doodle to release your mind from clutter; an “Energy of the Day” page to reflect on your environment and attitude, and a daily contemplation page. At the end of each week, there is a review area, where you are encouraged to reflect over the past week.
There were a few technical errors, but they did not distract from the book as a whole. For example, on page nine, there is a sentence missing a word: “We might even ask the Universe, ‘Help me find a way out of this situation,’ or ‘God, give me clarity,’ but still gob-smacked when the situation falls apart.” The missing “be” between “still” and “gob-smacked” is easy to overlook, particularly when the rest of the book is well-written. The major distractions are in the first part of the book. There are a number of non-sequiturs, and information is sometimes presented without context. For example, in the assessments area, there is a section about numerology. However, it is just sort of thrown in with the other tests, and the author does not explain why it is significant or how it relates to the Purpose. I also found the constant referrals to the website to be off-putting. For example, on page 25, there is information about the energy of the sun signs. Instead of explaining why this information is significant or relevant, the author tells you to go to the website to learn how it relates.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. It is very on-trend and reminiscent of artistic journaling, as well as Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. The book helps readers focus on key areas of their lives and open their minds to help them reach their full potential. However, I do not think this book will appeal to a wide audience. The grammatical and technical errors are few, but the disorganization in the first part of the book makes it difficult to follow and relate to. For anyone wishing to actually go through the program, it’s essential that you have the print version of this book. Otherwise, you’re going to be printing a lot of pages for coloring, reflection, journaling, etc. I would recommend this book to fans of New Age theologies and techniques of self-improvement.
PURPOSE: The Alignment Guide:
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