Plot: This memoir is structured as a series of vignettes that serve to illustrate how individuals learn feelings of inadequacy, beginning very early in childhood. The narrative frequently shifts into a tone that is reminiscent of self-help guides, with Johnson's memories coming across as more generic than distinctive.
Prose: Johnson writes with a straightforward, conversational, and confessional voice. Her core message is uncomplicated, clear, and relatable.
Originality: The messaging behind this memoir is rather unsubtle and Johnson's insights aren't particularly insightful. However, readers who struggle to find their own self-worth may find hope and solace in Johnson's sensitivity and optimism.
Character Development: Johnson's growth and eventual realization in her own worth shines brightly through the chapters; individuals she encounters on the way to her revelations, are similarly crisply rendered.
Blurb: A wonderful memoir. A delight to read.
Date Submitted: August 11, 2017
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
One woman’s journey to becoming who she already is
I’ve taken off the section on my blog about accepting book review requests. After doing this for about a year, I’ve decided that simply reviewing books was not where I wanted to spend the majority of my time.
I still love reading and may occasionally fulfill a review request from an author. But it’s not the end-all to life for me.
Ironically, almost immediately after I made this decision, I received an e-mail from a woman named Amanda Johnson. She must have sneaked one last message in before I took the request box down.
Amanda wanted me to review her book entitled Becoming Enough. It was typical of one of the many requests from authors I get.
So, I followed my normal process for deciding to do a review and did some quick online research on her. I was impressed with what I found.
She wasn’t yet a New York Times best-seller, but she had built a following and was clearly passionate about her work. I agreed to do the review.
I’m sometimes surprised with how good the books are that I’m asked to review. And Becoming Enough was definitely one of my favorites
What is Becoming Enough about? You could say it’s a book about a spiritual journey to come back home. Or you could say it’s about finding out who you really are.
But the title really says it all. It’s about a woman who realizes she is already enough.
Enough love. Enough “goodness”. Enough “rightness”.
This realization is not based on any particular reason. She just is.
Let me now give you the basic synopsis of the book.
Amanda is a woman who was born into an average western lifestyle. As everyone does, she began to form stories about herself and her life as she grew up. The core of these stories could be summarized as “I am not enough”.
After years of self-torture, she began an inward journey to unraveling these stories about herself. This is what people mean when they talk about “waking up” in the spiritual community.
After having some glimpses of her True Self, which had always been complete, she began to enter a new way of being in the world. And like all new starts, it’s rocky as you first learn the ropes.
She struggled to follow her intuition, end her own habitual ways of thinking and sometimes just get the rent paid.
But in the end, she has discovered something that I know must have made it worthwhile.
This is Amanda Johnson’s heroine journey. The story isn’t over for her, but is really just beginning.
Why it’s Awesome
I’ve read a lot of books on spiritual awakening.
If you just go to my Enlightenment / Non-Duality section of my blog, there’s over 30 books on that single subject. I consider it the most important topic I’ve explored in my life.
Becoming Enough easily stands with those books from spiritual heavyweights like Eckhart Tolle. Amanda reveals with the awakening journey with clarity and obviously hard-won wisdom.
Does that mean she taught me something new I haven’t already learned from another teacher? Not necessarily. At this point in my own journey, I feel like I know the theory behind awakening pretty much front to back.
But as Amanda herself points out, all any spiritual teacher can do is point you to something you already know is true. They don’t have an answer you don’t have.
Really the value of this book, or any book, comes from the person reading it. If they resonate with the lessons then it’s useful. If not then it doesn’t do them any good.
At the same time, there are some really powerful pointers in this book for anyone who is ready. Here’s a quick list:
The difference between observation and judgment. The difference between knowing and Knowing. The difference between true and false self. The discovery of Truth. Moving through life in the flow. Building self-awareness. The dark night of the soul. Non-resistance. So on and so forth.
It’s easy to see that Amanda is speaking from her own experience because the “paradoxes” of spiritual pointers have started to resolve themselves. She is, and she is not. She is special, she has no value. She is incapable of failure, she makes mistakes and learns.
This can only really be understand by going through the process.
For those who have yet to start this awakening process for themselves, this book can be a useful map for what it actually looks like.
On top of all this, Amanda’s strength to a western audience is that she is so “normal” from a western perspective. She didn’t grow up in some extreme environment or have a strong spiritual background. She grew up “like us”.
We have this stereotype that spiritual gurus must be men with beards living on a mountain somewhere with robes and sandals. They can seem inaccessible, unrelatable and just too “out there”.
If the western world is to make it through this shift in consciousness that is going on, we need more teachers that the average person can relate to. People who we see ourselves in.
Your friend from high school. Your next door neighbor. Your spouse. Your co-worker in HR. These are the people I want to see waking up and speaking Truth.
We all think that we need to be someone else in order to impact the world. We rarely consider that what we already are is exactly what we should be. Yet if this book should teach us anything, it’s that you are already what you seek.
Why Does It Suck
This book accomplishes what it set out to do so I don’t have much to say. The only point I’ll make is that for any spiritual seeker reading this, remember that this should be read as a map.
Don’t get sucked into taking all this just an entertaining story. You have your own journey to be taking. You won’t get that by reading someone else’s.
The Wrap Up
Becoming Enough is an inspiring story of a true spiritual seeker. It doesn’t support all sunshine and rainbows, but it does reveal the journey to finding out who you always were. A very important map for anyone on the path.
Becoming Enough: A Heroine's Journey to the Already Perfect Self is an inspirational non-fiction book written by Amanda Johnson. Johnson writes, teaches and performs as a radio show host, but she also has a background in coaching, consulting and facilitating. So far, she’s traveled to 14 different countries, lived in nine cities and hiked the Appalachian Mountain Trail. Her story stems from the inspiration of the many guides, teachers and mentors she’s worked with along the way to finding her already perfect Self, and, to understand that journey, she asks the reader to go back in time to when Johnson was a two-year old. That toddler was complete in herself; she was fierce, fearless and awesome, but, somehow along the way to growing up, the doubts, insecurities and other limiting factors began to obscure her own sense of her awesomeness. She began to think of herself as unlovable and unwanted, and a foundling and an outsider in her own loving and supportive family. Her parents’ pride in her attaining straight A’s didn’t seem real enough, and any achievements she earned were considered to be not truly merited. When her inner voice told her to go to New York and study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she let others make the decision to play it safe and stay in college, to defer her dream. And while things later on were good in her life -- a good job in a lovely city, friends, love interests -- she knew that her lifelong interest in self-help literature and the need for perfection was getting her nowhere. There was a better way to find that perfect self, and suddenly the way became clear.
Amanda Johnson’s inspirational non-fiction book, Becoming Enough: A Heroine's Journey to the Already Perfect Self, challenges readers to do as Johnson did and discover their already perfect selves. This well-written and organized book shares details of the author’s life and experiences while discussing the literature, disciplines and mentors who helped show her the way back to the perfect state of that 2-year-old girl. I cheered as she resigned from the corporate world before it had an opportunity to suck her youthful enthusiasm and life away, and could feel her growing empowerment as she became an observer and started to rethink her relationship to finances, security and life. Johnson writes in a conversational style that makes it seem as though she were speaking directly to her readers, and her approach is frank, honest and quite motivational. Becoming Enough: A Heroine's Journey to the Already Perfect Self is highly recommended.