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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2020
  • 9781 73299120-0 9781 73299120-0
  • 352 pages
  • $18.00
Keri Mangis
Author
Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness
Keri Mangis, author

Adult; Spirituality/Inspirational; (Create)

Serene Voyager, known as Sëri in the Soul Realm, reassesses her eternal journey before embarking on her next lifetime in the Earth Realm. For aid and companionship, she has her soul friend, Rasa; her soul animal, a silver-eyed wolf named Endless Curiosity; and distinctive characters that personify her emotions. Meanwhile, in the Earth Realm, twenty-year-old Keri moves away from her birthplace of North Dakota and, heeding the advice of Fear and Guilt, unwittingly surrenders her self-worth for safety, her personal power for approval, and her intuition for false promises. Later, when her chosen roles of businesswoman, wife, mother, and yoga teacher thrust her into an identity crisis rather than imbue her life with meaning, she forges a relationship with her soul, Sëri. Through parallel stories, Sëri helps Keri discover that joy derives not from successful role-playing but from knowing who you really are inside your human skin. 

Reviews
Yoga instructor Mangis’s whimsical but ultimately serious teaching memoir focuses on “embodiment”—seeing each person as an eternal soul taking on incarnation in a human skin for experiential learning—rather than on a more distant and rarefied “enlightenment.” She alternates between narrating a challenge-centered version of her life story and an imaginative fantasy of her soul packing its bags for this visit to the Earth Realm, accompanied by endless curiosity in the form of a wolf and strong emotions in the forms of snakes, which she must learn to see as flawed companions rather than as antagonists.

Mangis’s vision of the Soul Realm, which evokes the candy-colored aesthetic of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory or the Land of Oz with features such as the River of Forgetting, the Museum of Universal Truth and Cosmic Knowledge, and a teddy bear–embellished travel suitcase of memories, appeals to the senses but can feel off-puttingly pat and childish. It’s sometimes unclear whether she intends to communicate allegorically or to share literal gnosis. On the memoir side, Mangis falls into a residual pettiness about her issues with traditional Christianity and her departure (under a cloud) from the yoga studio she co-founded, sharing her point of view more than serving the reader’s need to connect.

Mangis shines brightest when she brings herself into dialogue with the serpentine embodiments of her emotions, giving voice to fear, guilt, depression, anger, shame, anxiety, and joy. She relatably describes her growing ability to see the emotions’ value as protectors while resisting their urgings toward inaction and despair. Her depiction of curiosity as a wise and playful pup can seem a bit hackneyed, but it appealingly lifts up learning about the world and resisting authority as core values. Her teachings in this realm are practical as well as metaphysical, and they will lead readers to engage in satisfying self-explorations via their own meaningful metaphors. This neatly tied-up philosophy doesn’t rely on difficult metaphysical concepts and will win readers over with playful visual imagery and language.

Takeaway: Readers who want their spiritual guidance personable but not edgy will find Mangis a gentle companion on their paths toward self-understanding.

Great for fans of Sture Lonnerstrand’s I Have Lived Before: The True Story of the Reincarnation of Shanti Devi, Rachel Brathen’s Yoga Girl.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

Kirkus

Mangis begins her book by describing a place called the “Soul Realm,” a “well-organized airport” full of souls that’s part of an endless cycle of reincarnation. The author’s alter ego, Serene Voyager, or “Sëri,” waits here with her guide and “soul friend” Rasa, and they reflect on the truths of life and the uses and limitations of anger and religion. They’re joined by Sëri’s personal, motivational wolf companion Endless Curiosity, or “Curiosa.” In the “Earth Realm,” Curiosa becomes a companion to the author, along with anthropomorphic versions of Fear, Guilt, and Shame. Mangis tells of how she was born in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1972 to emotionally undemonstrative parents, and how she grew to have a voracious appetite for books. She recounts her first encounters with Rasa and Curiosa, and how they shaped her; she went from being a reserved, bookish girl to an accomplished runner in high school, a social butterfly in college, and a successful insurance businesswoman. She eventually found love and became a mother of two. She struggled with anxiety and depression, as well as with Fear and Guilt; her panic and restlessness led her to pursue therapy and the spiritual aspects of yoga practice. Mangis’ use of the speculative Soul Realm is a bold decision that will make some readers question the book’s classification as a memoir. Most characters are Keri’s feelings, with a few noteworthy exceptions, such as her husband and people at work. She recounts a largely solemn, lonely existence, but she also excellently captures the torment of anxiety and depression in these pages. A stark conversation about rape and consent, reflected in the author’s experiences, provides a moving turning point. The Soul Realm could have had the potential to alienate readers, but it’s grounded by the inclusion of real-world objects and concepts, such as libraries, landscape painting, and Post-its. The author’s principal goal is to inform, and the book becomes a kind of self-help guide that encourages intuition, communication, and letting go.

The author’s principal goal is to inform, and the book becomes a kind of self-help guide that encourages intuition, communication, and letting go. A nontraditional but effective memoir about one woman’s discovery of spiritualism."

Readers' Favorite

Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness—A Memoir of New Beginnings by Keri Mangis is a story of self-discovery, loving yourself and believing in yourself. Keri always had a hard time believing in herself. She lived in North Dakota, trying to find a place where she felt safe, but she never seemed to find it. There was something about herself that she was never satisfied with. She sought approval from the people around her and, in the process, she lost sight of who she was. Leaving North Dakota might have been the best decision she ever made because after that she finally realized that she had lost touch with her soul. So for the first time in her life, she did something for herself and tried to find herself. In doing so, she embarked a journey in which she discovered that as long as she had herself, she was just fine.

This was such an inspiring book to read. The author has done a wonderful job at writing this book in which makes sure she engages the audience while spreading her message. Self-love and self-care are very important, but sadly we are losing touch with ourselves in the race to please most people. Keri had a tough life, but she knew that she had to do something when she reached a breaking point in her life. She wanted to be better, which was the reason why she became better. I think she is an inspiration for the women who lose themselves in nurturing their families and the lives of other people and lose themselves in the process. There is no shame in loving yourself and making an effort to find yourself. I hope that many women take this book as an inspiration to make their lives better and exactly what they want and not what other people want.

Readers' Favorite

Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness: A Memoir of New Beginnings by Keri Mangis is a fascinating memoir that speaks about the author's understanding of having a loving relationship with her emotions and herself, thereby creating a strong beginning for a return to wholeness. We are introduced to Sëri in the Soul Realm, Rasa, her soul friend, and Endless Curiosity, her soul animal which is a silver-eyed wolf. Serene Voyager, whose Soul is known as just Sëri in the Soul Realm, is going through her journey before she decides to take another birth and go back to the Earth Realm. The Soul Realm is where every soul returns between human incarnations to experience healing, reflection, and guidance. Sëri is ready to go on the River of Forgetting, which was going to be her divinely selected path to the Earth Realm. In the Earth Realm, after many unsuccessful attempts at giving meaning to her life, Keri decides to make contact with her soul, Sëri. Have you ever thought about contacting your soul? Well, this memoir might help you do it.

The memoir is about self-discovery and shows readers how Keri peels away layers inside her to discover her internal realm which gives her full awareness about her humanness and remembered divinity. It is a realization of how when life is aligned with the soul, this leads to a life of peace and acceptance. The memoir is insightful and gives readers glimpses into the author's dialogues with her soul. The book is profound and will help readers look at life with a different perspective and work towards being in alignment with their life, embodying characteristics like softness, calmness, approachability, courage, humility, patience, and strength. The author weaves together the Earth Realm and Soul Realm and the characters there seamlessly, making the transition from the boundlessness of the Soul Realm to the confinement of the Earth Realm palpable.

Readers' Favorite

Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness – A Memoir of New Beginnings is a work of non-fiction centered around transformation and spirituality, and was penned by author Keri Mangis. Unusual in its presentation as a memoir, this volume not only describes the life, background and choices that its author makes but also combines the narrative of a kind of spirit guide from the Soul Realm, whom the author meets during a moment of crisis. In the Soul Realm, Seri embarks on a lifetime alongside Keri, and the parallels drawn between the two lives teach Keri the importance of getting to know her true self.Whether you believe in the spiritual aspect of this memoir or not, the content and development of the Soul Realm and the wisdom of Seri really serves to create a bright, intelligent and emotive response to looking at life which many readers will find really uplifting. Author Keri Mangis sets out with the same role and goal aspirations that many women aspire to when they are younger, but when she has achieved the life she set out for, emptiness settles in. Seri’s observations teach the importance of self-discovery and self-love in an effective way, and the two distinct narratives keep the work fresh and interesting as the conversation between soul and self deepens. Overall, Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness – A Memoir of New Beginnings was a truly unique and highly motivational read with plenty of uplifting qualities.

Self-Publishing Review

Author Keri Mangis has created an intriguing memoir interweaving the facts of her earthly life with visits to various spiritual realms with beings that offer not only guidance, but preparation and prediction in Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness: A Memoir of New Beginnings.

Mangis first describes the events of her current incarnation. She was born into a generally normal family, her parents loving but distant. In school she learned to deal with fears and insecurities while showing a great love of books and proving herself to be a prize-winning competitive runner.

With vague plans for college near home, she wound up, on impulse, following a friend to university, successfully pursuing a degree in business, meeting a young man she would marry, and moving several times until she settled down. She traded her aversion to her work environment for the challenges and rewards of stay-at-home motherhood. Needing a self-fulfilling adventure, she plunged wholeheartedly into the study of yoga.

Interspersed are chapters that paint what Mangis depicts as the etheric reality behind the scenes, or as she puts it, beyond “the shifting realities of the Earth Realm.” There she has a spirit name, Serene Voyager, or Sëri, and consults with her guide, Rasa, in a scenario that begins before the author’s earthly birth and continues through her various triumphs and trials as her real life is observed from a spiritual insider’s viewpoint. The author’s emotional companions – Fear, Guilt, Shame, Anger, and Depression – push her in different directions, but she finds can all be rational, useful impulses. Her closest companion is a wolf spirit named Endless Curiosity, or Curiosa for short, a central symbolic force as the author battles with life’s many vicissitudes.

Mangis writes in a wholly readable, thoroughly confident and competent manner, making even the fantasy portions of her book seem plausible, which is no small feat, given the nature of her narrative, giving the book a surprising universality. The reason for this is her everyday problems are very recognizable, so her story is relatable for most everyone, even if her conception of the world behind the veil may not be.

Struggles with illness, workmates, and even her own idealism all have echoes in her conversations and discoveries with Rasa. Throughout, Mangis projects a sense of willingness to try harder, to look deeper, to explore beyond the present and the obvious for answers and comforts, so just as she has had a guide throughout her journey, she makes an inspiring guide through her memoir.

Espousing no particular religion or creed, Mangis avows a general belief in all positive paths, again adding to the book’s relatability, though it will be no doubt more appealing to those on an esoteric path, underpinned by her strongly assertive statements about the power of yoga’s healing power for the mind and body. Though her references to spirit guides and “soul embodiment” may seem flighty on first glance, her focus on real world issues, as well as real world solutions, give the book a grounded sense of possibility.

Unique and inspiring, Mangis’s unconventional memoir is a fascinating journey into the interworking of action, feeling, and higher truth, and one of the stronger entries in the genre of spiritual self-help.

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2020
  • 9781 73299120-0 9781 73299120-0
  • 352 pages
  • $18.00

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