"I discovered that nature, beauty, and love were my measures for a life well-lived."

The author’s father, veteran character actor Henry Jones, asked her at seventeen, “If you could have anything in the world, barring all obstacles, what would it be?” Her answer at that time was “freedom.” Her artisan’s heart wasn’t invested in formal education, and she wanted to drop out of high school. That simple question and her answer became relevant as cornerstones of her future work and also of this visionary hybrid of a memoir and self-help book.

Like many other creative souls, Jones needed to experience the world more freely than she could as a high school student to grow into her future role as a creative consultant to actors. This situation is not uncommon for creatives of all sorts, and so while many actors, artists, dancers, musicians, photographers, and writers do attend educational programs and receive degrees and academic recognition for their work, just as many do not take that route in order to awaken and enhance their creativity. This book, fortunately, is for anyone with a bent for soul-searching or growth, no matter what their passion or path is in life. As the author describes it, “My dream is to inspire people to contribute to the whole of humankind, each in their own way.” She goes on to state, “If this book calls out to you, it is not because it offers answers to your most intimate questions, but because it offers stories and lessons that might lead you to discover those answers for yourself.”

There are many truths in this volume culled from wisdom traditions as well as from the author’s personal discoveries. The intimate, flowing narrative focuses upon the theme of finding one’s way to a more joyful life and is replete with simple truisms and exercises such as living in the moment, connecting to inner truth, taking time to connect with nature, consciously creating joy, and strengthening one’s connection to the sacred. There’s a comfortable balance between Jones’ memories of her life path that open up to the helpful exercises, many of which she uses in her work with actors. Yet one doesn’t need to be an aspiring actor to benefit from the book, just as one doesn’t need to be a Buddhist or religious scholar to benefit from mindfulness or to explore one’s connection to spirit.

Her book not only addresses the more uplifting and inspiring paths to embracing a more creative, joyful life but also demonstrates how to navigate through life’s troubled waters and how to let go of troubling emotions and attitudes. Jocelyn discusses how people can release buried grief, anxiety, regret, anger, jealousy, bitterness, and blame. “We have habits we know we’d be better off without. When we recognize this and summon the courage to let go, we’re rewarded with new space and a more honest version of ourselves.” Much of what is discussed in this book relates to discovering one’s most authentic, integrated self while developing a sense of wonder and gratitude. There are likely thousands upon thousands of books dedicated to this prospect, but what makes this title fresh is the window into Jocelyn’s personal experiences as the child of artisans growing up in creative communities on both coasts, then later serving actors (and now any interested readers) from this wealth of experience as a self-aware, inquisitive, and creative soul. The author is limited in dropping names by her non-disclosure agreements, but she grew up on a first-name basis with many high-profile actors and later served many well-known actors and production companies in her work as a consultant.

Jones’ everyday life has been replete with all the same agonies and ecstasies that all humans share, and so her narratives about being a rebellious teen or sitting with her parents on their deathbeds in her later years, among many other life touchstones, will resonate with readers who are hungry to awaken their own inner spirits. What makes Jones’ experiences special is her innate ability to communicate in a simple but entertaining way the vital essence of these experiences and how they contributed to her subsequent and sustained spiritual growth. The wisdom distilled from a multiplicity of life stories, whether real or fictional, helps readers and viewers move forward with greater clarity. This is a charming guidebook dedicated to the discovery and maintenance of creative inspiration and the evolution of an open heart.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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