Bella and Mirabel: Messages of Delight Between an Earth Spirit and Her Human Sister
by Mary Ellen Jackson
Writers’ Branding

"Some of you perceive challenges as hurdles, adventures, and mistakes, while still others of you perceive them as learning experiences."

Imagine an inner voice, perhaps distant now, that urges you to live your best life, to genuinely live, laugh, and be whole. In Jackson's book, this role is played by the deva Bella, an unassuming shape-shifting nature spirit who is determined to teach her human sister how to live fully. At its core, the author takes incredibly complex topics and discussions that often coil around the human psyche and unwinds them in the most heartwarming and engaging manner through whimsical conversations between Bella and Mirabel. More than anything else, Jackson has written this piece in such a transparent manner that, more often than not, readers can easily put themselves in Mirabel's shoes and feel as though Bella is directly delivering her messages to them.

Though Mirabel (the name given to Jackson by Bella) often feels her presence earlier, Bella does not present herself and her messages until around the year 2000. Whether Bella manifests into a stern school teacher or an old shoe to project Mirabel's mood, the narrative is entertaining throughout. Much of what adults chalk up to "maturity" and "seriousness" is downplayed as excuses by Bella as she implores Mirabel to calm down, relax, and not be so consumed by the inevitable drama that unfolds around her every day. Ironically, it is Bella who goes full-on into "pompous professor" mode when she is particularly insistent on getting her message across without any confusion or intrusion.

Despite the entirety of the work hinging on conversations between Bella and Mirabel on a multitude of topics, there is rarely a dull moment as most messages are delivered in unique ways, sometimes through metaphors of steaming tea kettles and bristle brushes and sometimes through outright humor and wild adventures featuring skating and flying. With a heavy emphasis on detoxifying from the world's inherent toxicity, the author uses Bella to help humans focus on the myriad latent energies that reside within. As the author puts it, the goal is to ultimately surrender to the Divine Self and conquer the negativity that has accrued over years or even decades of self-criticism, self-loathing, etc.

Each of the messages within the text is thought-provoking. For instance, just because someone has a role with heavy responsibilities does not automatically sentence them to a professional lifetime of looking glum and stoic. On the contrary, adding flavor and joy to all aspects of one's life is the first step to increasing one's energy levels. Taking it a step further, the idea that energy reciprocates is also featured, where almost like a magnet, negativity attracts negativity and vice versa. Some messages touch on spirituality while others touch on meditation, but nearly all will push readers, as they have Mirabel, out of their comfort zones with the tools to break free and be liberated. From Bella's reminders about how Mirabel used to dance while cooking to serious conversations on world hunger and pollution, there is not much that Jackson's text does not cover. Yet, the playful and vibrant manner in which the simplicity of this text is made profound delivers an engaging reading experience that all audiences can channel into their daily lives.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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