"I forgot the essence of who I was—someone free, whole, adventurous, curious, and filled with immeasurable love for the world around me."

Right from the opening pages of the prologue, the audience is front and center in the middle of an intensely personal moment: a therapy session where Keri waffles between storming out of the therapist’s office or digging deeper into sharing her family experiences as a means to battle her anxiety. Aside from excellent writing and a creative yet authentic delivery of prose, what makes this book exceptional is the author’s penchant for being relatable. Complex philosophies like releasing anger, not drowning in shame and guilt, and not letting fear warp your mind are portrayed with grace and fluidity; the pages simply turn themselves.

From a narrative perspective, there are two shifting perspectives throughout the memoir. Serene Voyager, who goes by Sëri, resides in the Soul Realm, a place to travel to between human incarnations. From a philosophical sense, there is a strong influence from Buddhism and Hinduism, which focus on enlightenment and reincarnation, respectively. Similar to verses in the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, the physical, or Earth Realm, is portrayed as an almost perennial changing out of one’s human skin. The premise, essentially, is that the entity from the Soul Realm never dies but rather travels to the earthly realm over and over again, cycling between an existence of remembering and forgetting.

The portions of the book on the Soul Realm, particularly the conversations with Rasa, Sëri’s soul guide, dwell on the philosophical and celestial, like the River of Forgetting and the manifestations of humankind beyond the material world. Conversely, Keri’s childhood in Fargo, North Dakota, is largely ordinary. However, as she crosses out of her teenage years, she grapples between her curiosity and adventurous self with an identity confinement complex that is shackling her to Fargo. Often, Rasa and Sëri reflect on Keri’s earthly actions. These dialogues are filled with epic quotations that force the reader to think twice. For instance, Rasa states, “The soul’s amnesia is only as temporary as the ego’s stubbornness. You remember the ego, right?” Interestingly, as the power of the Soul Realm releases its grip when a soul is sent to earth, the earthly being becomes molded by environment and family, by nature and nurture.

Throughout the memoir, there is a stark contrast between the whimsical, childlike innocence of Keri picking dandelions for her mother on the way home from school to the primal screams of adulthood chaos. Throughout, the reader is welcomed unconditionally into the author’s life, both that of the Earthly Realm and the Soul Realm. The work showcases the constant battle between the wolf, Curiosa—a soul animal that craves exploration, curiosity, and adventure—and the ego, which doles out an assortment of anxiety, guilt, shame, fear, and depression to stifle the awakening of the spirit. The core of this book shares the author’s experiences but simultaneously creates a pathway for others to unleash self-love, compassion for the self, and letting go of all the fear, guilt, shame, etc. that govern one’s actions. Part self-help, part personal memoir, this text exhibits a fusion of Siddhartha Gautama’s serenity and the chaos of a tumultuous life in the earthly realm. It is a must-read, not once but over and over again.

Mangis has studied or taught yoga, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, energy work, aromatherapy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Tantra, Christianity, and other spiritual teachings and healing modalities. A Minneapolis-based writer and speaker, she hosts a podcast entitled Awaken your Power, available on Apple Music, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Stitcher.

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