Book Review: Inspired Life, by Samuel Johnson

I’ve been on a Bruce Almighty run where I’ve been saying “YES” to a lot of opportunities. My logic is that if the hygher amount of “YESs” I put out there the hygher amount of amount of opportunities I’ll receive. If you haven’t realized it yet I’m really into movies. So when I accepted the opportunity to write a book review I was rushed with a few emotions and had to smoke on what I just agreed to.  

I’ve been saying “I’ll read more and buying books will force me to do so”. I was always into reading Archie and Betty & Veronica comics, Sunday funnies, or magazine articles. Now I’m going to review a book! Then on the other hand I’ve been reading a lot of blog pieces so if you put them together that’s a book! And so, I’ve been reading books. 

And then the immediate thought-  I’m going to review a book!!! You see my emotions? All over the place. 

I finally  gained the nerve to open the email and the book was “Inspired Life” by Samuel Johnson, a book about self worth and loving others. I skimmed through the book to see what I was taking on and got an overview of the book. I believe in signs and my ancestors guiding and giving me tools and answers. I have been feeling down and depressed while still being Bruce Almighty, saying “YES” thinking it will help by keeping me busy. 

What I took from my skim through was I need selfcare, be selfish to be selfless, and that it’s ok to give my mind mental health care days. The book was just what I needed to refresh my mind and consider the values I have when it comes to self love, self care, and mental health. In my depression it felt like a dark cloud of smog and got darker with each setback, death, or disappointment. It’s a little hard to remember them when all these things are being thrown into this dark cloud making it darker.  This book was like them giving me a lifeline that they knew I was going to need. 

“If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else?” Are you being helpful to others if your fuse is sparked and starting to burn? It’s as if you and the fuse are in a race and life shot the flare gun to start it. I’ve always struggled with asking for help, especially when my inner voice is saying “God helps those who help themselves”,or: “Let me help myself!, or: “I don’t want to be a burden”. All the while I’m juggling work, relationships, home, skin routines, hair routines and the list goes on. I’m learning that caring for yourself will lead you to care for others better.

I actually read the book twice; once at the beginning of my depression and once afterwards. The first time it gave me a lifeline and the 2nd time I felt like I was studying the notes. 

About the Book

Samuel guides the readers on how to live an “Inspired Life” with each chapter’s title being a value that we each should possess or strive for. All simple but like we all know, life is anything but. The readers aren’t overwhelmed with fluff of activities, quotes, etc. They’re given the value, an example, and how to apply it in their life. Towards the end of chapters, Samuel leaves us with a Morpheus or Yoda like phrase that has you ponder and soak in what you just read:

If you don’t believe in yourself you’ll wind up discarding your ideas, and not accomplish self love. On the other hand, if you believe in yourself and continue fighting for what you want and develop self love; individuals may reject your ideas to begin with but will be forced to believe in you in the long run after seeing you succeed.”

Chapter Breakdown and Review

The introduction provides ideas for you to consider while reading so that you can make the best of your reading. Samuel asks the readers to think about 3 top needs they have and how they fulfill them, how much time is spent waiting for others, and how frequently does that approach work:

“As well, when you love yourself more you are more able to share that love with others. Here we will explore just how to do that.” 

The Intro is a great leadway into Chapter 1 where he explores how to take care of your “Whole Self”.  Our environment, eating habits, stress levels, and daily routines play a major role in taking care of  your “Whole Self”.  Samuel takes the readers by the hand explaining self love, believing in yourself, and being deserving in Chapters 1-3. One of my  favorites is Chapter 4- where the readers are forced to look at themselves wholly by writing a list of attributes and ways that define them. 

Good, bad, accomplishments, failures, flaws, ugly and more. I honestly was stomped and avoided the book after this chapter my 1st time reading it. I wasn’t ready to look at myself wholly. Once I did though, I felt a weight lifted. Samuel then gives the readers the tools to build their confidence up in Chapter 5. The activity in “Encourage Yourself” has the readers write a list of their talents, people they care for, and recall happy events. Remembering these things not only builds their confidence but reduces their stress too.  

“Remind yourself of encouragement from other people. Yes, this is about encouraging yourself, but occasionally you are able to do that by remembering past encouragement from other people.” 

Photo Credit: Tina Seelig, Medium

In Chapter 6, Samuel continues with encouragement by encouraging readers to seek knowledge of other self development; and then another favorite of mine- Chapter 7 “Give Yourself a Break”, which reminded me of the Synopsis when Samuel asked:

 “If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.”

Once I came to the realization that I can’t be a good mother if I’m not mentally stable or unhappy, I had to let one of my friends know that she wasn’t being a bad mother for taking a break. We not only need a break but we also need to forgive ourselves for feeling guilty for taking one. Breaks are necessary!  Samuel goes into giving yourself a break from guilt, pain, anger, resentment and forgiving yourself for mistakes you’ve made:

“When bitterness is interfering with your life, it’s time to forgive yourself.” 

Forgiving yourself is giving yourself a mental break from all the walls you’ve built.  This chapter and Chapter 9 “The Truth Behind Love of Others”go hand in hand. Forgiving yourself and others frees you to opportunities they may have been blocked before:

 “We’re our own worst enemy when we think, act, and treat other people as anything other than inspired beings.”

We come to a close with Chapter 10, “Learning How to Love Others”. In this chapter Samuel is like: “this is what I want you to take from everything I just said with 6 Tips On Truly Sharing Love”. 

Leaving the readers with well wishes and tools to live an “Inspired Life”. 

Final Thoughts

Reading “Inspired Life” was like a crash session for shadow work that forced me to dive into my shadows with a gentle hand. I had been dipping my big toe into shadow work here and there but would get fearful. I already deal with depression so the idea of digging up what I’ve buried didn’t seem like fun. 

Samuel’s guide to live an “Inspired Life” is a great start for shadow work and a refresher on values of loving yourself and others. I hyghly recommend people to read “Inspired Life”. It’s a pleasant read with a couple of activities that aren’t time consuming. A friend of mine posted “What book will change my life?” and I instantly thought of “Inspired Life”. You’ll definitely be inspired to change how you treat yourself, move in the world, and act towards others.

I am Ami Ekpaji the owner of Hygh Maintanence Society, a company and brand for the hygh maintanence cannabis lover. I support cannabis and have a business in cannabis because she saved me. I was diagnosed with Bipolar and Major Depression Disorder and the medicine I was prescribed felt like a virtual reality game for a fiend or drug addicted. I didn’t like the lack of feeling or walking around like the walking dead. I moved towards a more holistic lifestyle and over the years, I learned my dosages and new ways of consuming the plant outside of smoking. I support Cannabis because it saved me more than once.

Written by: Ami Ekpaji w/ Hygh Maintenance Society

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

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