Full title: This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution
This is a firsthand account of Jennifer Monahan’s discovery of her spiritual path and budding abilities as she becomes a modern day shaman.
From the introduction: “Let me start off by saying that I’m nobody special- or at least not any more special than every other person on the planet. But I do believe in magic. And the power of the universe in our lives. This is a story about magic- everyday magic that exists in everyone’s life but that for many goes unnoticed and unappreciated.” loc 26, ebook. I think that everyone has potential, but sometimes they don’t tap into it because they can’t see how or don’t realize that they can. Jennifer Monahan empowers the reader through her example.
Shamanism, though ancient, feels New Age. Take this teaching about the mind: “The purpose of the mind, Antonio said, is to train it so that it focuses on those things that make the spirit sing and bring it joy- and to let everything else just slip on by without letting it get caught in the mind… Doing this enables people to live in a state of happiness, peace, and self-love.” loc 153, ebook. That’s the message of Thank & Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy, Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires, The Secret… I could go on. Perhaps the New Age teachers are on to something :).
My favorite parts of This Trip Will Change Your Life were the messages that Jennifer received during meditation and what she experienced during her vision walks. It is always positive, loving, supportive or healing wisdom that is shared. Here’s the universe speaking to her while she breathes: “You don’t have to do anything. Just be. Radiate love out from your core. Focus on that and on being present. Be accepting of people- that is the first step. You’re doing that now; keep it up. Share your joy- find it! Tap into your life.” loc 503, ebook.
I can see this book not appealing to everyone: Jennifer has a few moments of “far out” behavior like talking to her crystals and receiving their wisdom, but if you believe that everything contains a spirit (the philosophy in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing comes to mind) then it is not such a stretch to entertain the idea that one could communicate with inanimate objects. Western Qabalists have taught for centuries that everything has a guiding intelligence and that to tap into it, you just have to clear your thoughts, ask, and be ready for the response. But, if you don’t have a fairly open mind about such things, this might not be the book for you.
Overall, I loved the message of this book and the approachable way that Jennifer explains shamanism. “The realization that I’ve come to is that the basic human need is to be loved. And that love needs to come from within. When we feel love for ourselves, we are happy and feel good. We can then send our love unconditionally out into the world.” loc 751. Highly recommended for those who are curious about shamanism or finding one’s spiritual calling- whatever that may be.
Recommended read alikes: the books I linked above as well as The Flying Witches of Veracruz: A Shaman’s True Story of Indigenous Witchcraft, Devil’s Weed, and Trance Healing in Aztec Brujeria by James Endredy (another modern shaman), The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner(classic text, gives plenty of general knowledge and practices) or Active Dreaming: Journeying Beyond Self-Limitation to a Life of Wild Freedom by Robert Moss (incorporates the shamanistic practices of the Aborigines for a modern audience).
Thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for a free digital copy of this book! And, thank you for reading.