'Surviving The Storm'
By: Jennie Matthias - Breakfree Forever Publishing, $17.24
Description: Having watched many of her friends bow out of life, taking the route of drink, drugs or even suicide to avoid dealing with personal issues bestowed on them through early trauma, Jennie Matthias herself having come out of the other side of similar hardship has found a way to work with her violent past and now uses her knowledge to stop others from going down a similar route.
Verdict: Well, for those not in the know, author Jennie Matthias is better known as a member of '80s pop group The Belle Stars, but as much as many paths taken during her music career heyday obviously led to some of the stories here, Jennie herself wants you to know that this isn't an autobiography (for that is coming along soon in its own right!)
No, and more importantly to Jennie, her debut book 'Surviving The Storm: How to Embrace Your Pain & Grow Through Adversity' is a very revealingly personal journey all about coming to terms with the survival aspects of having gone through a personal-to-you set of devastations.
At its core it has been written to inspire anyone looking for positive change within their life by sharing tips and strategies that Jennie herself has learned from her own set of personal debilitating experiences.
Acknowledging that there are (probably) a million ways in which a person can change their circumstances - with a view of creating a better life for themselves and then others - Jennie's book calmly, soothingly offers suggestions that have worked for her personally.
And that's where Jennie's book stand out, for me, leaps and bounds over the mass of other "self help" books out there, for she herself has endured greatly in her life - as her stories within this book clearly, and hauntingly showcase - and these are ways she has physically and mentally used to steady her own mind, body and soul.
Indeed, that's where Jennie is coming from personally re: like her, those that have survived parental rejection, violent upbringings, overcome drug and alcohol abuse, anyone with low self-esteem, stuck at a crossroads in life or just simply looking to be inspired, this book is, without a shadow of a doubt, the one and only book you will ever need to keep on your bedside table.
Everything is laid out perfectly by Jennie from the off (even warning readers they will need a pen and paper as they progress!), as we first get an incredibly revealing, and heartfelt My Story.
This is followed by Solution - which itself contains nine sub chapters, all beginning with the letter 'S' (Sacrifice, Solitude, Seek, Self-Help, Search, Success, Self-Talk, and both Story and Stage).
Here Jennie reveals some of sacrifices made, such a giving up meat, TV, smoking, drugs, alcohol and the results that came from that. However, the biggest sacrifice that Jennie accomplished, and to which I myself abide by every single day these days, is socalising.
It stops temptation from creeping inside and as much as it might initially come across as selfish to keep turning down invites to go out, it stops you having to constantly keep others happy, whilst at the same time messing with your own levels of wavering self-esteem.
Next up is Understanding Self (which contains five 'U' sub chapters - Unique, Upgrade, Usefulness, Untouchable and Uplift), and this one includes the knowledge of how just 15 minutes of meditation can be so very beneficial to us each day.
Jennie shares that we all need to upgrade ourselves as we progress through life, and that not doing so is like inviting a virus into your computer - and not bothering to resist I once it starts to drain you and your supposed best life.
The way to do that is to simply recharge your batteries daily and not just lift your own spirts by doing something fun, but raising the spirts of those around you too. I mean, doesn't it always make you smile when someone smiles back at you due to something nice you have said about and to them?
So, do it more often as it can lift your soul to some incredibly gleeful heights, trust me.
We then discover one of the more, for me, what was to be heavily-invested-within chapters, Reprogramme. Here we discover seven 'R' sub chapters that, at their own core, are imperative to the wellness and well being of a soul destroyed.
Inclusive of Reform, Risk, Relationships, Role model, Respect and both Resonance and Re-Invent, for me reading this book (and having myself been through some torrid times both growing up and medically these past few years), I can honestly say I read and re-read this particular chapter quite a few times.
Simply put, if you have no respect for yourself, how can you expect others to have or to treat you with respect? Ergo, respect starts with you and can spread beautifully from one to another, adding a righteous glow to the souls you have come into contact with - inclusive of your own, of course.
Next up is Vision (Vibration Vision Board and Value) which - in its one part - showcases the benefits of a Vision Board. Nothing that I, nor it seems Jennie have ever before now invested time thinking about, but here she manages to find how one not only worked to her advantage, but continues to do so today.
That is followed by Intuition (Invest, Inspire, Involve, Intention, Information, and then Voice, Volunteer, Victim and Vacation. Here Jennie details how to inspire yourself, and furthermore, be the inspiration you are actually looking for.
Chapter 7 leads us hand-in-hand into Ask (Appreciation, Affirmations, Attitude, Aspire, Attention, Avoid, and both Action and Acceptation) where we should be found asking ourselves questions daily, such as: What is the one thing I can do today that will get my closer to reaching my goal? And then not only write it down, but begin to act on it.
This is where I personally excel at, and all the sticky notes with their different denotations stuck everywhere across my desk can easily attest. The trouble is, I write down everything that comes to mind that I can do to reach so many different goals per day/week - so to slow the roll and begin to prioritize is most definitely something to be learnt (for me) within this new book from Jennie.
The last chapter is Learn (Laughter, Love, Living and Life's Purpose) and this, again perhaps for me personally, given my own journey through pain, was one of the most dominant to read through.
Knowing how long it took me to work though things (even, as it seems now from reading this book, though it fully seems I didn't even begin to scrape the surface of my true acceptance - from that previous chapter), I found this last chapter very comforting to read and absorb.
So, if you are a person that has gone through any form of trauma and possibly feel stuck at a crossroads, unable to cope with that pain, and feel you have nowhere to turn, then 'Surviving The Storm' is most definitely for you.
Sharing ideas, stories and exercises from the author and others that have found positive ways of embracing their pain, it showcases how they can then use the pain as a tool for self-development.
Now, of course, and having just read the book, 'Surviving The Storm' is far from an I have all the answers read, for even Jennie herself admits that all she wants is for her book to inspire a person into positive action, where their vision of themselves can be viewed in a positive manner - by that person and by those closest to them.
In closing, 'Surviving The Storm: How to Embrace Your Pain & Grow Through Adversity' encourages you to look at your past experiences in a positive light, sharing ideas on how you can use the past to create an outstanding future for yourself and others.
Simply put, choose to live today. Take your life back into your own hands and begin to live your life the way YOU wish to live it.
I mean, if stars such as Halle Berry (homeless shelter), Daniel Craig (slept on park benches), Jim Carrey (lived out of a VW camper van), and the great Ella Fitzgerald (homeless growing up) can all go on to be as worldly known as they all have done, surely there's always hope for us mere mortals.
About The Author: Jennie Matthias aka Eugenie is an international singer, author mentor and also the founder of 'S-TEEM', a project developed to help young people make better informed choices about their lives. Jennie has received various awards for her past work with young people.
Jennie first burst onto the pop scene as lead singer to the well loved '80s band The Belle Stars back in 1981 procuring a number of hits, where she was viewed by many on 'Top Of The Pops' MTV plus seen and heard on radio and various TV stations globally.
Born out of wedlock in the late 1950's to an uneducated Jamaican immigrant father and violent Irish mother, the eldest of six siblings from assorted parentage, life was always going to be “interesting”. Growing up with dysfunction as the norm of course had added trauma.
In Jennie's words: "My life experience has positioned me as an authority on surviving numerous forms of trauma. Having learnt to embrace the pain of the past I feel confident that the tools I have acquired are beneficial to all who are looking for positive change within their lives."
"Those experiences have enabled me to find my life's purpose which is aimed at educating, empowering and strengthening the minds of those who have gone through similar hardships."
Amazon Book Purchase Link
Jennie Matthias @ Facebook