The Prosperous Heart
Bestselling author Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World) brings us a methodical approach to creating The Prosperous Heart through methods closely related to those used in The Artist’s Way, this time to channel our energies and thoughts to create a prosperous heart.
Cameron defines prosperity not in terms of money but in terms of spiritual contentment with life. The methods used in this book help the individual focus on becoming aware and grateful for the prosperity we have, both financial and otherwise. As in her previous books, Cameron uses the practices of walking and “morning pages,” in addition to some new methods such as “counting” and “debting,” and sets up this movement as a twelve-week program, each focusing on a particular aspect of our lives.
- Week 1 focuses on discovering your general concepts about prosperity, discovering through a
series of writing exercises and fill-in-the-blank statements what type of spender you are. The conclusion is that prosperity isn’t associated with having money but feeling content, fulfilled.
- Week 2 - Having Enough addresses insecurities and learning to see that “While we cannot always have what we wish, we can be sure we will always have enough.” Through examination of issues such as
loss, values, addiction, creativity and trusting, the conclusion is that “the prosperous heart is always enough.”
- Week 3 - Trusting. This discussion focuses on more personal stories and examples from clients and students about trust and gratitude and learning to pray not to ask for something but to be thankful for what we have. Like the other chapters, this one talks a great deal about spirituality, “God” in particular. Cameron opens the chapter with
“By now you may be starting to suspect that there is benevolent something that indeed wants you to have a prosperous heart. This week you will explore the idea that you are not alone with your money problems and that it is safe to have faith in a higher power, in yourself, in your ability to handle your finances and in your dreams.”
- Week 4 - Cleaning House focuses inward to delve into our past and present. Cameron guides us to examine our home and what things and people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis, and questions what we should keep and what we should get rid of. Based on her principle that “nothing impedes the flow of money like physical clutter,” Cameron encourages “clearing away the rubble makes for clear thoughts.”
- Week 5 - Finding Community explores the outer world, now that the personal inventory has been reevaluated and cleared, so the reader is able to explore the opportunities and support in the community that will guide and keep us on the path to a prosperous heart, in addition to finding ways in which we can give back to the community.
- Week 6 - Kindness. This section focuses on giving and receiving “the gifts of optimism and faiths” and the “divine order in our lives.”
- Week 7 - Forgiveness. This is the midpoint of the course, a place to clarify values and acknowledge how far you have progressed. But in order to continue moving forward, it is also the time to let go of past—feelings, circumstances, resentment of others and yourself.
- Week 8 - Velocity. In this section, Cameron
acknowledges that the reader may be filled with ambiguity or uncertainty
about progress towards a prosperous heart. She helps the reader create
another inventory focused on time, not money, encouraging reflective
meditation to feel that the right balance of everything that is needed is
what the reader already has.
- Week 9 - The Generosity of the Universe. Cameron states that “faith and serenity are becoming familiar,” but in order to feel real prosperity, we must remember to stay balance.
- Week 10 - Staying on Course. Here Cameron has us dig deep and look closer at our finances and our actions and attitudes, and whether or not they serve us in our goal for a prosperous heart.
- Week 11 - Prosperity and our Dreams. This section explores dreams and impulses, creativity of our heart, and paths we would explore if money was not an object. Cameron encourages that it’s never to late to pursue our dreams and goals.
- Week 12 - The Prosperity Plan This part looks at resources of talent, energy, creativity and money that surrounds us and questions what it is that truly makes us happy. The conclusion is, once again, that it is not money but attitude, the choices we make in life.
The epilogue deals with encouragement as we proceed on the path to the Prosperous Heart. “Slipping is part of recovery,” Cameron claims, so it is important to “Live a day at a time. Start over each day. “ Once again, Cameron concludes with more talk about God and faith, appealing to the reader to consciously and stubbornly choose faith and recognize that we are not alone and that we do receive guidance. Cameron also extols the virtue of discovering life lived with a prosperous heart:
“When we are possessed of a prosperous heart, we do not act out of anxiety, we respond rather than merely react. Doing so we find our lives filled with choices and with choices come opportunity. We find every adversity has a silver lining.”
Though this book does offer many practical and insightful ways to examine our attitude to money and how to curb unnecessary expenditure, Cameron further develops the process to include a more holistic approach to finances as related to spirituality and satisfaction with our lives, and so does include much discussion about God and spirituality.
Although Emma Lively performs the reading articulating words and offering some animation, for much of the recording her voice sounds nasal and short of breath, almost congested, which makes the performance and listening experience a little strained.
The Prosperous Heart provides some familiar and new concepts for creating a prosperous life, financially and spiritually. Four stars.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Maya Fleischmann, 2012