When a stranger on a train asked Shelley Pernot, “What is your purpose?” the question changed her life, and Pernot believes it can change yours.
Running on Empty is written by someone who had a rather directionless life when she met that stranger and is now a business/life coach and yoga instructor whose organizational name, True North Development, LLC, speaks of her inner turnaround. Her manual picks apart what we are doing now and what we can do next to find our real purpose and do what we are destined to do. Using the image of a dog race in which the hapless pooches run around and around chasing a mechanical rabbit, Pernot suggests that many of us are doing just that, symbolically, most of the time. Wedded to our computerized devices, requiring constant thoughts to clutter our minds instead of striving for serenity, we are often our own worst enemies.
Her well-organized book maintains a friendly, chatty tone throughout, as though she were with the reader in a casual coffee shop ambience. She inserts jokes and first-person experiences to lighten the load of her important advice.
In this simple guide to changing one’s life, not just one’s lifestyle, the author first defines the quality mentioned in the title: mindfulness. It comprises true listening, awareness of what is going on around you, choosing your reaction rather than being a slave to it, staying neutral and non-judgmental, and remaining actively curious. To evoke mindfulness, she offers various exercises, such as taking Facebook and other apps off your phone so they can’t excite you constantly. Make two lists--one headed “I Am Not” and the other, “I Am.” Make your bedroom a “tech-free zone.” Regularly interrupt periods of work with walking breaks. She reminds readers through these challenges that mindfulness requires real intention.
She strongly advocates the art of meditation. She cites her own rather amusing introduction to meditation and how it has helped her, dispelling many myths about this ancient discipline. She also recommends the practice of yoga because yoga puts us in touch with the ways that our bodies resist healing. She insists that yoga is easy: “All you need is yourself and a mat.”
Created by one who has been through what she is trying to help others get through, Running on Empty could be a useful guide for a lonely seeker or for a group working together towards inner development.