Diane Pienta’s new book is titled Be the Magic: Bite-Size Nuggets of Wisdom to Feed Your Joy, Nourish Your Soul, and Open Your Heart. Referentially speaking, the book is best described as akin to Tom Cruise’s motivational speech at the 2002 Oscars ceremony. He described the process in his case of singular storytelling as employing “a little bit of magic.” Such an idea can be applied to more than just Hollywood and film. In Pienta’s case, it’s not just something to see, to be witnessed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://www.dianepienta.com/

It’s something to be. In an insane world, it can be hard to find much external validation to consistently look up. That’s where Pienta comes in, advocating for what she believes is the optimal solution in bell-clear, concise, moving prose. “For the past decade, I’ve been playing with something I call ‘interrupting the pattern,’ consciously choosing to do things differently from my habitual norm. Like taking a new route without GPS, using my nondominant hand—or in a moment of either bravery or foolhardiness, selling my house without having another. It’s all in service of seeing the world through fresh eyes, with wonder and delight.

Wisdom for the Arts, a transformational leadership program guiding its participants to access their inner wisdom through creativity, explores this idea that we often try to solve a problem by talking about it as opposed to by changing our structures (i.e., behaviors) to get different results. The other day, Dave and I were having a bit of a disagreement. I grabbed my hula hoop and tried to keep the conversation going while I hooped—which made me fall down laughing instead. Discord dissolved!” she writes. “As the Dalai Lama quips, ‘I am the source of my own suffering because of the habits of my mind.’ Doing anything habitually in the same way fosters dullness, as we operate on autopilot.

It’s easier to appreciate things that are new. And more grateful means more happy. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more happy… Instead of working with our minds, to try to reprogram our brains to be more confident, trusting, and creative, we can let our hands teach our brains to make the changes we want to see. This seemed like magic to me. And a whole lot more fun. As Vimala says early and often to her students, ‘Don’t believe me. Try it for yourself!’ What can you do today to interrupt the pattern? What if you write a paragraph with your nondominant hand? How can you move your body in an unfamiliar way? Can you say yes to something you usually pooh-pooh? See if you’re not just a little more lighthearted after this.”

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Magic-Bite-Sized-Nuggets-Nourish/dp/1954569726

Pienta writes with this kind of accomplished finesse and confidence, while maintaining a conversational manner. She has this enjoyable way of making things personal, while never becoming tangential or out of the way of the central, thematic crux in the process. That, along with everything else, is why I commend and highly recommend this book – to people of all backgrounds…

Garth Thomas