5* BOOK REVIEW: I, Unicorn: Use Quarantine to Get Enlightened NOW by Natasha Ewendt
“This crisis has taught us which services are essential and nonessential. Assess thoughts in the same way”. Natasha Ewendt (I, Unicorn).
5* (and oh my gosh!!)
A big thank you to author Natasha Ewendt for providing a copy of the fabulous I, Unicorn for this review. This book has become an overnight sensation and it is easy to see why. I cannot recommend enough!
“Want to find peace? Understand life? Meet the divine and get enlightened fast—without religion or philosophy? Then you’ve landed in the right place. For those struggling in isolation, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. Natasha has combined the best humour with powerful exercises that can bring a huge difference to your life. This revolutionary quick-read answers the cry for a simple guide to finding peace, for seekers of all ages. It explains divinity and enlightenment, mindfulness and meditation, in a conversational style anyone can understand. Let this heaven-sent guide show you the way.”
– Daniel Mitel, author of This Now is Eternity (Hay House)
5* (and oh my gosh!)
Each era we create or revive myths to help us make sense of the world. One look at recent film and literature and aliens, zombies, and vampires have all been flavour of the month at some point. But today, in a time of worldwide viral pandemics, questionable world leaders, and terror, author Natasha Ewendt brings us the year of the Unicorn. Mystical, beautiful, and ethereal, the unicorn symbolises a world of hope and purity that resides in all of us. The unicorn is magical, symbolic, and particularly alluring during these difficult times.
I, Unicorn is an honest, eye-opening, and hilarious guide to being more, well, more Unicorn. It’s easy to tout books and courses about enlightenment but if you’re anything like me, amongst all the crystals and windchimes it’s difficult to simply find out how to do it. How do you do enlightenment? What if I can’t meditate? How do we free our inner Unicorns?
Natasha Ewendt shows us how with this fabulously funny and beautifully written unique take on why and how to find enlightenment. This isn’t a lavender-scented, fluffy guide to loving yourself and being at one with the universe; this is a big, bad, kick ass guide to telling negative thoughts to STFU and releasing your inner, majestic, like-a-boss unicorn.
Om Namo Narayani (I surrender to the divine)
Author Ewendt has an uncanny ability to predict – and confront – the reader’s initial reservation and judgement. When she writes, “self-mastery should start with surrender”, she is right – my initial reaction is to recoil. Surrender? No, thank you. I am the one in control around here. But then she tells you to let go of your understanding of the word – to surrender and all its connotations – and to replace it with the idea of unity. We are not surrendering, we are uniting. As Ewendt writes, we are all the divine as we all come from the same source, and to surrender to that source is to surrender to your higher self: “You’re not surrendering at all, but uniting with your own divinity. So, view it as a union. By yielding to the divine – you – you’re coming home.”
A Way of Being
The modern world has programmed our minds for stress. The stress of work, money, family, friends, health, how many likes your most recent IG post got, love, relationships. Everything. It’s all stress.
Now imagine the following sceanrio. We have all been there: a terrible day, an even worse commute, a messy home, hungry mouths to feed, a dog to walk, probably some laundry somewhere, too. You’ve been awake since god knows what hour and have been on your feet all day. You do your chores, you cook and eat dinner, and get things ready for the next day. You have half an hour to spare before bedtime, so you decide to have a hot bath. Glass of wine, bubbles, sickly smelling body wash, the whole gig. You get in the bath and reeeeeeelax. You feel the tension leave your muscles, and your mind empties of all thoughts except one – how damn good this bath is.
That, according to author Ewendt, is the divine. When you stop doing, stop thinking, and just be in the moment. “That stillness when you manage to center yourself, that teeny bundle of calm in your cockles, is your divine essence.” Sounds great to me! The good news is, just a like a muscle, that divine essence can be strengthened and grown; it can be amplified by taking more time to simply be. This doesn’t have to be achieved at some resort deep in the mountains, rather it can be found anywhere that you can sit for a minute and concentrate on your breathing. Take a few deep, steadying breaths and “start to detach from the thoughts and feelings that keep you frazzled.”
I particularly appreciate the way that Ewendt does not vilify the mind, nor make it the enemy. Its not our fault that society has programmed us to think and behave in certain ways, and at the end of the day, our brain is just trying to protect us. But what is important is to make sure we don’t let our brains be the boss of us, rather we can “embrace our active mind and thank It for trying to keep you safe”, then help it out by giving it a break from all that thinking. “Rewiring” the brain isn’t supposed to be a fight, it is not a war with yourself. As Ewendt states in her infinite wisdom, “anything you fight will fight back.” Instead, its about embracing and accepting everything that happens in our lives. By acknowledging the stressors, we can actively try to put them aside.
I, Unicorn and Ewendt’s wisdom is also practical and useful. An exercise that struck a particular chord with me involved emptying the mind, then objectively analysing the first thought that pops back into it. Take that thought and hold it there, then realise that it doesn’t exist, it isn’t real. It’s just a thought, “a teeny spark of energy in your gray matter, running along a well-worn neural path created years ago by someone else who programmed you. It isn’t the definitive truth; it’s only an idea.”
(“It’s only an idea” has been particularly unicorn-ing for me. I have managed to embed some pretty self-discriminatory thoughts in concrete and convinced myself that they are true. Well, they’re not, are they? They’re just ideas. Shit ideas, admittedly, but ideas that can be replaced none the less.)
In this way we can begin to chip away at the stressors, fears, and anxieties currently encasing our inner unicorns. Ewendt takes a refreshingly proactive approach to dealing with fear and anxiety. “Fear, like all your other bits, has a function. It’s your survival instinct’s alarm. But your program can nudge it out of balance. Take back your power by thanking your fear and telling it there’s no immediate danger. If it won’t STFU, mute it.” Not only did this make me snort into my coffee, but it rang so true. It’s not difficult, I just need to put my big-girl pants on and tell it to STFU. “See the thought merely as data and if it’s irrelevant, delete” is such as brilliant analogy. Emotions and feelings and instincts can be assessed in this fashion, as well as events and errors. “Rather than judge yourself for your booboos, look for the lesson."
Armed with the tools of self-mastery (breathing, being, and letting go of the crap), we take our first steps on the “path to unicornism.” Ewendt refers to this as mindfulness, but there is none of the airy-fairy typically associated with the idea. Ewendt is positive, proactive, and practical – when thoughts and feelings start to creep in, let them go. “Take action only when required. Make notes for things to do only if it’s important. Otherwise, don’t engage with thoughts you know are non-essential.” This is integral to self-awareness, accountability, and as Ewendt hilariously puts it, “helps you see your true motives and call BS on yourself and others.”
Author Natasha Ewendt is also a fan of meditation – medo, as she calls it – and actively stilling the mind. With deep breathing and being in the now, we can watch our thoughts and let them float away to reveal “zen, health, and happiness.” Ewendt acknowledges that meditation isn’t for everyone, so if you don’t want to imagine it that way, then don’t. What’s important is the act of trying to empty the mind, and to actively reflect on what enters it. You can even do it whilst walking or exercising.
“We hid our god selves in meat suits so that, through trials that opened up consciousness bit by bit, we could find godness again.”
The beauty of Ewendt’s writing and thought is its longevity. This isn’t about getting enlightened and then staying enlightened. It’s on-going, and comes and goes like many of the good things in life. Beware the trap – “Once you’re enlightened, your ego will climb that and declare that it makes you uBeR sPeCiaL and turn you into an UbEr wAnG.”
The best thing about this guide (aside from its hilarity – seriously, it so, so funny. I wish I could have a glass of wine with Natasha Ewendt because I reckon she is an absolute hoot!) is the fact it is humane and relatable. Punctuated with anecdotes from Ewendt’s own journey to enlightenment, it’s written in a way that any one can relate to – whether you believe in god or emphatically don’t, whether you’re a meditation master or just not that into it, it doesn’t matter. Because what is important is that you want enlightenment, you are open to enlightenment, and you are using mindfulness to get it.
I cannot recommend I, Unicorn enough. This book has come along at the perfect time!
About the Author
Natasha Ewendt is a full-time smartass who’s turned her award-winning journalism skills to hacking mindfulness so you don’t have to.
You Got Unicorned YouTube Competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei6t6SUpkX0
Join the I, Unicorn Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/663362794419326/
Buy I, Unicorn: Use Quarantine to Get Enlightened NOW