I liked The Artist’s Way and still have my original copy of it, a bit dusty but a keeper. I bought a few more of Julia Cameron’s self-help books over the years but never was so caught up in the energy of the ideas. The last one I read was far too religious for this Catholic-indoctrinated-from-childhood, god-is-a-patriarchal-construct, pagan-Buddhist-druid. The Prosperous Heart is Cameron firmly in God-mode and it didn’t fly for me.
Cameron’s take on prosperity follows the typical advice offered by most spiritual abundance teachers. The book is divided into twelve weeks of lessons and workbook pages that deal with keeping track of what you spend, knowing what you really want, getting help with debting and cluttering problems, being kind to yourself, setting up a support network. It’s a twelve-step program for the unsatisfied and the under-capitalized. Cameron tells stories on herself, and stories about how her friends and clients have confronted prosperity issues, to illustrate her points.
But the advice is distinctly religious, with dependence on a God who can be entrusted with your dilemmas and trusted to resolve them for you—or right along with you if you are the take-charge type. No. Not going there. And the money problems that beset most of the examples in the book are the inconveniences and decisions of upper middle class Americans—treat yourself, not with a $50 dinner with a friend but with a $20 bottle of shampoo that will last longer. When a close collaborator abandons you for someone else, move across the country and change your life. Um, okay. But how realistic are these setbacks for people caught in the extremities of a national—actually global—depression facing lifelong unemployment, foreclosure, no health insurance, end of college dreams for their kids and other really critical issues. OTH, I guess those people aren’t reading self-help books.
Julia Cameron is bright, literate, prolific and still a popular teacher of workshops on using Morning Pages and other aids to chart a successful life. The Prosperous Heart is a very nice book but it adds nothing new to the conversation and it aims at a particular cultural perspective that seemed dated and out-of-touch to me—terrible cynic and enthusiastic rebel against the status quo I fancy myself to be.
The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of “Enough” Julia Cameron | Tarcher/Penguin 2011