Book Review: The Prosperous Heart

The author of more than thirty books—fiction and nonfiction—Julia Cameron is best known for her international bestseller, The Artist’s Way, which has helped millions of people realize their creative dreams. While conducting lectures and facilitating workshops over a thirty-five year period, Cameron discovered that many of her students did not want to talk about money and felt they could handle anything but money. She decided to write The Prosperous Heart, a book that would give her students “the tools to address their money issues directly while maintaining spiritual balance and an active creative life.”

Fans of Cameron’s books will recognize two of the tools: Morning Pages (three hand-written stream-of-consciousness journal pages written each morning) and a twenty-minute daily walk. New tools include Counting, recording each penny earned and saved in a small journal; Abstinence, a complete abstaining from any further debt; and Time-Outs, two five-minute periods of sitting quietly to consciously count your blessings or simply rest.

Cameron provides short exercises to complete as we go through the 12-week program and at the end of each chapter (week), there is a check-in and a list of “prosperity points.” She advises us to “choose the exercises you are most attracted to and the ones you are most resistant to. Our resistance often points us toward ‘pay dirt.’”

While guiding us through the prosperity plan, Cameron encourages us to be open to the unexpected gifts and answers that may appear along the way. In describing her recent move from New York to Santa Fe, Cameron demonstrates what can happen when we step out of our comfort zones. She explains, “I often find when my students shake the apple tree, oranges fall. And oranges may have been just what they were looking for after all.”

She stresses the need to accept even the smallest steps as progress and makes comparisons to other 12-step programs. In the chapter on forgiveness, she advises us to let go of “feelings, beliefs, and circumstances that do not serve you” and “open the door to allow the Higher Power to co-pilot your life.” While she liberally uses the word God throughout the book, she encourages readers to make their own substitutions.

Unlike other financial gurus, Julia Cameron does not preach or scream her message as she addresses the practical side of the creative life. The tone is a much gentler one which recognizes the greyness that often surrounds money issues. When outlining the prosperity plan, she reminds us that we will “slip backward and revert to old spending habits.” But the important thing is not to be discouraged. She ends the book with the following message: “Living a prosperous life means living a day at a time. It means starting over each morning, forgiving ourselves and beginning anew when we make mistakes, picking ourselves up when we fall, keeping on track.”

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