Review by James Wanless, PhD

“Awakening to your “Essential Self” is a road map that takes you from ordinary being to shining as the star you are meant to be!  Utilizing the eternal truths shared by ancient alchemists, depth psychologists, and present day ecologists, this work by Frank Kwiatkowski follows in the great tradition of seekers, scholars, philosophers, and mystics who discover and live the spiritual way of “self-realization,” or as “individuation” in Jungian psychology, or as “self-actualization” by Adler, or as Franklin Merrell Wolff’s “primordial consciousness.”

The key difference in this exploration of the “Awakening Life” is that it provides a truly practical process for following the “Divine Source” in a 21st century, contemporary way. In fact, this road map comes from Kwiatkowski’s direct experience of our enlightened truth.  So, the real value of this work is that not only is it lofty and cosmic, it’s also an everyday, down-to-earth, step-by-step guide. As is suggested in this manual for an awakened life, “Remember, you want to develop a regular and consistent connection to the divine source within you.” Indeed, it’s all about the process and the practice.

I am particularly attracted to one of the many practices described in the book which combines tarot with meditation and journaling.  As Kwiatkowski writes, “I created a daily practice for using them to awaken to my Essential Self every day. This routine provided a powerful, regular dose of truth, wisdom, and love from within me. With this cornerstone in place, my awakening accelerated in earnest, and soon a fundamental shift occurred within me.”  

I am very supportive of how Rise And Shine requires developing intuition for discovering your Essential Self.  As Kwiatkowski writes, “Once your relationship with your Essential Self progresses from mere acquaintance to trusted friend, you will notice special changes happen within you. This is how you develop your intuition and learn to believe in the truth and wisdom you possess inside yourself.”

However, intuition will often tell you what but not why.  Thus, our true voice of intuition is not always followed. According to Kwiatkowski, “Any method of intuition development that’s new to you will feel a little awkward at first. Embrace being out of your comfort zone. That’s what shakes you out of your midlife rut and gets you seeing things in a refreshingly unfamiliar way. Like with a new love affair, the awkward early stage is where much of the magic is.” Indeed.  The most difficult part of following our intuition is not only being “Aware” of the feeling, but “Believing it” and then having the “Courage” to act on it.

Illumination pathways, like this clear and doable road map, are often initiated but not sustained.  That’s often because it’s no fun! In our world today, we want immediate gratification and we often get distracted by another shiny object.  A monumental personal voyage as this demands joy and laughter. All studies declare that we learn quickest and more creatively when we are “edutained” – educated and entertained simultaneously.  As author Kwiatkowski states, “Keep a sense of humor and laugh at yourself a little as you learn. Keeping things light and loose will also help you learn the method quicker because intuition comes more naturally with a light heart and a sense of fun. An added benefit is that you won’t stop using a method that you’re enjoying the process of learning.”

I especially endorse Kwiatkowski’s work because of its realism.  Know that on the path of awakening there will be speed bumps. “Expect cognitive dissonance during awakening. Embrace it. Having your assumptions and outworn beliefs challenged by the wisdom from within you means you are awakening. Open yourself to having your worldview challenged and invite your deeper truth to reveal itself to you.”

As you go deeper into your authenticity and Essential Self, you will inevitably encounter your own dark side that’s commonly known in psychology as “the shadow.”  Like a tree as Kwiatkowski describes, root into the dark soil in order to soar to the light. This process takes you to those aspects of yourself that you have debased, disowned, deflected and denied.  Here is where the real growth occurs. Get down into your yuck and muck, for like the lotus that grows out of mud, compost your crud and fertilize your fullness.

I cannot emphasize enough as does this wonderful life guide, “Always Approach Awakening as a Process, Not a Destination.” Road maps are good and necessary but they don’t get you anywhere unless you follow them.  Heed and pursue the road-signs in this savvy and sustainable journey to your star-ness. DO IT!”

James Wanless, Ph.D is the creator of the Voyager Tarot and author of Strategic Intuition for the 21st Century: Tarot for Business. To learn more about James, please visit his website.