Monday, November 21, 2011

Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie

Beattie, Melody. Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have Into What You Want. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Melody Beattie doesn’t guarantee that her book Make Miracles in Forty Days will deliver definitive miracles in that exact timeframe. Readers would rightly be skeptical if she did.

Beattie can sound New Age-y, referring to God, a Higher Power, and Life almost synonymously. This may be a way to acknowledge some sort of god without being too sectarian, in the manner of twelve step programs. Even so, she presents her method as something that operates on universal law, independent of religion or belief.

Her perspective on miracles is a little different, too. Miracles aren’t necessarily big. Miracles aren’t supernatural; they're natural in the sense that they are the results of universal laws. They are extraordinary, however, because they are beyond our power to bring about on our own.

These things don’t put the book too far out from its kindred on the self-help shelves. It’s not typical, though, in that Beattie turns some typical self-help concepts on their heads. It is far from your typical gratitude list. It is certainly not positive thinking. If anything, it may seem like an opportunity to indulge in the type of thinking proponents of The Secret and their ilk would have you avoid.

The heart of the method is this: express gratitude for the things for which you are least grateful. All the stuff that hurts you, negative feelings, and the things that make you nuts are candidates for these expressions of gratitude, even if you don’t feel remotely thankful.

You may have things for which you can’t say you’re thankful. That’s okay. Beattie writes about those issues.

How does this create miracles? Beattie doesn’t explain. She doesn’t seem interested in picking it apart. It came to her in a moment of inspiration, at a low time in her life, and it worked for her. It has always worked for her since. She has taught her method to a few others and it worked for them.

Part of the miracle method is that it provides permission to acknowledge and release emotions. The relief that comes from that may be a miracle to many. Maybe it provides perspective. Maybe it reveals what we truly want and don’t want so we start making better decisions. Maybe it’s magic.

There are many examples in the book. She draws on her own story and on the experiences of others. It may be hard to say they had miracles. They seem to be happier, and if gaining happiness was something beyond their own power, it fits the definition Beattie uses. Many might find happiness to be miraculous.

Melody Beattie also wrote

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith
Thanks! by Robert A. Emmons
Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klaus

In contrast to this book, here are some more traditional self-help volumes
Acres of Diamonds by Russel H. Conwell
Positive Imaging by Norman Vincent Peale
The Secret of the Ages by Robert Collier
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer
You Can if You Think You Can by Norman Vincent Peale