When I first learned of Sheila M. Burke’s book “Booyah Spirit: 52 Ingredients for a Healthy Soul. Suffering is Optional” I was intrigued by the title. For me, the word “Booyah” brings up immediate images of the bell ringing, bull snorting Jim Cramer of CNBC’s “Mad Money.” But although Cramer’s show has become famous for the “Booyah” greeting, the word actually has its origins in the French language and is the name of a type of food prepared like a stew and meant to serve a large number of people. It’s also a statement of joy that one makes right after accomplishing something special. In both respects, Ms. Burke has chosen rightly in the naming of her book. “Booyah Spirit” is indeed a nourishing offering of 52 mini-essays meant to inform a large number of people on subjects including how to meditate, balance, gumption, delight, adventure, coincidence, benevolence, celebration and so many more. You might choose to savor and digest one per week over the course of a year, or if you’re like me you might choose to devour the whole thing in a few sittings. Either way, the words are satisfying and nutritious.
Sheila Burke (also the author of “Zen-sational Living: A Simple guide to Finding your True Self and Maintaining Balance) is a wise woman, speaking the truth from a deep level of her being. Her essays blend her wisdom with a sprinkling of enlightening quotes and a generous helping of personal stories that I found both thoughtful and deeply moving. More than once I found myself reaching for a tissue as the stories of her experiences and those of her family members unfolded on the pages before me. The Burke’s are obviously a loving, caring, compassionate bunch, yet Ms. Burke also reveals her humanity in these pages. Through her honesty she shows us the various places that we can get stuck as human beings and she shows us the way to set ourselves free. I can also imagine that no one at the Burke household ever suffers from boredom. “Booyah Spirit” has enough suggestions of creative things to do with your spare time to keep your weekends full for the rest of the decade.
As Sheila states in her essay on celebration, “Rejoice in your uniqueness. Sing even if you can’t carry a tune. Dance in the rain, have a snowball fight, run through the sprinkler, build a fort with blankets, make something origami, make a video or a podcast, write a book, poem or song. Start a blog, draw a comic strip, sew a pillow or make a no sew blanket. Find that what makes you unique; celebrate it and let it nourish your spirit.” Sheila’s book will also nourish your spirit, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.