Book Review: Rebecca Campbell's Light is the New Black
As a super sensitive human finding my way in the world a lot of my philosophy has to do with raising my vibration, getting in alignment and flow, and living my soul's purpose. Rebecca Campbell's book, Light is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul's Callings and Working Your Light, is about all of those things, but I wouldn't call it deep or news to people already on a conscious path. This book is really simple, but there are a lot of people in the world. People who can benefit from simple. So I am not trashing the book. Rebecca seems like a sweet and lovely person and I am fairly certain that overall it will influence the world for the better.
But it is kinda like spiritual candy. Tasty, easy to digest, but lacking in micronutrients. You might get tired of how it repeats the same concept in a hundred different ways, or precisely the same way: Shine your Light. Be You. It's aimed at women, but it doesn't harp on "the sisterhood" too much. I believe a man could read it without hardly noticing.
I'll admit, the book has a unique layout. It's partly Rebecca's personal journey, partly a collection of affirmations and small essays that can be read in any order, partly a workbook with exercises and fill in the blanks. It is also a whole new breed of book: fully integrated with social media. For example, there are links to downloadable meditations and instructions for creating a personal brand on Pintrest (which I did!). Rebecca has an advertising and blogging background and the book was clearly released with the idea of creating an online worldwide community of lightworkers around it.
I liked Rebecca's personal stories the best. There are some real gems of synchronicities in there I might feature on this site sometime in the future as examples. Actually, given the high level of flow surrounding her process of writing this book and becoming the person who wrote the book, I feel more confident recommending it, as in not only is it a good example of some important principles regarding manifestation of cool stuff, but it must also contain some Truth.
I liked the exercises the least. Not the list writing ones, because I LOVE lists, but the instructions to throw yourself an impromptu dance party, breath deeply, or visualize yourself in a bath of light. They're just so cheesy. That same shit you've read a thousand million times. (Though I admit, I've listened to the sourcing mediation a couple of times, and even though I don't usually like meditating because it makes me too zoned out and sleepy, and I disagree with Rebecca's assessment that it is the best way to listen/talk to your soul, I'll be damned if those grating harmonium notes haven't grown on me).
That's the main problem with the book. It's so cliche. Does that mean it isn't inspiring? No, cliche stuff can still be inspiring...and true. I actually agree with most of what Rebecca says, by keeping it simple, she avoids a lot of the weird, complicated, extraneous, trappings and stuff that doesn't quite ring true or seems contradictory from other spiritual books and systems. For example, she doesn't try to describe the layers of the aura or the various races of invisible beings surrounding us, or what precisely happens when we cross over.
But I also think the book fails in its simplicity. For one thing I know people who if told to be themselves and do what they love would play videogames, skateboard, drink beer (good beer, but beer nonetheless), smoke weed with their friends, buy a motorcycle, and get a tattoo of a pirate ship. At best they'd stake steps toward owning a comic book store or a coffee shop or becoming a motorcycle mechanic or a tattoo artist. Those are all things that their personalities love, but I'm not so sure their souls give a shit about them. In fact some of the things they identify with and believe light them up might be actively bad for them on a soul level. Some of those things might just be a mask they put on in their youth to hide the pain of trauma and fall far short of their true offering to the world.
I know for myself my ego likes things that are quite unhealthy for me on a soul level, strip clubs, whiskey, guns, ghettos, hostess cupcakes, Coca Cola, redneck shit. My ego also likes a ton of things that most people would consider healthy, but are only a minor part of my soul's offering and have nothing to do with my core calling. This includes all the green and environmental stuff I've always been into: herbalism, ethnobotany, permaculture, rewilding, heirloom seeds, rare plant varieties, survival skills, camping, traveling, running, etc.
Although I maintain there are creative and enlightened ways to do just about anything and you see from my site I haven't abandoned my ecological leanings. I consider my core calling to be more along the lines of soulwork, energywork, healing, and empathic guidance. In that sense my academic background in psychology and counseling may be more appropriate than my academic background in my environmental studies.
My point is because of this soul/personality discrepancy, if you just told me to follow what lights me up, I could easily get really into something that was missing my core essence, and then wonder what was wrong with me when I wasn't truly flourishing. And on the flipside, many a person has a resistance, amnesia, or denial about who they really are. It is not hard to lose your way in this world, to get waylaid by fear, and ideals and dogma, and cultural programming. So when I say the book isn't deep, it is because it doesn't go into any of this. It doesn't go into the dark. It doesn't go into the details. It makes it sound so easy: make a list of things you love, do them and miracles will happen. That which doesn't serve you will just melt away.
There's also a lot of hype about the times we live in. I'm not saying it isn't a special time, perhaps it is, but I think its irrelevant whether this is an age of great change and transformation, the prophesied "Shift". There's never any excuse for not doing your work. I also I don't know about you, but in this time I haven't found it to be that easy or natural to manifest miracles, or identify good and bad relationships. I haven't found what is not authentic simply crumbling and slipping away from me. I find myself having to be incredibly conscientious and discerning about my choices in life. I still find myself often starting to head in an improper direction, and the only reason I know that is because I pay attention to the dark, to negative signs and synchronicities as well as positive ones.
I'm glad Rebecca Campbell has been able to find her way and make a name for herself, but I know for me, all those techniques she used, shamanic work, cord cutting, soul retrieval, meditating, spiritual retreats and workshops, none of it worked because, well, to put it bluntly, I'm better than that. The people teaching those things and their techniques were not good enough, because I'm the older soul, a super fucked up one, yes, but wiser nonetheless. One needs to work with someone on or above their level. So if my critique of Light is the New Black sounds patronizing, it is. Sorry, I can't help it. I've also read three books by Rebecca's spiritual mentor Sonia Choquette, and I have some critiques of them too. I'm fairly confident in my assessment.
This book is supposed to be for lightworkers, but I guess there are lightworkers, and there are lightworkers. So maybe you can see why I'm saying its a good book for many, for influencing the masses, but not a truly great book. That said, even a snob like myself found it worthwhile, because beyond the spiritual advice I'm reading it from the perspective of a fellow writer, intuitive, and online personality, examining how a woman about my age has made a name for herself. Certainly Rebecca knows things I don't on that level. Also, the fact that I found it kind of kindergarten is encouraging, because it means I could possibly do just as well or better. Rebecca is very straightforward about her process, and how she's branded herself, so it is fun then to go to her various social media sites and see it in action, "Ah ha, that logo, those colors, that slogan."
If you're looking for something light reading about the Light, a kinda feel good, chick-lit beach read meets New Age self-help bestseller thang this book might very well be for you. Click here to check it out on Amazon.