Monday, September 15, 2008

Chameleon Butterfly Dragonfly: A Divine Guide to Lasting Fulfillment by Cindy Silbert

Chameleon Butterfly Dragonfly: A Divine guide to Lasting Fulfillment by Cindy Silbert
Copyright 2008
149 pages

Restoring the Yin in the Universe is not only essential to restore the balance we long for but also to restore the powerful feminine energy that allows us to seamlessly create our lives and manifest our desires. This isn't about having to quit your job or give up everything you've worked for to wear frilly dresses and run through poppy fields. We can't replenish feminine Yin by denying our own masculine Yang. Denying our femininity is partly what got us here in the first place. It's not the way out. The Divine Feminine isn't guiding you to be more "feminine" and less "masculine" but to become more "you" than ever before.

Oh, wow. No wonder I'm whacked up. Truth? I really do want to wear frilly dresses and run through poppy fields.

From the cover:

In Chameleon Butterfly Dragonfly, Cindy Silbert guides you beyond your ego and intermittent happiness to your true self and lasting fulfillment. Based on her own encounter with the Divine Feminine, she reveals untouched wisdom and three Divine Archetypes that hold the key to balance, expression, power and your destiny. Chameleon Butterfly Dragonfly is more than just another "self-help" book, it takes you on a mystical journey to manifest your greatest desires. Through a self-quiz, readers discover their eminent archetype further revealing their unique characteristics, lifestyle tendencies and life purpose. Ultimately readers receive inspiration and practical guidance to create their destinies and make their mark in the world.

The underpinnings:

Author Cindy Silbert finds that she is compelled to write a spiritual book that will help women overcome their tendency to let ego rule, in order to find the True Self buried beneath ego. The message, as it were, is fed to the author by the Hawaiian goddess Hina. Cindy's Hawaiian home (at the time of writing) sits on top of the "eye of Hina", so it's only natural that the channeling occurs at her island home.

Why I read this book:

The cover blurb sounded a little New Age but I love reading books about finding fulfillment and balance -- positive-thinking, go get 'em books -- and Chameleon Butterfly Dragonfly sounded right up my alley.

Minor oops . . .

Google is just too handy. I was looking for a cover blurb and, instead, happened across this review at Breeni Books. Usually, it's my policy not to read other reviews when I'm preparing my own; one tends to absorb another person's choice of wording and it's preferable to be totally objective and original, right?

But, I really enjoyed what Breeni had to say -- in part because my viewpoint is so different from hers. The sections of the book I really enjoyed the most were the introduction and the epilogue, in which Silbert natters on about how the idea for the book came to her, the influence of the Hawaiian goddess, her own personal challenges at the time, the chaos of her early notes and the literary agent who said, "Oh, you're a woo-woo, too?" then later told Silbert, "If you don't write that sucker I will." She has a pleasant, chatty style.

Unfortunately, I found the meat of the book extremely disappointing. The concept of the three Divine Archetypes is certainly unique and, if I were to believe the quiz, I'm a combination of chameleon and dragonfly with hardly any butterfly at all. Not surprising, since the butterfly is all about beauty and being in the spotlight. I hate being in the spotlight and never thought of myself as pretty. But, while reading about the archetypes, my feeling was roughly the same as what I feel while reading a horoscope in a major publication-- there's too much cross-over, too much generic content that could easily apply to anyone. Here's a perfect example:

You don't like clutter but can also become overwhelmed by it so your home is immaculate, messy, or inconsistently somewhere in between the two.

Doesn't that pretty much cover every base? You have an immaculate home, a messy home or something in-between. Duh. We all have one of those, don't we? And, I'd say most people -- even those who are cluttery -- tend not to actually like clutter (hence the proliferation of books about ridding clutter from your life) so the clutter comment strikes both sides of the coin, as well.

However, the author had some good advice and some of what she described made total sense to me. I've copied all quotes directly from the book, so please don't blame me for the horrendous punctuation:

In an effort to become the best you can be, your ego begins to compare you to your ideal ego self and of course you always come up short. You end up spending your life trying to measure up to the standards of your ego; which isn't even real. On top of this, add traumatic experiences, emotional abuse, or just plain old disappointments. Then sprinkle on more and more responsibilities and different roles pulling you every which way. Finish it off with the imbalance of Yin causing you to deny your femininity inadvertently causing a break at your very core. The result is layer upon layer of distortion and more and more separation from your True Self and natural integrity; not to mention reality.

Eventually, I found myself taking notes saying that my chameleon is injured (and thinking, "Not possible, since I don't have a freaking chameleon!") then occasionally laughing out loud. That was the point at which I realized that what the book sounded like, to me, was the author's life coaching job combined with a little hippie philosophy and . . . maybe I'd be better off if I rolled it up and smoked it. Kidding, I don't smoke and I didn't give up on it, ever. I kept going because there were some occasional gems of wisdom. But, man . . . the number of capitalized words, alone, honestly did make me roll my eyes:

The stronger the balance among your Chameleon, Butterfly, and Dragonfly, the more powerfully your Eminient Archetype will emerge and the more fulfilling it will be to express your True Self and experience your True Feminine Power.

Eye roll. But, I love this:

Live Courageously as your True Self and you'll encourage other women to live courageously as well. As the women you've encouraged step forth, they in turn will encourage more women to do the same. Soon, an exponential explosion of Yin will occur bringing our Universe back into balance and the Divine Feminine will have fulfilled her mission. Beyond this, where will bold and courageous expression lead you? The answer is your Destiny.

But . . . I'm not going to say it. I'm not going to say it. Yes, I am. The word "destiny" with a capital D? That reminds me of Back to the Future and a young man whispering, "You are my density. I mean . . . my destiny." This, however, is another passage that has merit (except for all those capital letters):

Begin to Tell the Truth by making a list of all the things you've always wanted to say. Then, look at your life and Tell the Truth by writing down what's currently working and not working. Continue to Tell the Truth by writing down what's been stopping you from pursuing what you know would be True Self expression or a source of joy in your life. Reformat your responses into an action list. Work your way through the list until you've eliminated each item one-by-one. This can be extremely liberating. Once you get going you may not be able to stop, and that's a good thing.

That is a good thing. We all build our own imaginary road blocks. It's that kind of suggestion that makes Silbert successful as a life coach, I'm sure.

In general: A little weird, with occasional smatterings of excellent advice. I would not recommend against reading the book, simply because I think most people can squeeze a little juice from this lemon. But, it's not a book I would ever shove into a friend's hands, proclaiming it a "Must Read" (rampant capitalization: it's infectious). Like Breeni, I was a little dismayed that the book only contains 150 pages of content and a raft of blank journal pages.

Also: Not really a guy book.

Other thoughts: I think the author's chatty style would lend itself well to a memoir; and it would be awfully interesting to read about how she became a successful life coach with two homes (in very expensive locations) and a nanny.

Still reading: Far World: Water Keep and Walking Through Walls

Added to current reads: Occasional Therapy for your Midlife Years by Dr. Ellyn Gamberg

Weekly Geeks quote of the day:


  1. I seriously don't think I could make it through this book without my eyes permanently being stuck in a roll, but I enjoyed your review! :)

    I really like squirrels, even though I know they can be pesky. Their tails just look so soft and fluffy!

  2. Laura,

    I had a little trouble with that, myself, although I'm such a big fan of positive thinking books that I had to hang in there to see if there were any gems to extract. And, I did find a few. I particularly like that paragraph about being truthful with yourself.

    I love squirrels! They sometimes scare the heck out of me with all that scampering across the roof, but they're just so darned cute! After I added the quote to that photo (which I took in Michigan, last year -- it was such a great moment!), I realized I screwed up and put bookfoolery AT blogspot instead of DOT blogspot. Sigh. I'm too tired to change it. He's cute; that's what counts, right?

  3. That squirrel is eating ice cream! Haha, I love it!

  4. Yep, but he's a slob. He left the wrapper in the parking lot.

  5. I love your review, and thanks for including me!

    I think the biggest thing I took issue with was the lack of editing. The run-on sentences and lack of punctuation were too much for me!

    She's got a good core message, but it seems like she rushed into writing the book.

  6. Breeni,

    Thank you, and you're welcome! I thought your review was much better than anything I could come up with.

    The punctuation bothered me, too. I felt like I was mentally editing as I read (which is really tiresome). Overall, I found the book a bit too flaky for my taste, but not to the point that I'd ever dissuade anyone from reading it. There's plenty of good advice, I agree.

    I'd agree on the rushing. Maybe it was because she felt obligated to get the message written before leaving her Hawaiian home.

  7. Anonymous2:49 PM

    I Love to Write in Capital Letters.

    Frankly I think a lot of troubles could easily be cleared up by donning frilly dresses (both sexes) and running through fields of poppies. I am DYING to see that. Wait! Obama & McCain, Palin & Biden, hand in hand romping through the field. Now that would be a united state.

    I don't think the book is for me at all, but it does sound....sweet. Affirming.

    Squirrels. Where the definition of squirrely came from. We got a crazed on in our yard.

  8. Carrie,

    I've been known to Go Overboard with Capital Letters, but I'm much worse with Exclamation Points!!!!

    I can't visualize any of those people romping.

    Hmmm, sweet is not a word I'd use but affirming, yes. Not sure why. I probably should not be allowed to type when my head is throbbing. Stupid fall allergies.

    Oh, yeah, they're . . . nutty. We sometimes have squirrel parties in our yard, but they seem to prefer the next-door neighbors. Maybe they're basically camera shy. Really, it makes no sense. The neighbors have a dog and they leave the gate open. You'd think that would be off-putting, wouldn't you?


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