A Journey Within (Balboa Press/Hay House, April 2018) is a delightful, powerful book by author and empath LouAnne Ludwig. It’s part fable, part roadmap, and altogether inspiring. Ludwig went through an amazing, profound personal and spiritual journey of her own. She experienced a modern, East-West version of being called by angels — and she answered that call. But Ludwig didn’t just become a better person for it. She turned into a teacher and an author, distilling what she learned into this luminous and charming book.
This is an entirely different kind of read than the countless self-help books we’ve all cracked open and then laid down. As Ludwig candidly relates in her own introduction, she did plenty of that herself. Instead, she chose to craft an entire world, with lively characters, a gorgeous place, and invaluable lessons and tools contained in its scenes. Not to get too literary about it, but in keeping with the timelessness and traditional myths of enlightenment, it’s a classic use of allegory that makes perfect sense.
As the story begins, Ludwig herself is trapped in a life anyone would find outwardly successful. She was, as she describes herself, “an overworked, stressed-out real estate agent” with a family. She was restless. Something called to her — a higher power, another plane — she wasn’t entirely sure what or who it was, but she had to answer. A true seeker, she turned to both spirituality and science to gain wisdom.
It wasn’t an easy or always harmonious effort: at times she felt like her life was filled with moments of lunacy, as she writes. But it wasn’t lunacy. It was a burgeoning sense of consciousness for all living beings, a growing awareness that we are all connected to each other, and to the Divine.
Once Ludwig found her own way to the Divine — which some may call God, and some may call Spirit — she realized she had to bring others on the path as well. That’s where she turned to another age-old tradition: storytelling. She created a marvelous young character, both tangible and mythical. “Here is a story about a boy who is not really a boy but a woman who has been through all this and more.” The riddle aspect is not unusual in many ancient traditions, and it reflects the multilayered nature of existence and Spirit.
When the boy finds himself marooned on a remote island — part dreamscape, part higher plane — he’s both awed and terrified. Faced with constant challenges, from finding food to building shelter, he has to learn how to survive, and so unfolds a tale of how he gains the tools to live. Of course these tools are mental ones, and his teacher is a mysterious, God-like figure who appears at just the right moment, ready to guide him. Within the book’s long and interconnected chain of fables — each chapter a different lesson — is a lovely metaphor about how we find our way, and find meaning in the daily challenges of our modern-day lives.
Ludwig has done her homework, to be sure. She offers her own version of some extremely powerful mind-training skills, written in an engaging style. She encourages the reader to digest the book in its entirety first, and then return to it, consulting chapters as they fit different questions and needs.
Among the skills Ludwig teaches, with scenes that reinforce these lessons as the reader improves: intention setting, mindfulness, the law of attraction, radical forgiveness, meditation, and living in the now. It’s an intelligent and appealing way to grow – not just by practicing, but by reading and experiencing how the book’s young hero tries and tries again until he gets it right.
Indeed, in this easy to carry, fast-reading, helpful little book, LouAnne Ludwig gets it right. Her lessons are rich with the concepts of giving thanks, and finding the Divine — however we define it — in everyone and everything. Now we can thank Ludwig for A Journey Within, and for the joy and wonder in its pages, as well.