Author Julia Cameron has a knack for understanding some of life's most troubling concerns and addressing them head-on through gentle, encouraging, and thoughtful exercises. Her landmark work, The Artist's Way, has helped millions of would-be artists, writers, and musicians unblock their creativity and discover the miraculous link between art and spirituality. In her latest work, Safe Journey: Prayers and Comfort for Frightened Flyers and Other Anxious Souls, Cameron addresses the anxiety associated with air travel and offers her own experiences and techniques for calming one's nerves and discovering how to enjoy the journey.
Those unfamiliar with Cameron's previous works may be somewhat surprised at the very personal nature of Safe Journey. Unlike typical self-help books, Ms. Cameron uses her own debilitating fear of flying as the basis for this work. While preparing for a business trip where she will fly from New Mexico to Los Angeles, Cameron finds herself worrying over nearly every aspect of the trip. From packing to getting to the airport on time, getting through security, dealing with delays, takeoff, turbulence, landing, and baggage claim, no aspect of the air travel journey is left untouched in this short but powerful book.
The primary method whereby Ms. Cameron encourages her readers to relax is the use of prayer. Cameron's prayers are not the formal, repetitive petitions of Catholic prayer books. Instead, they are simple requests asking specifically for what is needed at that moment, such as skilled pilots, competent flight attendants, smoother air, and functioning landing gear. At one point during her flight, Cameron befriends her row mates and, after they inquire about her calming nature, they all discuss their own fears of flying. Cameron even teaches the passenger next to her the art of praying, keeping it simple and direct. As is often the case with Julia Cameron's books, humor plays a key role, and readers will find her frequent suggestion to buy and read tabloids while in flight particularly amusing. At one point, while looking at celebrity photos, Cameron even composes a quick prayer asking to avoid developing cellulite after indulging in an in-flight snack.
Fans of Julia Cameron's previous works will find Safe Journey just as rewarding for its updates on her current affairs (she is now a grandmother, and the birth of her granddaughter is a pivotal moment in the book) as they will for its advice and counsel. Though the focus is definitely on the fears associated with air travel, Cameron's strategies for relaxation and her methods of composing simple prayers asking for calmness, safety, and guidance can easily be translated to other issues in life that cause debilitating anxiety. Once again, Julia Cameron has demonstrated her unique ability to understand human nature and delivers sound advice and common sense strategy for healing.