Books & Audio

Reader Reviews

 Hi Chandra,
I read your book. I thought I would do so in one sitting but I needed to digest what I was reading so it took longer. I've read many books on spiritual living and consciousness. I'd always prided myself on my journey and the 6 years I have invested in spirituality. I've read books which left me euphoric, soaring for days feeling utterly invincible. It's like drug addiction, you get a hit until you have to come down and you go searching for the next one.
Your book was the opposite. Even as I read it, I was not surprised by the simplicity of it, that you could distill the essence of a simple truth into a tiny little chapter. I had moments of insight which left me joyous, but for the most part, reading your book has brought me down to earth with a bang. I'm undone at the seams, as though everything I thought I knew, the insights I had arrived at were no more. The Chapter, "When we are vulnerable, we are protected" destroyed me. I saw that I had expected my spirituality to make me special. That the isolation of the last 6 years, the celibacy, the getting left behind by my peers would result in one grand result which would be my reward for going within so long. The realization that this belief may in fact have isolated me from the rest of humanity floored me. I feel grounded, and not necessarily in a euphoric way. Just grounded, all over the place, confused, scared. For perhaps the first time, I'm faced with my own humanity and it's very sobering. I used to pride myself on my gut instinct which gave me the feeling that I was extraordinary in some way. I felt it since my childhood and it drove me to aim for an extraordinary life which, in spite of my best efforts, has not materialized.
I find myself in the gap. I still desire the career (acting) and the extraordinary relationship (single, 34 years old) but I no longer know what will become of these dreams. I'm terrified that I have isolated myself from what I could have got by aiming for the extraordinary in an ordinary world.  It is indeed tortuous and painful. The only thing I can do is lean into it, get out of the way so the Universe can bring me what I need, even if it is not any of what I want. I've always been floating about in the clouds, sensing inner power yet unable to manifest it. Now I feel grounded to the earth, deeply fallible and vulnerable, without the faintest clue how or even where to start, wondering how in the world I'm going to forgive myself for being human, how to make peace with a Universe which feels terribly impersonal, what to say to my Soul, how to stop feeling terribly foolish and victimized and own it all as my own. I can only yield and lean into this pain and let the rest unfold according to a wisdom higher than my own.
If I get to have any children, yours is the book I'll give to them. It has everything I'd want to teach them.
Thank you for writing it. It was not what I wanted to hear but I'm listening anyway, because it was meant for me. 

All the best,
Jenny


This insightful book translates timeless truths, exposing the unworkable beliefs that we often hold. And Ms. Alexander’s provocative and rich chapter titles are well worth the price of admission.
James Wanless, Ph.D.,
author of Intuition @ Work, and Voyager Tarot
 

The fifty-two chapters comprising Chandra Alexander's Reality Works: Let It Happen provide brief but explicit lessons on how to live with a grounding sense of wonder. Suited to being the foundation of a weekly study throughout the year, the issues covered range from loneliness, relationships, and learning to leave things along, to paying attention, and living a richer, more authentic life regardless of circumstance or background. Very highly recommended for self-help, self-improvement reading lists and reference collections, Reality Works: Let It Happen is witty, inspiring, motivating, thoughtful, occasionally challenging, and thoroughly reader friendly.
-Midwest book review on amazon.com
 

This is a book for people who want clear, gem-like insights into the art of personal transformation. I enjoyed the concise writing style and the direct appeal to the reader's innate sense of wholeness. The author speaks to the psychological as well as the spiritual aspects of wholeness and the need to approach life with attention to the mulit-leveled nature of every individual. It is one of those books that you can open anywhere and find something that brings wisdom to your present situation.
-reader Review on Amazon.com

 

"I have to confess to being a bit of a self-help (books, tapes, systems, seminars, etc.) junkie. Over the years, this trait has (hopefully) given me some perspective on the genre and some ability to separate the same tired old cliches from the fresh and original. Reality Works falls soundly in the latter category. At a compact 119 pages, every page is packed with sharp insights expressed in a clear and concise manner. I would especially recommend this book to anyone in the middle of, or on the verge of a significant life transformation (e.g. changing careers, starting/ending a relationship, relocating...). Chandra Alexander is a strong advocate of listening to your inner voice and having the courage to follow it, especially at times when you may be tempted to remain in a comfortable rut rather than venture into uncharted regions. Of course, in an important sense every day is a kind of transformation, so the advice given here is always relevant. The title of one chapter is a good example of the book's wisdom -- "The space between the old way not working and the new way not yet found is where consciousness expands --stay in the gap!" (yes, all this is really the chapter title). In other words, don't be afraid of being in a place where you aren't certain of everything. Reality Works is filled with such gems. I've read it once and am already looking forward to going through it again."
Lleu Christopher, Hudson Valley, New York
Amazon.com Reviewer
 

"'If You're Bored With Your Story It's Time To Change'. The title of this review is the first chapter of a reading adventure, an adventure that can inspire you to live with greater clarity and aliveness. I buy a lot of books. I read a bit here and a bit there in each book. I see another book that looks great...the cycle repeats itself. I'm looking for something. I want to read them all. I'm too busy. I picked up this book, began to read and didn't stop until I reached the end. I couldn't believe I read the whole book in one sitting, even though it has 52 delicious bite-size portions. I continue to use it as an oracle. It's filled with metaphors that reveal new meaning with each new attention. Reality Works doesn't give a prescription. It somehow serves as a catalyst to call forth the experience that I'm looking for in all books. Buy it and read it!"
Eddie Oliver. Mill Valley, CA
Amazon.com Reviewer 

  

Press Reviews

DETROIT NEWS REVIEW -   APRIL 5, 2003
 'Reality Works' helps us deal with the scary times of today
 By Marney Rich Keenan / The Detroit News
 

 One of my favorite magazine features is when famous people tell what books   are on their nightstand at any given time.
 If I like the person, I usually go and buy the book they are reading, a   practice my husband disdains by insinuating that if Border's was ever   threatened by a major shareholder takeover, that would be me.
 Yet, if I were ever asked what is on my nightstand, I would be hard pressed   to answer succinctly. That's because what is on my nightstand is a potpourri   of subjects and genres, pleasures and personal obligations, first, second and   third reads, too.
 A cursory glance at my stacks show: Anne Taylor Fleming's "Marriage: A   Duet" (Hyperion, 2003); "The Holy Longing" by Connie Zweig,   Ph.D. (Putnam, 2003); "The Hours," Michael Cunningham (Farrar,   Straus and Giroux, 1998); "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz   (Amber Allen, 1997); "Bush at War" by Bob Woodward (Simon Schuster,   2003); "Blue Shoe" by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Books, 2002);   "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle (New World Library, 1999);   "A Return to Love," Marianne Williamson (Harper Collins, 1992);   "Lucky" by Alice Sebold (Little, Brown and Co., 1999); and   "John Adams" by David McCullough (Simon and Schuster).
 Pretty standard fare, but if I were to honestly answer I would have to say,   I'm reading all of them, but not any one of them in particular. It's as if I   have multiple personalities and settle in at night with whomever has   inhabited me at the time: the history student, the soul searcher, the writing   student, or the escape artist.
 These days, the book I pick up most often, and always with a highlighter, is   a little known self-help book that helps me stay grounded. It's called   "Reality Works: Let it Happen" (Red Wheel, 2002) by Chandra   Alexander. It's a book I've bought three times over now for friends, and   thankfully, they don't accuse me of being a sanctimonious proselytizer the   way I do when I'm pushing my religious titles.
 The reason I like it so much is because it feels so apropos to the times in   which we now live: when uncertainty reigns and fear seems such a collectively   shared emotion, it is almost pedestrian. "Reality Works" is full of   bare bones, straightforward, applicable life lessons that help me put one   foot in front of the other. And sometimes, I really do need advice on,   literally, how to take the very next step.
 Often, we're fond of saying "Get Real!" without giving due credit   to the profundity of the catchy phrase. Because, as Alexander suggests, if we   all really just "got real," we'd be a heck of a lot happier.
 "When something is real, it is clear and raw as it gets," Alexander   writes in the preface. "It is bottom line, unequivocal and not up for   debate. Peace is the result of clarity, a rock solid feeling that is stark   and without embellishment. It often comes at the end of an inner struggle,   sometimes in the shower, sometimes driving in stop-and-go traffic and always   when we have consciously stopped thinking about it. It is a place where, if   only for the moment, there are no more questions, a place where we suddenly   'get it.' What is real delivers peace."
 Alexander is a therapist and motivational speaker who studied in India for 10   years, living a monastic lifestyle. When she returned to the states, she   found she had to get real: "I realized nobody was impressed with my   spiritual quest and that I was going to have to make my way in the everyday   world just like everyone else."
 Alexander earned her master's in social work, traveled a circuitous route to   becoming a "life coach." She was a director of an HMO, formed her   own medical receivables company, and even opened an art gallery.
 Along the way, she compiled her varied life lessons into this tiny   5-by-7-inch book containing 52 chapters that are purposely brief (four or   five paragraphs) and full of to-the-point advice on dealing with life's   stuff.
 "Regardless of how clever we are, reality is," she writes in the   preface, "there is no way around it. We can dress it up to appear more   palpable but it is, always and forever, human -- We have been so conditioned   to want only what is easy and initially makes us feel good that we have   neglected that part of life that is difficult and makes us uncomfortable, but   in the end has the ability to connect us to our core and make us whole. It's   only through our humanness that we can know our divinity and not the other   way around."
 Among the many chapters: "You Are Always In the Right Place At The Right   Time." "Taking Responsibility For Your Life Means Not Fighting With   Reality -- If It Happened to You, It Belongs To You." "Trusting the   Bull---- Meter Always Gives Us the Edge." "Will Is About Making   Choices, Not Manipulating Outcomes." "When You Are Confused, Do   Nothing." "When People Are Not Meant To Be Together Anymore,   They're Not." "Once You Know Your Own Stuff, It's Only Stuff."   
 One timely chapter centers on courage. In "I Am Not Afraid Of Things   That Scare Me," Alexander writes: "Fear has a way of stopping us   dead in our tracks. But what if we changed the paradigm of fear? What if   feeling the feeling was actually different from reacting to it? To move   through fear and come out the other side requires tremendous courage and   power. But if we experience fear as a vital insight into our head, we can see   what we need to work on, where we need to focus our attention. Inherent in   this feeling that frightens us is the possibility of freedom. As long as we   are able to exist in a state of feeling that has no definitive answers, we   break the boundaries of a constrained life."
 Right now, if I had to pin it down to a book, "Reality Works" would   be the one. 

        

NAPRA Review: Books   New and Noteworthy   May/June 2002  Reality Works, Let it Happen, by Chandra Alexander
 "Get real" is a popular saying, but what does it mean? Why should   we get real, when reality is often painful and just plain not fun? Escapism,   yes, even escape into spiritual euphoria, is chosen far more often than   getting down and dirty to deal with reality. Besides, even if we want to get   real, just how does one go about it? Well, read the 52 brief chapters in this   provocative and insightful book, and be on your way. The author is a   therapist and motivational speaker. Her writing is vivid, persuasive, and to   the point. She views reality - our everyday challenges with the world outside   and our inner demons - as an adventure. The title, the binding, the size, the   format, the cover of Reality Works all contribute to a book that will be   picked up and perused. The attention-grabbing prose will help find its way   into the shopping basket.

  

Bob   Schurtz   May 2002
 Downtown Books
 Harrisonburg, VA
 Reality Works, Let It Happen
 by Chandra Alexander
 "Taking responsibility for your life means not fighting with reality -   if it happened to you, it belongs to you", says Chandra Alexander in   Chapter 20 (actually, in the chapter's title) of Reality Works a slim volume   of 52 such chapters that gleefully debunk the grandiose myths and   labyrinthine psychobabble found in too much self help literature. No chapter   is more than three pages long. Others of these quick hits: "Men and   women are different - enjoy it." and "When we try to quiet the   mind, we end up doing the opposite." Alexander wastes no time or space   making clear her bare-bones appraisals of how to face life by accepting   reality rather than railing against it. She is not bitter or preachy; she is   simply sharing with reader's her straightforward way of looking at - and   living in - the world.
 Alexander, MSW, is a Life coach and motivational speaker who studied in India   for ten years with Swami Muktananda. She presents 52 brief lessons on being   clear about reality, about what is, and letting it happen, while being deeply   grounded in the present. Although she allows that no one can tell us what   something means, she says when something is real it is unequivocal and   acceptance of it brings peace. "Peace is the result of clarity, a rock   solid feeling that is stark and without embellishment of any kind." The   lessons range from "When you close one door, don't open another: stand   there...another door will open" to "You can want something else   without knowing what it is." Some of Alexander's lessons are surprising,   including "Visualizing what we want, always cuts us short."
 With its simple, declarative title and a brightly colored cover depicting a   person negotiating his way through the cogs of a machine, this small   5.5-by-6.75-inch book will jump out at customers, and its refreshing   unencumbered messages will entice browsers, Indeed, even a quick scan of the   elaborate chapter titles makes this book hard to put down.