Linnell, Renee. “The Burn Zone: A Memoir”, She Writes Press, 2018.
A Survivor’s Story
Renee Linnell is a survivor and an inspiration. There are so many people struggling to find a purpose in their lives or fulfillment and they can listen to Linnell’s story and be encouraged. As still a young woman, Linnell was blessed with many successes— before she was thirty-five she had already been a model and a professional dancer who had traveled the world but something was missing and she was searching but was unsure of for what. In reality, she was looking for peace and truth but made a wrong turn and fell victim to those she thought were teaching her something. It would take seven years for her to come to her senses and regain her self-respect.
She shares how she became a pawn to what was called the University of Mysticism, gave away her possessions, her power and unheard of sums of money. She was “dominated and manipulated” so much so that she separated herself from her family and loved ones and her twin brother. She was commanded to do things and she did so obeying every command. She lost over a half-million dollars.
Ultimately she admitted that she was in a cult and that was her awakening and she began the road back to normalcy, healing, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. This is not a pretty story but it is an important one especially in tough political times like this when we are all searching for some kind of peace. I am sure that the writing of this for Linnell was cathartic and yet it is cautionary for the rest of us. It takes great courage to admit to having been brainwashed and she had a hard time understanding how she let it happen.
It could happen to anyone and what this book does is look at how one abdicates his/her own power. Many times feelings of loss weigh heavy especially after the death of family members and we can only imagine how difficult the task of rebuilding is afterwards.
We often miss seeing the small choices and moments that cause us to change us and this is what Linnell wants us to be on the watch for. We see her as she loses herself and then watch her rebuild. We must always be on our guard not to relinquish our own power. It is so important to be aware of our own vulnerability and yes, we are all vulnerable. Everyone is looking for peace and happiness and we are reminded here that we just need to find the happiness and peace that is within us all. Linnell shows us how she did that and thus helps us to do the same. Try to make sure you set aside time to read as I found myself unable to stop once I began. (And I felt so much better afterwards).