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Berube's book bridges chasm between self and true self

AMHERST – Sometimes you need to get knocked off track to find the right track.

That’s what happened to Anne Berube.

“On impact, when the half-ton truck hit our car, my liver lacerated in half and my lungs partially collapsed, so I couldn’t catch my breath.”

Berube was recently at Coles bookstore in Amherst to give a reading from her book, ‘Be Feel Think Do, a Memoir’ which was published in May of this year.

After giving a reading from the book, Berube, who lives in Halifax, talked about her life’s journey and how it transformed after the collision.

“When I was unconscious, that’s when it happened, I saw my life like a movie in front of my minds eye but it wasn’t the life I was living, it was the life I was meant to live, the one I came here to live,” said Berube. “I saw it but I also felt it. It was the most amazing feeling of love I ever experienced. When I woke up in the hospital the next day I promised myself I would change my ways.”

Although the collision occurred in 2001 when Berube was 23-years-old, the feeling of love and vision of life still resonates deeply within her.

“I think when we go through traumatic events and intense events, which are sometimes called peak experiences, we have a moment of clarity,” said Berube. “We don’t always validate that. We have to validate that. It’s so important, that’s our intuition, that’s our higher self talking to us.”

Writing about her relationships with family and friends was one way to validate her experience and understand her higher self.

“For me to put that out publicly I think people can relate to it because it gives them permission to validate their story,” said Berube. “Often there are things we don’t share, and because we don’t share them we think we’re the only ones going through it. The book gives permission to validate your story.”

Becoming acquainted with the higher self requires loving oneself, and Be Feel Think Do offers prescriptions on how to do that.

Berube says meditation helps, and she guided those who attended the reading through a meditation.

“Focusing on the breath, deepening the breath, and bringing your attention to how you feel inside, that’s another practice in self-love,” said Berube. “Also, noticing how you talk to yourself, what is the tone of the voice you use to talk to yourself, and shifting that, is another way to practice self-love.”

At the time of the collision, Berube was a university student studying French literature, a subject in which she earned a PhD.

She says writing Be Feel Think Do helped make her a better writer.

“I learned to write in academia and I needed to unlearn how to write and learn again, because the way I learned to write wasn’t fun and it wasn’t accessible, it wasn’t pleasurable,” said Berube.

She wrote several manuscripts before finding her voice.

“I met with a filmmaker friend of mine and he suggested that I look at my story through the lens of a filmmaker, to imagine I’m seeing my story on a screen in a movie theatre,” said Berube. “When I had that conversation with him it liberated my voice because I realized that I could tell my story in a way that was really accessible and visually impactful for the reader.”

Writing the book has been a journey but the journey is far from over.

“I’m very happy with the finished product but I already have the next book in my mind. That’s what I’m thinking about now,” said Berube. “I want to support this book and shepherd it into the world and, at the same time, I’m very aware that this next book wants to come out as well.”

Be Feel Think Do is available at bookstores.

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