The Way of Integrity by Martha Beck book cover and text that says Coming Spring 2021, and the quote "This radiant book will not only change your life, but perhaps even save it." by Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times Bestselling author; now available for pre-order

Exciting news hot off the presses, possums!

You’ve heard me talking about my new book for years . . . well, on April 13th it will finally land on a shelf near you! Publishing is a slow business, but I’m thrilled to have this book’s arrival on the horizon at last.

This book, The Way of Integrity, is so close to my heart. It represents the culmination of all that I’ve written and taught and everything that feels truest to me at this moment in my life. It’s my first self-help book in eight years, and I had SUCH a blast writing it!

If you’ve ever taken a dip into one of my online or DIY “integrity cleanses,” you already have some idea what this book is about. It’s not a judgmental, Sunday School version of integrity. Ew, not at all!

No, it’s the idea that we can put our lives into integrity the way an airplane can be put into structural integrity. If all the millions of pieces are functioning together, the plane will fly. If the parts are out of kilter, the plane will crash.

Our lives work the same way. When we’re able to stay in integrity (the word simply means “whole” or “intact”), everything in our lives works better. We can do remarkable things, like a massive metal machine that can fly. But when we depart from our true nature, whatever that may be, we get internally divided. The result is immediate suffering, maybe just a little, maybe a lot. If we don’t find the problem and bring ourselves back into wholeness, we may nosedive into catastrophe.

You were born in full integrity—it’s your nature. But for humans, nature quickly runs into culture. From babyhood, you were socialized to suppress aspects of your nature to serve social systems. When you forced yourself to do things that weren’t true to your instincts (kissing weird Aunt Eugenia, smiling sweetly when you were miserable, and so on), you split away from your real self. You went from being in integrity (one thing) to being in duplicity (two things). If you ever tried to please many people, all with slightly different preferences, you were in “multiplicity” (many things).

Fellow people pleasers, we know how that feels, right? Total loss of self, constant confusion, self-loathing, anxiety—oh, it’s just a TON of fun.

There’s a kaboodle of social science research that shows how going along with culture against our true nature makes us miserable. But all of us live in connection with others, and that means we’re subjected to cultural pressures. Cultures are created among every couple, every family, religion, ethnicity, class, nationality, etc., etc.

So how, amid all this cultural pressure, do we find and live in pure integrity?

Funny you should ask, because I just wrote a book about it! This book will give you all the instructions for realizing where you’ve split from your true nature and bringing yourself back to wholeness. Seriously, I’m not just being coy. This issue is tricky enough that it took me many years and a couple of hundred pages to spell it out.

Here’s a little preview, though—an experiment you can try right away. One study found that when people told just three fewer “white lies” a week, they reduced negative emotions like sadness or anxiety and had significantly fewer health problems.

Try it: When you’d ordinarily tell a white lie, divert attention or simply stay silent. Watch yourself begin to feel better. It’s like magic!

Of course, never betraying your true nature involves much more than just eliminating a few fibs. It can lead you into a completely different life, one where your mind, body, and relationships get dramatically better. So much better it will look like magic.

There’s that word again: “magic.” The word that sneaks into every one of my books even when I fight it. This book was meant to be—and is—completely practical. But it turns out that when we bring our lives into full integrity, magic (or at least phenomena science doesn’t yet explain) starts popping up everywhere. What I thought would be the least “magical” book I’d ever written turned out to yield more magic than anything I’ve published before.

I’d be thrilled if you bought and read The Way of Integrity this April. But until then, experiment. Don’t just tell fewer white lies. Try saying “No” to one hated obligation a week. Spend ten minutes a day doing something you love even though you think it’s a silly waste of time. Give away objects you’ve kept only out of obligation. Eat what you really love, and savor the hell out of it.

In short, do something to please your true nature every day. Maybe every day until April 13th.