“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
If there was ever a blend between Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow philosophies, it would be Lane Gardner’s idea of Uncovering, Recovering, and Discovering Your Creative Brilliance.
Lane Gardner’s new book “Lifeline: Recovering Your Mental Wellness Through Uncovering Your Creative Brilliance” is an expedition through past traumas and a guided tour of personal creativity and resilience. With its compelling narrative, it’s less of a self-help book, and more of a self-revelation guide.
The essence of the book could be distilled into three potent emotions for me: play, safety, and depth.
And this is important because outside of the blends, outside of presenting us with an incisive genre and philosophy amalgamations, this book has one defining identity. This identity has to do with Lane Gardner’s commitment to being a transformational creator, without the artistic aloofness that often comes with it. But I will come back to that.
Lane Gardner stands for honoring our unique greatness and inner truth, and she speaks at length about the fact that our inherent brilliance is often undermined by other people’s agendas and society’s conventions. Defending your brilliance bravely, no matter how hell-bent circumstances are on obliterating it, is the one thread between Emerson and Gardner that I cherish.
Having overcome a challenging upbringing in a fundamentalist religious cult, Lane Gardner shares candidly what it means to be separated from your own essence at an early age, and the battle that it took to unearth that special LIFELINE. Once uncovered and recovered, that LIFELINE, Lane reminds us, is always there for self-preservation, self-confidence, relief, self-love. Or as she says, an opportunity to “sneak back home to myself for a visit”.
Lane’s warm alacrity to dig in, unearth and uncover what we’ve forgotten or seemingly lost isn’t an educator’s recipe, or a coach’s axiom, but a human-to-human imparting. She is fostering a deep connection, letting us know we’re not the only ones hiding behind a mask. And the permission to excavate that greatness beneath the destructive and benumbing layers of amnesia feels like a visceral portal she holds open.
Her earnest voice when she says, “Life has a funny way of making you forget who you are, you know?” states the vulnerable, exposed nature of our identities and that fighting for them is worth every ounce of creativity.
Lane Gardner’s book touches upon the experience and importance of keeping our identity intact not only for self-preservation, but also for the fun aspect of it. Safety and fun are feelings related to childhood, but Lane insists that they live in the spirit of individuality, self-honesty, and authenticity in each moment in the NOW.
Identity, individuality, and creativity have never sounded more delectable to me, and I can’t help but be reminded of Csikszentmihalyi’s parallel of achieving happiness through flow.
But how often do we equate creativity with something hard and superior and unachievable and rare? How often do we connect it to the “mad genius” hypothesis, which presents creativity as a mental health challenge?
Probably all the time.
This brings me to why read Lane Gardner’s book.
If exposing yourself to a wider range of thinking patterns for the sake of becoming a better problem solver isn’t a good reason, here’s another:
Putting yourself in touch with your unique greatness that comes from your individual experiences is like an emotional Pilates session – the more you stretch and strengthen those muscles, the more mental wellness you gain. Each chapter, infused with interactive exercises, is like a personal trainer for your creative muscles.
Lane Gardner single-handedly takes creativity out of the high-and-mighty, pretentious bin and brightens it with so much compassion and warmth.
Reading “Lifeline” is an invitation to redefine creativity, to see it not as a rarefied gift but as an intrinsic part of our identity and a key to unlocking mental wellness.
Gardner reassures us that creativity and individuality are not just the icing on the cake, but a fundamental ingredient of the mental wellness recipe.
So if your inner artist is playing hide and seek, Gardner’s “LIFELINE” might just be the flashlight you need.
Check out Lane Gardner’work at
Watch her TEDX talk
Book a 15-min call with her here.
Buy the book on Amazon: