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New book explores how to live your best life

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Israel Ellis (Dean Macdonell photo)

Achieving personal greatness is a goal many of us aspire to throughout our lives, and author Israel Ellis’ new book teaches us how to do just that.

Moving Through Walls: The Four Foundations To Living Your Best Life, will be launched in Toronto on Nov. 7 at Indigo Books in Yorkdale mall.

According to Ellis, we can all bring about positive changes in our lives and achieve greatness. Moving Through Walls contains practices, philosophies, attitudes and anecdotes that he hopes will inspire readers to commit to fresh, transformational practices built upon four foundational principles: openness, faith, future and forgiveness.

“The idea of being open means that we allow ourselves to go beyond our own bias. The idea of having faith means that we can accept that we can put our best foot forward and that we’re not in control and that there is a much greater power out there, call it God, the universe, call it the collective, whatever makes you comfortable. The idea of trying to visualize our future is so important and then to go after that goal,” Ellis explained.

In chapter four, Ellis delves into the power of forgiveness. “Many people are weighed down by grievances. People mistakenly think that forgiveness involves excusing another person’s actions or situation. Forgiveness has nothing to do with that – forgiveness has to do with allowing yourself to be able to take your grievances and move it into a hero story,” said Ellis.

“It’s a difficult thing to do. You are allowed to announce that you have had an injustice visit. You are feeling pain and that’s OK, because that is part of loving yourself and realizing that no one has a right to visit that kind of injustice on you, but then you depersonalize it. And you need to understand that the injustice was not about you, it’s the other person’s problem. Finally, you need to move forward. As poet R.M. Drake said: ‘Hate is heavy, let it go.’ ”

When Ellis was a boy, he kept a journal of his dreams. “I was the perfect example of a person destined to self-destruct. But I didn’t. I changed my destiny,” he said. “I used to journal the way I wanted my life to be, and I followed those dreams. And today, I have far exceeded them as a successful business entrepreneur, husband and father.”

Ellis grew up in a religious home in Toronto, where he was physically and emotionally abused. He described his home life as “repressive and dysfunctional.”

“I grew up in a dark place. On a daily basis, I experienced abuse randomly and without provocation. It was the total unpredictability that caused me to live in terror every day. When you’re subjected to trauma, it continues and if it doesn’t continue at the hands of somebody, it continues within your own mind,” said Ellis.

In his search for advice on overcoming life’s challenges, Ellis sought truths and philosophies from great minds, ranging from psychiatrist and author Victor Frankl, to humanistic psychologist Erich Fromm, to novelist Paulo Coelho and tech visionary Steve Jobs.

Moving Through Walls was written in honour of Holocaust survivor Eliasz Rubinowicz. “When I was in my 20s, I met my future wife, Limore, and her incredible grandfather, Elliasz Rubinowicz, a Holocaust survivor who lost everything,” said Ellis.

“I was in awe of this man and was struck by the fact that he made a choice to be a happy person, to be a forgiving person and live his life in such a meaningful way. He became my mentor. I began to take notice of people like Elliasz because so many other survivors out there have set a great example for future generations as tremendous heroes.”

As for who he wrote the book for, Ellis said “it’s really for anybody that wants to achieve their personal greatest self.… Life is a gift. By changing the way we think about things we actually can affect the outcome. The unconscious is a powerful machine. When you make a choice and a commitment to try and see your cup half full and life as a gift, and have faith and believe that you can become the best possible person, then things start to happen automatically.”

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