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After seven years of faithfully following her spiritual teacher, Renee Linnell finally realized she was in a cult and had been severely brainwashed. But how did that happen to someone like her? She had graduated magna cum laude with a double degree. She had traveled to nearly fifty countries alone before she turned thirty-five. She was a surf model and a professional Argentine tango dancer. She had started five different companies and had an MBA from NYU. How could someone like her end up brainwashed and in a cult?
The Burn Zone is an exploration of how we give up our power—how what started out as a need to heal from the loss of her parents and to understand the big questions in life could leave a young woman fighting for her sanity and her sense of self. In the years following her departure from the cult, Linnell struggled to reclaim herself, to stand in her truth, and to rebuild her life. And eventually, after battling depression and isolation, she found a way to come out the other side stronger than ever. Part inspirational story, part cautionary tale, this is a memoir for spiritual seekers and those who feel lost in a world that makes them feel less than perfect.
Renee Linnell is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or cofounded five companies and has an MBA from New York University; before that she was a model and professional dancer. Currently she is working on starting a publishing company to give people from diverse walks of life an opportunity to tell their stories. Linnell divides her time between Colorado and Southern California.
“Sometimes the events that change us are momentous, but other times they are so small and insidious we barely notice. Only upon reflection can we see those small choices and moments that change us irrevocably. This memoir is as beautifully written as it is incredibly poignant. Inch by inch, the author loses a sense of herself, and then, brick by lovely brick, builds her life back up again. It is a story about triumph; a story about all women who languish and ultimately relinquish their power; a story about love and the perplexing, elusive power of seeking your spiritual self.”
—Fauzia Burke, president of FSB Associates and author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors
“So honest and real . . . Linnell’s ability to embrace her whole self, imperfections and all, is a great teacher for all of us. THAT is true self-love, a beautiful permission slip to embrace our own imperfections.”
—Meredith Rom, author of Just Be: A Search for Self-Love in India
“In my thirty years as a world-renowned champion dancer and fitness coach, I've never run across a book that is so eye-opening on how vulnerable the human mind can be. I help millions of people learn how to move and what to eat to feel better physically; Renee Linnell reminds us that in order to be healthy and happy, we need to be just as careful with what goes into our minds. Everyone is looking for happiness and peacefulness; some find it drinking in a bar, some people dance, and some are singing in a church. Linnell reminds us that happiness is inside each of us and that we all are in this world with a different purpose and interests; live fully with your desires and embrace them fully!”
—Jaana Kunitz, champion ballroom dancer and cofounder of Figure 8 Fitness
"Renee bravely shows up to share her journey of the human spirit with us. I found myself utterly spellbound by her story weaving us courageously through her experience with the ugly side of spiritual leaders gone bad. A must read for anybody who puts their heart in the hands of another for spiritual growth."
—Madisyn Taylor, bestselling author of Unmedicated: The Four Pillars of Natural Wellness
“Buckle up. You’re in for an exhilarating ride. This book is compulsively readable. Writing about joining a cool chic cult, and being a pole-dancing monk, this is a redemption story—not only for Renee Linnell but for all of us who are finally ready to love who we really are.”
—Tama Kieves, USA Today featured visionary career catalyst and bestselling author of Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! and A Year Without Fear
"Renee Linnell will burn you down to your soul with her true story of chill-to-the-bone heartache as she shares how she was brain-washed and sucked into a cult—for 8 long years. She'll take you through the trenches of despair, and show you step by step how to cultivate the courage, strength, and fortitude to meet any challenge. When you approach the final chapters of this gripping memoir, you'll find yourself realizing that if she can triumph and rise up victorious out of The Burn Zone, you too are capable of overcoming anything that interrupts your path to full-on-thriving! This book will touch the places in your heart that remind you who you really are!"
—Luann Robinson Hull, two-time award winning author of Happily Ever After...Right Now
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