An interesting, if not entirely convincing, argument about the relationship between the mind and body.

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THE BODY AS A SHADOW

A discussion of the connection between physical and mental well-being.

Limmer (Balance, 2002, etc.) argues that dealing with “shadow issues” that “people deny, reject, and do not like to admit” holds the key to being healthy in body and mind. By confronting one’s shadow, one can understand the feelings that cause physical maladies, she says; one can also learn to control diseases (“We are not the victims of our illnesses, and we do have the power to heal ourselves”). The author draws on memories of her experiences as a social worker, and the chapters are filled with instances in which she says her clients’ illnesses were explained or affected by their acceptance of underlying psychological issues. There’s Roger, a cancer patient whose pre-disease “rage and repressed anger created an environment conducive to cancer.” There’s Joyce, whose own cancer went into remission after Limmer worked with her—a claim for which there’s no supporting data. Cancer isn’t the only illness manifested by mental health issues, the author says; readers also see cases of patients with heart disease (symbolized by an “inability to express love”) and asthma. There are also sections on how shadows relate to addiction, midlife crises and death. Limmer’s work helping the sick understand their illnesses through imagery and symbolism is intriguing. However, the larger purpose of the book is unclear. There are chapter-ending questionnaires (with queries such as “What is your level of self-love?”), but the text is mostly theory—Carl Jung is cited frequently—and personal recollection, using terminology that the self-help-literate will recognize but that newcomers may not. Overall, however, Limmer’s text, which includes her own shadow experiences and poems, is easy to follow—casual, personal and honest. Readers currently suffering from physical or mental difficulties may take comfort from the book’s alternative treatment methods.

An interesting, if not entirely convincing, argument about the relationship between the mind and body.

Pub Date: April 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1452594385

Page Count: 274

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2014

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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