A concise, clear, and helpful workbook.

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THE HEART OF THE MATTER

A WORKBOOK AND GUIDE TO FINDING YOUR WAY BACK TO SELF-LOVE

In this self-help guide, McClung (How Learning to Say Goodbye Taught Me How to Live, 2015) encourages readers to do “inner work” through meditation in order to facilitate spiritual healing.

This short, intimate, and interactive guide aims to help the reader explore, through exercises, their own relationship with the “Higher Self.” The author explains that the Higher Self is always inside us, and it’s always capable of repairing the painful and repressed areas of one’s soul. An important first step, she says, is to develop a “safe space” in which to explore and access “self-love.” McClung provides techniques to expand one’s imagination to create a permanent haven for one’s inner work. She cautions, however, that although one may release pain and negative feelings through meditation, one’s practice shouldn’t end there: it’s important, she says, to finish meditation by replacing pain with love. At the end of each chapter, the author presents “Questions to Investigate” that will assist readers in finding other areas that may require healing. Readers are also encouraged to confront their own conflicts and hesitancies about meditation and other core concepts (“Do you believe everyone has a Higher Self?”). Such questions will help readers look inwardly instead of outwardly for sources of confidence, love, healing, and strength. McClung also urges readers to analyze their current relationships and investigate boundaries that keep them from accessing a Higher Self. For example, one question asks, “Who would you piss off by taking back your power and looking inward to your Higher Self instead of outward for love and wisdom?” These types of queries encourage an honest exploration of dependencies and relationship dynamics. The book also contains extensive exercises for identifying negative emotions, encouraging readers to honor such feelings rather than running from them. Overall, this guide promises an enriching, enlightening self-discovery process.

A concise, clear, and helpful workbook.

Pub Date: March 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7511-5

Page Count: 338

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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