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HOW TO BE ALIVE: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps The World ~Colin Beavan – Author of No Impact Man

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

“Colin’s work is about asking us to think about what makes us truly happy and what’s really important in our lives.” – Arianna Huffington

I was expecting a self-help book when I agreed to review HOW TO BE ALIVE for TLC Book Tours.  And yes, it is a self-help book and also one, which challenges the reader to know that as you help yourself you will also help others – you can change the world with one small step and repeat one small step strategies.  The author says: “That’s what this book is about – the quest for a joyous and meaningful life while living in a frightening, confusing world that needs our help.”

It is good to start this kind of living journey by knowing who you are and what is your life purpose.  The book is also a beginning workbook to assess those parts of your life and how they manifest.  Beavan also offers a free workbook one can download off his website – no lie, this is good stuff found here.  You probably will not be abandoning your cubicle after the first chapter but rather you will be writing down on paper the lists of happy moment in your life and remembering just how fabulous they felt.  How good you felt in various situations and experiences, which assist in your definition of self and how you could live a values driven life.

Early on in my life I embraced Voluntary Simplicity and a Green Lifestyle.  Our family uses bicycles and lived with only one car.  We walked the 50 minutes to school with the children and also to tennis lessons and soccer.  We grew lots of our food, shopped the farmer’s market and the free-trade store.  We worked at the food coop and did very little shopping. Our home had solar panels, and nothing toxic in the building materials.   I learned a great deal from HOW TO BE ALIVE even though I left the traditional work role early on and embraced alternative work early in life.   Actually, we live in a community that has a giant alternative life-style membership; lots of green living folks, and I still found more to learn and discuss from reading and working with this book.   Beavan also opened up my thinking about alternative folks in New York City and even in Texas – yes!  They do indeed exist.

Right in the middle of the book I discovered a quote from Kim Woodbridge, who is a blogging/Facebook friend from Philadelphia!   Delightful!

“Lifequester = Someone who tries to under stand her True Nature and uses that understanding to make a better life for herself and others.” (author)

There are lots of quotes from Religious leaders, political leaders, and famous souls and the writing is gently informative laced with great stories and examples.  There are good references and referrals to other projects and individual’s work.  I could have spent a month on this book alone; what a dynamic way to start the New Year without making resolutions and feeling better about one’s self with each section perused.  I would highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if one wishes to find more happiness and even more happiness for the whole world.  It will resonant and activate lots of tiny steps to leave the world a better place for all.

Colin Beavan
Colin Beavan Facebook

From the book, About the Author:
Writer and social change activist COLIN BEAVAN attracted international attention for his yearlong lifestyle-redesign project and the wildly popular book, No Impact Man, and the Sundance-selected documentary film that it inspired.  He has appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, The Montel Williams Show and NPR, and his story has been featured in news outlets from Time Magazine to the New York Times.  A sought after speaker, he also consults with businesses on improving eco-friendly and human-centered practices.  He is the founder of the No Impact Project and a dharma teacher in Kwan Um School of Zen.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is the book where self-help turns into helping the world – and then turns back into helping yourself find a better life. Fascinating and timely!” –Bill McKibben

Related:
Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition
Eat To Live
The Pocket Guide To Manifesting
Code To Joy

FREEDOM FROM GUILT AND BLAME ~Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Freedom from Guilt and Blame is a small book of only 46 pages, and it is a valuable tool to have on your shelf or reader.  Lots of gems are found in this self-help text and they are well explained and defined.

If I were still working as a counselor, I would have a number of copies of this book to share with clients and students.    Lancer, a lawyer turned Family Therapist has a way with words that is helpful and easy to understand.  Her definitions of guilt, blame, shame, anger and self-esteem are worth the price of ownership.  Then she takes her precise definitions and uses anecdotal evidence to show their outcome and manifestations.   One does not need to guess how guilt plays out in their own relationships and actions because of her precise explanations.

The definitions and examples are accompanied by exercises that allow the reader to fully participate in their own understanding and in changing behaviors that are not leading to healthy outcomes.   The exercises on self-forgiveness are most helpful in removing sticking points and letting go.

When I was working with teens, I would have shared copies of this book also.  I found it very valuable to give young people the facts and the coping skills to use those facts to their advantage as they grew.  Such as, most teens will experience depression as they learn deeper emotions.  They do not understand that everyone needs to learn to deal with depression and learn skills for changing those emotions and making them useful.  I would teach a session on depression with young people and then we would recognize and learn new mechanisms for behaviors and develop resilience.

Young people would learn and understand FREEDOM FROM GUILT AND BLAME; would find it useful to have on their shelf for future reference when they were caught in an emotional loop of behaviors.  When people of all ages know and understand they can make different choices.

A very helpful book to read, reference and keep handy.  Good ideas and exercises for starting a successful New Year and making changes in one’s life and behaviors.

From the book:

This is the second book I have reviewed from Darlene Lancer. “Darlene Lancer is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has helped individuals and couples improve their lives, their self-esteem, and relationships for over 27 years.  She maintains a private practice and coaches internationally.  She is an expert in the area of codependency, addiction, and relationships.  Ms. Lancer is a quoted authority and sought after speaker and lecturer at colleges, universities, and on radio.  One can read many of her articles at http://whatiscodependency.com or follow her work on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CodependencyRecover .”

Related:
Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You
If You Leave Me Can I Come With You?

A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET: Inspiration and Encouragement ~ Mudhulika Sikka

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Purchase this book and tuck it into the purse of the next person you meet who has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  You will not regret this, I promise you!

If I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer I would purchase this book and download it to my phone e-reader so that I could carry it with me through all the days of my healing and recovery.   When I did have Ovarian Cancer, I did not have an e-reader, but I carried a Book of Days with me everywhere I went and read and re-read to address the issues, to drive my healing work and to write in my journal.   A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET is specifically for BC patients.

Madhulika Sikka was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when she was producing a segment for NPR’s Morning Edition and her team had just interviewed President Obama.  When the diagnosis call arrived, she did not go directly to the Internet instead she told the two science writers in her office and they took on an advocacy role for her.

A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET reminds me that when one is seriously ill, one needs an advocate, who will listen and help interpret and assist in the healing / recovery with you – no exceptions to this rule.

On the cover Cokie Roberts says:

“This useful and often amusing little book should be the first present your give someone who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Its practicality extends from sound advice (‘drugs are your friends’) to the inclusion of pages for notes at the end.  By presenting her own experience in a wry and matter-of-fact manner, Madhulika Sikka removes taboos in talking about sex or looks or the desire on some days to just quit soldiering on through the whole deal.  It won’t make having breast cancer easier, but it will make the dread disease and its treatments less mysterious.  That’s a gift indeed.”   (Roberts – Journalist and author of WE ARE OUR MOTHER”S DAUGHTERS)

Madhulika Sikka is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. She has worked at NPR News and ABC News, among other outlets.

Madhulika Sikka Twitter

TLC BOOK TOURS  sent me a copy for review of A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET and I want to share this gem with all my readers.

Related:
When Women Were Birds 
Wild 
My Stroke of Insight
Your Medical Mind

MY THINNING YEARS: Starving the Gay Within ~Jon Derek Croteau

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

“From the time I was a child in such an unsafe household, I’d been putting on layers of emotional fat, thickening myself for years to protect myself from the inevitable truth.  I must have been preparing myself for the ultimate rejection I assumed would come from my father, and eventually, everyone else.” (from page 210 of Advanced Copy Uncorrected Proofs)


MY THINNING YEARS is another self-help/recovery book from Hazelden Publishing.  It is a well written biography of a young man having to deal with identity issues in a verbally and often physically abusive household.  The author’s father only wanted certainly things for his three children and then they could not do them “right”.   His father was determined to destroy any “sissy” tendencies in his youngest son and determined that he was going to be a sports star in school – especially in baseball.   Croteau was a sport’s star but only in tennis.  His mother was very supportive and tried to protect her children managing her anger by chain smoking.

Food was a big issue along with perfect grades and achievements.  For the author, this translated into anxiety, anorexia, obsessive behaviors, perfectionism, and nearly suicide.  Many of his friends were females and neighbors who allowed Croteau access to their homes when his father rampaged.   Many of these friends stuck by him all of his life and protected him at school.  He loved to sing but was only allowed to be in theater productions required at school.

Croteau’s mother got him counseling help as best as she could provide by cashing checks at the grocery store and having a teacher provide the transportation so husband/father would not know.   His brother and sister had a hard time too, but not as tough as Jon because they were great at sports and not as sensitive.  Appearance was important and not having any “faggy” behaviors.

This is a well written account of how difficult it was in the 80s and 90s to find an identity and become self-affirming.  At one point in my career I was working with a group of teens as a counselor – all had eating issues, identity issues and food issues.  4 of the males in the group were anorexic and I wished I had had a copy of this book to share with them all; they were not alone it was a struggle for many.

I could identify with Croteau’s pathway too, because my home was run by a quiet perfectionist who used criticism as a tool.   My siblings were not safe or protective we were all in competition for attention and sometimes food.  Many, many people could relate to this recovery process and issues of self-affirmation.  It is good story telling.

“Jon Derek Croteau, Ed.D. is vice president at a leadership consultancy for higher education and health care clients across the globe. He is the author of three academic books on staff development and leadership as well as numerous articles for journals and periodicals, and he is a member of the speaker’s bureau of the National Eating Disorders Association.  Jon legally married his partner, Justin Croteau, in 2007 and currently resides in Vermont”

TLC Online Book Tours   and Hazelden sent me a copy of this book for review. MY THINNING YEARS is a very good read and resource.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Related
Conquering Shame and Co-Dependency 
Mind Without a Home 
Shadows In The Sun
The Isolation Door