Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
Women are wonderful and peculiar creatures. Despite unprecedented opportunities in all spheres of daily living, women are becoming increasingly unhappy, less satisfied, and less fulfilled in their lives. We got lost on the path to “having it all” when we believed that the only way to do so was to be perfectly balanced and accomplished in all areas: wife, mother, career, civic, and social. Because of this distorted belief, women have experienced unnecessary feelings of failure, self-doubt, and shame. When presented with an assessment of strengths and weaknesses, most women will immediately look to remediate their weakness instead of looking to use their strengths to their advantage. While this approach may be the proper path to becoming “balanced”, it is unlikely to lead to happiness or contentment. The answer might be found in becoming strategically unbalanced; that is, by shifting our lives more heavily to our areas of strength.
In his book, Find Your Strongest Life, Mr. Buckingham provides a different model for “having it all” (defined as “drawing enough strength from life to feel fulfilled, loved, successful, and in control) then provides a set of different “Strength” based tactics to accomplish this. He utilizes an online strength assessment to help determine “the role you were born to play.” (www.stronglifetest.com) Overall, this book is very accessible, addresses numerous real-life situations faced by today’s women, and provides workable solutions and suggestions for all. The shift in focus from “Balance” to “Fullness” by focusing on “capturing moments that bring strength” feels both intuitive and empowering. This book will be beneficial for all women who are stuck in the search for “elusive perfection” amid the bounty of choices available to us.
What areas of your life make you feel strong? What could you do to capitalize more fully on your strengths?
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay
First line: “Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back.”
I don’t doubt that metaphysics is real. It’s not about religion or even spirituality, though you could easily connect all the dots if you so wish. Hay’s philosophy espouses letting go of the past, loving ourselves, daily affirmations and other exercises to heal your life from the inside out. Including dis-eases. For those who believe in the mind/body/spirit connection, this will make sense, even if you may not feel comfortable at first looking in the mirror and telling yourself how fabulous you are, even when you are in physical or emotional pain. It’s not about ego, but about acceptance and positive results from positive thinking. While I’m not sure “holding on to the garbage of your past” can cause anal fistula and hemorrhoids, letting go of the past, with a nice glop of Preparation H, couldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, as we age we let the good mood of our youth sour, and tend to complain about the aches and pains instead of embrace the joy of the every day. For that reason alone, the book is worth the read.
For: Healing your life through new thought patterns.-Malena Lott
Buy it at Amazon.
Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over by Cathy Alter
First line: “The noise was overwhelming.”
It’s a hard knock life for a single girl in her late thirties. Alter decided to do something about it, and found advice not on a therapist’s couch, but screaming out from the cover of magazines. How to Get A Man and Keep Him, How to Be Thin, How to Get the Room of Your Dreams. What are magazines, really, but calling cards for a better, glossier life? She pledged to take the advice of a set of magazines, Glamour, Real Simple, In Style, O the Oprah Magazine, among others, and do whatever the mags told her within a given monthly goal, including better health, adventure, sex and so on. Not only is the premise catchy, but Alter delivers on witty, well-written prose that doesn’t pull any punches. In real life she may suffer from a bad case of TMI, but in the pages of a book about magazines, we’d expect no less than some scandalous dirt on her life.
For: Self-help and magazine junkies who’ve wondered if you can really improve your life for the cost of a subscription. – Malena Lott
Buy it at Amazon.
the Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life by Kathy L. Patrick
First line: “If you saw me today in my full Pulpwood Queens Book Club regalia featuring hot pink, leopard skin, and a diamond tiara, you might not immediately think of me as a bookseller.”
With the average American reading one book a year, I have to admit I like the idea of the author’s ingenious salon/hairdresser concept, Beauty and the Book. And I’d much rather hear about a good book while trapped in a salon chair than the hairdresser’s love life. I’m probably not the only one. The book is just as inspired, part memoir, part self-help book, tossing such pearls of wisdom as “If life hands you a lemon, make a margarita.” Who can argue with that? What sets the book apart is Patrick’s love of books and her quick pick for any given situation. She has enough recommendations to fill your book club for the next ten years. As the first line indicates, she started her own book club spawning chapters all over the States. In fact, a little tiara-wearing, book-sharing is exactly what we need more of. Patrick’s personality is probably contagious, so no one in her company feels blue for long. Her book can offer the same remedy.
For: Spawning your own book club and a cheerier outlook on life. - Malena Lott
Buy it at Amazon.
More Notes from the Universe by Mike Dooley
First line: ”So-o-o-o-o-o-…How’s it going down on earth?”
Dooley-as-Universe (aka God) speaks to us in a playful, uplifting manner that, well, we might expect from a kind doting-dad sort of God figure. These mostly one-paragraph, one-pagers are little reminders about being who you are, loving yourself, not beating yourself up (or others) and reaching for the stars, because, according to the Universe, it’s yours for the taking. Dooley was featured in The Secret, and if you’ll remember the premise of that worldwide bestseller, it was basically, ask and you shall receive. Whether or not you believe in the “secret”, these humorous notes from beyond do wonders for the spirit. Most of them sound like messages my grandmother who raised me would have said. I think we all need more positive post-its, don’t you?
For: Feel good advice on days you do and you don’t really need that extra nudge. – Malena Lott
Buy it at Amazon.