Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Helping Me Help Myself: Conclusion

Thanks to all who have been reading Helping Me Help Myself. This month hasn't focused much on the ten gurus whose teachings Beth Lisick mined during her year of self-exploration -- Jack Canfield, Stephen Covey, John Gray, Richard Simmons, Julie Morgenstern, Thomas Phelan, Julia Cameron, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, and Sylvia Browne. (Brooklyn Book Talk did see our heaviest discussion during the month we spent on Browne's Phenomenon.) Rather, I wanted to consider -- as Lisick did in her book -- why we feel the need to look to experts to improve upon ourselves, and what it means that we in the U.S. usually do this as a solitary pursuit.

On a personal note (to conclude discussion of this very personal book), a close friend has told me that a point made in one of this month's posts helped him reach a major decision, to seriously look for other work so that he can leave the job (in a detested field) he's had for a dozen years.

While reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, Lisick considers the coddling of the creative life and observes: "This seems like a linchpin of why so many people get sucked into self-help and empowerment programs. They can't trust that what they're doing is the 'right' way to be doing it" (p. 199). Here's to learning to trust ourselves, however we may arrive at that state.

Our next topic will be "Banned Books Across Cultures." This is the first time we'll be using a more thematic approach to a discussion, rather than one focused on a particular title. Please join in!

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