Need something to read this summer?

Most avid readers usually carry around several books with them at any given time -- something light, possibly something related to work and possibly a book of self-help. I'm getting so I dislike the term self-help when coupled with a book. People look strangely at you when you say you're reading a book on self- help. ''Oh, really'' they say ending the conversation. You can almost see the wheels turning, what's the matter with her they're thinking?

I have to confess I did that very thing not too long ago. I'd been with a group of friends at a social gathering when someone I didn't know introduced himself and struck up a conversation. It quickly became apparent this person was very lonely. I did my best to lend a sympathetic ear, but the more we talked the worse it became. When he said he was reading a particular self help book I decided that explained the quirky nature of the conversation. Discussing a book may be a good way to open up, but to open up and dump on the other person? Everything any self- respecting self-help book tells us not to do.

Maybe someone can come up with a better name or classification for these books that tell us what to do with our sometimes broken lives. Garbage men have become waste management specialists, housekeepers have become environmental management specialists and technicians, and the telephone sales people have become telemarketers. Why not something with a little less of the 70's sound to it for self help material? Got any ideas?

Helping others help themselves is what I do for a living whether it's a chronic illness, a crisis, depression or just job stress, so I spend a certain amount of time perusing self-help material. There are lots of good self-help books out there. If the advise feels wrong for you, it probably is. Remember when someone advises you to do something that feels and sounds ridiculous, and you take that advice you're probably going to feel and sound ridiculous.

Here are some of my favorites and some new ones that are practical and down to earth. They make light reading for the beach, the plane, the train or anywhere else.

Seeds Of Light by Elizabeth K Stratton MS. Outlines a program of meditations to heal the body, heart and soul as well as stimulate healing energy in others.

The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. This book demonstrates ways to restore your inner ecology with changes in eating and cleansing the body.

Listening To Your Hormones by Gillian Ford. This book illustrates the pervasive role hormones play in women's lives and can help you identify hormonal fluctuations and unlock the mysteries of many maladies.

8 Weeks To Optimal Health by Andrew Wiel MD. A step by step program to clean up your diet and enjoy better health in 8 weeks. It may take some of you longer than 8 weeks. (It always takes me longer than the allotted time, my body is a slow learner or a slow to forget, one of the two.)

Natural Woman, Natural Menopause by Marcus Laux, ND and Christine Conrad. The whole truth about natural, safe ways of dealing with menopause.

The so-called Age of Aquarius with the philosophy of immediate self-disclosure to those you wish to become close to is finally passing. It didn't work then and it doesn't work now. When company comes, put them on the shelf and talk about something a little lighter!

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website May 8, 2002

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