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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Journey From Head to Heart Just Not My Cup of Tea

Do you ever feel as if you're not living the life you're meant to be living? Do you feel as if outside stressors are shoving you in a direction you don't want go? If so, you may want to check out Nancy Oelklaus' new book, Journey from Head to Heart: Living and Working Authentically. Using neuroscience mingled with scriptures, she shows readers how to free themselves from disparate voices and listen to their inner Voice. Adherence to the Voice (intuition, the Holy Ghost, the soul, whatever you want to call it) ensures that individuals live their most authentic lives.

If it sounds confusing, it is a little. As I read, I found myself wondering if I was living an authentic life or not. I was hoping for a quiz I could take that would answer this question, but all I found were confusing graphs showing The Energy Analysis, which didn't make any sense to me. Figuring I could probably stand to live more authentically anyway, I tried to figure out how to do it. Oelklaus gives some guidelines: rid yourself of pain through forgiveness; be still and open yourself to whisperings from the Voice; focus on making choices for yourself, not just to please other people; and send out good vibes (or mirror neurons). What she doesn't give is a specific plan, with concrete steps. She does provide several interesting tools, some of which I liked (the idea of The Circle, with desired traits inside and undesirables outside), others of which were way too corny (talking to a childhood photo of yourself or writing yourself love letters).

I didn't find a lot of new information in Oelklaus' book, but I did like her idea of cultivating stillness in your life. Like the author, I think we are all so overstimulated by tv, Internet, music, video games, etc. that we never really stop to listen to our inner voices. She says, "if people could just get still, something inside their brains would tell them what to do next" (19).
Overall, this was a difficult read for me. It was so dense that I found myself skipping through sections to get to the "good stuff." There were some valuable insights, but I found most of her techniques to be too vague for me. I guess I was hoping for someway to discern whether or not I was living as authentically as I could, and then a plan to show me the way to more authentic living. Perhaps I am supposed to be finding those answers from the Voice. Or perhaps I'm just so tired that I missed the point completely.

Journey from Head to Heart received glowing reviews on Amazon, so it's definitely worth checking out. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Grade: C

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan:

    I think I'm with you on the concept of authentic. Since all these methods hinge on the original 2500 year old Buddhist methods, I think having a text on Buddhist meditation might help decipher the newer varieties. Of course there are too many of those today as well.

    Cultivating stillness, or calm, is a good part of transcending the trivial issues and identifying the important. Then a touch of Vipassana to recognize that all our fretting (and inner voices) are triggered by fabrications of the mind.

    These are all important disciplines that lead us to fuller lives, which is why there must be a million of them written over the ages. I think
    your review will help some readers decide whether this is one for them.

    Christopher Hoare.


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