...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Book Therapy

Books can be used for healing or harm. A good friend once told me to "stop reading" all the books on a particular subject, because doing so seemed to be bringing more confusion. Another time, a longtime colleague warned to not rely on books for psychotherapeutic purposes.

For those who are searching, books can be a great gift. There have been times when God was reaching out to me through the unlikely words of an unread, ignored book that was shelved long before. There were times of anxious waiting in which reading a captivating story seemed to lift me. As a healthy escape or respite, I remember how helpful this was during the long power outage of Ike, which was combined with the financial implosion of this past fall.

As different as book and talk therapy are, you can still choose to discern what rings true for you and what of it works or doesn't, whether it comes from the printed page or a person. Book therapy is not talk therapy; but it is definitely more economical and convenient.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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