Cissy Brady-Rogers
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Archive for 'Book Review'

The helping professionals I train in self-care often have long-standing patterns of accommodating, people pleasing and over-extending themselves to the point of burnout. I equip them with skills and information and help them create personalized self-care plans to support optimal health.

But life-long relational dynamics frequently sabotage self-care efforts. We know what we want to do, make a short-lived success at it, but then get pulled off track and back into self-neglect.

Adam Grant’s book Give and Take: Why Helping others Drives our Success took my understanding of the costs and rewards of giving to a new level. His identification of three types of reciprocity styles–givers, matchers and takers–gave me a conceptual framework for thinking about how to work with myself and other helpers who are blessed and cursed with the “giver” style.

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

Takers strive to get as much as possible from others–it’s all about them!

– Matchers seek to give evenly with others–tit-for-tat!

– Givers contribute to others without expecting anything back!

Interestingly, givers are both the champs and chumps when it comes to professional success. When we make others better off at our own expense we end up at the bottom of the success ladder. “It appears that givers are just too caring, too trusting, and too willing to sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of others.” But when we learn what Grant calls the skill of “sincerity screening” we can create value for ourselves while maximizing opportunities to give to others.

Sincerity screening involves learning “to distinguish genuine givers from takers and fakers. Successful givers need to know who’s likely to manipulate them so that they can protect themselves.” To learn more about assessing motivations check out Adam’s presentation at Google.

Give and Take is full of research and examples of the many factors involved in assessing reciprocity styles. Illustrations from business, education, sports and health professions along with fascinating studies of corporate dynamics makes the book entertaining as well as information.

My reading in Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love this morning brought spiritual insight about how to give without burning out:

When you get exhausted, frustrated, over-whelmed or run down, your body is saying that you are doing things that are none of your business. God does not require of you what is beyond your ability, what leads you away from God, or what makes you depressed or sad.

I want to follow Jesus’ revolutionary call to “give to everyone who asks…”  I don’t know what Jesus would have said about giving to the takers and fakers. I suspect it’s related to what he said to the Scribes and Pharisees about the dangers of hypocrisy. It’s a matter of discernment that I’ll continue to ponder and pray over as I seek to give to those who ask as I do what is within my ability to do.

I give thanks in advance for the good that will come as I listen to the inner voice of love and deepen my understanding of how to identify the takers and fakers who aren’t operating from the same value system.

My mind-body mentor Joan Borysenko’s new book, The PlantPlus Diet Solution, is a compendium of relevant and accessible food science and health psychology. Full of practical tips and recipes it’s an exceptional resource in the self-help diet book genre. The personalized nutrition guidelines she presents aren’t for those who want a quick or easy solution to weight or health issues. But that is exactly what makes it a valuable resource for those seeking a sustainable, enjoyable and life-giving way to eat! Unlike most diet books, The PlantPlus Diet Solution doesn’t tell you what to eat, but gives you facts, guidelines and resources for listening to the wisdom of your own body and becoming your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

eat in alignment with your body

I’ve learned through twenty-five years of work with clients struggling with food and weight that, as Dr. Joan demonstrates through research and examples from her own personalized nutrition experiments, “there is no one-size-fits-all diet.” The key to finding the “right” combination of food for your body is through paying attention to the impact different foods have on your physical and mental health. Joan does an exquisite job providing simple tools that empower readers to become experts on their own unique biological blueprint for metabolism and optimal energy efficiency.

I especially appreciated her clear explanation about the role insulin efficiency plays in metabolism of carbohydrates–and some people’s remarkable capacity to store excess calories as fat. She identifies three types of bodies: 1.) insulin efficient people who can eat all the carbohydrates they want and never experience negative weight or health consequences; 2.) insulin resistant people whose bodies react negatively to diets high in carbohydrates; 3.) and the rest who fall somewhere in-between. Knowing where you fall on the continuum can be an important part of finding a way of eating that works best for your body.

Knowledge is power. Joan provides information to help readers make informed choices about nutrition as well as tools to increase self-knowledge. Best of all, she does so with authenticity and wisdom born from several years of “diet sleuthing” as she looked for solutions to her own nutrition related health challenges. Her personal examples, humor and lighthearted way of writing makes the science digestible for those of us who haven’t taken a hard science course since high school!

For Southern California locals, Joan will be in Pasadena presenting on her new book on October 25th at the I Can Do It! conference. I’ll be there and would love to see some of you there too.

I loved this book by Helen LaKelly Hunt when I first read it 10 years ago. I appreciated it even more the second time round after meeting the author and picking it up again a few weeks ago.

Book Review

As a psychotherapist specializing in treatment of eating and body related disturbances among women, I’m regularly reminded of the need for women of faith to reclaim the beauty and goodness of our bodies — something the feminist movement attempted to do in advocating for reproductive rights for women. But, our need for embodiment and for honoring our female bodies goes much deeper than freedom to choose how we control our bodies capacity to reproduce. Issues of body and soul must be addressed in unison. The church has historically neglected (and sometimes denigrated and demonized) the spiritual aspects of embodiment. And the feminist movement, while gaining great ground on other fronts, follow suit by neglecting the spiritual aspects of a woman’s right to control reproduction.

My work with eating disorder patients has taught me that control unmitigated by compassion and other spiritually resourced qualities typically leads to chaos and destruction. Freedom to choose how to respond to our reproductive capacities and  all other physical needs and capacities must be grounded in a solid center of knowing who we are, knowing our own values, listening deeply to our own lives, and taking full responsibility for the choices we make — qualities that reflect the life of the psyche (soul) and spirit. Sadly, I don’t see the culture, the feminist movement or the church doing enough to effectively equip women (or men) with the necessary skills for making wise choices with the reproductive rights we fought so hard to earn.

As LaKelly Hunt points out, the most recent wave of feminism left out issues of soul and spirit, especially those related to Christian faith. She does a beautiful service telling the stories of five early feminists whose faith fueled their advocacy for the rights of women and other disenfranchised members of our human family. Their stories reveal the journey every woman must take as we find our own place in the great story of freedom and justice for all.

Thoughtful questions for reflection on each chapter offer a wonderful resource for individual or group processing. I’m looking forward to gathering a few soul sisters to explore them together. If you’re interested, let me know.