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The Tools - This Book Really Can Change Your Life!
Finally, a "Self Help" book that actually contains actual steps to changing the way you think and act!
I've never been one for self help books, but I have read a lot of books on spiritual development and spent the past few years working on my state of awareness. There is a lot of stuff out there on why we need to change to live a more peaceful, loving, productive life, free from fear, and lots of stuff about doing it, but this book is different because it doesn't just discuss how to move forward through our fears and grievances, and into a state of peace and love where we can be our true selves and actually become who we are meant to be. It actually provides you with action steps - the "tools" of the title - to achieve this. It helps you to move forward, and take action towards achieving the life you want, by removing the blockages you have unconsciously created to prevent this happening. Simple steps, although how difficult they are to do, of course, depends on how willing you are to change.
The book was the brainchild of Phil Stutz, a psychiatrist who believed that therapy focused too much on the causes of clients' problems, and went on to design these techniques, which he has presented in this book with the aid of psychotherapist Barry Michels. They focus on four main problems, which are addressed with four key tools to transform the issues, along with a fifth tool to keep you working on the first four tools. And believe me, it is all too easy to slip back into old habits when you think everything is going great, so that fifth tool is essential for making a change for good.
The tools they discuss are:
1. Reversal of Desire - to deal with pain avoidance, that prevents us from achieving our full potential, moving forward, getting on with our goals and so on. In other words, it teaches you to move through the pain and procrastination to get to where you want to be.
2. Active Love - to deal with the notion that you should be treated fairly by others, and how to cope when others make you angry. In teaches you to let go of the need to get angry or want revenge, and therefore not get lost or hung up on issues that occur.
3. Inner Authority - this one takes the concept of the Jungian shadow and deals with the insecurity we all have inside us, that prevents us from expressing ourselves fully, or achieving our full potential. It teaches us not just to face our shadow, but accept and embrace it, which is key.
4. The Grateful Flow - this deals with negative thinking, both towards others and ourselves. It also teaches us to overcome the notion that thinking negatively will produce negative results.
5. Jeopardy - this final tool teaches us to truly change our lives, by ensuring that we continue to practice the Tools even when we think we don't need them anymore.
As I mentioned before, I have read lots of books on spiritual and personal development, and I have gone through lots of concepts and healing. I have done shadow work, meditation, awareness training and much more. But this book is different, It cuts through the fluff, doesn't wrap everything up in rainbows, and gets to the point. At times, it is blunt, but in a good way. I love the humour, the bluntness, the unique and quirky way in which each tool helps achieve something so complex, in such a simple way.
I have done the exercises for each of the Tools, and found the results to be so profound that I typed out the key points to look at during my morning meditation and "me time" in order to focus on the needed "tool" for the day ahead. I'm still working on my procrastination issues, which needs some more work on the reversal of desire, but in other areas, I have blossomed. If you want a spiritually based but accessible to all book that cuts to the chase and really will make a difference right away, then you will love this book.