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I read self-help books. A lot of them; I think my average is about one a week. But here’s the thing: I am not the typical reader Looking for Answers. Instead, I’m looking for bad grammar, faulty spelling, and an inability to stay on topic–i.e., I style-edit them. (How’s that for a What’s My Line? job?)

Most of them say the same things: Stop negative self-talk. Get in touch with your spirituality. You can be happier–here’s how. (Many of the suggestions are solid, but then, some Harvard professor did a lecture course and wrote a book about it, so we already know this stuff.) In fact, I’m waiting for the book entitled We Already Know This Stuff. (But maybe that’s the subtitle of this blog entry.)

Every once in a while I run into one that borders on the toxic, like the followers of gurus who are considered really sketchy, or who tout pish coming from organizations under the disapproving eye of people like QuackWatch. Sometimes it’s really hard to smush down my opinions on the material, but we’re professionals here at Nova Terra, and even the unintentionally hilarious bits go no further than my kids. But none so far have been written by haters, although there’s some unconscious naivete now and again that I squash like a bug. (It’s the 21st century–for the love of Mike, don’t have your bad guys dressed in black and your good guys in white! *facepalm*)

But most of it is a cheerful treacle of love, joy, and unconditional good stuff, and you know what? It kinda works, in that I am more conscious of the good things in my own life. I’m not so sure it’s because of the soundness of the philosophies in the texts; rather I think it’s because I’m spending time with upbeat people. You know, sorta like how you get on a bus full of Jesus freaks headed cross-country and somewhere around Idaho you get drawn into a surly chorus of Kumbaya. And then they let you play with the tambourine, and you teach them a little bit about Neo-paganism or secular humanism, and you all get off the bus giggling and hugging.

Somewhere around here I have a couple of crystals and two Tarot decks, and I think my daughter has some essential oil. Maybe I should get it all together and play and then journal, especially since I’m at T-3 days for the surgery, and I have some sort of staph which already requires this purification ritual of putting stuff up my nose and showering with surgical scrub. Some silk scarves and candles and chanting with the Buddhist rosary might make it all more . . . fun. And fun, mah brethren and sistren, is what this vale of tears is all about.

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