Monday, October 04, 2010

Non-Fiction: Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh

The entire philosophy behind Four Word Self Help (Skirt) is summed up in a Lin Yutang quote at the beginning of the introduction: “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” On the path to writing this book, author Patti Digh (Life Is A Verb, 37days) gave up cream and sugar, clothing with patterns and toxic people.
Sure... life is complex -- but will complex solutions help? No. Will looking outside ourselves for answers help? No. Will looking to gurus help? No. But looking inside will.

And if that sounds oversimplistic, well... it really kind of is yet that’s part of the book’s charm.

“Sit in the sunshine.”

“Create a safe space.”

“Always assume positive intent.”

“Speak up for someone.”

And so on, on almost any topic you can imagine. Digh’s four word self help sayings are broken up by faintly related essays -- well-crafted and thoughtfully placed -- and the book is illustrated by artwork sent to her by the readers of her blog, 37days. The resulting book is lightweight -- physically and spiritually -- but also faintly reassuring. So “fill up your tank” and “stop all your whining,” and live simply and intentionally with Digh’s considered help. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.



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