Choosing New Ways Forward Book 2: How Do I Get to Be Me?
by Elizabeth Jo
HenschelHAUS Publishing

"To create new ways forward, new commitments are necessary. This means putting Survival-based fear aside."

In this second book of the author's Choosing New Ways Forward series, Jo discusses how to use techniques presented in the work to realize one’s potential by tapping into “…new practices to support living as who we really are.” Her book offers a preamble, an author’s note, and a “Glossary of Concepts” which help the reader to grasp the information presented. It is an invitation to dig deep into the psyche and connect with the inner core of one’s personality, thus achieving an understanding of how one relates to the world, friends, acquaintances, and oneself.

The author uses anecdotes, personal experiences, and leading questions that occur at the end of each chapter with enough space for personal answers. Jo’s work centers on the way in which one interacts with the world and oneself. It offers a new way to consider life by leading readers to discover how to change the way in which they respond to life situations without fear. “This fear can include feelings of abandonment, loss of control, an inability to provide self-care, not being seen and heard, not being honored, not being regarded as mattering, as well as feelings of being alone, isolated, and unable to provide what’s needed.” The author leads readers to develop ways of relating without fear in order to connect with their unique selves, offering plenty of useful resources, activities, and questions to lead the individual into a better understanding of how to change one’s paradigm of the world and fully become the person one is meant to be. In many ways, the book functions as an interesting conversation that offers a new way of addressing one’s environment to achieve a more purposeful life through connecting with one’s authentic self.

An endearing aspect of Jo’s work is its conversational tone which immediately draws readers in by putting them at ease through an imagined meeting. Using the seasons as a guide, the author begins the first chapter with the invitation, “Before we join the warmth of the crackling fire, I’d like to spend a moment together at the window.” These welcoming words are followed by a story from the author’s experience, which helps reinforce the lessons to be learned. It is a brilliant technique for establishing an intimate feel to the book and leads to a sense of mutual participation between the author and reader. That intimate relationship lasts throughout the reader’s travel through the seasons with the author and reinforces trust and understanding of the techniques and information presented in the book. Readers acquire a sense of Jo’s sincerity as personal stories and struggles are revealed throughout these seasonal “visits.”

Readers will discover a wonderful guide on how to regain equilibrium in their lives as they delve into the writings of the author, who asserts, “To live who we truly are, to realize our human capacity, means intimately and honestly admitting where we are currently living. In this process, we can become truly open with ourselves.” This work is a creative and unique guidebook to lead the reader into the discovery of this human capacity for change by opening a dialogue with oneself. Jo presents a beautifully written book that will not only change the way readers see themselves but also how they view their reactions to the world.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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