Friday, 7 May 2010

Review: Still 25 Inside

Know Thyself.

So says the inscription above the entrance to the Ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and it is also a fundamental teaching in many pagan religions, including Wicca.

It is taken to mean that the only way to be happy, fulfilled and to develop personally and spiritually is to know your own heart and be true to it.

It is also the basic principle behind Still 25 Inside: 8 steps to feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled - whatever your age, a new book by NLP trainer Lindsey Agness.

Publisher Rodale says of the book:

"Whatever happened to all those dreams you once had? You can remember a time when you thought anything was possible, but now you've reached the mid-point of your life and maybe it feels as if you've left it too late? Happily you're wrong, and in this book personal development expert Lindsey Agness shows you how you can make every phase of your life as good, or indeed better, than what's gone before.

"Whatever it is you desire, this book reveals how changing the way you think and act is the key to living the life you want. You will discover the eight secrets of happy, successful women, find out what makes you truly happy and learn how to implement lasting change. If you can't change your age, change your attitude!"
With my own 50th birthday approaching somewhat faster than I would like, and at least a few of my own childhood dreams having fallen by the wayside, I decided to give this book a read. However, when I started, I wasn't expecting to learn very much.

Indeed, the introduction and first chapter didn't teach me a great deal that I didn't know already, such as the importance of "knowing oneself" and a few basic goal-setting and project management skills.

I wasn't even sure that I fell into the category of middle-aged woman the book seemed to be aimed at - those who have spent years being a wife and mother or pursuing a career and then find themselves faced with an empty nest and a loveless marriage, redundancy or disillusionment. I'm not one of those who believes middle-aged women are over the hill; as a pagan and witch, I constantly meet high priestesses of mature years who are fantastic role models - beautiful, confident and an inspiration to those around them.

But, as I read further into Still 25 Inside, I was not only won over by what it was saying, I was very surprised to find that its teachings were quite compatible with magickal and psychological techniques used within the Craft.

Lindsey Agness puts forward the idea that our attitudes, or beliefs, can affect our reality. She says: "Our reality and the world that we live in can be redefined." The power of thought is the key: "It is you who is choosing your own thoughts and deciding between what is possible for you to achieve and what isn't." So, for example, if we want to be beautiful, we can become so by doing visualisation exercises in which we see ourselves as beautiful. That, to me, sounds not dissimilar to the way magick works.

The book covers eight "attitudes" that can help us redefine ourselves however we want. Each is covered by its own chapter:
  • I live my life on purpose

  • I create what I want

  • I know who I am

  • I am true to myself

  • I am good enough

  • I like myself

  • I take time for me

  • I am certain of my success
Each chapter explains what the attitude means and how it can help us, and also includes practical exercises to achieve the required result.

Before reading Still 25 Inside, I thought I knew myself quite well. Although I knew I had lost some of my youthful ideals, I still had hopes and dreams for the future and (usually) felt pretty confident about my abilities. The book has taught me I can do better than that.

With enough belief, it says, anything is possible - whatever your age. That was something my grandma (who was a Theosophist) used to tell me when I was just a daydreaming child, but it was something I needed reminding of.

However, I should perhaps point out that NLP - like magick - is not universally accepted as being worthwhile. It is a controversial system of psychotherapy, but it is popular as a life coaching or self-help technique.

I certainly intend to try out several of the exercises in the book, and simply reading it has made me feel more optimistic about life after 50.

Still 25 Inside: 8 steps to feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled - whatever your age is published by Rodale, an imprint of Pan Macmillan. It is due to hit bookshelves today. The RRP is £12.99, but you can order it from Amazon at a lower price.

Still 25 Inside: 8 steps to feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled - whatever your age

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