"The Art of Being a Healing Presence: A Guide for those in Caring Relationships" is inspirational, practical and useful. With simple but profound wisdom this short book reminds us that healing begins within. An important theme throughout the book is that healing of both body and spirit is an art, not a science. Like all the arts, healing oneself and others requires self-mastery: that ability to still the noise of the mind so that the soul's sacred whispers can be heard.
Using easy-to-read language, inspiring quotes, short chapters broken down into quick paragraphs, and ending with a summary of the steps necessary to be a healing presence, this book is essential reading for anyone who is in a caring position, whether a professional carer, or home-carer for a loved one.
"The Art of BEing a Healing Presence" is a book that "practices what it preaches" - by the time I finished reading it, I was filled with the sense of calm and purpose that can often be stripped from us in the course of our stressful days and too-busy lives.
[A Note: I've marked this with a spoiler because at times it refers to things which happen quite far along in the book, but any actual spoilers and specifics have been put in tags].
I have a particular pet hate about books: I really hate misleading blurbs.
I hate blurbs which make really good literary books sound like chick-lit due to the author being female; it often means great books end up with a lot of negative reviews. See the Goodreads page of Joanna Kavenna's Inglorious for a good example. It won the Orange Award for New Writers but one edition had a fucking ceramic dog figurine on the front.
I also hate blurbs which tell you what happens in the book more than 15-20% of the way through.
The blurb for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving tells us that Benjamin Benjamin and his charge Trevor, a 19 year-old with MD, travel across America to see Trev's dad.
They set off at around 47%.
Happily, the preceding hundred or so pages are spent showing us what kind of person our narrator is while very, very slowly trying to build up tension about the exact circumstances in which his kids died. Unfortunately, he's a casual misogynist who needs to spend some time googling Schroedinger's Rapist. If it made a difference to the story in some way, great, no problem, but I didn't feel it did. If it had felt deliberate, again, great, no problem, but this didn't.
At one point I was ready to put it down unfinished: Ben stalks a woman he went on a date with (he was supposed to go out and get laid - the assumption is she's fine with that) to her place of work and then mentally calls her a bitch because she - having previously signalled her disinterest in him - arranges for a colleague to serve him.
But, people like this exist. Lots of them. And having one exist in fiction is not a bad thing any more than having serial killers and paedophiles is, it's just not what I want to read. The bad thing was that after those first hundred pages *poof*, he's no longer like that. And maybe you could argue this was his character arc, that he was redeemed by the decision to take Trev to visit his dad and by the hours spent in a car with the Spiritually Noble White Trash Girl - (c)The Ghost Of Charles Dickens - but actually what happens is that they spend some time in a car together and he isn't the jerk he previously was. Maybe she farts sedatives.