Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite
Finding Time for Your Self: A Spiritual Survivor’s Workbook by Patty de Llosa contains fifty-two thought-provoking reflections on questions raised by daily life, which are followed by practical exercises that will help you stay inwardly alive and present to meet life’s many challenges. The author has taken 52 different topics to reflect upon, each topic being looked at from a different angle for 5 days (of a week perhaps), thus covering an entire year. The exact topic derived for reflecting on each day varies from the most esoteric to those quite earthly in nature, and is enough to satiate one, however rare the orientation.
The sublime thoughts contained in Finding Time for Your Self: A Spiritual Survivor’s Workbook by Patty de Llosa is enough to engage people. From the most versatile to those heavily restrained, or from the most progressive to the sad reactionary, this can serve a large group of people, however varied the intellectual disposition. Whether ‘The present moment is an interrogatory state’, or ‘Just as each day begins with new energy, each breath also represents a fresh cycle’, the invocations represented by each of these can keep the mind more or less completely engaged, without fear of going astray. The author deserves credit for identifying such topics that possess the quality of not getting answered easily. This is a good book to read, and more so for those fond of abstractions.
A Lifetime of Seeking in an Accessible Workbook
The title of this book is almost a pun, because the “yourself” that de Llosa is referring to is at once the colloquial “self” you are entirely too familiar with, and the true self within that we all know so little about. De Llosa navigates between these two “selves” in a disarming way; in one moment she speaks of her own human foibles with complete honesty and in another is speaking with quiet spiritual insight, as an ambassador of the larger spiritual world. The writing is equally accessible to the beginner and the seasoned spiritual seeker. I was tempted to give the book four stars because the tone sometimes seemed too “beginner-ish” for me, but then I realized that imagining oneself to be “seasoned” is not so advantageous. One gets stuck on the rung of one’s habitual view. De Llosa herself has navigated this by immersing herself in many streams, from Gurdjieff to Jung to Alexander to Lao Tzu, garnering practical wisdom from each. A lifetime of Work has gone into this “Workbook” with many gems appearing on its pages. Worth reading!
–J. Andrew Goodman on Amazon.
With a full life of work stretching out ahead of us, where do we start on that work of ourselves? With all the external attractions and distractions it is easy to put off for the future that which would be better done today. De Llosa sets out a plan. Broken into 52 weeks with daily tasks it is hard to imagine a clearer start to a way forward.
With weekly themes such as “How to be” and “Where am I” this book focuses in on real questions that need to be addressed. The five days/steps for each theme provides simple, if not easy, undertakings to support work in the now.
De Llosa draws from numerous traditions from the Budda to the Dali Lama to John Lenon and beyond. The diversity of thought in the book reflects her own very personal journey through life and invites readers to look at their own experiences with new clarity.
Patty’s had an interesting life: adventuresome, daring, high-achieving and incessantly searching for enlightenment. She has studied every very alluring wisdom path she has encountered: Alexander Technique, Gurdjieff, yoga, Tai Chi, etc. This book shares with you the toolkit all this has brought her.
She gives us 52 short chapters with titles like: “Being and Doing”, “Who Am I?”, “Dare to be Present”, and “Too Busy to Live?” In each she briefly presents a core idea, and then gives five short exercises that build upon each other for deepening the main insight.
The question arises: is it possible to gather the fruit without walking the orchard? Can I read and use Patty’s gleaned and distilled kernels of technique if I have not made a lifetime study along with others on the path? The answer lies with you, the reader. I certainly know that the parts I love the most are not those I’d never encountered before, but rather those I recognize from my own explorer’s kit bag.
Without a doubt, Finding Time for Yourself must have been and be of great value to Patty herself—for the process of distillation that produced it. I salute you, Girl, and admire your fearless curiosity and arduous journey, for a book is heavy toil. You should be proud indeed to have such an accomplishment to ornament your elder days.
–Ellen Bierhorst Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Alexander Technique Teacher
A Review by John Robert Colombo
I am in no position to assess the merits of the Webb monograph and in the same way I have no right to review Finding Time for Your Self, the latest publication of Patty de Llosa. (I cannot review it – but I can notice it – for the simple reason that in the acknowledgements section Patty generously thanks me for some editorial advice that I offered.)
Patty is a person who is well known and respected in Work circles. Louise Welch is her mother and her stepfather is Dr. William Welch who from 1984 to his death in 1999 served as the head of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York City. I had a nodding acquaintanceship with Mrs. Welch, when she visited Toronto, which she did many times over many years. In recent years, my wife Ruth and I have enjoyed the company of their talented daughter Patty in Toronto and New York City.
As well as being an author, Patty is a presenter and group leader and an editor of the periodical Parabola. Her first two books are The Practice of Presence, which describes five spiritual paths, and Taming Your Inner Tyrant, which leads the reader along a path to healing.
Her third book, just out, is titled Finding Time for Your Self, and it consists of fifty-two reflections and exercises “for busy people.” In point of fact, while there are fifty-two weekly sets of reflections, each set offers numerous exercises of a psychological nature. The publisher of Finding Time for Your Self is Sussex Academic Press and it has its own informative website.
The text is charming and insightful and the exercises will be useful to many readers. Indeed, Ruth was sitting in the waiting room of a medical clinic, reading an advance copy, when a fellow woman patient who was unknown to her came up to her, squinted at the lovely cover of the book, and said, “I must have that book! I need to find time for my self.”
Ruth had noted that the book’s title splits the word “yourself” into two words, and that the fellow patient automatically used two words to refer to “myself.” These ideas are infectious and contagious, even in a medical clinic! Indeed, the cover depicts a relaxing scene: a rustic stairway that invites the viewer into a woodsy forest. If I reviewed Patty’s book, I could be accused of having a “conflict of interest.” That is what the French call being “parti pris.” But I am free to review two other books that have appeared over the last twelve months. Because they were issued by smallerthan- small publishing operations, the media will likely overlook them and they will probably pass through the sieve of public awareness and leave no trace. That is unfortunate because the two books are genuine contributions to consciousness studies and should have much appeal in Work circles.