February 2016 By T A Balasubramanian Honour Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving, Patricia Spadaro, Jaico Books, INR 250; 230 pages Attention is energy. Whenever you place your attention on another person or thing, you are creating a flow of energy between the two of you. It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are loving, or filled with irritation and anger. In either case, you are creating an energy bond that is fed by your attention.” This concise, well-structured book of self-management tips from the heart by award-winning author, Patricia Sparado, is essentially about the power of focussed attention and the recognition and redirection of your emotional energies to create a balanced and fulfilled life for yourself and for others. She expresses the core of this balancing act as a means to honour oneself through the “inner art of giving and receiving.” However, Sparado makes it abundantly clear that “honouring yourself” is not about pampering yourself or selfishly rejecting those who most need you. “By honouring yourself, you are respecting, appreciating, and giving birth to your best self so you can give creatively—and abundantly—in ways that honour others.” Across 15 chapters under four broad sections, Sporado draws upon wisdom from Eastern and Western cultural and spiritual traditions to guide us through many typical paradoxes that pop up in the form of stressful or beguiling situations in modern life. In particular, she directs our attention to the inherent tension of balancing our own needs with the demands made on us by others. The chapters are presented as explorations of commonly held myths that are popped and turned into surprising “magic” ideas: for example, in the chapter on “What and when do we give?” the myth “Special occasions are the time for gift-giving” becomes a magical idea: “Giving an unexpected gift works magic. It opens the heart of those who receive my gifts, and it opens my heart.” In the process of exploring the book, you may identify with many of these myths, and following Sporado’s advice, peppered with illustrative anecdotes and stories, perhaps see how they have been restricting and holding you back from enjoying life to the fullest. The “magic,” according to Sporado, comes when you become tuned to the inner dynamics behind giving and receiving with your heart rather than your head.
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