October 19, 1998 12:00 PM

Excavating Your Authentic Self

by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Since her 1995 bestseller Simple Abundance—which spawned a personal “companion” journal, a Web site, a product line and a charitable organization—Sarah Ban Breathnach has solidified her position as the Martha Stewart of the self-help genre. Armed with her follow-up Something More, working women who “do too much and live too little” may continue their journey to joy. For others, however, this nine-stage archeological exploration of the self will be a slow dig.

The self-discovery rituals she recommends sound enticing but offer little to alleviate a burned-out mother’s time crunch. A woman who is “afraid of her passion,” suggests Ban Breathnach, should consider waking at 4 a.m. to watch the sunrise, savoring a pot of tea. She might light a scented candle while she works on her “discovery journal,” addressing queries like, “What colors make you smile?” Or, “An interesting thought: If you switch the a and c the in sacred, you get scared. How do you define your relationship to the scared?” (Warner, $20)

Bottom Line: Too-facile solutions to very real problems

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