Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, by Kris Carr (Skirt! Books, 2007) $17.95
Wearing her cowboy boots through everyday of the scans, biopsies and batteries of test and re-tests, Kris Carr proves that she is indeed just the gal to give cancer a makeover. Part scrap book, part journal and bursting with color and energy, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips guides you through "Cancer University" thirtysomething style. With the intimacy of a chat with your best friend and the liveliness to perk up even the most depressed or scared, Carr tells the story of how she was diagnosed with incurable cancer (Happy Valentines Day!), quit her job, got really healthy, and ended up getting hitched! Peppered with "facts, hints, hell-yeahs, how-tos, and know-hows" she warns not to go Googling if you are a newbie to cancer – instead, avoid the overwhelm by having a friend do the research and pass along only the bits you really need to know. Similarly, follow in the wisdom of those who have gone before by preparing yourself for the barrage of questions from well-meaning friends and family that focus more on mortality than recovery. Recommending "Cancer Babe Play Dates" to experience your own vibrancy in the faces of others with cancer, and recruiting a "Cancer Pal" to accompany you to doctor visits (both for support and as a second pair of ears for all that medical speak), Carr offers a glimpse into how to become a true "survivor," whether you have been "stamped with an expiration date" or know someone who has. Covering everything from Healthy Eating 101 (i.e., the miracle of wheatgrass and coconut juice), doctor shopping and insurance, to how to get back into the dating game once your "sex drive gets slammed into reverse" by the big C (lacy bras and hot baths with candles work wonders), Carr keeps you laughing even when you would prefer to be crying.

Extreme Spirituality: Radical Approaches to Awakening, by Tolly Burkan (Council Oak Books, 2001) $14.95
Fire walking, skydiving, fasting and breaking bricks with your bare hands offer those bold enough to try them the opportunity to intimately come to know your relationship to fear ("false evidence appearing real") and through releasing it, find Grace. Practicing spiritual growth as an extreme sport gives you direct experience of how your mind works to create self-imposed limits, and how easy it is to overcome these limits by allowing the right attitude to release your personal power and dramatically transform the way you experience life. The high drama of these activities simply makes the lessons more memorable and, therefore, easier to call upon during frustrating or painful moments. If fire walking seems to be a bit of a leap for you, Tolly Burkan, known as the father of the global fire walking movement, suggests trying to walk barefoot across your sun baked driveway. Or if you would prefer to face your fears in bite-sized pieces, try performing your least favorite chore (like washing the dishes or cleaning the cat litter) and quietly observe your thoughts as you complete the task. These thoughts are the ones that prevent you from maintaining happiness in any situation. Revealing his own struggles working with and eventually embracing these radical activities that utilize the unconventional to kick your awakening into hyperdrive, Burkan offers insight into the utilization of these techniques and how their lessons expand your ability to live your spirituality.

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Alec Franklor owns and operates RetreatFinder.com, an online directory of spiritual and healing retreats. She can be reached at books@retreatfinder.com. Copyright © 2006 Alec Franklor. All rights reserved

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