Story in 'Journey Back to Me' guides reader to true self

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This novella, the first written by SD Ferguson, is a quick and entertaining read. In the author's own words, this book is a "fictitious story that gift wraps lessons of how true happiness is a function of our thinking."

Written in a stream-of-consciousness style (the subtitle of this little gem is "Touring the Landscape of My Mind"), we "tour" the mind of Liza, a young woman who has been in a car accident and rendered unconscious.

The author takes us inside Liza's mind, which is at full throttle - her thoughts taking her to places she has never been, questioning her life's decisions, opinions and specific behaviors.

The story telling unfolds with equal parts of humor, sadness, discovery and revelation. In the immediate moments to hours after her accident, her thinking is mentored by a voice, her own conscience maybe, with words seeming to appear above her, as well as drawings depicting pitfalls of her fear-based thought. Liza can clearly see the consequences and how they shape her relationships and limit her potential.

With chapter titles like "Asleep at the Wheel," "The What-if Worry Coaster" "The Punishing Room" and "The Closet of My Mind," to name just a few, there is something here for everyone.

Don't we all know the stress of feeling we must conform, meet the expectations (sometimes only perceived) of others, the weight of "should's" that we burden ourselves with?

Sometimes, we lose our true self in the service of job, family and too many commitments.

Unlike many books on self-improvement and behavior change, this tour of Liza's mind was filled with humor and insight, motivating while at the same time showing no mercy in exposing the dangers of neglecting to manage our thought processes.

Ferguson wrote "Journey Back to Me" with the hope of helping others break free of the fears and destructive thoughts that keep them from living a fulfilling life, knowing one's "true self" and staying close to that truth.

Using mindfulness concepts and techniques to effectively reprogram our brains, this book also offers specific practices that can lead to greater awareness and reverse bad habits. Practice might not always make perfect, but is key to executing and sustaining real change.

The author, known to her family and friends as Sheila Ferguson, considers Austin, Texas, as her hometown, but now lives on Hilton Head Island. She is the immediate past president of the Women's Association of Hilton Head Island.

Simple and charming sketches by Lynne Holton enhance the story, adding a whimsical visual element.

Published by Balboa Press, "Journey Back to Me" is available at Amazon.com, sheiladferguson.com and balboapress.com/bookstore.

Glenda Harris of Bluffton is a freelance writer and editor, nature lover and aspiring novelist.

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