Transforming Burnout

Book Review

Transforming Burnout: A Simple Guide to Self-Renewal by Alan Shelton, Vibrant Press, Tacoma, WA, 2007; ISBN 0978795202, 82 pages, paperback, $12.95.

This book provides practical advice for those who find themselves faced with a severe loss of enthusiasm and energy at work. The author tells of his own struggle with burnout after twenty years as a physician for the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority, and how concepts such as the Native American Wellness Circle helped him reconnect with his spiritual life. He defines spirituality as “our true essence. It is that part of our life which relates to our soul, which from a spiritual perspective is connected to the Divine and is infinite. This lifetime is but the physical experience of our deeper reality, our spirit, which is our fundamental nature” (p. 28). He goes on to explain that “Spirituality involves a reverent attitude toward all things because it awakens us to a divine presence in all things. In this way of seeing and being, all things and persons are interconnected and interdependent. The spiritual world is the unseen world, and thus wrapped in mystery. . . . Yet this spirit, full of mystery, is every bit as real as the visible, tangible world” (p. 26).

After discussing what burnout, wellness, and spirituality are, Dr. Shelton shares ways in which people can foster this often-neglected aspect of themselves. Such ongoing attention to our inner selves overcomes burnout because “When our spirituality is nurtured and vibrant, we’re ‘connected.’ This connection is a sense of relationship to the Crea­tor, Great Spirit, or God (Divine Force), as well as a relationship to all people and to Mother Earth (our life-giving environment). Spirituality takes us beyond our ego-centered lives by expanding our hearts with compassion toward all” (pp. 25-6). Its simple, direct, informal style and undogmatic presentation make this a particularly helpful book. — Sarah Belle Dougherty

(From Sunrise magazine, Fall 2007; copyright © 2007 Theosophical University Press)

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