Patti Digh has taken an interesting idea and turned it into a delightfully rich little book.
The concept: compile self-help directives which are exactly four words long. How much insight can be delivered in so few words? When I first heard about her intention, I tried myself to concoct four-word sentences which carried valuable insights into living a life. It's not easy to do!
She has succeeded in not only delivering great, impactful statements of such brevity, she has also used those statements to invite a deeper level of reflection.
One of Patti's strengths is her ability to offer up new ways of considering our daily lives, to step back and feel the implications of the decisions we make each day and the cumulative effect not only on ourselves, but on those with whom we interact.
Her professional background in diversity training and consulting informs her more-personal work, what began as essays written for her daughters years ago, became a blog, then a book (Life is a Verb), and now is an ongoing and ever-enriching journey which she has offered to open to anyone wishing to walk along.
On a personal note, it was three years ago today that Patti and I began corresponding as a result of a comment I left on her blog, 37days. I had dived in for the first time a couple of days before and read many of the existing essays, works she was posting once a week. She responded to a comment I left, and we still are in contact to this day.
It was my great pleasure to be an attendee at the first Life is a Verb retreat in September of 2008 and to meet Patti in person and play with her Circle Project partner, David Robinson. I wrote about that experience here and here.
Four Word Self Help is a little book packed with a great deal of the Digh magic, a wonderful adjunct and a complementary eddy to the main flow which started with Life is a Verb and continues next month with Creative is a Verb. While it is a delight to read on its own merit, I do heartily recommend reading it as a companion to Patti's other books, as they set a philosophical framework within which this little book carries even more weight.
Besides, Life is a Verb contains within its pages the only published illustration I have ever created. That, alone, is reason enough to get a copy and become a fan of the work of Patti Digh!