Reader, please know that you do not have to be perfect to be healthy. You can show up in the way(s) that you do. All I ask is that you continue to believe you are worth showing up for because you are. You are wondrous and worthy of attention and celebration. I already celebrate you for arriving just as you are. Just as you are today.

With these words Irisanya Moon opens An Alternative Guide to Health & Well-Being -- perhaps the most refreshing book about health I have ever read. Moon starts from the premise that each moment allows us the opportunity to step into a place of listening to our bodies, without judgment, without expectation, and without disappointment.

The first and second chapters open the reader to a practice of honoring your body through a variety of techniques including journaling, creative writing, or making a soundtrack. Moon's focus is on a viewpoint in which health and wellness are cyclical, not constant. That there are times we must withdraw and let our Selves rest and renew. Moon sees our state of health as not one in which we must be perfect, so much as intuitive and resilience.

Moon's practices invite the reader to listen to their body, to honor it and stand up for it against all the forces that sap its strength. I especially appreciated her wisdom that when we listen to our body we do best when not engaging in criticism. Staying away from, "I hurt because I did X . . " commentary. As Moon points out, "It’s no wonder we have troubles listening to our bodies. If you were talking to someone and all they did was criticize what you said, you might stay away from them in the future too."

She then expands her writing to encompass practices for working through mental processes, such as manifestation and visualization. Moon wisely notes that the body and mind work best when doing so together to create a stable being. Later chapters explore creating a spiritual practice and cultivating resilience to better cope when our carefully balanced life goes awry. (As it always does.)

One of the best chapters, as short as it is, discusses the concept of balance as ephemeral, a state of mind instead of a goal or something to be achieved. Moon offers several exercises for defining what balance could look or feel like to the reader. Similarly, her discussion of the commoditization of self-care was enlightening, and a little frightening.

This truly is an alternative guide to health and well-being, one I highly recommend.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Irisanya Moon
Moon Books, 2020
pp. , $