I’ll put my cards out on the table.
Firstly, I consider Cindy Georgakas to be a dear friend, which is why I read her book, as I’ve never been inclined to read ‘self help’ literature. Secondly, I have never before written a book review. My initial commitment to write a review of Cindy’s maiden book ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’ was born out of my deep affection for her.
Thirdly, while I don’t intend to hold my punches, I wouldn’t bother making this book review public if it weren’t positive. While I offer you a sincere and candid reflection on Cindy’s oeuvre below, I’ll tell you right now that I loved this book. That’s why I’m sharing my impressions with you.
Given all of this, the following ‘tldr’ version of my review should suffice:
- I picked up ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’ out of love for my friend Cindy Georgakas, but I ended up finishing it for myself. To be honest, this is not the sort of book that a cynic like me would normally read, but I was drawn in by the warm embrace of the very first chapter. I am so impressed at how earnest and accessible this delicious book is… The author has allowed herself to be so very vulnerable with us in this volume, invested in her compassionate, loving effort to help others live their very best lives; and Cindy’s every reader will surely end up feeling connected to the guru herself.
That’s the essence of my review, but if you’re curious to read more, here we go:
My philosophical quibbles
See? There it is in the header ~ ‘quibbles’.
I have nothing substantively negative to say about ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, which is an utterly wonderful work, other than some philosophical disagreements with a few of Cindy’s assertions.
Honestly, guys. You should just skip this section. I’m only sharing these quibbles to establish my credibility as a reviewer.
The author bends over backwards to be inclusive of all readers’ belief systems throughout the book; unfortunately, she falls short when she writes:
… unleash your God-given talents…
… put your judgements and preconceived notions of God aside, and substitute whatever you want in its place, you won’t let language be a barrier in this book… Some people use Source, Divinity, Higher Power, The Divine, Superpower, Goddess. Use what works for you.-C. Georgakas, ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, pg. 20
Speaking as one who does not believe that any supernatural force is actively involved in our lives, this well-intentioned attempt at inclusivity is alienating to me. It leaves me feeling unseen.
Cindy may not want language to “be a barrier” to my reading her book; but she ends up transforming it into one herself. Why not simply refer to people’s talents as ‘natural talents’ or ‘inherent talents’? How does inserting such faith language into this self-help book make it any more effective?
The well-intentioned author also does her message a disservice by making unnecessary assertions such as this one:
What if I told you that your purpose was already inside of you, and all you needed to do was chisel and polish the diamond in the rough that you already are?
… There is something you came into the earth to do. Do you know what it is?-C. Georgakas, ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, pg. 42
In actual point of fact, this is no small matter of dispute among serious philosophers. Entire schools of thought such as existentialism, absurdism, and nihilism entirely reject the notion that anything has inherent purpose.
Both unnecessarily and quite unfortunately, as I was making my way through ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, such casual, self-assured statements led me to doubt the book’s relevance for readers like me.
Dismissing my quibbles
Here’s the thing: I know Cindy Georgakas, and I know her intentions in writing this book.
So, whereas my personal philosophical quibbles might have put me off from another such self-help book, I dismissed them while reading ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’.
Also, most potential readers are unlikely to care about my philosophical reservations. Most people don’t harbor such unusually sharp aversions to being told what or how to believe… Most can be comfortable with other individuals’ articles of faith, even if they contradict their own.
Three reasons to love this book
There are many reasons to love Cindy’s ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, but three stand out to me in particular, all of which are uncommon in published works. Also, to my mind, these factors are direct reflections of the author’s personality. These are three of the reasons why so many people love and appreciate Cindy Georgakas.
Reading the following lines from Cindy’s book touched me. I felt as though reading ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’ was putting me in direct conversation with the very human, very empathetic author herself.
… If you want to, feel free to go directly to the “How To’s” and skip to the steps you need, jot notes, and add them to your daily to-do list if you wish. In other words, this is your book, so scribble in it, cross things out that don’t fit for you, and highlight those that do or rip out pages and make copies if you want to share something…-C. Georgakas, ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, pg. 21
As someone who is very resistant to being told what to do or what to think, these words gave me permission to relax and take in Cindy’s warmhearted wisdom. Beyond my already knowing the author as a kind and giving friend, this sentiment of hers left me feeling accepted and embraced.
It’s abundantly clear: Cindy wrote this book to help people, and she is consciously and sensitively trying to reach potential readers on their own terms.
I have never read a book in which the author was so utterly vulnerable and open with her readers as this one. Never. In fact, I doubt another such a book exists.
Cindy doesn’t simply offer advice to help us live our best lives; she shares her own incredibly personal, intimate experiences and challenges in this book, building a relationship of trust with every one of her readers. She is no guru looking down at the world from her mountaintop. Rather, she is a relatable, very earnest, very loving human being.
The author speaks to us from the perspective of an imperfect woman who has spent long years ironing out the wrinkles in her life… And she shows herself willing to bare her soul and some of the most incredibly private details of her complex life story to reach and connect with others who may be yearning for a fellow human being’s support.
For all her hard-earned wisdom, Cindy is one of the humblest people I’ve ever known; and this comes through clearly in ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, as exemplified in her reflection:
… I finally landed into a big heap of disillusionment, realizing the only one I could save was myself…
… I realized I was not capable of changing or helping anyone who did not in fact want to help themselves. Painful as this is, it is the only true way to be of service: acknowledging that change must come from within, and we can only change ourselves.-C. Georgakas, ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, pg. 56-57
Let’s consider now what the author is telling us and how she has chosen to share her message. In ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’, Cindy has stripped her soul bare for her readers, knowing that as much as she gives us permission to trust her and learn from her, many readers may nevertheless reject her words… and she has made peace with that.
Essentially, Cindy is saying to each of us, in so many words, “My dear friend, you are worthy of happiness; and I believe in you completely.” It would seem that the question for each us, then, is: “Am I ready to begin believing in myself?”
Well… are we?
124 thoughts on “Book review: ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’ by Cindy Georgakas”
Great review, David
💜🙏🏻 Maria 🙏🏻💜 ~ merçi beaucoup!
Denada (it’s Spanish but close enough, I think) hehe
A very thoughtful review, David.
💛🙏🏻 Merril 🙏🏻💛
have not read the book and don’t know C, so for now, I am with you on the quibbles. As a catholic philosopher and theologian (minus religion) I think it’s a bit lazy to speak of ‘being sent for (something), even without the G word. It shows in my book that many people turn away from g-o-d without a mature understanding of what it is they are turning away from. One of the foremost theological thinkers of the 20th century, Karl RahnerSJ says: To speak of a personal god only makes sense against the background of there not being such a god. Square that! And go borrow the language for what C seems to endeavour from Victor Frankl rather than falling back on half-cooked g-o-d concepts. Personally, I can’t help but feel C’s belief thus sounds a bit hollow, but then again, in that what is hollow in us we may find that-of-god as the Quakers might put it.
🤷🏻♂️ Barbara 🤷🏻♂️ ~ I don’t feel comfortable with such assumptions… but I was able to move past them and enjoy the read.
good for you 😎
I love reading book reviews David and you’ve ignighted quantities of light, a good read too, making Cindy’s work a book of brilliant little things.
🖤🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻🖤 ~ thanks so much!
📚and she has made peace with that.📚
Even with the sounds of battle, this is steel.
💟 🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻 💟
📚In actual point of fact, this is no small matter of dispute among serious philosophers. Entire schools of thought such as existentialism, absurdism, and nihilism entirely reject the notion that anything has inherent purpose.
Both unnecessarily and quite unfortunately, as I was making my way through ‘Re-create and Celebrate’, such casual, self-assured statements led me to doubt the book’s relevance for readers like me.📚
I can well understand your feelings especially if one consider the world in its current state, where everything feels so meaningless and empty, but this is precisely where faith and hope steps in to polish up purpose or redefining it at any particular stage of one’s life.
💝🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻💝 ~ faith and hope are not the same thing
perhaps the only real faith is built of hollowed-out hope…
well, I’ve got plenty of that!
that takes us back to Hiob (Job) and friends, I guess 🙂
In Hebrew, it would be pronounced: Iyov
📚unleash your God-given talents…
… put your judgements and preconceived notions of God aside, and substitute whatever you want in its place, you won’t let language be a barrier in this book… Some people use Source, Divinity, Higher Power, The Divine, Superpower, Goddess. Use what works for you.📚
But I understand her, many other great authors like Cindy and including Caroline Myss invites you to her banqueting table with an open mind, to do just that.
So to continue feasting you do just that.
💖🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻💖 ~ I understand her too; but if the goal is to attract potential readers, it would make sense to cast as wide a net as possible
Which makes the statement even more powerful
The choice is yours to put it down
Many will return to the delicioua banquet
📚but I ended up finishing it for myself.📚
This statement alone proves the importance of the book
💗🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻💗
Just love this embrace
💕🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻💕
📚Thirdly, while I don’t intend to hold my punches, I wouldn’t bother making this book review public if it weren’t positive.📚
❤❤, I love this, heartwarming
❤️🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻❤️
📚My initial commitment to write a review of Cindy’s maiden book ‘Re-Create and Celebrate’ was born out of my deep affection for her.📚
What endearing friends do
💜🙏🏻 Abi 🙏🏻💜
Top review, David 📚
🤓🙏🏻 Lesley 🙏🏻🤓