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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

June 30, 1996|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

GROWING MYSELF: A Spiritual Journey Through Gardening by Judith Handelsman (Dutton: $21.95; 192 pp.). Part course in bio-dynamics, part memoir, "Growing Myself" is earnest, yes, but if you soak up gardening books to atone for your urban sins, if you heal yourself reading seed catalogs, if you use mental garden planning to avoid making the really necessary changes in your life, then you understand this branch of literature. Consider Judith Handelsman, former gardening columnist for Vogue and New Age Journal, the facilitator in a seminar that you have cleared your calendar for in the hopes that it will force you to slow down, grow up, fine-tune and take responsibility. Mostly, Handelsman shows how gardening--the pace of it, the kind of caring for and attention that are required--can clear the layers of soot and grime off your intuition, can help you listen better to that intuition and act on it. Her gardening life takes you from New York City to the Findhorn Institute in Scotland, to West Los Angeles and finally to Laguna Beach, where she now lives and gardens.

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