Fully Present by Susan L. Smalley, PhD and Diana Winston

The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness.

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I began reading this book initially to help my children but as it’s turned out it was also quite helpful to me too.  For the moment I don’t really have the time to squeeze meditation into my current life style, but it’s certainly given me quite a lot of material to think about and lots of tips to use with the children to help them move less painfully into their teenage years.

The book is an easy read and peppered with instances of unhelpful thought processes and examples of how to alter them.  I imagine that many parents of autistic children have already mastered many of these techniques but around here we needed a refresher course on how to tackle negativity and defeatism.  In the high octane world of autism and Alzheimer’s I need all the tricks and tips I can get.  When I read the ordinary, everyday kinds of negative concerns of other people, I found it quite reassuring, but I expect that’s just a spectrum thing.

To give you a flavor of the book, the authors retell a story which I also found here

Two Wolves

An old Cherokee told his grandson that a battle that goes on inside each us.
The battle is between two ‘wolves’.
One ‘wolf’ is Evil. It has anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other ‘wolf’ is Good. It has joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Everybody seems to have stressful lives these days and many of the mind strategies should help us all keep a bit more grounded.  In many ways it reminded me of a catechism although obviously more modern and secular.  Maybe mindfulness, emotional intelligence and spirituality have become the new religion.

As the authors quote Henry James:-

“Three things in human life are important.  The first is to be kind.  The second is to be kind.  And the third is to be kind.”

And you can buy it at Amazon and elsewhere.

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