A Year of Mindful Living: Daily Changes for a Calmer Life

The mindfulness movement shows no signs of ceasing and every publisher worth their salt wants in on the action. A Year of Mindful Living: Daily Changes for a Calmer Life screams of bandwagon jumping. With no single author responsible it’s mindfulness by committee and it’s dreadful. I can imagine the meeting now:

“Mindfulness, we need a book about mindfulness but we’ve got no money.”

“Quick, to the Internet! What memes have been plastered over your newsfeed recently?”

“Ooh, I’ve had some great ones, you know, with those wistful photographs of wilderness and text overlaid; I love those.”

“Great! Someone head to Quotes.com and find something useful – let’s do this, the deadline’s tomorrow.”

And thus, this pile of turds was born. Filled with cod philosophy, cod psychology – perhaps slapping someone with a cod would be more effective – this shallow, meaningless drivel has very little going for it. Its suggestions – it advocates we should try to take on one a day – are, by and large, ridiculous. For example:

“Cats are sensory beings. Take the time to indulge their love of being stroked.”

Hold up while I just chase after a neighbourhood cat because I don’t have one of my own. Yes, I admit, it’s calming to pet animals and I’ve definitely indulged a few in my time, but do they really think that’s mindfulness?

Hollow words on each page give no insight into how to practically implement the ideas. People who need help de-stressing and seeking calm won’t find it here.

“Consider one thing you do each day that makes you unhappy – and decide to stop doing it now.”

Wonderful, I’m cured of my depression, thank you, I can’t believe it. The simplicity of their suggestions and the utter disregard for what mindfulness actually means is grating in the extreme. The introduction says the “daily practices offer you a year-long programme of gradual change that will lead you to break negative patterns”. I’d rather make negative patterns, with this book and a shredder.

This publication is an oversimplified, over manufactured piece of pap. Keep it in the bathroom, but not for reading purposes.


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TITLE: A Year of Mindful Living: Daily Changes for a Calmer Life
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
RRP: $26.00
ISBN: 9780143573869

A Jill of all trades, mistress of none, Kate has tried everything: prison psychology, volunteering with homeless people, teaching English abroad, and editing a magazine in China (thankfully not in Chinese!). A born procrastinator, she’s been working on her autobiographical book for the past five years and has got nowhere. Although wanderlust fills her heart she is happiest performing her comedy poems at spoken word nights and getting inordinate amounts of attention.

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