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Blooming into Mindfulness: How the Universe Used a Garden, Cancer, and Carpools to Teach Me that Calm Is the New Happy Paperback – January 29, 2016
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Brettschneider turns life experiences surrounding her mastectomy into a delightful and interesting read chock full of humor, honesty, emotion, and wisdom. Her similes and cultural references create distinct pictures that will cement the ideas into your mind. "Weeding became more than weeding," she writes. "I discovered myself clawing and stabbing at the earth with my trowel, gritting my teeth as I unearthed the roots of invasive, unwanted plants like so many cancer cells." Pure gold.
I simply loved this book. Martha is a gifted writer who brings to life her story of being an overworked, unhappy economist to finding a more balanced, peaceful life through mindfulness and other wellness-nurturing practices. Martha's skillful storytelling carried me through her cancer experience and subsequent transformational journey, leaving nuggets of wisdom and authenticity insights along the way. This is a must read for anyone wanting to create change and be more present in their lives.
There is so much to love about Blooming into Mindfulness. Martha grows her story in three parts, guiding her reader with an honest, straightforward telling of her transformational journey--moving, as she describes it, from her pre-awareness "dormant" state; to being "pruned" through cancer; to "blossoming" into a mindful, "net positive" energy-producing life. The story's starting seeds begin with her living a suburban life she didn't necessarily expect. Career, carpools and chaos figure into her tale, before the never-anticipated throws of breast cancer stop her short. Then, an unexpected encounter with an audiobook about awakening grants her an epiphany and a life-altering peace. Along the way, her light, dry-witted humor describes her burgeoning gardening addiction as well as her garden's centering presence, and the realization that her garden is a forever teacher of how "to be patient, let go of the need to control, and to let go of expectations." Martha's method of sharing her story allows even non-gardening readers to join her along the path, gathering seeds for nurturing their own customized mindfulness practice. I highly recommend Martha's memoir. Whether you take up the spade yourself or choose to grow your own "presence power" through another passion, Martha's story can help guide your journey.
Martha's beautifully-written, easy-to-read book chronicles her path through what so many women today face, as we attempt to "have it all" and find that "all" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Anyone who is attempting to find work-life balance will benefit from reading her story of learning to listen to the voice within, rather than allowing her life to be driven by goals set by society. Martha's garden serves both as a tool for her growth and a metaphor for the change in her life, as she goes from "dormant" to "pruned" to "blossoming". The time in the garden will delight readers with their own gardens, but is also accessible for those of us with black thumbs. A memoir, the book has just the right touch of "how-to" combined with a dose of dry wit, so that you'll know what to do if (when!) you finish the book inspired to see how simply becoming more aware and present can transform your life, without feeling like you are reading a self-help manual.
~ Torie Gorges
"Blooming into Mindfulness" is impressively well written and exceptionally well organized and presented from beginning to end. ... [A]n extraordinary, compelling, and life-changing read -- especially for those who are seeking internal peace for themselves as well as those around them.
~ Midwest Book Review
From the Author
As a young international economist, I had fully expected to lead a life of global work and exciting travel. But after swearing that I would never live in the suburbs, never step off the career ladder, never own a minivan, and never wipe my kids' faces with my own spit, I ended up doing all of those things.
Through it all, my ego muttered incessantly in my ear, "So when are you going to start living YOUR life again?" My garden was the only place where that internal critic was silent. Though I didn't know it at the time, the garden was my first mindfulness mentor.
In 2009, breast cancer forced me to clear my calendar for a year. Pruning was required on many fronts, from my body to my habits to my clutter (both internal and external). With more spaciousness in my life and my thinking patterns, I was open to a shocking truth revealed to me one day in the garden: by only focusing on when my "next chapter" would begin, I was missing the beauty of life right in front of me. As my garden had been trying to tell me all along, joy can be found in every stage of our unfolding.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is a very enjoyable read because the author's approach although light-hearted and amusing is also very serious at times. She provides just the right amount of detail so that the reader continually wants to learn more about how she adjusted to life experiences which were "never part of the plan." There is a great deal of candor and humor, humor which helps the author deal with some very serious life events. The discerning reader may discover many truths revealed by the author by 'reading between the lines'. It is especially interesting to learn how the author used gardening as a form of meditation, means of coping with stress and how she developed viewing life with "mindfulness."
Several life altering events in this book stood out: the first is when the author and her husband bought a home in Vienna, Virginia where they raised their two young boys. I enjoyed the descriptions of learning to adjust to suburban living, raising two young boys and coping with the ups and downs of life. The second was when she and her family moved to Germany to experience a different culture while her children were still young enough not to object to leaving their friends. Third, was when the author learned she had a life-threatening diagnosis. The author faced this life challenge with her usual sense of urgency, energy and drive to cope to become a winner. Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the book with option to review. This book is highly recommended. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
But I didn't get that this from book. Judging from the other reviews I be in the minority and that's cool. I just found that much of the book made me sort of rattled and the opposite of mindful. And it wasn't until later in the book that we got to the process of change. A book that I did enjoy on this same topic was "The Practicing Mind my Thomas Sterner, in case anybody is wondering.
Item provided at zero cost or discount on exchange for unbiased review.
At least the first half of the book focuses on recounting the story of the author’s life. It was very interesting – moving to the Virginia suburbs when she had vowed she never would. Doing so many things that made her a soccer mom, when that was the last thing she ever dreamed she would be. This was interesting and entertaining. Martha Brettschneider, the author, writes with a very humorous, entertaining and easy to read style. But she takes a fairly long time to get to the mindfulness part.
Her encounter with breast cancer was a significant part of the book. She handled it courageously. Her story should help any woman dealing with breast cancer – or any other type cancer.
Ms. Brettschneider stumbled on mindfulness quite by accident. She had spent many hours in her garden contemplating the nature of plant growth. This allowed her to be more open to the concepts and teachings of mindfulness.
There was one section that I found a bit woo-woo. When she had a Feng Shui expert, working remotely, help stop plumbing leaks in her house. I can accept negative energy, but I have a lot of trouble accepting that negative energy can alter the laws of physics.
So some parts of the book were very enjoyable – the humor, her unique way of looking at life, all made for interesting reading. Toward the end of the book, some of the things got a bit too far out. I believe in the power of mindfulness. But the book was more about the author’s own personal experience than providing lessons for those seeking more understanding.
I was provided a review copy of this book.