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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Blooming into Mindfulness by Martha Brettschneider is an autobiographical account of one woman’s discovery of calm, peace, and meaningfulness in life. Martha, an economist and often left-brain thinker, finds solace in the garden of her home. Gardening becomes an escape from the stress and strain of work or full-time motherhood and life in general. It seems the outdoors has always drawn her and seems to be trying to tell her something important. It isn’t until Martha receives her diagnosis and then treatment for breast cancer that she begins to understand and connect with life’s spiritual message and truth. She changes from a frazzled mom, whose inadvertent negative energy impacts her children, to someone with an accepting, calm and enlightened perspective that gradually, through her exploration of theories, teachers, meditation, and Feng Shui, finds freedom and inner happiness.
Martha Brettschneider’s Blooming into Mindfulness is a breath of fresh air and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Her description of how she views her life in three distinct stages matches the life of anyone who has gone through challenge and change. The dormant, pruning and blossoming stages perceptively link what the garden and nature teach with inner realization and spiritual growth. Like many who become enlightened, Martha sees how life might have been preparing her for her day of realization, and how events and situations give her marvelous opportunities for growth and maturity. The chapters bounce along, and I loved the humor and honesty as Martha narrates everyday life with two little boys and her life to date. Her openness and courage when facing cancer is inspirational too.
This is a book that aims to show how to silence our inner critic, step back, do some thought-weeding, meet our true selves, practice “presence power,” and so find that life can have a very different feel. While not a text book on mindfulness or meditation, it teaches in a refreshingly down-to-earth way through the ups and downs, mistakes, and discoveries of the author’s own life. I love the idea, and have to agree that gardens and nature are unseen forces that teach us about calmness, awareness, acceptance and letting go, and that we are all connected through a shared consciousness. A special book with an encouraging and hopeful message for all, and especially for all who seek truth and calmness.