A book provides messages to help readers maintain calmness amid the many external and internal factors that stand in the way.
In this collection of personal stories and the insights gleaned from them, Shapiro (Tilting Toward Chaos, 2016) shares the conclusions she’s reached about how to become and stay tranquil. She first discusses how to face and embrace inevitable change, when “the world seems to tilt” around you. Drawing on her own experiences with traumatic shifts as well as those of acquaintances, she promotes courage in the face of fear; flexibility and adaptability; and the acquisition of a “yes, and…” attitude of acknowledging setbacks but moving forward optimistically. Next, she encourages readers to develop the skill of mindfulness, becoming aware of the stories they tell themselves and others. This can help free them from the expectations and limitations that are often placed on them by the outside world or (more often) themselves. She discusses the power of thoughts and the need to incorporate compassion into language, both in monologues and conversations. Finally, she shares her concept of alignment and suggests simple exercises and principles to help a person stay centered. Though this book offers a breadth of subjects, the content is extremely worthwhile and well-presented. Each chapter begins with a perfectly fitting and intriguing quote and ends with a stimulating “Awareness Question” tied to the chapter’s topic, such as: “Envision coming upon two conflicting parts of yourself while walking down the street. Extend your arms in welcome, encircling them both. What do you feel in this inclusive embrace?” The volume’s organization, however, could be enhanced by introducing each section with a concrete description of the following chapters’ main ideas, which would help audiences understand and recall what they read. Still, Shapiro uses a variety of effective tools to present her ideas—including stories, poetry, and scientific research—keeping the text balanced and engaging.
Readers may not remember every word of this useful book, but its eloquent ideas should satisfy an audience seeking tranquility.