Life Falls Apart But You Don’t Have To: Mind­ful Meth­ods for Stay­ing Calm in the Midst of Chaos

  • Review
By – March 29, 2018

In this slim vol­ume, author Julie Potik­er has com­piled a guide­book of strate­gies to pro­mote mind­ful­ness. With these prac­tices, Potik­er encour­ages read­ers to devel­op emo­tion­al resilience, meth­ods of self-care, and a lov­ing and com­pas­sion­ate approach to peo­ple and events that will empow­er the read­er to meet the chal­lenges she or he encoun­ters in life.

Potik­er is at her best when she describes par­tic­u­lar meth­ods, break­ing them down into clear steps, coach­ing her read­ers through each approach. Potik­er has orga­nized the book so that each chap­ter high­lights a par­tic­u­lar set of prac­tices, mak­ing it easy for read­ers to return to those they find most engag­ing, and allow­ing read­ers to choose where to begin their mind­ful­ness prac­tice. The book seems geared toward novices, and Potik­er has includ­ed an excel­lent set of ref­er­ences for those who would like to take their study further.

Potik­er makes unapolo­getic judg­ments about some of the behav­ior she describes in her anec­dotes. Her writ­ing style, espe­cial­ly in her choice of anec­dotes, can be some­what hyper­bol­ic. The excep­tion is when she is speak­ing about her own fam­i­ly: she por­trays her par­ent­ing strug­gles, large and small, in the most sen­si­tive and nuanced way.

Read­ers who would like a more in-depth study of mind­ful­ness tech­niques and their long-term appli­ca­tion will want to con­sult addi­tion­al sources. How­ev­er, for those look­ing for an easy-to-fol­low intro­duc­tion to the teach­ings of mind­ful­ness, Potik­er offers a quick and clear vol­ume whose lessons can be put to imme­di­ate use.

Deb­o­rah Miller received rab­bini­cal ordi­na­tion at the Jew­ish The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. She lives in New Jer­sey with her hus­band and daugh­ter, where she serves as a hos­pice chap­lain and teacher.

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