Trauma Education Essentials

Book Reviews

Monthly Book Reviews

Book reviews written by Dana Ross, MD, MSc, FRCPC. 


Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This book has been on my reading list for a long time but kept getting bumped by, seemingly more pressing, trauma-specific books and papers. Finally, I got to it after hearing someone in our program talk about the positive impact the book had on her own daily mindfulness practice.

Shortly after, I was talking in a psychoeducation group about mindfulness and it dawned on me that I was extolling the benefits of mindfulness but unwilling to mindfully put aside time to read a seminal book on mindfulness...

Turns out that it's a delight to read because of the ultra-short chapters. The book is excellent for reading before bed, especially on those days when you've had a long day and don't have a lot of juice left for more than a few pages. 

Highlights: A lot of people, myself included, find mindfulness challenging for a bunch of reasons. Some of my struggles with mindfulness have included:
- My mind wanders
- I get bored or restless
- Nothing's happening or changing
- I haven't attained nirvana and I've been sitting here for 3 whole minutes!
- I just don't have the time. I'll do it tomorrow.

Kabat-Zinn examines all of these issues and more in a way that is compassionate, interesting, challenging, and inspiring. He also really highlights that mindfulness can be done anywhere, anytime and needn't be a formal practice.

In the end, the message I got from the book is 'chill out (or not)' and just observe, be curious, put aside expectations and allow the moment to be as it is. This is both 100 times easier than how I was approaching it before (definitely had expectations) and it is also 100 times harder (must remind myself not to remind myself to not worry about things!) 
 
Quote from the book: "The sincerity of your effort matters far more than elapsed time, since we are really talking about stepping out of minutes and hours and into moments, which are truly dimensionless and therefore infinite" - p. 123. I love both the content and the cadence of that sentence!
 
Clinical gem: I've find myself referring to this book during sessions much more than I anticipated. I especially recommend it for anyone struggling with mindfulness and their inner critic, who may be worrying about 'not doing it right'. 

Dana Ross