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Mindful : April 2018
“Too many men are taught that the only acceptable emotion is anger, and even that comes with contingencies.” Quentin Vennie’s memoir does many things. It recalls a life wrenched by generational pain, fear, and self-doubt. It evokes being poor and black in Baltimore, and the instability and discrimina- tion that plague pover ty and blackness. And it especially captures the nightmare of addictions, some of them medically sanctioned. Yet it also affirms how Ven- nie—aided by his wife, Nicole, and their son, Jayden—fights the odds to find healing. Green juice, yoga, and medi- tation become his “wellness trio,” the path he advises for vibrant living. “Your reaction to the pain will not change the fact that it exists,” he writes, “but it will change the impact that it has in your life.” STRONG IN THE BROKEN PLACES A Memoir of Addiction and Redemption Through Wellness Quentin Vennie and Jon Sternfeld • Rodale Books No matter how regularly we practice mindfulness, we’re bound to lose our cool once in a while. Nobody’s per fectly calm and collected all the time—that’s not what being human is all about. The human experience is rife with emotions, which can be rather messy but can also open up opportunities to cultivate compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh’s con- cise, beautifully illustrated book contains straightfor- ward insights for how to work with conflicts in a more com- passionate, openhearted way. Each page stands alone, so the reader need only flip to a random page to access a little snippet of wisdom. This book probably won’t prevent the occasional emotional outburst or defensive reac- tion, but it may make those moments more manage- able—and even fruitful. HOW TO FIGHT Thich Nhat Hanh • Parallax Press April 2018 mindful 83