Book Review: You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life
I bought this book on the recommendation of my PSM. She’s never steered me wrong (except for the minotaur book…that one was definitely wrong).
Anyway, as anyone who reads regularly knows, I work very hard at self-care, and I am not very good at it. I regularly skip meals, stay up too late, don’t exercise even though I feel good when I do, and over-utilize wine as a coping mechanism.
This is not sustainable if I want to be my best self. Enter this book (which I bought and paid for with my own money).
“I don’t have time to meditate!”
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki has heard this a lot. A certified yoga and meditation teacher, she’s taught hundreds of thousands of people how to create simple yet powerful meditation practices. In fact, as she’ll show you in this book, in as little as 4 minutes, you can change your life.
After years of suffering from anxiety and depression, both as a child and as an adult, Bex took control of her mental and physical health by establishing a rigorous fitness and yoga routine that quickly evolved into her own regular, homegrown 4-minute daily meditation practice. Bex’s 4-minute meditations combine mantras, affirmations, breathing and bodywork techniques, and they’re designed so that even the busiest people can fit them into their lives.
In this book, Bex guides you through 27 different meditation practices, and shares personal stories that demonstrate how meditation has helped her overcome various challenges. She also answers commonly asked questions like “Do my eyes have to stay closed?” and“What do I do if my body starts to hurt?”; provides technical information about props, postures, and mantras; and offers tools to cope with complex issues such as grief, body acceptance, and relationships.
By spending just 4 minutes a day with this practice, you will find deep, meaningful, and lasting healing.
This is the best book on meditation I’ve ever read. It’s accessible, simple without being condescending, not overtly spiritual (at least not enough to make this atheist uncomfortable), and there are real moments of humor in it.
The author does a great job of using vignettes from her life to show how meditation can help anyone.
I’m not doing 4 minutes every day, but I’ve done more meditation since picking up the book than I’d done in a long time. I find that getting up before the rest of my family is the best time for me to spend my four minutes. (I get up, start the coffee, meditate, and then am rewarded with inner peace and inner caffeine.)
Fair warning, though. This book made me cry. There were so many bits and pieces that I desperately needed to hear and it triggered a major emotional response.
Your situation may look like a mess. That’s real. But you are not that mess.
It’s been a tough year. Between the divorce and losing my day job, things have felt pretty desperate, and it’s hard to look at my situation and separate it from me. Reading this book was like shining a light on the darkness I’ve been harboring.
Side note: I had a conversation with a dear friend last week. He asked me how he could assure a friend that she wasn’t a failure because (a) her relationship failed, (b) no one liked her erstwhile partner, and (c) she didn’t know said partner was unsuitable right away, and even when she knew, she stayed for a bit. I was able to give the best advice on that…advice that I should probably take for myself. My biggest pet peeve as a divorced person is the term “failed marriage.” Ending is not failure. (Repeat, Amy. This is your mantra. Well, this and “You are not that mess.“)
Back to the review!
One of the biggest stressors in the last year has been money. Just when I started to get back on my feet post-divorce, I lost my job. Unemployment doesn’t cover my living expenses, and I quickly ran through my savings. So much of my self-worth is tied into my financial independence. I am not currently at a place of financial independence, and I’m so very fortunate that I have people willing to help me out until I am back to that place.
If I separate myself form the idea that I don’t have enough money right now, how do I feel? Can I feel contentment even if these so-called negative circumstances remain true?
You know what? When I’m not stressed about money, I feel pretty damn content with my life. Obviously pretending that I have money I don’t have is not going to work out as a career-path (I’m guessing I can’t pay my car loan with contentment points), but it’s easier to breath when I remind myself that my current lack of solvency is not a reflection on my self-worth.
This book came at a time in my life when I needed those reminders – it’s so important to take the time to separate yourself, the parts that make you you, from the circumstances you find yourself in. Sure, in part, you shape your world, but just because things are hard, or crappy doesn’t mean you have to internalize it.
I plan on continuing to follow the meditations in the book. The one I’ve been using the last couple of weeks is “You Have 4 Minutes to Accept Where You Are in the Moment.” The mantras associated with this meditation are exactly what I need to remind myself of every day.
I am not broken or in need of fixing.
I am worthy of being heard and of being loved as I am in this moment.
My inner voice is wise, and I allow myself to listen to it without judgment.
If you’re interested in starting a meditation practice but are intimidated by the idea of quieting your mind for 30 minutes, this is the place for you. Four minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s really making a difference for me.
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