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Hello, everybody. Hope your new year is off to a good start.

My first five days of 2018 have been a joke. It’s snowing and extraordinarily chilly in Raleigh, which is uncommon. I’ve had a cold for nine days which has me talking like Jacob Silj, and now I have a stye in my eye that I’m slathering with erythromycin because I’m sexy. We had a leaky pipe that destroyed our family room right before the new year. My husband’s car broke down last night in this frigid weather. And my mom is sick, which is always super fun.

So, that’s a lot of bad news, except I’m feeling mostly okay. Not too agitated or anxious. Laughing a lot about our “good luck” with my husband. Not going to hit anyone with a baseball bat. Not anybody who doesn’t deserve it, anyway.

In this middle of all this chaos, there’s calm. I’ve been exercising as much as possible since before the new year. I’ve stopped watching the news on TV, which that makes me feel better. I’m reconnecting with old colleagues and having a lot of good luck with my professional life. And I’m still practicing mindfulness and incorporating all the good stuff I learned from my MBSR coursework at Duke, last year.

TL;DR I’m breathing and practicing mindfulness. Like, even with my obstructed airways, I still take five minutes each day and focus on my breath.

Mindfulness doesn’t come naturally to me because it doesn’t come naturally to anybody. Our brains still act as if we live in caves, and the mind interprets our 21st-century problems as imminent death threats. Sally in procurement isn’t trying to kill you with her bullshit, but it sure feels that way. And all systems in your body are fighting unnecessarily hard to keep you alive in this doomsday scenario.

I picked up mindfulness like most people: when I was desperate and tried just about everything else. I’m not the kind of person who can pick up a book or listen to a tape and change my life. I needed to hit my emotional rock bottom, and then I needed to try something new. Someone mentioned mindfulness, aka MBSR coursework, to me in passing a few years ago. My brain stored that information, and, when I needed it, revealed a path to me. Meditation has changed my life.

So, I picked Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics as the second choice of the #HRBookClub in January because I think mindfulness and meditation can change your life. Will you become a meditation expert from reading a book? Heck no, and the book makes no promises of spiritual enlightenment. In fact, it demonstrates how hard it is to meditate in our noisy world.

But, thankfully, the book takes the reader through real-world scenarios where it is possible to breathe — even if it’s just ten good breaths — and calm your central nervous system down.

I hope you read Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. I hope you find a mindfulness instructor or a meditation class. But, I mostly hope you file this book and blog post away for another time when you’re feeling desperate and need a new option in your life. Self-care isn’t just about massages and colon hydrotherapy, because, if it were, nobody would ever heal. Wellness is about building a better foundation to help you endure, and, potentially, enjoy life.

Why not now? Why not you?

Hope you enjoy the book.