Life happens to all of us - for better and for worse. Modern attitudes can often lead us to believe that life is all about success and pleasure, and being upbeat and high-achieving. They suggest that everyone is capable of everything, with no obstacle being too great to conquer. This message leaves little room for our humanness, vulnerability and imperfections. In addition, for those trying to cope with illness, addiction, life disruptions or relationship problems, a whole new set of life-impacting changes and demands are raised.
We bring into this moment a condensed version of all our yesterdays, and we live out our beliefs about ourselves in a variety of ways every day. Paying attention to your life and making sense of what might have seemed senseless is one way of shifting from getting through your life to getting involved with it.
This book is written by an experienced clinical psychologist who aims to create an interest in people about themselves by providing a straightforward, uncomplicated and totally accessible book. It looks to combine the curious nature of being human with an awareness of how we can approach life situations and difficulties in a mindful and thoughtful manner.
A key aspect of this book, and what makes it so readable and different, is that it is realistic and human, serious and funny, quirky and direct. It lays out the information and then gives you the choice. It’s for anyone - men, women, the well, the ill, parents, professionals or anyone who makes decisions not only about their lives but about those of others. Essentially, it’s for everyone, especially for those who would never even consider reading something like this.
Reviews for Life Happens
I LOVED the book! It’s really so deceptively simple, easy to understand and yet the more you read it, the more profound it becomes. Proof positive that great things need not come in big packages, this slim volume, together with its two accompanying CDs, is powerful and life-changing. Dr. Rezek has combined mindfulness meditation practices with her extensive experience in clinical psychology and working with addictions and depression to provide a very readable guide to letting both light and darkness into our lives. The book is full of wonderfully quotable sentences… [it] goes beyond those positive psychology books … so unforgiving of individual weaknesses and the ups and downs of daily life. … Dr. Rezek’s approach is much gentler, more caring of the whole person: She [describes] a situation I have very frequently come across with those coaching clients who have read self-development books – their feeling of shame and embarrassment at admitting that their lives are less than perfect and that they do not always feel in control. This book gives them the tools and, more importantly, the space to feel that it’s OK to not always know best and that it’s not about how many poor judgements or ill-chosen decisions we make in life, but about how often we pay attention to them. … its key message can be summed up best by ‘We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we wish to be within this world’.
Dr Sanda Ionescu, Sociologist and Business Coach
Cheryl Rezek has rendered a great service to everyone who has ever wondered why life isn’t quite what we want, or expect, it to be. Her clear and accessible explanation of the mix of genes, environment and experiences that have shaped who we are provides a firm foundation for simple, yet profound, instructions on how to regain a sense of balance and perspective. Engaging with life, with all its complexities, its sorrows and its joys, can only be done in the present moment.
Dr Rezek brings the ancient practice of mindfulness firmly into the 21st century, harnessing its quiet power to offer everyone the possibility of becoming more aware of the present moment and more responsible for our actions and their consequences. Her careful descriptions of feelings and emotions and their impact on our bodies and minds combined with practical activities supported by straightforward yet searching questions, inspiring poems and an easy writing style help the reader to re-establish that sense of curiosity which can be investigated moment by moment by moment. As we engage with life with greater awareness and greater compassion for ourselves and others, our usual rigidity relaxes, our attachments loosen and we can choose to replace our customary strategies with responses that are founded on clarity and kindness. … it will provide the support that will enable us to ‘tread caringly and carefully’ through life, balancing strength and flexibility and clearly seeing the links between our actions and their consequences.
Pip Hardy, Director of Pilgrim Projects and co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme
What a remarkable book. It is brilliant and original, novel in its presentation, immediately engaging and funny. One can’t help but get taken along by the tremendous insight and gentleness with which it is presented, but also by the remarkable ability of the author to make a statement that stops you dead in your tracks. The language in both the book and the CDs is refreshingly everyday and the author has obviously given considerable thought to her choice of words. The CDs are a soothing and appealing set of practices that transport you into a world that is safe and grounded. Even if your initial response is to want to avoid listening to them, it is worth the experience. It really is a book for everyone and one that should be shouted about from the treetops because of its accessibility, its humour and its profound ability to alter your perspective on your life in such a skilled and real manner. It has a charm all of its own.
Dr Erica Warner, Clinical Psychologist
I started reading Life Happens with a series of questions in my head. I hadn’t expected that Life Happens would provide such an essential guide for self-awareness and professional development for all mental health practitioners. Although it is presented as a self-help tool kit …it is not something that should only be used by patients or service users. Every mental health professional could benefit from this approach to enable increased awareness of self and how we use ourselves therapeutically. The book is presented in an immediately accessible way. The accompanying CDs give a real voice to the author, but the text also feels like a conversation that engages the reader in a nurturing dialogue. … The concept of shifting rather than changing makes this approach ideal for working with people who want to notice and manage their personalities which may have caused problems in the past. The text is interspersed with cartoons, poems … and quotes which enable the reader to engage with the concepts in a variety of ways. … I train pre-registration mental health nurses and would like to use Life Happens in my teaching.
Ian Noonan, Mental Health Lecturer, Kings College London
Life Happens is a book that I know I will read many times. Cheryl Rezek combines the depth of knowledge that comes from an experienced clinical psychologist with both humour and easy advice. The book explores mindfulness, which is really about being present in your own life. It encourages you to both like yourself and recognize and deal with any issues which may be causing conflict. It is not a book promising a quick fix, where you are today was a long journey, but it helps you recognize that and provides help going forwards. The two CDs that come with the book contain a series of meditation exercises that will help you both relax and implement the mindfulness techniques that are discussed in the book. This book is about you and taking a little bit of time to better know and like yourself. It is a journey I can recommend!
Roger Puttick, Marketing CEO
I found this book extremely readable and thought provoking. In our sometimes very busy and need to aim high world, it made reflecting on the past and its effects on the future understandable. It is an easy book to dip in and out of, or to concentrate on one particular section, that may be relevant to a present area of concern. I found the movement and relaxation CD’s to be of tremendous help, in making the art of unwinding attainable. I also found that because there is guidance with time for each version, it was easier to fit into a busy day and enjoy without feeling guilty. I hope that with its serious message combined with its gentle humour it will be of great help to many in need.
Maureen Kirby, Administrator
Dr Cheryl A. Rezek in the National press
Elsewhere in the media
Comments from further afield