Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Book Review - Calm by Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew

During one of our stops on the motorway coming up to the Lake District I decided I needed to buy a book to read whilst I am away. Feeling stressed from the hours of waiting in stationary traffic on the M6 I decided that the little blue book called “Calm” was the one for me. 

Not only was the colour appealing to my senses but also the title held everything that I was currently… NOT
Maybe it’s the change in beds or possibly the change in surroundings, but last night I woke in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep. What better time to pick up my little book of calm and start to read.
Within the first sentence I was hooked.
“We all want the kind of mentality that allows us to be calm while driving to work (The Lakes?) in bumper to bumper traffic” (see post on travelling with Heni- lake district trip). How did they know what sort of journey we had just had? Uncanny!

I continued to read to find out that it was “another” book based on mindfulness. Perhaps there is some message in this for me? I seem to be drawn to mindfulness of late…

BUT ...this book is different.

The book is not only appealing to the senses with its wonderful hues of blue, having an instant calming effect, but also every page is a visual feast. You can read it straight off or dip in and out of the eight sections to practice any one of the many short suggestions/exercises that can bring about a state of being present and calm.

I carried on reading.
Michael Acton Smiths (co-founder of calm) said he felt like he had stumbled across a “secret power” when he first came across mindfulness…  
Quote: “ Calming the mind is not about switching off and retreating from the bustle of life. It’s a SUPERPOWER that rewires our brains, changes the way we see the world and helps to unlock our true potential.”

…Yet another crazy uncanny moment for me…not only are my kids obsessed with super heroes and marvel character but only days previous I had been talking with them regarding which super powers we would want to possess. Perhaps this was it…. I could develop the superpower of CALM?

I carried on even more eager… “Spending time in nature is a short cut to serenity”
…wow…and here I am in one of the most beautiful spots in England surrounded by rolling hills, rocky crags, fields of lambs and lakes.
I turned the page… and what did it talk about….
The romantic poets… right there, on the next page… A Wordsworth poem. 

 Here I am in Wordsworth territory, one of the most famous of the Romantic poets…his house is just a few short miles away in Grasmere. My all time favourites are "Intimations of Immortality" and  "Daffodils".
How could that be? 
It felt like it was no longer uncanny. More like serendipitous.
I knew this message and this book was for me. As I yawningly made the last page turn I was confronted with a wonderful calligraphy quote from Shakespeare… “to sleep, perchance to dream…”
I shut the book rolled over and decided… this next week while I am here in the Lake district I am going to get my daily dose of calm and put in practice some of the exercises they suggest:-

 (Since writing the above I've done these:-)

Pick some flowers and press them…

Walk barefoot on a mossy shaded path… 

Go cloud gazing (there are plenty of those around)...

Evening clouds over Lake Coniston

Fill out the three question exercises...

Hang out... 

And take a nap…

I surely need at least a short one after last night’s lack of sleep!
There are a heap more exercises that look fun and informative and if the rest of the book is as visual and pretty as the bits I read I can't wait to get some more CALM real soon.
 CALM is a simple book ...but then again they are often the best...It's going to make it on to my special bedside book pile so I can use it often and be inspired.
You can check out www.calm.com and download the calm app too to practice some more of the mindfulness exercises. Let me know what you think?


'Though nothing can bring back 
the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of 
glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
strength in what remains behind'


  1. "A short cut to serenity!"
    That describes the great pictures you shared with us along with your book review. Lovely work!

    1. Thank you Michele. So glad you liked it. I've done quite a few more of the exercises since reading the book. A helpful way to stay in the moment and CALM! Glad you could drop by and pay Henibean a visit . X


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