A Book of Advice from a Zen Buddhist Monk to Help Us Begin This Anxious Year!


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Let's face it 2020 was a hard year. Now we are in 2021 and it is not looking much better. We are living through a worldwide pandemic. Even after the November election our politics do not seem settled or at least completely accepted. Then there is the struggle with masks. Some people wear them and others do not even when we see the numbers of people infected growing so fast and our hospitals are reaching their limits. All of this is enough to make us feel stressed and anxious. The new year usually brings hopes and dreams. We make resolutions on how we are going to change for the better. Yet this year we are all a bit overwhelmed. How do we get past all of this? 

It seems like the perfect time to share today's book full of simple advice from a Zen Buddhist Monk. The book is Zen Wisdom for the Anxious by Shinsuke Hosokawa and illustrated by Ayako Taniyama. Zen--what do you think of? Meditation? Relaxation? Perhaps a zen garden? Just the thought of the word and what it conjures in my mind starts to relax me. How about you? 

This book is divided by season as well as having an introduction and epilogue. The pages range from pages like the one above with an illustration and less words to pages with just words, but never a full page. The advice is simple yet powerful. Some will require thought and others will make you say, "That is true." Some pages have Kanji on it like the one above an others do not. 

The book is done completely in black and white. It uses white space to help send the message of the zen wisdom. With each chapter there is a reference to the season. The winter talks about snowflakes and pine trees. Spring talks about flowers. Each season also goes into more deep topics like moments and words. 

Some of the simple advice is phrases that we know but don't always think and some is telling us stories and more of a prose. This is a book you can pick up and read all at once or one where you can read a few pages at a time like a meditation. 

The use of shading of the black and white is throughout the book. There are pages where there is black background and many with white background. It is powerful and artful to see how the illustrations help with the feeling of the book. 

It is the perfect book to help you through the tough days and to find more joy in the positive ones! I hope you will check it out!