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The Mindfulness Diaries: How I Survived My First Nine-Day Silent Meditation Retreat

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  88 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Jennifer Howd had been building a mindfulness practice for two and a half years before taking on the challenge of her first nine-day silent meditation retreat. In this debut memoir in "The Mindfulness Diaries" series, she chronicles the humorous-and often harrowing-adventures of the dueling inner voices that emerge in the silence: one intent on focusing on the seemingly ne ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published February 14th 2014 by Howd Media (first published February 13th 2014)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read this because I am going on a silent retreat for the first time this year and am a little terrified of it. This was a useful book in the sense that she gives a clear picture of what it's like. She also shares her own journey (she has strept throat during her retreat so there are many reflections on pain and suffering.) I found her a little annoying and the all-caps yelling/frustration style to happen a little too often, but I suppose in some ways its comforting to see a person who doesn't ...more
Kate
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To me, the mark of a good book is how often I cry when I'm reading it. And I cried a lot.

I find mindfulness, and what it would mean to be dedicated to it, to be intimidating at times... especially when I think about what would be required of me to survive a multi-day retreat. I wonder if I'm "enlightened" enough to take a challenge like that on or if the regular presence of my judgmental mind is a sign that I'm just not there yet. In this story, the author shares her experience in such an authe
...more
Heather Seeber
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I've never been to a retreat such as this; I don't even practice meditation. I'm actually a bit intimidated by the whole thing. But the author is so honest and relatable; I could imagine myself thinking the same thoughts she does, having the same internal dialogue, experiencing the same insecurities. The section on breaking the silence so closely mirrored my feelings in social situations, I could have written it myself. I finished the b ...more
Robert Choates
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This short and easy read provides a glimpse into the author's mind during her mindfulness meditation practice while on a nine day retreat. She's open and vulnerable in her thoughts, and if you engage in a similar practice, you'll recognize and relate to all the debris that too easily rises when the mind goes 'quiet'.

The story the author tells is touching, grounded, and humorous, and if you meditate on your own, without the benefit of a group or a teacher, and have ever wondered what exactly does
...more
Caryn
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a nice inside look into a silent meditation retreat from the perspective of a humble and vulnerable student. It was nice to read about what a person can learn about themselves while being imperfect but willing. Jennifer's writing style is easy to relate to as a person struggling with modern life. I'm even inspired to go deeper with my own experiences with meditation and silence.
Ashleigh Elverson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it isn't obvious...I am planning on going on a meditation retreat. I wanted some insight and accidentally stumbled on this book-- it's a very quick read, so I thought, why not?

Thankfully I was in the right head space to appreciate this. The author talks a lot about how the overwhelming silence catapults her into bursts of emotion, often times in appreciation or frustration regarding her circumstances. Seeing that I'm terrible at relaxing, I'm sure this is for me.

But. One very interesting thin
...more
Carolyn
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book free from Goodreads for a honest review. It was fast reading and I was anxious to pour myself into the story since I had never been on that type of retreat. It was a very moving story about how another woman related and at the same time resisted moving forward in her life. Being stuck at the midpoint birthday in her life, she found solace in overcoming some areas of judgement. It brings to mind that we are all in a kinship together but must individually deal with pride and r ...more
Sarah
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read about this book a while ago and had it on my “to read list” for what seemed to be forever. Well, I finally got it off of Amazon and decided today was the day to read it. Very quick read. Only took me about an hour to get through it. Very informative about silent meditation retreats and the specific one Jennifer Howd (author) experienced for her 40th birthday gift to herself.

I am definitely going to check out these retreat places because it feels like I need to do something like that
...more
Chelsea
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a nice surprise. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!
Being a HUGE fan of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center...this book was made that much more valuable to me in my life. Thank you Jennifer for writing this book and being so incredibly open about your true inner thoughts in your journey. A Good Read!!!
Erin Donaldson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great little book about a Silent Retreat - mediation and the authors thoughts and journal entries throughout. Sounds like a profound experience, I love how she is very open and honest about her "sh*t" and acknowledges her thought processes and how she gets herself out of it.
Alex Linschoten
An easy-read diary of Howd's experience during a week-long mindfulness retreat. Fairly accurate, by my own experience, and some useful advice.
Bakertyl
I liked the style, but wish there was more about the author's journey through the retreat... basically, I wanted more of it.
Pam
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cadl
A very easy, quick read. Jennifer effectively communicates what a silent meditation is like and the range of emotions she experienced during it.
Denise
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
great ideas--just not fully developed--
Love the concepts though--
Mario
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, meditation
4.5
Katie
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Jul 07, 2017
Vivek
rated it it was amazing
Mar 04, 2014
Karen Twinem
rated it liked it
May 15, 2016
Susan
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account of the author's experience at a silent meditation retreat. She shares some useful insights and tips.
NW
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May 05, 2014
Waterlearner
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Sep 08, 2017
Careyleah
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May 08, 2014
Robin Paulsen
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Jennifer Howd is an author, editor, and a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. Her debut memoir, Sit, Walk, Don’t Talk: How I Survived a Silent Meditation Retreat, was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition and is published by Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh's publishing company, Parallax Press. She regularly posts about mindful living on The Huffington Post, ...more
More about Jennifer Howd

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