Book Reviews

Vibrant: To Heal and Be Whole-R. Murali Krishna, M.D.

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Vibrant

 

 

 

 

 

“He used to tell me, Murali, if you have a house, it can burn down. If you have jewels, they can be stolen. The only thing that cannot be taken from you is what you have in your brain”(2). *Wise advice from Krishna’s grandfather, who he called Thatha.

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“Life’s journey brings with it certain milestones. I will be happy when I get to start school. I will be happy when I get to middle school. I will be joyous when I can drive a car. I cannot wait until I am 21. But reality tells us that our teen years, though happy and care free, can be angst-filled and awkward….Age alone has little impact on happiness,” (10). Krishna makes a valid point.

I’m a middle school counselor and I hear “I will be happy when…” on a weekly if not daily basis by students and co-workers alike. Students tell me they can’t wait to graduate from middle to high school, which I can definitely understand. Adolescence is an incredibly awkward time  and I don’t know of many adults who consider middle school to be the best time of their lives. However, even middle school has it’s pros. I have a sign on my desk that says “One Day At a Time” and I often point to it and encourage students to prepare for the future but to live in the present. I (gently) remind them that growing up comes with a laundry list of responsibilities. I’m the 7th grade counselor this year and my students have to complete an Academic & Career Plan which involves tentatively scheduling their classes for 8th grade  and answering a variety of questions regarding their likes and dislikes in regards to their future academic and career goals. One student stated that he never wanted to grow up because it sounded too complicated. I assured him that being an adult has pros as well and mentioned that sometimes my husband eats cookies for dinner and plays video games daily. He perked up right away.

I have to remind myself and my co-workers to take it one day at a time. I often hear “Is it Friday yet?” and “I can’t wait until I retire.”  Sadly we are wishing our lives away. The thought of retirement sounds soothing but I know from my grandparent’s journey through retirement that it comes with its own set of complications. It makes sense that “age alone has little impact on happiness.”

Krishna also points out that men and women are equally happy, therefore, gender plays no role. (If I have children in the future, I think that giving birth might be the only time I regret not being male).

In addition, Krishna states that money has little impact on happiness (as long as basic needs are met such as food and shelter). I’m not a materialistic person but I play the lottery from time to time and dream of becoming a successful author so that I can spend my time writing which is my true passion. However, I don’t think money exclusively equals happiness. I can think of many things that are more important than money including health and family.

Krishna also says that genetics play a key role in regards to happiness: “50% of happiness is determined by genetics, 10% on life experiences, and 40% is by choice” (12). By nature, I consider myself slightly more on the “glass half empty” view of life so I have to constantly remind myself to give thanks for the good in my life.

Anther part of Vibrant that resonated with me is the chapter focusing on  “Enjoying the Moment.” Like many people, I daydream about the future and reminisce about the past but I focus on the positives rather than the reality. My past wasn’t all sugar and spice nor will my future be and yet that’s what I remember and dream about. Living in the past or the future isn’t really living because the present is all we really have. It’s all we have a semblance of control of. Krishna sums it up best: “The answer is not not complex. It is simple. Stay in the present. Be mindful. Be present. Be focused on what is in front of you” (22).

Vibrant is definitely worth a read. (And another read, and another…) I relate to Mary Fallin, the Governor of Oklahoma’s take on Vibrant: “Anyone reading this book will feel like he’s (Krishna) a longtime friend with sage advice.” Krishna’s words carry a sense of genuineness, kindness, and peacefulness.

 

 

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