The Healing

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

The story written by Saeeda Hafiz looks very honest even though it hurts. Violence and drug abuse overshadow Hafiz's life. But this story goes with a gentle but strong healing, yoga and macrobiotic diet.
After getting a decent education and an established job while living a painful life, Hafiz still felt uneasy and always faltered. Until finally yoga becomes a way out for a healthier life and meaningful healthy food. The prose in this story is really interesting and made me aware.
The structure and storyline in this book are well illustrated. Interwoven through past stories that are difficult to express but still forced. The story is solely emotional. And healthy recipes that can be emulated are important things to appreciate.
Finally I have to say that, Hafiz found her own bright path with her own world. She found her soul which had been abandoned and dared to dream. And this inspirational story remains a hope for readers, including me.
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I really have nothing in common with this author, but her story is so relatable.  I enjoyed ready about her journey in this inspiring book.  It pushes you too look at your life and take stock in where you are, where you've been, and where are going.  I won't be adding bean sprouts to my diet or visiting an ashrama, but I feel inspired to explore my life and figure out my path to healing.  This book is well written and an easy read with a lot of depth.
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I want to start by saying, I do not think I had an adequate idea of what this book was really about before reading it. So I think my surprise impacted my experience. I think from a literary perspective Saeeda does a good job of explaining the inner most workings of her new life. I think it is important to have a foundational idea of the culture around holistic living before reading as I had to look many things up. This was not a book for me BUT I think it's going to be a fabulous book for it's audience.
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The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches, author Saeeda Hafiz shares her life story of her discovery of the healing elements of yoga and following whole foods macrobiotic diet. Throughout her career which has lasted over two decades, Hafiz has studied yoga at ashrams located in Istanbul, Budapest, and Cyprus to the Sahadri Mountain in Kerala, India. Though these exotic locations abroad sound exciting, and they are—Hafiz has also had to work through her own challenges resulting from a neglectful and dysfunctional family background that included serious problems related to alcohol and substance abuse, and the loss of a family member to gun violence.

As  teen, Hafiz was determined to graduate from college, and following her graduation she worked in the corporate banking industry. Being a role model for black college bound teen girls was important to her. Eventually her own mentor was terribly disappointed in Hafiz when she decided to quit her job to follow her aspirations to teach yoga (1993) and remarked: “Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Lena Horne didn’t sacrifice so you could do the same work as your grandmother.” While it was true she might need to do domestic work and being a yoga instructor didn’t require a college degree, she was excited to do something she loved.  
Hafiz began her formal training at the Sivanandia Yoga Center located in NYC, under the Swami Shan Kara. At the ashram, she believed her studies should be peaceful and non-confrontational, nor did she wish to begin a new romantic relationship during this transitional period, It was surprising to her that not everything met her expectations and how challenging it actually was to support herself on her new career path, with frequent
moves, and forming a mutually fulfilling relationship with a partner. 

It is helpful for reader’s to know the basic facts about yoga, special diets and the holistic lifestyle; otherwise the story is hard to follow. We learn that some health conditions can be healed with diet and eliminating sugar is likely the best decision a person can make regarding diet. Hafiz wrote honestly about her PTSD, depression and anxiety and family problems regarding her sibling’s substance abuse and incarceration. It was really inspiring to see how following holistic principles could improve ones life. The author was eventually nationally recognized for her health consciousness and skills in Essence Magazine (May 1998) after prior interviews and promises to run a story. Hafiz was also a yoga and holistic educator at the Women’s Holistic Wellness Center (YWCA) and taught at Carnegie Mellon University. ~ 3* GOOD.  With thanks to Parallax Press via NetGalley for the DRC for the purpose of review.
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Saeeda Hafiz takes us on a journey of mind, body, and soul as she brings to light the truth of a dark childhood, one rattled with domestic violence, absence, and addiction, and the relationships that grew out of it. Determined to push herself above the backdrop of her youth, she soon finds herself established among the middle class in the corporate world of banking only to realize that she still feels out of place. Interspersed with emotional flashbacks to what she fears is “the typical black American family”, this is one woman’s struggle to leave behind a stereotype that can feel like a legacy. Her story is not one without shame, which makes it all the more courageous. Leaving her corporate status behind, she literally follows her gut and decides to adopt a macrobiotic diet which eventually leads to living out her dream of being a holistic health practitioner, live-in chef, yoga instructor, and teacher, continually redefining her life’s path. However, the dreams are short lived and she often finds herself falling back down the rabbit hole of shame and eventually on the brink of depression. The troubles of her past seem to always find a way to haunt her until she is able to face -and accept- them. Along the way, she gains perspective through traveling, new relationships, and therapy, but holistic health is at the heart of it all, guiding her forward. Hafiz’s story is both wretched and relatable; the story of finding oneself born among the rubble and the tedious fight to rise above it, scarred, but intact. In the end, she learns that the constant ups and downs are simply a part of finding one’s balance.
 
 	I had high hopes for the newest release from Parallax Press, the publishing company founded by renowned Zen master Thích Nhất Hanh. On one hand it had everything I expected and hoped for; it depicted a holistic lifestyle, told of the author’s journey both through travels and her yoga practice, and had some Oprah-worthy insights along the way. However, it was also the one thing a memoir should never be: a story of the author’s life from beginning to present day. The lack of framing made an otherwise good story a tedious read. The reader is shown the author’s thoughts and habits on a loop, beginning in her early twenties and continuing through three jobs, two yoga retreats, three failed relationships and two decades before finally bringing forth any real resolution. This may mimic the ups and downs of life and stay true to Hafiz’s experiences, but it was the same message being dolled up in different clothing over and over. Hafiz is gifted in metaphor, but certain passages toe the line of being vague and unnecessary.  Even the afterword, which is peppered with macrobiotic whole-food recipes, was a bit lackluster when compared to even the most banal of food blogs. No doubt there is a message worth hearing here, but perhaps like the practice of yoga, patience is key with this novel.
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An interesting book about a woman who embraced a holitistic lifestyle and made it work for her. While personally I'm not into the New Age stuff, the author's personal story was interesting. She struggled, moved around, got disillusioned, but ultimately found a life that works for her.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book.   Highly recommended read!   Thanks for providing through Net Galley.  Five Stars *****
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