“Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness: Surrendering to Life” by Cheryl Wilfong

Cheryl Wilfong
Heart Path Press, LLC (2019)
ISBN 9780997272963
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (9/19)

“Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness: Surrendering to Life” by Cheryl Wilfong is her story of discovering, treating, and overcoming breast cancer while in her late sixties. Since she was introduced to the art of meditation at the age of twenty-five, she has attributed this success, as well as a well-rounded and stress-free life, to following the practices of the Buddha. The mantra of Buddha is that you reap what you sow; if you quit caring about the “extra” things in life, then you will be on your way to a life in which you “quit” yourself and care more about others.

When Cheryl received the life-changing news of breast cancer, as expected, she responded with thoughts of “how can this be?” since she led a healthy lifestyle, exercised regularly and always had a strong immune system. After some consideration, she realized that aging, disease, and death are not meant to be seen as our enemies, but rather a natural process of the unfolding of life; they all allow us to take our lives seriously and to understand the full purpose of our lives.

The content throughout the book contains stories pertaining to various people whom she meets or knows either in her life or classes she teaches and attends. Different Buddhist practices, such as your view of the future, on worrying, being content with your life and whatever “The Universe” or your Higher Power throws at you and going with it and trusting in the overall outcome, are all discussed. Of course, Cheryl’s journey with breast cancer is recorded, and how she dealt with every aspect of it, without excluding much.

Cheryl has lived quite a life, and has much to show for it with her active lifestyle and impressive gardening skills (as mentioned in her other books, i.e. “The Meditative Gardener”). While I may not agree with many of her life philosophies, I do respect her for working hard at what she truly believes in, and in the process, being a nice and respectable person. I can’t say I know what it is like to go through any kind of cancer, but based on her stories, and her age during this experience, she pulled through like a champ and kept a positive attitude through it all; something necessary to overcome many negative circumstances in your life, but usually more-so with the help of your Higher Power as well.

I would recommend “Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness: Surrendering to Life” by Cheryl Wilfong to those who are having to deal with cancer in any form, especially breast cancer. This is also an uplifting book to remind people of how important your life is now and at all times, and how it plays a role in the large thing called Life.

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