Donald Altman is a psychotherapist, a former Buddhist monk, and the award-winning author of several books including The Mindfulness Code and The Joy Compass. He conducts mindfulness workshops and trains mental health therapists and businesspeople to use this practice
as a tool for optimizing health and fulfillment.
"Old emotional clutter directly affects our ability to regulate emotions, experience joy, and have a fulfilling life. It even affects our physical well-being by putting the brakes on our immune system," writes Altman in his concise introduction to this paperback. He explains that neuroscience informs us that we can rewire the brain to clear away emotional clutter by just spending five minutes a day on certain practices.
The book is divided into four parts: becoming a master programmer of your brain; healing the emotional clutter of significant relationships, family wounds, and cultural warps; using practices such as mindful grounding, connecting with nature, and simplifying your life as ways of preventing the buildup of new emotional clutter; and softening the heart in the pursuit of peace, purpose, and wholeness.
The skills Altman wants us to use for clearing away emotional clutter are present moment participation, attuned acceptance, intentionality, reflection, understanding of suffering, and purposeful partnership. The author once again demonstrates his mastery of mindfulness with substantive passages on attention, inner facebooking, nutrients for planting a garden of thought, the healing salve of self-acceptance, the ability to cultivate feelings of safety and trust with others, vaccinating yourself against affluenza, and taking daily snapshots of joy.