If You Sit Very Still by Marian Partington is a deeply personal book in which the author shares her journey of healing, not of her body, but of her psyche. In December 1973, Lucy Partington, the author’s sister, disappeared. There was no explanation for her disappearance, but Lucy didn’t return and for 21 years her family had to deal with the agony of not knowing where she was or what had happened to her. Then, in 1994, Lucy’s remains were discovered in the basement of notorious serial killers Fred and Rosemary West. The pain of not knowing what had happened to Lucy was intense, but now Marian had to face the pain of knowing how her sister’s life had ended, as well as the final agony of realising that Lucy would never be coming back.
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One might well wonder whether it is ever possible for a human being to truly heal from such awful events, and if so, how? This book provides answers to such questions by allowing the reader to share in the author’s own journey – one in which she draws on Buddhist retreats and Quaker practices, as well the content of her own dreams, to experience healing and restoration.
As you would expect, this book deals with deeply unsettling events, but what you might not expect is that this book is also incredibly inspirational. It is presented in four parts in a way that follows the structure of a medieval dream vision, and here those parts are named Crisis, Confessing, Comprehending and Transforming, to reflect the on-going nature of the journey being made. As we follow Marian’s journey, it reminds us that we always have a choice about how to respond to the circumstances that life throws at us, however challenging those circumstances may be.
Beautifully written and incredibly moving, If You Sit Very Still has the power to change the world for the better, one reader at a time, if we will allow it to do so.
A proportion of the royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to The Forgiveness Project.