Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

Book Review: Memoir sheds light on devastating effects of rhino poaching

Critically acclaimed author Helena Kriel opens up about rhino poaching and how she used meditation to connect with this endangered species.

book review memoir sheds light on devastating effects of rhino poaching - Book Review: Memoir sheds light on devastating effects of rhino poaching

“I don’t believe I can change the world. I cannot. But I can do something” – these are some the final closing words in award-winning author and screenwriter, Helena Kriel’s, latest work – Meditating with Rhinos.

This deeply moving memoir takes the reader through heartbreak and loss in all forms and tells a story of personal strength, the power of meditation, and the beauty of rhinos.

Kriel uses words to create a witty, touching, and relatable memoir detailing how she dealt with the pain of feeling powerless in a world where the weak and vulnerable are exploited and how she eventually began her internationally recognised non-profit organisation Baby Rhino Rescue.

Watch: Helena Kriel gets up close and personal with rhinos

The memoir starts with Kriel finding herself in a deep personal crisis, and she is forced to ask herself: What is my purpose and where do I belong? She returns to her hometown of Johannesburg, where she hopes she will quietly heal in peace.

Fate, however, had another plan for her and soon she finds herself deep in the African bush, having volunteered at a sanctuary for baby rhinos who have been orphaned by poaching. It is here that she comes face-to-face with the horrors and the devastating reality of rhino poaching.

Baby Rhino Rescue: Healing through meditation

Overwhelmed by the cruelty and the terrors of this, Kriel finds a way to connect with these hurt, scared, and traumatised baby rhinos by meditating.

As she begins to meditate close to these tiny rhinos, a very deep connection between her and this species is forged.  

It is through this ancient technique of meditation, that Kriel finds she can access these broken animals and begin to heal them and, at the same time, her own broken heart.

Described by Hellen Lunn as a book which “explores with honesty and humour a journey undertaken by an open heart”, this memoir will bring you face-to-face with the unbelievable cruelty of humans; while at the same time, showcasing the power of meditation and giving you hope in the battle against rhino poaching; a battle which is ongoing and which is being bravely fought by people like Helena Kriel and her Baby Rhino Rescue organisation.

‘Meditating with Rhinos’: Memorable quotes

I like to suspend my rational mind and am open to the possibility of other things, which I hope doesn’t make my thinking that of a hysteric. I hope it makes me curious and fascinated. I want to consider what lies beyond what the mind and the sense, as an extension of the mind, will have me believe is the complete truth.

“Close your eyes.” I do. “Now open your hand.” My palm offers itself out with all the lines. I am exposed – lifeline, heart, fate line – he places an object in the middle of the crisscrossing map of my destiny.

One small series of things affect other things and then I am involved in changing one piece of this place. I fundamentally believe that if we all just do something, get involved in some way, however small, in this grand humanity, this collective, we could change things.

About the author Helena Kriel

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  • Helena Kriel, founder and president of her non-profit organisation Baby Rhino Rescue, has won numerous awards, including the Steven Spielberg award for screen writing.
  • She is also the author of other highly acclaimed works, such as The Year of Facing Fire.
  • She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and during her childhood, she spent many holidays in the bush; it is was here that her love for animals and nature first began.
  • She divides her time between Johannesburg and Los Angeles in the United States (US), where she teaches and mentors screenwriters at Spalding University.

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