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To Soften the Blow is a powerful true story that will change the way you look at loss, stress, and trauma. At seven-years old Lynnie Vessels stepped out of the bathtub to discover her father had just shot her mother with a shotgun across their dining room table. Literally standing naked in her mother’s blood throughout the ensuing horror, she was magically transported into the loving eyes of her younger sister. Simultaneously, her older sister used words to convince her maniacal father to put down the gun. In those moments, the author came to understand the miraculous power of eye contact and words. Going back into the second grade, she unknowingly suffered from severe posttraumatic stress. She remained silent about her ordeal until at fourteen she met a principal who turned her life around. From there she set out on a path to study the undeniable power of using eye contact and words in resolving conflicts. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The only demons are those running around in our own minds and that is where our battles must be fought.” This is no ordinary story of triumph over troubles. In To Soften the Blow, Lynnie Vessels details her battles with her demons in the most instructive way a book has yet to do. As a warrior replaces the victim in her, she comes to understand the spiritual implications of violence. Reading this, you will, too. Ironically, this is one of the most uplifting stories you may ever read.

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