Inner Peace for Busy Women:
Balancing Work, Family, and Your Inner Life

by Joan Z. Borysenko, Ph.D.

Hay House Inc, 2003. ISBN 1401901220.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 01/15/2003

Nonfiction: Active Life; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

I was not looking for this particular book when I went into my favorite bookstore/coffeshop. But, there it was! How could I resist the title? Inner Peace for Busy Women—this book HAD to be written just for me, I thought!

It is not often that I find it necessary to comment on the actual physical components of a book when I sit down to review it. This time, however, I feel I must share my delightful discoveries. First of all, I am naturally drawn to "little books" as I call them. You know the type. They are slim little volumes that carry messages far deeper than their sleek size could possibly seem to hold. This is one such book. The 179 pages speak not only to me but to many women I know. Now it is my mission to introduce them to this book so that they can have the same delightful experience I had.

Paying for my coffee and newfound book, I settled into a quiet little corner of the shop. The quality of the paper is exquisite. Smooth pages of a soft, subtle white color are inviting. But it was hard to ignore the striking difference from most books, even those "little books" I so enjoy. The delicate shade of green ink is a relaxing and welcoming change from the stark black print we have become accustomed to in most of our reading. I am fairly certain it is no accident that this was the chosen print color. It beckons the reader into a cool, peaceful and calm domain. While inside those pages, I felt as though I had stepped into another world where someone understood what I felt, what I feared, what I needed to hear, and what I already knew. The book and its author made me feel as though I was in the company of good friends once I opened these pages.

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., is the bestselling author of this work as well as many other publications. She is a well-known expert on stress, spirituality, and the mind-body connection. She has ten other publications to her credit and is a nationwide speaker on women's health and spirituality and integrative medicine. She also hosts a website where visitors can browse, sign up for a free newsletter, and get the latest information on seminars, speaking engagements, books etc.

The moment I turned the page to the book's preface, "I Am Woman Telling the Truth", I was hooked. As I read on, I found myself thinking that in some ways, reading this book felt as good as sharing a cup of tea with a dear friend.

"If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that a busy life is hard. In spite of our best efforts to have successful careers, raise happy families, enjoy a rich spiritual life, and make a difference in the world, many busy women carry an unspoken burden of grief inside themselves,"
writes Borysenko.

I couldn't get enough of this book. Nor could I read it fast enough. Yet, at the same time, I knew that the first read was only to whet my appetite for more. I sipped my coffee and read the volume from cover to cover, then headed home to wait for a bit of peace and quiet to REALLY read the book a second time. Its message was just too rich and too personal to be read once and put aside.

"Women's wisdom has traditionally been passed down through story. In sharing these stories of our lives with one another, we leave road maps that detail treasures and traps, paving the way for the generation that follows."

Has Ms. Borysenko been to Story Circle Network? It would seem so from those powerful and true words! Her philosophy is so in sync with that of our own organization that I couldn't help but notice how closely her words mirrored our beliefs about our writings.

This little volume with its five parts contains essays of three types: (1) woman-to-woman stories, (2) essays dealing with research, and (3) spiritual principles on aspects of inner life. With an invitation to join the author, readers are offered a chance to "discover some ways to finally find some balance, wholeness, and peace in our lives."

Looking for some uplifting and encouraging words about stress, guilt, or the busy-ness of life? They're here in this little book. Part of the sandwich generation? Read "Taking Care While Caretaking." Struggling to "Come Back Home to Yourself" (the title of part III)? Spend a little time pondering "Mindfulness: The Lights Are On, and Somebody's Home."

I am fairly certain that once you begin this little treasure, you will find it difficult to put down. When you come to the end, you will feel blessed, renewed, and perhaps a bit sad that the time spent with this new good friend has drawn to a close.

In her afterword titled "Sisters on a Journey", Borysenko bids her readers farewell with these words: "I wish that we could sit together and talk about our busy lives over a cup of tea." (I KNEW IT !! I knew that was what this reading experience felt like!!) "...Looking deeply into each other's eyes, we'd realize that we've held the wisdom in our hands all along. What is there to search for? The answers are already ours... As women have from the beginning of time, we would recognize oursleves in our respective stories." (Are we SURE Ms. Borysenko isn't part of Story Circle Network?!) "...Even though we haven't had the chance to sip tea together, pehaps you will do just that with a friend or a group of friends and talk about your lives..."

This book resonated with me in a way no book has done in a long, long time. I intend to share copies of it with several dear friends and family members. Its message is profound, timely, and deeply personal.

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