Gratitude, compassion, abundance—these have become buzzwords in the contemporary self-help movement, occasionally to the point where they lose all meaning. In Lessons on Living Well, Veronica Bhandaire discusses these and other concepts in an attempt to make them relevant again.
Veronica Bhandaire, a retired nurse who now practices alternative medicine, offers 21 short chapters, each on a theme, followed by an affirmation and blank space for reader notes. A chapter titled “Gratitude,” for example, talks about finding the good in every day, even amid the bad, then affirms, “I give thanks for all the blessings in my life.” The blank page could then be used to list those blessings.
Unfortunately, the writing occasionally derails, as in the chapter on love, where she writes in a passage about using a counselor to help settle an old grievance: “This is a delicate process, which, if complete trust is felt with a professional, the process can be done with that professional creating a safe space for the person doing the process.” Such passages challenge a reader’s comprehension, overly complicating a simple idea (you can do this work alone, or find a counselor you trust to help).
The lack of concrete anecdotes or strong visuals to latch onto make the reading experience rather fuzzy as well. Since the author divides her time between home in Ireland and charitable work in India, it’s likely she has plenty of interesting anecdotes that could illustrate these ideas; one wishes for that personal connection.
That being said, this is one woman’s take on the topics featured, and some readers will no doubt connect with her voice and vision. The book remains in need of editing for clarity and of proofreading to eliminate typos, but the optimism and encouragement come through loud and clear. With those adjustments, Lessons on Living Well could be a hit.
Also available as an ebook.