A Patchwork of Comforts - Small Pleasures for Peace of Mind by Carol Wiseman
“Just think how much different our lives would be—calmer, happier, healthier—if we spent more time nurturing ourselves and less time on the endless string of tasks we assign ourselves every day.” – From the book

Author Carol Wiseman sent out a letter to everyone she knew, past and present, asking, “What comforts you the most?” and “How do you relive your stress?”  The broad cross section of replies offered a window into what brings people relief when the details of life get them down. One thing proved certain to the author: we all share the need to be nurtured in some way.

A Patchwork of Comforts – Small Pleasures for Peace of Mind shares the brief personal comforts, but the author adds her own inspired voice by creating two perspectives from which to view each comfort. The first, culled from Wiseman’s imagination and written from a first-person point of view, pulls the reader gently into each experience. In the second perspective, the author offers her thoughts on what makes each subject a source of such pleasure.

Why, exactly, do we need to be comforted? The author actually lists in the Appendix, verbatim, dozens of personal stresses for those who contributed to the book. Here are but a few:

Adapting to life as a widow
Not being “first” on anyone’s list
Marital difficulties
Not being in control
A husband that works all the time
Wishing my wife would stop smoking
Poor international relations and risk of world wars
TMJ and arthritis in my jaw
Having a stack of unpaid bills and only $5 in the bank
Kids!!! (a two year old screamer and a teenager)

For example, Bobbie from Grants Pass, Oregon finds comfort by listening to his favorite music—very loud—when he wants to break stress:

“I’m bored, bored, bored. Life has fallen back into a rut lately, and I need some sort of an uplift. When I’m in a funk like this, music always does the trick, flowing over my body like fairy dust, getting my life back on track. Enter Elton. My own body shocks me. It’s moving, and I’m powerless to stop the growing urge to sway. Some CDs just defy grumpy, and he’s done it again, good old Dr. John…”

Organized alphabetically, A Patchwork of Comforts offers 70 comforts for the body, mind, and spirit and includes entertaining bits of trivia, recipes, and black-and-white photos throughout. A few of the comforts include:

Bath: Ahhh, alone at last
Daydreams: Going to the movies for free
Eating Out: No decisions, no cleanup
Golf: Challenge in paradise
Lists: Let you know where you stand
Orion and Family: Sky glitter starts a part in your heart
Peaceful People: Calm is contagious
Wheelchair Accessible: Getting in—and out—of everyday places
Yard Work: A chance to nurture

Reflecting on her own life, the author muses how fears irrational, irrelevant, and debilitating has kept her from living life to the fullest. Often, we don’t stop to examine the autopilot nature of our lives and the tension that’s underneath the surface. Nurturing ourselves is not only kind, but also essential for balance and harmony. A Patchwork of Comforts indirectly reveals the nature of everyday stress and fatigue that sends us off-kilter and offers uplifting, practical solutions to life’s pressures. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks, outside pressures, and conditions beyond your control, this book provides a calming, centering voice of comfort.

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