This new released book jointly authored by Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf may be more or less interrelated with my earlier write up about tips for staying young, living longer and aging happily. The suggested tips which were spelled out in the said particular blog could very well echo the approaches mentioned in the book on how to make every woman’s life and dreams a reality – despite the blotches, weaknesses, trials and tribulations encountered in every room in the house.
The said book is a short story, a metaphor which basically describes all about women’s dreams, complications, frustrations and successes in life represented by the different rooms in a typical house. The bottom line is, it suggested certain strategies for every room in your life, particularly on how to be happy , something that is not easy thing to do as it requires a lot of patience and perseverance – the core values crucial to getting there -to the road of joy and happiness.
The book describes each room in the house, as follows:
Basement – this part of the house is considered as the most spacious part and it serves as foundation of the house. Memorable moments of the family since childhood happen in this room, that is why some of the family’s memorabilia are stored in this place.
Family Room – this is where members of the family gather around to discuss on family related matters and issues, whether happy or sad events in life.
Office Room – this is where the financial transactions (e.g. payment for bills, daily expenses, number of hours spent at home and work) are taken into account.
Kitchen – this is where food is prepared for nourishment and domestic chores are divided and assigned.
Living Room – this is where social life is mostly spent with friends, with officemates, neighbors, and other social related activities are being held.
Bath Room – this is where major issues of women such as beauty, vanity, weight, fashion and the like are discovered.
Children’s Room – this is where the issues about the kids (their school needs, personal necessities, peer pressures, ) are discussed, including the decision on whether or not to have and nurture kids, among others.
Bed Room – this is where intimacy, romance, sex and personal relationships between husband and wife or between partners are explored and shared.
Attic- this is where the expectations of the family have for each other from childhood to adulthood.
My comments on the book:
Comment No. 1
Of the 9 rooms described above, I noticed that the authors excluded a Prayer Room, so to speak. They may have their reasons why, probably it was overlooked or it was intentionally not considered at all as a major place of a house. Considering however, that the subject being discussed is about happiness, it may be imperative that a space or a small room in a decent average home should have been allotted for the family’s spiritual growth. If one is spiritually mature, it could have been easy to lessen the stresses and resolve the problems encountered in the other rooms.
The Prayer Room is like a war room where the key members of the family, especially the mother or even all the members could visit the room each day or at times to discuss with God and formulate strategies on how to battle the said stresses and problems. We should be reminded that mortals as we all are, we should make God as the ce nter of our lives—-after all, our purpose here on earth is to know, to love and to serve God.
As the saying goes, the family that prays together, stays together. If I may quote Mother Teresa’s words…”Be sure to teach the families to pray all together , for the family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together, they will love one another…”. I strongly believe with the said proverb because our parents (especially my Mom), taught us when we were still kids to be prayerful. We pray all together and I would say that it was this time that our spiritual journey began.
I often tell the kids in my class that when we lift up our problems and open our hearts to God through prayers, we are in effect strengthening our relationship with and faith in Him. And when there is someone more powerful to help, there is that sense of comfort and the feeling of inner peace and security enveloping on one’s self. As indicated in my other blog, talking to God through prayers or meditation, regardless of one’s religion, is the most peaceful and inexpensive way of releasing the daily burdens and stresses in life. When we have inner peace in ourselves, we become detach to self-centeredness, materialism, worldly desires, and greed (which are at times the roots of troubles in the house), and in the end we become happier, healthier and loving creatures of God .
Obviously, the book is applicable and is being addressed and compared to the life of an average to upper working class woman who has a house of her own (either thru sale or lease) and could relate to what the authors would like to imply.
As such, this book is not meant for majority of the people in the world living under the poverty line (80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day), who can still afford to smile, especially the women, even in the midst of problems and difficulties. These poor women have no rooms to spare, they do not live in an impeccably clean houses – sometimes they live in a shack with no dividers and everything are done in a tiny square room- which is even way far from the situation of a problematic working woman living in a cramped, messy and fully packed studio room in NYC. So, how on earth can these people do it? How are they able to survive? These are amazingly beautiful people!
What I would like to impart here is that regardless of one’s stature, a person can still be happy, can still smile, even with sadness and pain , if armed with the right attitude, their being able to adapt to thorny situations and how they perceived and dealt with it. If I may quote again what I said in my earlier article, a positive outlook in life is essential for a happy contented life. The less privilege people, the women in particular, do not fret and lament of what ever hardships they’re experiencing in life. I can say these things in view of my actual dealings with people in the rural areas or even in metro slums or the so-called informal dwellers, specifically in developing economies. These are the women who are the true heroines, who have mastered the art of coping with sad realities of life, who have accepted that it is part of the system, that their happiness does not come in the form of material possessions or the things that can be bought in the consumer market place. Rather, their pleasures and wants are simple: they are happy that they are alive and intact, that they can eat together even with just one serving of fish and rice on the table, and that they can still afford to love one another. These are the people who are happy and grateful for all the things being provided to them, and that this kind of attitude has a trickle down effect to their neighbors, and ult imately to the community, so to speak!
Finally, I would like to say that LOVE is the key to all the doors and rooms in the house, to all things. This is the probably the joy that we would want to see in a house to make it a home. Peace and happiness are in our HEARTS and in our HEARTS is where LOVE is. Without LOVE, then everything will turn awry. LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL!
Comment No. 3
Nevertheless, I would still recommend this book especially to the young urban professionals or “yuppies” to consider this book as a guide or framework in deciphering their successes, failures and emotional issues, and eventually reaching happiness at the end of the day for as long as they seek Divine guidance..
About the Book and the Authors:
Launched/published early this March 2010, the book has a hard cover and with 288 pages. Danziger, L – is the Editor-in-chief of Self magazine. Birndorf, C. – is a psychiatrist, especially for women’s health and the founding director of Payne Whitney Women’s Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.