A LIFE-THREATENING health crisis led acclaimed author Sweta Vikram towards writing her latest book A Piece of Peace.
The autobiographical collection of inspiring essays documents her journey from a near fatal disease to recovery through mindfulness and Ayurvedic healing. She describes the wellness guide as a path to inner peace and personal power for those feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic. This latest literary offering adds to the impressive number of books from the prolific New York-based writer.
Eastern Eye caught up with Sweta to discuss A Piece of Peace, the key life lessons it offers and advice for those going through difficulties.
What led towards you writing A Piece of Peace?
I wrote it to share my story, create a safe space for those struggling with chronic illness and life’s battles, and remind people about the power of positivity, the magic of showing up, and much more. I also want to remind women to stop relying on people to build you up or tell your stories. Unexpressed stories, trauma in the body, and lack of self-care can wreak havoc on the body and your life.
Who are you hoping connects with the book?
I hope this book reminds people that they aren’t alone in their struggles and suffering. I hope it connects with anyone who is looking for accessible ways to understand healing, interesting ways to enhance their productivity and creativity, and nourishing ways to sustain a balanced life. This book will connect deeply with women, creative professionals, chronic illness warriors, those in high-stress jobs, and people curious about the mind-body connection.
What was the biggest challenge of writing it?
Writing certain parts of this book meant reliving the physical and emotional agony of those days. Forgiving people along the way wasn’t easy either.
How does writing an empowering book like this compare to a novel?
All of my writings include a deep essence of wellness and women’s empowerment. All these
years, through my books, I have given a voice to other women’s stories or highlighted social issues. With A Piece of Peace, I tell my story and work as a guide. Writing non-fiction is definitely more nerve-wracking because you don’t have the mask of fiction/novel to hide behind.
Is there one key life lesson in the book that’s closest to your heart?
Listen to your body. It communicates and there are signs when things aren’t working. Look at yourself as a whole, where the mind-body is connected. For example, you can eat the best locally sourced and organically grown meals, and workout six days a week. But if you don’t address stress, trauma, or a plethora of other issues plaguing your life, you can’t expect to feel 100 per cent.
What advice would you give those going through a difficult time?
The truth is life will continue to throw difficult situations at us; it’s up to each one of us how we handle the crisis. Get practices and rituals in place to nurture your health, creativity and relationships. No matter what happens, choose to stay kind because it helps you. Make time for self-care because it works as a soothing balm on a deep wound. Know that the hard times shall pass, but be discerning about who you let into your life or share your problems with when you are vulnerable.
What helped you most during your lowest point?
I believe that every experience happens for a reason. No one has it all good or all bad in their life. Having a positive mindset helped tremendously. I talked to a trusted few people during my lowest point. I also learned to befriend stillness and silence. When you surrender, you conserve energy. I constantly reminded myself that things would get better. And eventually, the ‘teacher’ would reveal the lesson I was supposed to learn from the experience.
What inspires you?
I believe that inspiration is everywhere; in people, nature, books, on walks, in a cup of chai, and daily living. You have to want to see it!
What books do you enjoy reading?
I am a big supporter of books written by women authors. My love for reading has never changed but my taste in books keeps evolving. It’s often reflective of what I am going through or perhaps, exploring internally. Of late, non-fiction books that enrich our emotional and mental well-being have kept me interested.
What can we expect next from you?
I started working on a new novel last year. You can expect fierce characters with a purpose and passion.
Why do you love being a writer?
Writing is how I navigate the world. Writing is as intuitive as breathing for me. On some days, writing allows me to give other women and their stories a voice; on some days, being a writer helps me manage my conundrums.
Why should we pick up your new book?
You should pick up the book because why wouldn’t you want to learn simple, accessible, and relatable tips and tricks to enhance your well-being, productivity, creativity, quality of your relationships, and life overall.