On January 1st of this year, I decided to re-read (or perhaps, more accurately, finally read in full) the 1995 best-selling self-help book Simple Abundance. (Read the original post here http://wp.me/p6N6mT-6V ) Although spiritual self-help books for woman that focus on small and simple changes for lasting happiness are quite common today, Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book was unique in 1995 and struck a cord with women across America. Millions answered her call: to reassess what makes us happy; to realign our lives so that simple pleasures are at the forefront; and to follow daily reflections which require us to delve deep into our hearts to find our true selves.
Her work feels strikingly similar to the work of my personal happiness guru, writer Gretchen Rubin, and that is most likely the primary reason that I have kept my New Years Resolution to read — and consider — each daily reflection in Simple Abundance. Both writers insist that in order to discover the path to our happiest, most successful lives we must arm ourselves with self-knowledge. (Find my exhaustive reviews of Rubin’s books here: http://wp.me/p6N6mT-6 http://wp.me/p6N6mT-d http://wp.me/p6N6mT-l )
For the past six months, I have sat in bed and read that day’s daily reflection and asked myself to deeply and seriously consider its message. As the book’s title suggests, most of the passages are simple questions to ask oneself:”what is your favorite winter pastime?” or “do you have a perfect place in your home to curl up with a book on a rainy day?” or “whom do you admire?” These more basic passages are nice ways to reflect on the small pleasures that are close at hand and easy to consider.
On other evenings, Breathnach’s questions lead to more, in-depth reflections on my life and my goals. These passages I often read aloud to my husband and we reflect together on what our answers tell us about ourselves and our current level of happiness. Some of these reflections included: “if you had the money to travel anywhere, where would you go?” or “what is your dream job?” or “whose life you do most envy and why?” or “when do you feel the most beautiful?” Simple, yes, but deep questions that force us (if we are being truthful) to answer ourselves with complete honesty. I credit Gretchen Rubin and her deeply insightful books with allowing me to already have answered of many of these important questions; but nonetheless my husband and I have had lengthy and important discussions about life, art, dreams, and love because of this book.
Six months since I started this New Years Resolution project, I could not be more motivated to continue reading Breathnach’s words and meeting her challenges. I have high hopes that I will continue to learn as much about myself in the next six months as I did in the in the first six months of 2016.