march simple abundance – sbb

These are mostly quotes from Simple Abundance by Sara BanBreathnach, but I’ve added my own little commentary.  Forgive the lenght, but I’ve procrastinated, bogged down in less interesting things.  It’s fitting that the post ends talking about kicking the blues.  That’s what I’m doing these days.  Sadly, I feel as though they’re kicking back! : )

restoring serenity to your daily endeavors

“Sidetracked women, who scatter their energies to the four winds, never achieve serenity.  (Nervous breakdowns, to be sure, but not serenity.)  It’s as simple as that.  Get a visual of serenity (think Grace Kelly) … by bringing all our attention and conscious awareness to whatever we are doing.”

meditation:  many paths to the present moment

“… meditation is intentional concentration  on one thing, which can be either secular or spiritual… Any time we are fully present in the moment we are meditating.”

setting aside a personal sabbath:

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.  Alice Walker”  “Here is a short guide to what you should not be doing on the Sabbath:  strenuous household chores, catching up on work that you didn’t complete last week or getting a head start on work you’re supposed to start on Monday; shopping at large department stores that insert slick circulars in weekend papers. 

… what the Sabbath is for:  reverence, rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reassuring rituals, recreation, rejoicing, revelation, remembering how much you have to be grateful for and saying, “Thank you.”

priming the pump for inspiration:

pick one night a week that you can devote to searching for the visual images that reveal your authentic preferences… take a long leisurely soak in the bathtub. Then, after you are comfortable and relaxed, bring the basket containing your magazines, scissors, and journal over to your bed.  Prepare a special hot drink to enjoy only at this time.  Light a pretty candle on your dresser to invoke inspiration.

creating a hope chest:

I soooo remember wanting a Lane Cedar chest when I graduated high school.  I looked into buying one for myself and my daughter recently and sadly I don’t have a spare $1600 to spend on two pieces of furniture right now, but I’m thinking I can find a you finish it variety for quite a bit less.  In her case to fill with future household items, in my case to fill with things I hope for in the future.  My length of black velvet I’m supposed to make a cape out of; needlepoint squares I want to finish, books on geology, etc.

creating a toy box:

Have one.  Love it.  It’s gorgeous.  I just have to remember to pull it out and use it! (crayons, cards, pastels, puzzles, etc.)

outfitting a comfort drawer:

Time to refill the office version:  Lindt milk chocolate truffles, Italian decorating magazine, vial of some yummy scent from Bath and Body works, a box of Walker’s shortbread or a bag of Pepperidge Farm Tahitian cookies, soothing music on my ipod.

taking the plunge:

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.  Doris Mortman”  No idea who Doris was but she’s a genius in my book!  I’ve discovered this to be soooo true and have worked in the last few years at making peace with who I am.

a radiant reflection:  projecting your authentic self:

“So many women don’t know how great they really are.  Mary Kay Ash” 

“Gather different mail order catalogs.  Cut out pictures of women you think are attractive and the clothing you’d love to wear.  Don’t even consider whether you can afford anything you select or whether you can fit into it today.  Collage your ideal woman: the perfect hairstyle, a fantastic work and casual wardrobe.  Have fun and pretend you’re playing with paper dolls.  Does anything in your discovery journal collage resemble anything hanging in your closet?  Consider this carefully.  … be willing not to buy another item of clothing unless you absolutely cannot live without it.  No more settling for something that’s not you or that’s second-rate.  Surround yourself only with things you love.  If it’s not authentically you, live without it. ”

So I did this exercise last year and dumped a lot of my clothes.  I’ve bought very few clothes since then, but what I do buy I love!  My closet is beginning to look more like ME!

you are not your appearance, but does the rest of the world know that?

“… when we don’t live up to the world’s expectations of how we should look or behave, we fall victim to a vicious circle of self-loathing and denial…  It is God’s will that we all become the goddesses we were created to be.”

sending and receiving personal signals:

“we begin to care less– until it looks as though we don’t care at all.  Of course deep within, we care very much.”  Sooo been there!

How do I look?

“… gently ask yourself this loaded question.  Listen carefully for the answer.  Better yet look into the mirror and ask, How do I feel?”  Personal transformation begins with a strong inner life.  We need to let [God] show us the way, whether it’s changing our wardrobe, losing weight, or finding the right hairstyle. 

accepting yourself as you are today

“most of us think of other women as beauties, never ourselves.  But every woman was created by [God] to be a genuine beauty.”  I’ve got to say I can count on one hand the number of times I truly thought I was beautiful (prom, ROTC dance, prom, wedding).  Honestly, it’s so much easier to be negative.  Then I don’t have to worry about being humble or living up to anything…

loving yourself into wholeness

“I did not lose myself all at once.  I rubbed out my face over the years, washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.”  Amy Tan  “… each of us encounters those dark stormy days when we feel very small, very fragile, and very frightened, as if we might shatter into a thoughsand pieces and break into heartrending sobs at something as simple as “How are you?”  If you think you can’t possibly do one more thing without screaming or crying, you’re probably right.  Start by saying, “No, I’m sorry.  I’ve got a prior commitment.”  For, of course you do.  Today you need to be there for yourself.  Remember, we did not lose ourselves all at once.  Or in the words of Hilary Weeks, “When you’re ready to throw in the towel, throw it right next to the tub and have a bubble bath!”

self nurturing:  the hardest task you’ll ever do

Make a list of ten nice things you could do for yourself.  Now select one and do it.  This is HARD!

1).  Get a manicure, 2). Get a pedicure, 3). Sleep in on Sunday (afternoon church), 4).  Watch a comedy, 5) rewatch Season One of Chuck, 6). Listen to great music, 7).  Read a favorite book (again), 8).  Go sit by water (river, lake or ocean), 9).  Take a bubble bath, and 10). scrapbook 

Looks like Chuck wins tonight!

what do you like about yourself?

Ugh.  Not doing this.  Alright, alright, already!  I like my toes, my nose, my organizational ability, that I’m a fast reader, that I can be funny (sometimes unwittingly), that I support my children.  I’m supposed to keep coming back to this  until I have ten physical and ten personality traits that I like about myself.  Double ugh.

awakening sleeping beauty

“And most of us have wept copious tears over someone or something, when if we’d understood the situation better we might have celebrated our good fortune instead.”  “One can never change the past, only the hold it has on you.”

repose of the soul:

“When we are genuinely interested in others, a graciousness comes over us that is compelling.  Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile.  No matter how busy you are, don’t rush your encounters.  Speak softly.  Listen attentively.  Act as if every conversation you have is the most important thing on your mind today.  Look people in the eyes when they talk to you.”

inward beauty, outward charm

“Don’t you just love it when some incredibly beautiful woman like Linda Evans or Cindy Crawford tells us that the real beauty secret is finding your inner light?  No, shit.  But I’ve done the same things these women have done to find my inner light and while it’s true I’m happier.  I still don’t look like them. ” Marianne Williamson

Self confidence is attitude, experience, knowledge, wisdom, optimism and faith.

why self confidence can’t be bought, but can be borrowed:

“If we act as if we’re confident, we become so.  At least for a little while.”  “You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ” Eleanor Roosevelt

always be a first rate version of yourself

“…our best is good enough, even on a bad day.”

the secret saboteur when you’re feeling blue: 

Sometimes we’re sad for a very apparent reason — an overwhelming loss, or worries over money or health (or all of the above!).  Other times we don’t know why we fee so bad, which makes us feel even worse. (sing it sister!)  It could be for a million different reasons — an appalling lack of appreciation (by ourselves and by others), exhaustion, the weather, hormones, the advent of the flu, or simply part of the process of personal transformation.

Unfortunately during the dormant period we very often become depressed and decide to give up.  It’s on days like these that you can barely get yourself dressed  and out the door.  You look like hell and couldn’t care less. You can’t remember if you took a shower yesterday or when the last time was you washed your hair.  The children’s voices are insistent and yours is shrill.  You haven’t any patience.  Life seems bleak, not bright with promise.  It’s taking more work than you expected to discover who you really are, and now you ‘re no longer sure you even want to find out.  You’ve got the blue, so sing them baby.  But before you do, ask for grace.  Then have a good cry.  Leave work early.  Take a nap and try to sleep it off.  Indulge — without guilt– in something purely for medicinal reasons, like a piece of cheesecake or a bowl of Haagen Dazs, but don’t eat it standing in front of the refrigerator.” Sit down, slow down, relax, send the kids to bed early, soak in a hot tub, raid your comfort drawer, pull up the covers and snuggle down.  Find five things for which to be grateful.  Turn out the light.

The alternative is to switch gears.  Ask for grace.  Call a good friend and talk.  Put the kettle on for a fresh pot of tea.  Wash your face, comb your hair, put on some lipstick, perfume and earrings.  Smile at yourself in the mirror.  Straighten the living room so that you can find a place to sit down.

No matter what route you take, within 24 hours the day will be over.  Tomorrow should be better.  But if it’s not, nor the next day, or the next, then know that it’s okay to ask for help from friends, a support group, a therapist, a doctor, or [God].  Dark days come to all of us.  Yet discouraging days bring with them golden opportunities when we can learn to be kind to ourselves.  Believe it or not, today offers you a hidden gift, if you’re willing to search for it.”

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