Helynne's Reviews > Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
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's review
Jul 06, 2009

it was amazing
Read in January, 1998

This book was already a best-seller when my dad gave me a copy back in 1998, but I had never heard of it then, and didn't know what to expect. I plunged in, was immediately impressed, and now I give the book five stars because it made such a difference in my outlook on life at the time. These little essays are just plain feel-good stuff and inspirations for every occasion I can think of. Furthermore, these various missives (I have several favorites) continue to give me a little emotional boost whenever I need it. Sarah Ban Breathnach has written 366 short essays--one for each day of the year, not forgetting Feb. 29--on a variety of inspirational topics. Basically, her theme is that every woman can become "the woman she was meant to be," and suggests various ways in which a person can "find her authentic self" on a path she describes in a six-part journey beginning with gratitude, then progressing through awareness and practices of simplicity, order, harmony, beauty and joy. The January-February essays begin with daily assurances that every individual is of infinite worth, that there are benevolent forces in the universe that are helping each one of us to succeed and achieve our dreams, and that self-nurturing and pampering through little affordable luxuries and indulgences can help the most frazzled busy mom and/or career woman to relax and enjoy the daily wonders of life. Breathnach stresses the need for a daily gratitude journal in which one must write down each day at least five things in her life for which she is grateful. Once this becomes a habit, Breathnach urges women to experience "spiritual awakening" through such habits as meditation, "creating a personal sacred space," and "outfitting a comfort drawer." Later essays laud the joys of homemaking (Hestia is the goddess of homemaking who watches over us as we complete our routine household chores; even these are sacred), gardening, house plants, cooking, etc., I love the essays in which Breathnach inspires us all to value and develop our own untapped sources of creativity. Another of my favorites is "Meditation for Bad Girls" (Nov. 22), which is hilarious. She describes typical "bad girls" as having "blond, raven, or flaming tresses, red mouths and nails. Think Mae West, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner . . . Bad girls wear capri pants, mules, cashmere or mohair twinsets, silk scares covering their pin curls. . . Bad girls are passionate while the rest of the world is cool. . . Bad girls don't just want to have fun, they make sure they do . . . Bad girls know that it's not the cards you're dealt but how well you play your hand.. . . Bad girls realize this isn't a dress rehearsal. Real life is what you make of it." Breathnach ends this short piece by saying, "You can be bad, you can be good. You just sure as hell better be authentic." Lest I have made you think these essays are more naughty than nice, I'll hasten to add that there is a lot of spritual advice in many of these compositions, including a really nice treatise on Hanukkah (Dec. 6) that describes how important this Jewish observance should be to all Christians. I won't tell you what she says, but it's really interesting. I can't recommend this fun, inspirational book highly enough!
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