Simple Abundance Readings

Day 17 – Family harmony


The message for Jan. 17 is about finding a balance in your life which Breathnach calls “harmony.” We each need to find the balance between the demands of outside forces–family, work, social obligations–and the inner “me” who needs peace and relaxation.

Breathnach likens the journey for achieving harmony to that of the pianist learning not just the notes of a composition, but the timing, the cadence–knowing where to pause for effect.

I get that. As a one-time musician (I played the violin in high school…like a hundred years ago), I learned that mastering the fingering didn’t mean the sound that came from the instrument was something others would want to hear! And you don’t have to be a musician to understand that. So it’s a good analogy.

But to me, it’s just common sense to understand that for overall health and well-being, the human body and soul need periods of rest to balance out periods of activity.

The real dilemma is how to do that because, once again, it’s a matter of finding time for quiet and reflection. Breathnach acknowledges that as well.

“Usually, when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the things we need the most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, time to think, time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that we can make changes for the better.”

Again I think this boils down to where you are in your life, how valuable a lesson this is.

I think back to those frenetic days as a young mother.  When my younger son was born, I quit my full-time job and started a home-based business. (The cost of child care for two children was so high, we actually lost money with me working.) It gave me about enough money for groceries, but the big payoff was the priceless hours I spent with my kids and in their environments for a number of years. I was the typical PTA mom, helping out with class activities, chairing committees at church and school. I’d spend days with them, and work at my job until the wee hours of the morning.

Son No. 2
Shortly after my younger son was born. I was SO TIRED, but so happy.
Last year with older son, special award ceremony at Penn State. I was SO TIRED, but so happy.









I was exhausted and crazed most of the time, probably irritable. Yet looking back, those were the happiest times of my life. Still, even if I had had time to sit and reflect, I don’t think my brain was capable of coherently looking at and assessing the big picture of my life at the time. I think I would have been too caught up in the minutia of taking care of a young family.

Now, years later, is when I can reflect on those days, when I realize how happy I was being a mom. (Not that I’m not still a mom…uh, you know what I mean.)

If that wasn’t harmony, by Breathnach’s definition, perhaps to me it was a different kind of well-being, knowing that what I did was important, at least in my little world.

So I’m going to say my definition of harmony is feeling that I contribute to the world around me. And when I can achieve that, I feel in harmony. To that degree, I’ll agree that you do need distance from the daily crazies to see it. And that means time.

Breathnach says, “Approach the day as if it were an adagio–a melody played in an easy, graceful manner.”

I like that. I’ll give it a try…maybe…if I can find the time. 🙂

My gratitude list for yesterday:

  • Grocery stores with full shelves
  • Money to pay for groceries
  • A new haircut!
  • Learning how to make waves by scrunching!
  • The discovery of super potting soil that will, supposedly, protect my plants from my under- or over-watering.



In late 2015 I started reading “Simple Abundance” a daily devotional by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It’s more than a devotional; it’s a guide to recognizing, and seeking, the joy in each moment. I haven’t quite reached that state, but I’m hopeful. I’ve decided to share my daily thoughts (and “gratitudes”) on this blog. I’d love to hear yours as well.

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