Breathnach says once we begin to identify our blessings, “we feel the urge to pare down, get back to basics, and learn what is essential for happiness.” As an example she says, “Visualize a bouquet of bright yellow daffodils in a white milk jug on a pine mantel, sunlight streaming through sparking clean windows, the shine of beautifully varnished wooden floors, the shimmering glow and fragrance of pure beeswax candles.”
Uh….all of that to me spells time and money, no matter how “simple” it might be to the author.
So here again I have to take somewhat of an alternate viewpoint. Her reasoning makes sense for someone living a life that is willfully too full — like the “society maven” who runs herself ragged organizing events and galas and who-the-heck knows what else. Her motives may be pure (e.g., for a good cause), but she chooses that level of busy-ness. She has options in her schedule. She can choose to skip that ladies’ tea and stay home to put a layer of beeswax on the furniture (unless she employs a cleaning staff already).
Anyway, that’s far different from the single mother working two part-time jobs to put food on the table. She spends her “free” hours overseeing the kids’ schoolwork and keeping the household running as best she can. She’ll probably look out that sparkling clean window and wish she’d been able to take the time to read a good book. That second woman’s reality is far different from the first woman’s.
I’m not in either reality. I’m not wealthy (in income) so I have to work a full-time job outside of writing. But my kids are grown and I no longer spend my free time at PTA meetings or other school events. These days I can focus my free time on what I enjoy, which is writing and writing-related activities. But those moments of enjoyment are the only things I can cut from my schedule. Somehow I don’t think Breathnach is talking about cutting out the things you love doing. My life is about as simple as I can make it.
The closest I came recently was during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I had the entire week off for the first time in about 20 years. I had planned to write and work on my writing business, and I did some, but I also slept late (for me) and read a book I probably never would have read if I hadn’t had the luxury of time. I cooked and backed and enjoyed my family.
So yes, that week’s simplicity was wonderful, but it was an anomaly for me. I probably won’t get another week like that for a year…if I’m lucky. I’ll have to do some thinking on this to figure how (if) I can put this in practice.
For now, here are my five things I’m grateful for today:
- The week off I took in December. It really helped me recharge and rest.
- The service manager at the Hyundai dealership who understood some confusion in work done on our new car and gave me a big discount on the bill.
- The gradual lessening of pain in my back (injured two weeks ago).
- My day-job team’s enjoyment of the cakes I bought for our monthly birthaversary celebration.
- The ladies in our lobby (at work) who helped me out with a customer. They made things much easier for him.
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.