Musings,  This Life...

An Abundant Life

simple abundanceEvery couple of years, I break out my copy of Sara Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance. She calls it “A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,” and it truly is. If you’ve never read the book, I recommend it highly and it’s even available as an e-book! I just downloaded it to my new Kindle Fire HD because this year, my pal Marta and I are reading the meditations together each day and discussing them. We give ourselves a few minutes each morning on the phone to talk about what we’ve read and how it affects us. Part of the meditation is to write in a Gratitude Journal.

Believe it or not, blessed as my life is, sometimes I find it hard to list five things I’m grateful for without repeating the same things each day. I think that’s because the exercise requires more thought than I’m willing to put into it, and maybe also because some days, I’m just not in the mood to be grateful. Gratitude is the first principle of the six Simple Abundance precepts. The first two months’ worth of meditations focus on learning to be grateful for your current life, your current situation.

My life is wondrous. I am more than amply blessed with a lovely home and family, a new grandson who is a constant joy, a son to be proud of, and a loving and gracious husband. My sisters are close by and I have several dear and intimate friends. I have a great job that I can do in my jammies. I am a creative and healthy person—what’s not to be appreciated?

Well, there’s my ass…it’s huge. And if I don’t get the size of it under control, my joints are going to turn in their notice. Food is not the enemy, my compulsive overeating is. And I hate, hate, hate the idea of another round of Weight Watchers. I can’t go there again. So it’s going to be up to me to fix this. I can do it. I know I can do it. I simply need to start. I’ve been tentatively making small changes. No sweets (my Red Light food) in the house, no baking, no grabbing a candy bar at checkout, or stopping for ice cream. No wine every night. I’m making smaller meals that are veggie and fiber focused and choosing to leave food on my plate if I feel comfortably full. Once I get this stupid foot fixed (surgery 1/11), I’m back on the treadmill and to the pool. We’ll see what happens.

There’s also my inability to say “no” to job offers, which leads me to taking on more work than I should. Why? I think because I believe I need to be “earning my keep,” as it were. I need to contribute to the household income, particularly if I want to do things like make more frequent trips to Son’s or get the downstairs painted or have a mani/pedi every couple of weeks. Well, I do need to earn money and help out, but I don’t need to work myself into literal exhaustion just to prove my own worth. No one expects that—as a matter of fact, Husband has told me repeatedly to work as much as I want to, but not to overdo it.  And just because there is work waiting for me upstairs, that doesn’t mean I have to be in my office, butt in chair, every waking moment. It’s okay to watch a movie with Husband, have lunch with friends, take time out to write…

The logical progression here is, of course, that I’m not making time to write and that makes me feel like a failure. I have two books that need some revision work and another that needs maybe two more chapters until it’s done. I have a notebook full of ideas for more novels and a little voice recorder with conversations that would turn into books if I’d just stop whining and make the time to do it. I know that I can…I am a great writer.

I’m not a Resolutions kind of person—I don’t make them because I always end up breaking them and feeling bad and worthless. So today, on day six of the new year, I’m simply going to make a promise to myself to try to be more writer and less editor. To try to be more healthy, happy woman and less aware of the size of my behind. To embrace all the good and lovely things in my life and to stop wishing for things to be different. All I have right this moment is all I need.

Life is good. Life is very good…I know that, I know it with all my heart. I’m counting on the daily Simple Abundance meditations to help me remember what a lovely life I have. Thanks, Sara!


  • londonmabel

    My dad did a gratitude list for one year. It’s fun to re-read every time I come across it.

    Best of lucks and vibes for your 2013. 🙂 I think the author of The Artist’s Way has a “diet” book, related to art or writing. Maybe something like that would suit your current mood. I do applaud not going back to a program that fills you with EEK.

    • Nan

      Thanks, London! I have gratitude journals back to 1996 when I first did Simple Abundance–it is a treat to go back and read them. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check out the Artist’s Way–I still have Amazon gift card money left.

  • Robena Grant

    I am beyond blessed and I know that. I’m grateful for every day.

    This year I’m turning my focus to balance. From checkbook to writing to exercise and nutrition. It will be a strange year for me as I venture into those unchartered waters of published author. I’ll have three books out and no concept of what I’m supposed to do with them. My motto regarding promotion and marketing is, there is no try, just do.

    So I’m doing it and cringing, but I’m doing it. Ha ha.

    Good luck with the surgery on the 11th. I hope you heal fast and get yourself back on track quickly.

    • Nan

      Roben, I’m so pleased for you that all three of your books will be out this year and I can’t wait to read them! You will be brilliant at “published author,” just as you are at everything you endeavor. I’m blessed to have you in my corner!

  • Deborah Blake

    I haven’t read that one; I may go get a copy. I take the time every night to say “Thank you,” for both general things (home, job, cats) and whatever specifics came out of that day. But I love the idea of sharing it with a friend, and so I might just do that too.

    • Nan

      You’d enjoy SA, Deb–it’s beautifully written. Marta and I are both struggling with who we are and finding time for ourselves, so we’re a good match to team up for Simple Abundance. I think you can easily find a copy at any used book store, so enjoy!

  • Skye

    I went thru Breathnach’s first Simple Abundance years ago and found it very useful. It is, of course, in storage in Oregon. But I can return to my gratitude journal. I have been doing it off and on. Sometimes the things I’m grateful for are small and simple, but that’s okay: those things need to be appreciated as well.

    Good for you on your promises to yourself. It is useful to remember what a lovely life you have. I need to remember the same. Thanks for the reminder.