Simplicity and Love for Books “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Jan. 2009)

Susan's Thursday morning note January 15, 2009
Simplicity & Love for Books
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Good morning out there!  Who wants to get passports today to leave next week for Crete?   My family is going insane.  My cats have already showed traits that would give them automatic admission into insane asylums for cats.  Where do we go to survive?   Enter the world of all of the books on my shelf!  In a book of Camden’s yesterday an idea for exploring in your mind was to enter pictures on the wall at museums (A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood).  Can you imagine what our lives could be if we could enter scenes on our whims?  Then come back out into the main hall with no one knowing what we just explored?  Well, that’s exactly the privilege we have, those of us that are determined to find books that give us chances to think outside our normal lives.  To enter worlds.  To enter minds of others  Transforming who we were.  I have said before, but I’ll say this again, Ican’t wait to meet myself in ten years.  Twenty years.  Fifty years.  I can only imagine how much I will have changed, significantly because of authors I’ve let enter my world and influence my entire outlook.

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”  Louisa May Alcott.  

From the December 15th excerpt in a book that I’m ordering a case of, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, author Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “Virginia Woolf believed that when we women who read too much arrive at the pearly gates carrying our beloved books with us, the Almighty will tell St. Peter, “Look, these need no reward.  We have nothing to give them here.  They have loved reading.”

In real life, there are women who read and women who read too little.  There aren’t women who read too much because this is an impossible feat.  How can one read too much with only twenty-four-hour days?  Lifetimes that average only 80 years?  Any time of the day is perfect for reading.  Any place.  Any excuse.  Reading is the last refuge for addictive personalities; there are no bad side effects from reading too much. 

Louisa May Alcott thinks becoming too fond of books will “turn” our brains.  Of course, any woman so fond of books that she feels compelled to write her own can’t be all wrong.  Books do turn us.  Turn us on to our passions and to pursuing our passions.  Turn us into authentic women.  When a sentence in a book resonates within, it is the voice of your authentic self.  Listen to what she is trying to tell you.  Spirit is constantly communicating with us.  Most of us long to experience Paradise on earth.  Women who read do.  Whoever said that you can’t take it with you obviously never read a good book.  For everything you’ve ever read, loved and remembered is now a part of your consciousness.  What is once cherished can never perish. 

“Reading means,” Italo Calvino tells us, “[being] ready to catch a voice that makes itself heard when you least expect it, a voice that comes from an unknown source, from somewhere beyond the book, beyond the author, beyond the convention of writing:  from the unsaid, from what the world has not yet said of itself and does not yet have the words to say.”   Are we ready!??!?!??!?!?  Don’t you dare say you don’t read!  That is beneath you.  Say instead, “I have yet to find an author or book that influences me greatly….”  If you will only realize the potential you have yet to find…for I can guarantee you that there is someone out there that you would LOVE to read, that will influence you…change you, think with you, give you courage to face any circumstance because they have been there.

The forward of this book states, “In 1995 women didn’t buy it for themselves…they bought it for their sisters, best friends, daughters, daughter-in-laws, mothers, mothers-in-law, nieces, cousins, neighbors, bosses, & secretaries…given for holidays, when jobs were eliminated, diagnosis’ devastating, phone calls sent a woman reeling, dashing her dreams or shattering the life she took for granted…this book was given.  Women read it while receiving chemotherapy & leave for their nurses who cared for them…to celebrate, commiserate, comfort, cheer, to communicate.  She wrote it “to discover what matters most…inspired to change, to simplify”…”women identified with an angry, envious, resentful, workaholic, care-aholic, perfectionist who secretly fretted over everything and everybody but herself; a woman who frequently felt she was holding her life together with double-sided stick tape; who couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a nap, got a haircut without pretending it was a root canal, or had an hour to do nothing at all.  It gave them hope that they too, could change their lives for the better one grateful moment at a time.

Sarah Breathnach ends her forward with, “My prayer for you, dear Reader, is that if there is a life you really  want to enjoy, but haven’t started yet, then you must turn the page.  May reading Simple Abundance remain a comforting conversation with a good friend who shares your gratitude that our paths crossed.  When I look down our cherished path of everyday enchantment, I see delightful days ahead.  Blessed are we among women, and how wonderful that, finally, we both know it.  (Men reading this – I know this week’s book was written for women, but you may know a woman (wife, daughter, mother) that would love this.)

This book is on simplifying our life – finding meaning in what we have at our fingertips.  Finding meaning and being thankful every day of our lives for what we do have.   I think of all of you that come in the store – that have let me enter your Thursdays.  We all desire to LIVE, to give, to take, to make a difference, to find our souls, to know ourselves, to have meaningful friendships, to be above the average.  To look back on our life (even if we die within this year) and realize that we thanked God every day for the day he gave us, and more importantly, that we were always ready to go above – to be excellent.  To see pride in God’s eyes when he looks into ours.

Go make yourself proud today – make decisions no one will ever know you made.  Look others in the eyes, expect nothing from those around you, just be at peace with your own soul.  Look up – God is there.  Drop the foot to your knees.  Immediate peace will come.  That is the only promise of anything else I can write – for this is a promise from God…given to those that need the most.  Have a great week.  Make your coffee or tea extra strong.  If you don’t drink that, then drink double cokes.  Get through this winter – it’s hibernating time.  Don’t feel bad if you have absolutely no ambition.  Stay in your sweats and pick up a book!  You never know!  It may change your life!!!  I hope you can come over to see what all we have gotten in.  I can’t wait to show you.  You must realize – the reason the store is working is because of you.  Thanks for letting me again enter your world this Thursday.  Susan

Latin for this week:
Ubi in dubito, redo simpliciorem.  When in doubt, simplify.
Tabula Rasa - Fresh, clean start.

Works Cited:
Breathnach, Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  2005.  Grand Central Publishing.  New York.
Wood, Douglas.  A Quiet Place.  2002.  Simon & Schuster.  New York.