When you’re on the spiritual path, it’s not always about climbing towards that elusive summit. Sometimes you just need to get through the day. To help me with the daily grind is my well-read copy of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
I was gifted my copy years ago by a dear friend when my spiritual journey was less meaningful. In fact, I didn’t even open the book for about a year. It seemed a well-intentioned but useless gift. So I let it sit and gather dust. Then one day I began to read and simply fell in love.
Simple Abundance offers 365 days of hope and promise in simple, practical ways. The author doesn’t claim to be an enlightened guru. She is a mother, housewife, struggling author, and dreamer who has her good days and bad days and found ways to make sense of them all. The book centers around six spiritual principles: gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy. Each principle covers two months, time to ease you into the feeling of a new perspective and a way of being/doing.
Each day of the year starts with a quote (from authors, poets, philosophers, magazines, and hymns) that summarizes the intention for that day. Then Breathnach explains the issue at hand and how to deal with it. January is the month of new beginnings and cherished memories. You’ll take a look at who you are and what you have, and begin to examine what you see through the lens of gratitude. May explores order—appreciation of the sacred in our daily lives. July embraces harmony, when the daily rigors of life subside with the onset of summer. And so on.
One of the ways to achieve balance is by letting nature nurture us. Breathnach recounts how a woman’s Victorian brownstone fronts an alley full of prostitutes, drug dealers, drunks, and the homeless. Frequent attempts to keep the alley clean failed miserably until the woman created a four-foot triangle overflowing with butterfly plants. The garden attracted her neighbors and now the alley is spotless and people have a way to commune with nature. “It’s a gentle but powerful reminder of ‘biophilia’—Spirit’s silent wake-up call that all of life is a sacred continuum.”
Every time I read a page of Simple Abundance I am refreshed. My breath releases. My heartbeat slows. My spirit floods with light. Gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy—six “simple” principles to guide you. As you journey through life, let Simple Abundance be your constant reminder that there is an easier way.
[Originally published in the Conscious Life Journal, July 2017]