I re-discovered this book titled “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach – “A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” given to me by a dear friend 14 years ago. She inscribed on the inside cover “I hope that each day begins and ends with as much enlightenment and divine guidance as found in these pages. I had read excerpts from the book every day right until the end and just started re-reading through it once more – so much wisdom to be found on every page that I just had to share something for the New Year. Beginning with this paragraph by Margaret Young:
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
So, how happy you are right now? Do you even know? Most people know what makes their parents, partners or children happy. When it comes to an awareness about the little, specific things in life that bring a smile to our faces and contentment to our own hearts, we often come up short. What is missing from many of our days is a true sense that we are enjoying the lives we are living. It’s difficult to experience moments of happiness if we’re not aware of what it is we genuinely love.
We must learn to savor small, authentic moments that bring us contentment. Experiment with a new cookie recipe. Take the time to slowly arrange a bouquet of flowers in order to appreciate their colors, fragrance, and beauty. Sip a cup of tea, pause for a few minutes to pet a purring cat. Simple pleasures waiting to be enjoyed. Simple pleasures often overlooked.
An good example: In 1926 a young Englishwoman, Joanna Field, began to feel that she was not living a truly authentic life, that she did not know what made her truly happy. To remedy this she kept a journal in order to discover what specifically triggered the feeling of delight in her daily life. The journal, A Life of One’s Own, was published in 1934. It was written, she confided, in the spirit of a detective who searches through the minutiae of the mundane in hopes of finding clues for what was missing in her life.
Joanna Field discovered that she delighted in red shoes, good food, sudden bursts of laughter, reading in French, answering letters, loitering in a crowd at a fair and “a new life when first it was grasped.”
Let us each grasp a new idea this year – the awareness of what it is that makes us truly happy.
Let us consider our personal preferences and learn how to recognize, then embrace, moments of happiness that are uniquely our own.