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Excerpted from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Copyright © 1995 by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.   HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Your authentic self has not abandoned you. Instead she has been waiting patiently for you to recognize her and reconnect."

Sarah Ban BreathnachSimple Abundance, Part 3

January 4
This Isn't a Dress Rehearsal

When you perform . . . you are out of yourself—larger and more potent, more beautiful. You are for minutes heroic. This is power. This is glory on earth. And it is yours, nightly. 

—Agnes De Mille

You've probably heard the expression "life's not a dress rehearsal." Unfortunately, many of us unconsciously act as if it were. Like an actress just going through the motions in order to conserve her creative energy and focus for opening night, we hold back. Perhaps you save the pretty china for when company comes; perhaps you're like me and rarely dress up when you're home alone. If we're not playing to an audience, does it really matter?

That's a good question to ask ourselves as the New Year begins and we examine the quality of our real life journey. It does take more effort to set an inviting table, but it enhances our enjoyment of eating. We all feel better when we take those few extra minutes to fix our hair and put on makeup, but what's more, we act different. Every actress knows the magic power of props and costumes to create special moods both onstage and off.

None of us can be expected to perform every minute of our lives. But a lot of us might tap into the power, excitement, and glory of Real Life more frequently if we cast ourselves as the leading ladies in our own lives.

January 5
The Woman You Were Meant to Be

Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in our lives and—fruitlessly—search "out there" for the answers. What's often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.

—Emily Hancock

Has this ever happened to you? You are washing your face, and suddenly you do not recognize the woman staring back at you. "Who is this?" you ask the mirror on the wall. No reply. She looks vaguely familiar but bears little resemblance to the woman you were expecting to see there. Psychologists call this phenomenon a "displacement of self," and it usually occurs during times of great stress (which for many of us is an everyday occurrence).

But what's wrong? What is this sadness we cannot name? Here is a question that deserves loving meditation. Perhaps the heart of our melancholy is that we miss the woman we were meant to be. We miss our authentic selves. But the good news is that even if you have ignored her overtures for decades ("Wear red . . . Cut your hair . . . Study art in Paris . . . Learn the tango . . ."), your authentic self has not abandoned you. Instead she has been waiting patiently for you to recognize her and reconnect. Turn away from the world this year and begin to listen. Listen to the whispers of your heart. Look within. Your silent companion has lit lanterns of love to illuminate the path to Wholeness. At long last, the journey you were destined to take has begun.

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