Monday, April 16, 2007

Gratitude Changes Attitudes

Simple Abundance. The two words seperately are, well, simple to understand. But expressed together, exactly what does the phrase mean? Ten years ago, Sarah Ban Breathnach set out to explain. In her words, Simple Abundance is a way of life that embodies caring for oneself, making conscious choices, expressing gratitude, and avoiding materialism.

In the years since her book, Simple Abundance, burst on the scene with an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, Sarah's life has been anything but simple. Yet she's tried hard to live true to her principles while continuing to evolve within them. Isn't that what we all desire to do?

In my experience, the most powerful of her tools is the gratitude journal. She suggests, as do other authors like Anne Lamott and Julia Cameron, that the best way to end or begin your day is to write. Sarah's method is to curl up in the bed and before turning out the light grab a beautiful journal and list five things you are thankful for.

I received the book, Simple Abundance, as a gift from my mother. It couldn't have come at a better time. The idea of a simpler life and gratitude for what I had brought me through some difficult years. Since then, I've discovered that recovery centers, twelve step programs, and counselors suggest their clients use gratitude journals. The journals allow them to step back from their problems and see good, no matter how small, in every day.

I found it was difficult to stay mad or morose when I allowed myself to be grateful for the sloppy kisses of my children or the warm, soothing water of my bath. And on the days when it seemed like I lived under a curse, I remember writing more than once, " I'm grateful that everyone I love is still alive."

Sarah Ban Breathnach's book has effected many people this way. There are online communities of people seeking and finding a simpler way of life. Teachers use the concept in creative writing classes. Even, Oprah says that keeping a gratitude journal changed and enhanced her life.

In a 2004 interview with, Sarah said about her experience with gratitude, "When I wrote Simple Abundance it was never intended to be a book. I woke up one day 11 years ago and I was sick of the sound of my own whining. I never complained to anyone else, but I did to myself. I just couldn't take it, and I told myself, sit down and don't get up until you give me 100 reasons why your life is perfect. Six or seven hours later I had done that and it really opened my eyes, and continues to open my eyes."

Currently, Sarah has a new book on the shelves entitled Moving On, lives in an old chapel in England that once belonged to Sir Isaac Newton, and works fulltime writing for the Simple Abundance website.

Join the Simple Abundance community and see how gratitude can turn a life around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good one!
Tina Hutto