Day 337/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
When Sarah wrote Simple Abundance, she focussed on gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty and joy as keys to integrate into her daily life. Of course she had to do the inner work necessary to come to terms with each one's meaning and application that was relevant to her and to her life circumstances.
This type of shift takes considerable work. If you've suffered from adverse experiences in childhood, that work can seem onerous. Not for any other reason than that you've adopted and adapted to the types of situations and relationships that you've grown up with, thinking that this is how the world is. A child can do nothing more than that. They have few points of reference to call on in these situations.
If you've been particularly traumatised, that's even more difficult. For the same reasons which are compounded by having to survive and being stuck in survival mode for your whole life.
I think the things that I have learned that have had the most impact on this journey include, but are probably not limited to:-
Learning to accept myself the way I was, and try to understand myself in the context of my upbringing. I needed to learn to like myself, and if possible, love myself. That has eventuated in stages, with each new realisation and each new breakthrough.
Question everything. This curiosity began with looking at the opposite of everything I believed in. Many times over I discovered that the opposite suited me better than the belief that I was holding. The belief that emerged from family or culture or institutions didn't always match my idea of life and the way things are. It also included the question "why". It became popular to discourage people from asking "why" in many circles, and in many cases I understand it's not a useful question. Yet for me it was an extraordinary question. It propelled me to deeper and deeper enquiry into the human psyche until I understood the nuances of my upbringing and why I am as I am.
Never fight anything that has to do with me, including chronic illnesses or illnesses generally. I realised that our body has a drive to thrive, and I honour that. If it feels unwell, I support it as best I can and learn from it and the messages it is trying to give me. From broken bones to hospitalisation with asthma, I accept, support, repair and refocus. It also includes what people commonly think of as ego. When my ego voice arose in me I decided to stop fighting it and befriend it. That was a defining moment. I figured that if my ego was objecting it had good reason. So we made friends and I asked for its cooperation as I explored and made the personality changes (read trauma adaptation changes) that I wanted to make. Life became a lot easier this way.
At the end of the day the commitment to wholeness has driven me. Did I know that at the outset? No. I didn't have a clue that wholeness was what I was pursuing. I wanted happiness, a life far away form the misery that I left home with.
The persistence and commitment, often in spite of many challenges and compromises has paid off in a life that feels more and more integrated every day. That means, life is making more sense to me, I'm digesting life, understanding my responses, realising my impact on others, calibrating my reactions, reaching that place of right words, right actions, right time and right place.
And so can you. Keep going.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.