January 15: Simple Gifts: Embracing Simplicity”

Dandelion“When we appreciate how much we have, we feel the urge to pare down, get back to basics, and learn what is essential for our happiness.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Sara’s words are so true.  For me, the last couple of years have been transformative ones.  I would have found them extremely difficult were I not doing the work I have been doing on this spiritual path I am on.

For as long as I can remember, back to my first memories at age three or four, I wanted to be a mother.  That is all I ever wanted to be.  I never thought about a career, other than knowing that I wanted to write, but I always thought about being a mother.  And once I became a mother, I loved every minute of raising my beautiful children.

In 2012 I turned 50.  My two sons are grown and on their own, and my daughter is in heaven.  The raising of my children, the only thing I ever really thought about doing in my younger years, is done.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I retired from my career as chief operating officer of a law firm in 2010.

After retiring, I found myself feeling isolated and not enjoying the time at home like I thought I would.  In 2011 I decided to go back to work and accepted a position as executive director of a non-profit organization.  I knew immediately that it had been the wrong decision and left the position after just two days.  This left me feeling like a failure, and I became very depressed.

“Trust that through the balm of simplicity your frazzled and weary soul can discover the place where you ought to be.”  SBB

The great thing about depression is that you don’t care about what you think you “should” be doing, and so you give yourself the time to do the work you really need to do.  I sought answers and solace through prayer, meditation, and in many spiritual self-help books, including Sarah’s book that we are reading together now, and I learned about the things that are most important to me.

When I prioritized what is most important to me, I was shocked to realize that none of those things were getting much of my attention.  What an eye opener that was!  For instance, if my relationship with my husband is most important to me, why was I not spending more time and energy on that?  Or on my grandchildren, parents and other loved ones?

“True simplicity as a conscious life choice illuminates our lives from within.”  SBB

How liberating! I am so grateful that God led me to make a huge error in judgment in job choice, which led me down this path of self-discovery.  Do you see where we can even find gratitude for things that we think are “bad” things that have happened to us?  As a result of that choice, I spent many quiet days really thinking about what was important to me.  Today, working in the real estate career I have dreamed of for two decades, I know how important it is to make a conscious effort to keep my priorities in line.  A real estate career is a lot of hard work and can be worked 24/7 if you aren’t careful.  I do work a lot of 14-hour days, but I am always conscious of making sure that I take the time for what is truly important in my life:  my loved ones.

What positive changes can you make in your life if you take the time to discover the true seeds of your deep spiritual contentment and give them priority?  Let us know how you make out!