The Authentic Personal Archaeological Dig

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy urges you today to prepare for your personal dig in a thoughtful way. Let your authentic archaeologist gather artefacts that can cox memory:

  • Old photographs
  • Yearbooks
  • Letters
  • Mementos

Carve out some time when you can be alone and take a leisurely trip back in time. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tae. Listen to your favourite music from yesterday:

  • Elvis
  • The Beatles
  • The Bee Gees

Peruse the photographs, flip through your high school yearbook and read the old love letters. Trace your life back to when you were ten, sixteen, twenty-one, twenty-five, thirty-five and forty. See what memories are triggered as you reacquaint yourself the girl and the woman you once were. Linger only on the happy times. What you are searching for is a pattern of personal, authentic pleasures and preferences.

Pick up your pen to play and in your Daily Dialogue pages return to the home of your childhood.

  • How was it decorated?
  • Did you clean your room?
  • Was the door usually kept closed?
  • What was your favourite spot in the house?
  • Was your mother a good cook?
  • Do you ever prepare any of her special recipes for yourself?
  • How did your mother comfort you when you were sick?
  • When was the last time you had chicken soup and toast for lunch on a tray in bed.
  • Where did you go on holidays?
  • To your Grandmothers house?
  • Can you remember them?
  • Is there a sense memory you associate with childhood holidays?

Now fast forward to your teenage years:

  • Were there any girls in your class that you admired or envied?
  • Who were they & why?
  • Did you go to a formal?
  • Describe your gown
  • How did you have your hair?
  • Who initiated you into the feminine rituals of grooming?
  • Was there an older woman in your life whose sense of style impressed you?

Lets move ahead to when you set up your first home, either as a young working woman or when you first got married:

  • Where was it?
  • How was it furnished?
  • Are you still living with some of your early decorating choices?
  • Do they reflect who you are now or have you outgrown them?
  • Are you living with things that you’ve inherited from your family?
  • Do they really suit you?

Now dig with your pen. Have a dialogue with your authentic self, ask her about the choices you have made or didn’t make listen for the wisdom she has to offer. Be willing to consider the choices you have made in the past as you trace your life:

  • Have they been the right ones for you?
  • Do you make choices with your heart, mind or gut?
  • Are you comfortable with your style of making choices, or do you wish to try a different approach?
  • Is there something you did not choose in the past that, with hindsight, you wish you had?

Stop telling yourself that it’s too late.


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