Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy reminds you that you need to create a reassuring ritual for yourself to access your inner reservoir, that place deep within you inhabited by imagination. Create an inviting one for when you work with your Illustrated Discovery Journal. Pick one night a week that you can devote to searching for the visual images that reveal your authentic preferences. Make the process as appealing as possible.
- Put the children to bed
- Take a long, leisurely soak in the bath
- Prepare a special hot drink to enjoy only at this time
- Light a pretty candle on your dresser to invoke inspiration
- When you are comfortable & relaxed bring the basket containing your magazines, scissors, glue & journal over to your bed to work on.
Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time challenges you to take action to discover how you might need to develop yourself in order to achieve your goal, by trying the following four step process:
- Identify someone who is very successfully doing what you’d like to do & write it in your Journal ” One person I admire is ………..”
- List three qualities that contribute to this persons success by writing in your Journal “The three qualities I admire most are ……..”
- Pick the one quality the one quality you know you need to develop most of all, its the one that causes you to feel excited & scared at the same time. Commit to this by writing in your Journal “The one quality I need to develop is….”
- Look for practical ways to develop this quality everyday and write in your Journal “To develop this quality, I will take the following three actions …..”
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy says that it doesn’t matter which day you set aside as your own personal Sabbath, it just matters that you keep one.
Here is her short guide of what you should not be doing on your Sabbath:
- Strenuous household chores
- Catching up on work you didn’t complete last week
- Getting a head start on work you’re supposed to start on Monday
- Shopping at large department stores that have slick circulars
This is what the Sabbath is for:
- Reverence, rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reassuring rituals, recreation, recreation, revelation, remembering how much you have to be grateful for & saying “thank you”
- Going to your Church, Mosque, Temple, or Synagogue
- Going on a walk
- Going antiquing
- Sitting in bed propped up on pillows reading something wonderful with a breakfast tray
- Working with crossword puzzles before a roaring fire
- Staying in your pyjamas until noon on rainy winter days
- Attending a marvellous art exhibition or movie matinee
- Listening to opera in the kitchen as you sip sherry & prepare a fabulous feast
- Indulging in cake baking as a form of meditation
What matters is that you do something special that speaks to your soul and that you revel in whatever you do. Your activities on the Sabbath should uplift you and provide enough inspiration to sustain you during the week to come.
I believe its important to punctuate the year with celebrations and in her book Simple Abundance : A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach offers the following suggestion to celebrate St. Patricks Day on March 17th.
- Wear green
- Try your hand a making a loaf of delicious Irish Soda Bread, along with corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes & carrots.
- Serve with hot tea & cold beer
- Play some traditional Irish music & dance a jig in your living room.
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggest that today you retreat to a quiet place where you can sit or even lie down in a comfortable position so that you can relax your body. Now close your eyes and let your breathing become slow and steady. Get in touch with the silence within.
Remember there are many different ways to meditate after all it is just intentional concentration on one thing, which can be either secular or spiritual. Perhaps you have become so absorbed in gardening, reading or even balancing your chequebook that your breathing has slowed and you become as single pointed as a panther stalking her dinner. She suggests the following different ways of meditating depending on your inner needs:
- The Golden Mirror Meditation
- Writing your Daily Dialogue Pages
- Gazing into the flame of a candle
- Concentrating on a sacred word in a centring prayer
- Focusing on a poetic phrase to find a deeper personal meaning
- Setting out on a Walking Mediation
- Baking Meditation
- Eating a small, moist piece of chocolate cake with exquisite attention & tremendous gratitude.
Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that it is the time to think about the art of not looking your age by learning ways to meditate.
- Media: First they recommend you try going without newspapers and TV for a week. They say that they fill our brains with a relentless diet of drama and chaos. Don’t fret, if world war three breaks out you can be sure someone will tell you. Use the free time to listen to music and read books. Observe how calm and free thinking you become after just a few days.
- Rhythmic walking: Then instead of pounding away in front of a workout video try going for a long walk. Rhythmic walking is a great form of meditation.
- A long bath: A long bath with no radio or television allows the brain to unwind as well as the body. Giving freedom to the mind allows it to be creative. Often leading to one of those eureka moments.
- Light a candle: Focus on a candle flame & notice all the colours & the way it moves. This will help you empty your mind. Thoughts will intrude, just let them float away. Start with a few minutes & slowly build it up. You don’t have to do this every night but you will find the more you do it the easier it gets
- Prayer: They also recommend trying the following prayer;
Please help me to love and forgive myself.
Help me to forgive everyone who has hurt me and let them go in peace.
Ask for forgiveness from everyone that I have hurt consciously or unconsciously.
Help me to accept myself as I am.
I am part of your world.
I feel your light within me.
I am free.
Consider how you might be able to carve out twenty minutes a day to meditate.
With the start of March here I now have a whole new chance to achieve a few more goals dash suggestions. Which will probably be used as little more than a rough guideline as a direction to take in March and spend the next month of my life exploring. But hey, we all need a little inspiration to get us started. I hope you can gain some inspiration from some of the suggestions below too.
Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project dedicated March to Work: aiming higher with the following ideas:
- Launch a blog
- Enjoy the fun of failure
- Ask for help
- Work smart
- Enjoy now
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests the following joyful simplicities for March to help bring more simplicity to your everyday life:
- Celebrate St. Patricks Day on March 17
- Find a bargain store & cruise the aisles for some brightly coloured dish towels & mascara
- Gather some trailing tendrils of ivory to make a wreath for your front door.
- Collect your favourite affirmations & record them in your own voice..
- Get the soundtrack, Boys On The Side to play when the blues strike.
- Plant a living Easter basket
- Start a glory box
- Create a toy box
- Outfit a comfort drawer
- Make a big deal out of the last summer cookout
- Make taffy apples
- Enjoy fresh apple cider & pear nectar
- Experiment with different types of popcorn
- Pack away your swimsuits & bring out your woollens
- Celebrate autumn with a festive dinner of home style cooking.
- Look at a growers market for dried flowers to create your own bouquet.
Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that March is the time to learn how to enjoy your own party by doing some of the following:
- Saving time in the kitchen
- Being a gracious hostess
- Learning how to do party placement
- Learning how to party on a shoestring
- Buying the perfect dress
- Booking a facial & a massage
- Writing a list of everything you love about your life
- Book a weekend break
Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-clutter Your Life she says March is the perfect time to:
- Have a seasonal wardrobe cleanout.
- Buy new batteries for your fire alarms.
Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-by-month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment says that March is the time for a food revolution.
And just for those of you not living in the Southern Hemisphere and celebrating March in Autumn a suggestion from Meik Wiking’s Book The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well which refers to March as theme month.
- Pick a country that you would like to travel to next and spend March exploring it from afar. Eat food from there, watch movies, read books, learn the language etc…
Here in the Southern Hemisphere the start of March signals the start of Autumn. While many mourn the end of summer, I say lets celebrate the harvest season and no one has better ideas to do this than RealSimple.com. So take advantage of the crisp weather and beautiful foliage with these following lists of fun things to do in the fall.
The Great Outdoors
- Go apple picking
- Go leaf-peeping
- Get lost in a corn maze
- Take a hot-air balloon ride
- Play a game of two-hand touch football
- Go for a hike
- Go for a hayride
- Collect colourful fall leaves
- Rent a cabin in the mountains
- Tailgate at your local football game
- Plant bulbs in your garden for next spring
- Run a race
- Take a drive in the country
- Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Make a pinecone bird feeder
- Buy something from a bake sale
- Borrow a book from the library
- Make rice Krispy treats
- Buy a new notebook
- Jump in a pile of leaves
Eat and Drink
- Bake an apple or pumpkin pie
- Buy winter squash & Brussels sprouts at a farmers’ market
- Eat a candy apple (March Inspiration)
- Make butternut squash soup
- Drink hot spiced cider (March Inspiration)
- Roast vegetables for a tasty side dish
- Eat a slice of warm pumpkin bread
- Make a big batch of chili
- Tour a winery
- Dig up your sweaters from storage (March Inspiration)
- Learn to knit
- Listen to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet
- Watch geese flying north for the winter
- Spend a day antiquing
- Build a bonfire
- Collect pinecones & display them in a glass bowl
- Watch a kids’ soccer game
- Attend a fall festival
- Wear your favourite jeans
- Remember what you’re thankful for in your Gratitude Journal
Add To The Wardrobe
- A cotton waffle Robe
- A crisp tuxedo shirt
- A fleece vest
- An athletic Sweatshirt
- A lightweight waterproof coat
- A structured & stylish classic khaki trench coat
- A Trim Leather Blazer
- A navy blue peacoat
- A pair of black or brown flat knee high leather riding boots
- A pair of black high heeled ankle grazing booties
- A pair of sophisticated leather gloves
Fall isn’t all play and no work unfortunately, remember as the leaves start to fly, its also time to prepare your house for the winter with the following fall cleaning checklists.
Inside Your House
- Wash all windows. Use glass cleaner, or one squirt of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with water, & wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Pick a cloudy day so you can better see any streaks.
- Vacuum dusty canvas, cotton, & treated fabric blinds. Use a low setting with a brush attachment. Vinyl shades can be wiped down with a dampened microfiber cloth if they need a little more attention.
- Moderately dirty window treatments need a two-step approach. Start by dusting or vacuuming the valance & frame, then vacuum from top to bottom using the upholstery attachment for drapes, & the brush attachment for blinds. Or submerge blinds or shades in a few inches of cool water & two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid (check labels first to make sure this is safe). Take out the metal weights first; they can rust.
- If your window coverings are very dirty, check labels for cleaning instructions. Some cotton, polyester, rayon, & wool drapes can be machine washed on delicate. Always send lace, linen, satin, & silk drapes & shades to a professional cleaner.
- Clean the walls, dust, wash, rinse, & dry painted or wood-paneled walls.
- Clean ceiling-mounted light fixtures.
- Vacuum & spot-clean upholstered furniture and cushions.
- Wipe down the kitchen cupboards, empty them, wash them down, replace liners (if you use them), de-clutter, & reorganize.
- Dust off the refrigerator condenser coil, use your vacuum’s brush attachment & gently vacuum it.
- Have carpets professionally cleaned if needed.
- Evaluate any wooden floors, have scratched or dull wood floors professionally scuff-sanded & recoated, or completely refinished.
- Spruce up your computer, dust the CPU, clean & wipe down the keyboard, & dust off the monitor with a microfiber cloth.
- Straighten the closets. Declutter & reorganize.
- Test smoke & carbon monoxide detectors, or install them, if you haven’t yet.
- Replace the furnace filter.
- Have the wood-burning fireplace & stove flues & chimneys professionally inspected & swept.
- Declutter & clean out the attic.
Outside Your House
- Check weather stripping & caulking around doors & windows & repair or replace as needed.
- Check & clean the gutters, do the downspouts, too.
- Clean the patio furniture, then store away.
- Drain & store garden hoses.
- Check the exterior paint & touch up as needed.
- Drain the pool, if applicable.