Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy urges you to look within today and have fun thinking about paths not yet taken, the paths of your secret imaginary self. Each of you leads many lives vicariously and often simultaneously. By acknowledging your secret lives and tapping into the wisdom of your alter egos, you can glean tips to help you develop your own personal sense of style. In your Journal answer the following questions:
- So first divine who you would be if not you, if you had 10 other lives to leave what would you be doing?
- How do they live?
- How do they dress?
- How can you reconcile fantasy with reality & bring more pizzazz into your life?
- What can you do to bring some of the magic of your imaginary lives into your everyday existence?
- What are you going to be when you grow up?
Your secret imaginary lives are full of surprises, be open to gleaning their secrets of personal style, so start saving and searching to find them on sale somewhere.
One of my favourite sources of women’s wisdom is Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. One of the things that I most love about this book is the lovely inspiration to introduce some good old fashioned traditions back into your life and I truly believe that by punctuating the year with these we can inject our lives with a lot more genuine moments of joy while on this journey in the pursuit of happiness. In her list of Joyful Simplicities for April, she suggests we remind ourselves what it’s like to have fun on April fool’s day. To Turn everything topsy-turvy, to start your day with English muffin pizzas for breakfast, surprise your loved ones and co-workers with whimsy, (Always remember that your jokes should be comical, absurd and amusing surprises never ones designed to embarrass) To meet a light-hearted friend who always makes you laugh for a lunchtime bagel. To pick up your children after school under the guise of attending a dentist appointment only to whisk them off to the ice cream parlour and to have pancakes or waffles for dinner. To finish your day off by carving out some time for yourself to honour the child within. Go play dress up in your own wardrobe just like you did as a little girl on rainy day in your mothers. Experiment with different combinations, explore the possibilities but most importantly, have fun.
With the start of April 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 April 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 April to Parenthood: lightening up with the following ideas:
- Singing in the morning
- Acknowledging the reality of other peoples feelings
- Being a treasure house of happy memories
- Taking time for projects
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests the following joyful simplicities for April to help bring more simplicity to your everyday life:
- Celebrate April Fools Day on April 1st
- Die Easter eggs & hide them in the garden for children of all ages to hunt
- Bake a batch of hot cross buns
- Eat jelly beans
- Trim an old fashioned bonnet
- Take a creative excursion to a hat store to find the perfect new hat, play around with the many different possibilities until you find the one that shows a glimpse of your authentic self in the mirror to purchase.
- Take a creative excursion to a large record shop to discover all the different types of music available, check out some new albums to enjoy. Flip the dial to a new radio station in the car and enjoy the sound of silence when at home alone.
- Resume the restorative pastime of weekend roaming & take a creative excursion to an estate sale to look for vintage linens & a farmers market for plants & herbs.
- Take a Sunday drive in the country to revel in Mother natures Autumn fancy dress, pack a picnic & linger as long as you can.
- Sort through your lingerie drawer, discard ratty old bras & panties & delight in pretty new undergarments, lay down scented paper & tuck in some lavender scented sachets.
- Spend a rainy afternoon curled up under a blanket listening to the rain on the roof
- Pick up a up a copy of Diane Ackerman’s book A Natural History Of The Senses & revel in an exhilarating reading romp that will intrigue & inspire you to become a sensuist
- Pick up a copy of Liza Nagy’s book Aromatherapy: A Natural Choice & learn all you can about the benefits of aromatherapy.
- Plant crocus, daffodils & tulips outdoors for next spring.
- Mull cider & wine on the weekends for an autumn cup of cheer, especially delightful to indulge in after raking leaves.
Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that April is the time to take a break and learn how to:
- Pack like a pro
- Where to go for a weekend
- Fab ideas for a few days away
- Rules for picking the perfect trousers
- Getting your chimney swept & checking your smoke alarms
- Booking a dental check-up
- Having a dying session to renew last summers tired white T-shirts
Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-clutter Your Life she says April is the perfect time to:
- Reset your clocks for daylight savings.
- Check your smoke alarms.
- Plan your Autumn/winter wardrobe
- Stock up for the Easter bunny
- Sort fans & heaters
Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-by-month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment says that April is the time for food gardening in containers.
And just for those of you not living in the Southern Hemisphere and celebrating April in Autumn a suggestion from Meik Wiking’s Book The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well which refers to April as the perfect month for hiking and cooking over an open fire and reminds you to pack chocolate eggs if you are heading out over Easter
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy reminds you that an easy way let your authentic self help you evolve into the woman you were meant to be is to gather different mail order catalogues. Find a quiet moment to yourself, sit down and flip through the catalogues. Cut out the pictures of the women you think are attractive and the clothing you’d love to wear. Don’t even consider whether you can afford anything or whether you can fit into it today. This is a creative brainstorming session. Always remember that dream, your creative visualizations, must come before their physical manifestations. Play with the pictures in your Illustrated Discovery Journal. Create a collage of your ideal woman, find the perfect hairstyle, put together a fantastic wardrobe for home or work. Have fun with this. Pretend you’re ten years old and playing with paper dolls. See what you discover. Does anything in your Illustrated Discovery Journal resemble anything hanging in your wardrobe? Consider this carefully. Now make yourself a promise. Since you have embarked on this adventure to awaken your authenticity and discover your own sense of style, be willing not to buy another item of clothing unless you absolutely cannot live without it. no more settling for something that’s not you or that’s second rate. On the Simple Abundance path you’re going to discover the joy of surrounding yourself only with things you love and the pleasure of wearing only clothes that make you look and feel fabulous and project your authentic sense of style. Let the potent power of simplicity begin to work in your life. If it’s not authentically you, live without it.
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.
I didn’t achieve as many of my July goals as I would have liked but I did manage to tick off a few and with the start of August here I now have a whole new chance to achieve a few more goals
Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project dedicated August to Eternity: contemplating the heavens with the following ideas:
- Read memoirs of catastrophe
- Keep a gratitude notebook
- Imitate a spiritual master
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests the following joyful simplicities for August to help bring more harmony to your everyday life:
- Rediscover the books you loved as a child.
- Consider starting or joining a book club.
- Start your search for a choice second-hand book shop.
- Experience heaven on earth with an assortment of sacred sounds that soothe.
- Get Julia Cameron’s book The Artists Way & start her 12 week course.
- Treat yourself to a deluxe box of Crayola crayons to use to create a poster.
Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that August is the time to think about getting more time out of your day by doing some of the following:
- Reloading your music player with new tunes.
- Getting your highlights done.
- Going through your summer wardrobe & writing a list of what’s missing.
- Treating yourself to a great pair of shoes.
- Putting in place regular routines that will help you get out the door in 10 minutes.
- Learning some quick beauty fixes
- Making travel time work for me
Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-clutter Your Life she says August is the perfect time to:
- Donate the winter clothes you didn’t wear.
- Continue planning for the Christmas holidays.
Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-by-month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment says that August is the time for domestic crafts, sewing and household linens.
Julia Cameron in her book The Artists Way: A Course In Discovering And Recovering Your Creative Self is more than an amazing book, its a practical step by step instruction manual in tapping into your creativity. It is very involved and I want to give myself the best chance of success so I am going to rejig her twelve week course into a 12 month course and suggest that maybe you do the same. In order to do this week one will become:
August: Recovering A Sense of Safety
- Morning Pages
- Artist date: Five & Dime
- Time Travel: three old enemies
- Time travel: monster hall of fame horror story
- Letter to the editor
- Time travel: three old champions
- Time travel: Thank you letter
- Imaginary Lives
- Affirmations & blurts
- Artists date: 20 minute walk
- Check in
I didn’t achieve as many of my June goals as I would have liked but I did manage to tick off a few and with the start of July here I now have a whole new chance to achieve a few more goals
Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project dedicated July to Money: buying some happiness with the following ideas:
- Indulge in a modest splurge
- Buy needful things
- Spend out
- Give something up
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests the following joyful simplicities for July to help bring more harmony to your everyday life:
- Rediscover the Bible.
- Dip into books with a culinary theme.
- Arrange a dinner around a film.
- Bake a cake
- Write a love letter to yourself.
- Read Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
- Add some lace to your life.
- Frame a childhood picture of yourself
- Start forcing bulbs of hyacinths
- Wear perfume everyday
- Try a red lipstick
- Treat yourself to one long stem rose for your desk
- Listen to Cole Porter
- Watch Out of Africa
- Read Isak Dinesen & Beryl Markham
- Make a batch of old fashioned chocolate fudge
- Create a sacred space
Trinny & Susannah in their book The Survival Guide: A Woman’s Secret Weapon For Getting Through The Year say that July is the time to think about the art of not looking your age by doing some of the following:
- Sort your skiing kit
- Book a mid-winter facial & eyelash tint
- Make a start on your bikini body by giving up cappuccino & croissants
- Turn your mattress
- Clean your jewellery
- Introduce some spiritual solutions to your everyday life
- Learn ways to meditate
- Learn some new beauty tips
- Learn how to eat your way to gorgeousness
Kim Carruthers in her book Less is More: How to De-clutter Your Life she says July is the perfect time to:
- Sort & clean school & work bags
- Reassess your families goals
- Continue planning for the Christmas holidays
- Sort your tax return
Rhonda Hetzel in her book The Simple Home: A Month-by-month Guide To Self-Reliance, Productivity and Contentment says that July is the time for simple home bakes.