What makes the place we reside a "home"? And, as busy parents and preoccupied rat-racers, how can we open up our homes -- and hearts -- to everyday joys and simple pleasures? Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of the bestselling Simple Abundance franchise, answers these questions and more in her newest offering, Moving On: Creating Your House of Belonging with Simple Abundance (Meredith).
"For the first time in your life, you won't want to trade places with any other woman because your own home will be so beautiful, comfortable, tidy, and serene. You'll realize no matter where you might reside at the moment, the home you have is all you need to shelter your dreams. Now. Not tomorrow or next year."
Ban Breathnach chatted with AmericanBaby.com, and gave her thoughts on the powerful notions of the dream home, soul-sucking clutter, and living one day at a time.
AmericanBaby.com: Simple Abundance, your phenomenal book that started its own movement, continues to resonate with the hearts and minds of people. How has Moving On built on this momentum? Is it a sequel or a companion?
Sarah Ban Breathnach: In many ways, Moving On is the book many of my readers have been asking me to write for years, a creative and practical application of the Simple Abundance principles applied in the home. In that sense, it's a continuation of the Simple Abundance journey.
Like all my books, I wrote it for myself first and it seems to ring true for any woman who has ever needed or wanted to reinvent her life and the space where she lives it. And if there was ever a time that a woman needs to reconsider her living space, it's after a new baby joins the household! Suddenly, no matter how big her house is, a little baby manages to take over.
AB: There's one passage that I quite like in your new book: "In reality the books we love, the ones that really change a reader's life, are those that change the author's life as well." How has this book changed your life? And, how would you like your readers' lives to change?
SBB: Moving On is about re-imaging the concept of home and our place in it. But it's also about how women cleverly, stubbornly, and subversively resist change until circumstances or chaos engulfs us -- and happy changes such as a new baby's arrival bring as much upheaval as unwanted changes.
The truth that a woman's home is the most accurate barometer of her emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being can be as unsettling as it is reassuring. Moving On has helped me realize that piles of anything -- laundry on the floor, crowded kitchen counters, overflowing sinks -- is usually the unresolved trying to get my attention. Day in and day out, women rob themselves of contentment through disorder and bury dreams through clutter.
AB: You are obviously a woman who strives to live simply. But you also are someone who has many commitments, schedules, and the clutter that comes with them. How can women -- especially women with small children underfoot -- embrace the principles of Moving On?
SBB: The principles of Simple Abundance are still the same in Moving On -- Gratitude, Simplicity, Order, Harmony, Beauty, and Joy -- and we apply them in our homes, as our lives, one day at a time. Start with Gratitude -- be so thankful for this wonderful time in you and your children's lives. It passes by so quickly!
It was just yesterday that my own little girl was discovering the world and wanted to share it with me, and now she's all grown up and living in Los Angeles. Don't wish these magical moments away -- they'll never come again.
AB: How can the search for authenticity help us become better parents?
SBB: I think that when we search for authenticity in our lives, we're really searching for what matters the most -- and isn't that the most beautiful lesson we can teach our children? We teach our children what to cherish through inspiration.
AB: In your book, you share "heart reflections" that help readers tap into their feelings of gratitude, beauty, and joy. Do you have any exercises that we can try?
SBB: There are two things a new mother can do to jump-start moving on: clean out your purse -- and the diaper bag! Now, don't you feel better already?
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, July 2006.