You may have noticed a new button on my blog. It's the Picture Inspiration button. Picture Inspiration is a class I'm taking through Big Picture Classes. In addition to a series of weekly prompts that are intended to inspire class participants to pick up our cameras and start shooting, there is also a message board and a gallery to share our images. The class is hosted by Tracey Clark. If you've never heard of her, then chances are you've never heard of Shutter Sisters, either. You need to check out both of those sites if you have any interest in photography at all. Anyway, in Tracey's welcome to us, she discussed an inspiration tool box. This is basically the things that we surround ourselves with that offer inspiration for photography and creativity. The book Simple Abundance is part of Tracey's inspirational toolbox. I've owned this book for over 11 years.
I first discovered this book in my early years as a social worker. One of my mentors used it often in her personal life and in helping the women she worked with find balance. My mom gave me the book as a gift the first Christmas after I got married. At that time, I was in my mid-twenties. While I was certainly a mature 20-something, I didn't really "get' the book at that time. I might have thought I did. But, I was never motivated to get past the first few pages of this book of daily devotions, inspirational quotes and prompts for introspection.
Over the past 11 yrs I've moved that book from bookshelf to moving box to bookshelf to moving box as we've moved numerous times. I've picked it up periodically and flipped through the pages searching for something. But again, never quite grasped the message and was never motiviated to move beyond those first few pages.
Well, I'm now in a very different place than I was the first time I held that book. As a wife of 11 yrs, a mother of an almost 5 yr old, and a social worker who's experienced beyond my years, I find myself feeling like something is missing. I've had a few particularly challenging weeks recently. I can point to a few things in my work life or personal life that are stressful but at the same time, I just feel like I'm in an overall "funk". Ultimately, I feel burnt out. I'm exhausted, irritable and simply a little sad. Well, last Friday night, I was feeling particularly down, and I decided I didn't want to spend my weekend being a grump. That wouldn't be fun for anyone. I was suddenly reminded of Tracey's mention of Simple Abundance, in that moment I decided to soak in a hot tub filled with bubbles and delve into this book of Simple Abundance once more.
This book and it's message is exactly what I need right now. The premise of this book is that women are often depressed (on some level) because of a denial of their authentic self. Sound a little too out there? Well, think about it. When we walk around each day, as women, as mothers, as employees and we spend most of our days caring for others and doing things that are not in line with our own heart's desires, and we don't draw on our own talents, we are denying our authentic self.
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There are principles and exercises in this book that are aimed at revealing our authentic selves and teaching ways to live authentically. I'm still only a few pages into the book, but the reason I put it down this time, wasn't because of lack of interest. Quite the opposite, actually. I wanted some time to digest the words. I wanted time to purchase or create a journal to be used as my companion as I embark on this journey.
Now, I don't mean to come off as all melancholy. Trust me, I'm OK. I'm not going to run away or quit my job or file for divorce (my marriage is quite good!). I just know I could be more OK, more "me". I know who I am (I think) and I know what I want (I think), but there's a disconnect between who I am, what I want and what I'm actually living. I need to find more balance and bring more of what I want into my life.
(I realize this is a little "deeper" subject matter than I usually discuss on this blog, but I think that may be part of the issue. I love blogging, I love crafting, I love posting photos, but I also really want to "keep it real", so I just might get a little deeper sometimes. Don't worry I'll still post super cute crafty tutorials and pics of my adorable daughter ;) )
So, I'm sure some of you can relate to all of this. Anyone want to let me know I'm not alone? Have any of you read Simple Abundance? I'd love to know your thoughts.