“When money is plentiful, this is a man’s world. When money is scarce, it is a woman’s world.” ~ 1932 Ladies Home Journal.
In the 90s, “Simplicity Guru” Sarah Ban Breathnach was the toast of the town. She became a New York Times best-selling author sharing the simple wisdom of gratitude that even talk show queen Oprah Winfrey could promote.
Ban Breathnach’s first book, Simple Abundance had resonance with many babyboomers who were still reeling from the excesses of the 1980s’ ME Generation. Just after the dot.com bubble burst, some of the “new money” types were in search of a wiser way of being “wealthy” within the material world—perhaps in it but not of it.
Many newly “liberated” women were working at least two full-time jobs—a day conquering the world of work outside the home only to return to the life of a full-time homemaker… not a lot had changed (in terms of housework and childcare) after the “woman’s revolution.”
Simple Abundance offered the reader—mostly burnt-out females—inspiring quotes, poems, meditations, and practical exercises for every day of the year. These techniques would support her in dialing back from over-working, over-consuming, over-doing and return her to a simpler time (before myriad techno-distractions, information overload and online shopping would take over our minds and eviscerate our souls).
Ban Breathnach’s intent in writing this first book for women became a multi-million dollar affair spawning dozens of titles (not unlike the Chicken Soup for the Soul industry). Her books offered readers everything from “reviving Victorian celebrations” for comfort and joy, to pampering baby suggestions, to gardening and decorating ideas, to gratitude journaling, to the journey toward simplicity for men, to excavating your authentic self, to romancing “the ordinary”—all works to offer the reader a simpler way “to create a greater sense of personal fulfillment.”
But, that was years ago.
Who knew what this virtually “instant-wealth” would produce in her own life. After buying her share of $1000 shoes and Einstein’s chapel, she hit a kind of “bottom.”
“I lost my heart, I lost my home, I lost my bearings, and I lost my way,” Ban Breathnach said in a recent interview with ABCNews.com.
Despite talk show appearances and heaps of financial success, the author who once received 40,000 letters from women inspired by her book of essays, was broke. As a result, she was inspired to write a memoir detailing how she finally learned to become comfortable with money.
“I was a darling millionaire. I thought I could solve everybody’s problems, and my own, by writing a check,” says Ban Breathnach, borrowing a quote from the-always-sardonic Dorothy Parker.
While Ban Breathnach tried to pull herself out from under what she now calls her “money mistakes,” she lived in her sister’s basement. Currently, she sees her experience as one not uncommon to others who have made money quickly but did not know how to manage their new financial successes. She writes: “My generation and my mother’s generation, we were not taught business. Money for us was home economics.”
The Ban Breathnach who has since left her sister’s home had a cathartic experience on the pages of Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity. “I wrote the book to save my own life,” she says.
But, don’t refer to Peace and Plenty as another personal finance tome. Ban Breathnach’s no Suze Orman pointing women toward concrete practices that lead them to financial self-responsibility. Her book is more about the meaning she made of her own journey from financial helplessness to spiritual awarenesses that could support her to move toward financial self-care.
“I don’t call it a personal finance book. I call it a money memoir,” says Ban Breathnach. “This is not a book to tell you how to do it. This is a personal book on how I started to become comfortable with money.”
Read more about her journey from talk of Simple Abundance concepts to practices for living in the real world. Moving from shame to self-forgiveness of very understandable mistakes.
Read more of this interview with CBS.com HERE.
Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email: AuthorizeU@gmail.com. If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.