Excavating the Authentic Self

Written by Ashley Ball

We're a questing society. Judging from our response to Simple Abundance and Something More: Excavating the Authentic Self, Sarah Ban Breathnach's books give us the something we've been seeking. What are we getting out of it? Ourselves.women's voices in literature

Sarah Ban Breathnach uses the metaphor of archaeology in Something More to illustrate our collective search for what she calls the "Authentic Self." She works on the premise that we must excavate layers of history, in a conscious manner, before we confront who we truly are.

As is her trademark, she feeds her hungry readers with wisdom, wit and quotes from mostly female authors. ("When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality." - Florida Scott Maxwell) The relevance of their words to our modern life seems surprising, somehow, in a way that historic men's quotes don't.

Do we accord men so naturally the timelessness of omniscient voice, yet expect the inner feminine voice to change and lose pertinence as rapidly as a style of corset? I think, sometimes, we do.

Ban Breathnach would not like that one bit, which is what makes her books genuine and lovable: She wants us to see ourselves as omniscient and omnipotent. Of course, this leads to a few brushes with New Ageisms. Our true selves are treasures "as spectacular as any ever found in the Delta of Venus or Egypt's Valley of the Kings."

Self-love is the mirrored grail of Something More's excavation process. Sarah has finally drunk from it ("It is nothing less than miraculous that I am no longer blind to my own radiance; it has been a lifelong struggle") and she wants you to, too.

If you feel a mild malaise and a sense of emptiness, you will probably be satisfied with Simple Abundance.

But if you're in a darker frame of mind (Something More was written after the author's marriage broke up), fraught with self-loathing and a bewildered sense of hurt, then you might do well to dip into Something More's outstretched cup.

Take it and drink of it, for it is your self.

Related items:

Delusional Leaders: Eyes Wide Shut

Related books:

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach

Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self, Sarah Ban Breathnach

She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb

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