“I can’t remember the last time I really worried about being appealing… it was a really long time ago.” – Meryl Streep
I am in the middle of a life-long love affair with books. As I type, I am surrounded by a riotous bookshelf, a shorter cubby-hole of precious volumes, and at least three piles of books on the floor of my office that have not yet found permanent homes. I’m so obsessed that my husband had to intervene a few years ago when the postman started making cracks about us keeping Amazon afloat.
There is one book, however, that I value above all others, and it is one that I have created myself. In 1995 I read the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This book inspired me to start keeping an illustrated journal – really a massive, ongoing vision board – and I have kept at it for 15 years. In some ways it is a lovely reminder of who I have been, but lately it has had a well-needed edit. While gleefully ripping things out or covering things up that no longer represent who I am or where I want to be, I’ve been engaged in an unusual visualization. As I tear out the photos of the women I no longer want to imitate and add photos full of colour and juice and vibrancy, I am claiming the woman that I have become, and it feels good.
Colour, bookshelves, teacups, rooms with floorboards instead of carpets, artist studios, rustic kitchens, flowers, quotes, quirks, peace, whimsy, treehouses, laughter, honesty and beauty – that is what my book is full of. If I were to write a role profile to fill the position of the best me there is, it would look pretty much like the contents of this journal. I’ve read in at least a dozen places that one of the best ways to know yourself is to collect what you love. Well, I don’t know much for sure, but I can agree with that prescription. All you need is an empty book, magazines, scissors and glue and your life will change.
Collect what you love and understanding will follow. I promise.