Author of the international phenomenon “Simple Abundance,” Sarah Ban Breathnach opens up about the spiritual lessons she learned from earning a multimillion-dollar fortune and eventually losing it all. “Simple Abundance” is a collection of comforting, practical and simple essays written for women who want to live their most authentic lives. The 1995 book became a runaway hit: It was translated into 30 languages, sold more than seven million copies and stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for two years. The book’s success made Sarah a multi-millionaire but the wealth didn't last, and a little more than a decade later, Sarah found herself alone on her sister's doorstep with nothing but a single suitcase and her beloved cat. In her memoir, “Peace and Plenty,” Sarah shares the story of her rapid rise and fall, the truths she discovered about herself, and her journey back to health and happiness.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper the round. Us start right now. Terrible embryonic was a freelance writer living paycheck to paycheck before writing. bull abundance that pink book became one of my favorite things inspiring me and millions of other women to find gratitude in every moment more than two years on the New York Times by seller list made Sarah Publishing superstar- and He was soon trading, six figure royalty checks for trips on the conqueror. Marilyn Monroe Fur coats designer shoes in every color? Even Sir Isaac Newton Chapel became
private writing studio, but then her simple life became extremely complicated. The money began to do a result? Sarah says of wild spending, bad investments and a costly divorce. Three years ago Sarah found her. Up on her sisters, doorstep with nothing but a suitcase and her beloved cat Mikey. This was not the way anyone had expected. Sarah story to turn out, I invited her to Chicago to talk about everything to find out what she gay. By losing at all. So it feels like Learn to me that whole experience of the upper winfried show from
Certainly in the early nineties until almost the end and feels like woe, and only when I can look back at tapes, I think, and even in the process of putting life class together, I'd look at tapes and say: oh gosh was eye on that. Shall oh I was there, I must have a blur, so I wonder, does that happen? to you with the entire experience of simple abundance from the moment you got the phone call from one of our producers because my experience is everywhere. I looked. I shared this on tv, the very first summit interview everywhere I looked walking through the offices. I would see that little pink book and after to take what is it with the pink but the people just keep showing up. That was intentional, That was intentional. It came out November.
Six in that first Christmas and the publishers has sent one book on and and then they. Finally, I asked them please. If it's going to be a woman's book, please send it to everybody on Oprah staff and let them talk about it and He did. Was it a surprise to you the way the book was received, not just by my staff and by myself, but the way the world responded to netbook yet still kind a blow your head on. Yes,
Did you kind of lose your mind? I tried very hard not to one minute. I was doing the carpool and changing the kitty, litter and and writing about gratitude and being told that you know no lifestyle book based on gratitude will, you know, is ever going to catch fire and then the next I was asked to do. Yes in a word I was it blew it blew my my blue mind and I would say you know I've been send who practice gratitude and what simple abundance did for me is to ritual lies to bring into my life on a daily basis the experience of practising gratitude. But it's really difficult, I think, win just money, but we're a wealth hits and
you were not prepared for it, even though every body whose watching us right now, you know, would love to win the lottery, and everybody says you want it when it comes, you have to really be ready, for we have No, I was not, and you know that such a completely head turning heart turning flip on you know, you're, given what you can handle. So I tried I tried my hardest. You know I, the best part was there to best parts. One was being able to, let's be honest, by MID Bonnac shoes, but the other part was the charitable fun, but the shoes, the Manila Block, goes back to keeping a promise. I kept a promise to myself for twenty five years in there. Jeanne Seventys. When Sir was a freelance writer living in London, she would stare wistfully into the window. Them no Laplante designer shoe store on Church Street unable to afford the shoe.
or her London life? She thought she may have to pick it up and go back home, So your dream, it always been to have those men, olive Lennox S I had had a year ticket. And my return date to the United States was coming up and I said: listen if you. I knew if I went home, everybody would say you know we told you so we told you so you could make it and I said, SARA. If you stay, I promise you someday you'll be able to come back and you can have as many Manila Bonnac says. You want joy, so insurers, simple abundance book royalty checks began rolling in. She knew exactly where to go first and I made a trip to go to Church Street the taxi wanting to go into that store and I walked out with eight pairs. Wow. So tell me this simple abundant sold five million copies in the United States and other two million
rod, seven million copies were you get in least dollar for every book. Will you get in at least that yeah? Probably more? Yet you have to tell me everything, but did that was that heavy for you? Oh yes, but you know their day. There was a little the ritual there. In publishing when the times list for the next we would come out and on Wednesday, and you get a call at six p m and the six years number one again real and areas like. Oh my god, you know very heavy. You now have a glass of champagne and that went on for almost two years really and then came we number one. I was number one for almost a year wow you an animal, is on their fur like a hundred nineteen weeks. Why that's amazing! It is amazing
What I wanted to share with you and I've never share, because you don't get much sympathy for this the Wednesday that there was no call for that sort of strain. We haven't heard from Mr Evans that they haven't called, and so I called my age I said I haven't heard anything. She said we you're, not on the list. This way, how was that that I cry that? Have no nineteen, we I clarified, and I've thought no one in the world will understand what this feels like. Eligible being number. One is eventually you have to be number two three and four because life moves on it. Does it does but hadn't you prepare yourself or had you prepare draws up one day you have to say what what's gonna happen when that call doesn't come, but I didn't you never do now. That's
Lessons, I wish I had realized. I wish I had learned that life is cyclical. Success goes in cycles, see. I believe that if you did the very best of your work, which was simple abundance- and you continue to do that- that you be received in the same way you gained at all you come into it. You got me, leave the store with a pairs of Manila Blottings and you in the minority and recalling you one day in London and you had bought that Isaac, Newton Chapel and I'm in bringing up the phone going whew. Sarah his black eyes again, it's chapel that must have cost you a pretty penny. It didn't actually really renovating death bed did got ready. So you end up in Isaac, Newton Chapel as your home and you are flying the Concord like like its greyhound really
so you quickly rose to that lifestyle. Yes yeah did you know what you could afford and couldn't afford at that time now I also didn't know always I took on staff. I also didn't know how much that was all costing so you took on you had nine assist. Has nine assistance? Ninus? dense their salaries, health insurance there near our Algeria or more years, Did you have often said that money and fame only puts a magnifying glass on who you really are so did you have the need to please everyone yeah? I thought that for my close friends and my
land. While I loved vine gifts, that's number one here, but I also loved solving problems because it was so easy was there. I could just write a check. You know to help. Let me ask you this: do you feel that there was a part of you, because if I were to be completely truthful with myself, to try to be when I going back over my life and mistakes it I've made with money, was a part of you who to be the saviour to those friends and family. Yes, and yes, there is eagle thing involved, even though you didn't want to give it there's a part of you that feels like well, I'm doing this for you. Well, maybe not I'm doing As for you in that way, but you know what I'm doing you know I can do it and I will be a lady bountiful. What let's say you know it made me happy to make other people happier. I would say that the
no greater reward in giving than having the receiver be grateful for what you ve, given. Yes, until acknowledged that you ve made a difference in their life, but then there comes a moment with some people And they assume that you will do it and it is the entitlement and when I reached that if I reached that that that was a cut off point that when I realize that you know you don't even ass. You just assume that I'm gonna take care of something and now this is what I love that you were honest enough to say in peace in plenty. What right do I have to be giving other women advice on how to live their lives? when I messed up mine so completely. I feel my of shrinking inside becoming very shy and small, the incredible withering woman. How did I get here? How will I ever get back to financial
vanity and serenity. So you say you wrote this book not just certainly not to try to make best. Cause. I don't even I do that, but you wrote for your own sanity and serenity and How did you answer that question? What right do I have to be giving other women advice? I dont know that I have still answered it. I think that I speak truth and I speak it lovingly and that I acknowledge my own mistakes. I made every money mistake a woman could have personally and and and business, but that their mistake, I did you, make those mistakes. I really thought it would continue. I really thought it would continue, because I was putting out the best that I could do. I was really I did not slack
like a rock star with a hit album hid book, thought that I will just continue to make the hits and they had to keep on coming in go on tour and it'll be forever right, yeah, Does I thought that the initial making up the money was the big hurdle? Ok, so this is what I fields strongly about, and that is. Not only is life cyclical, not only, I don't feel strongly about it. I've just learned not only is life cyclical. But you ve got to understand when you're in the midst of a phenomenon.
You don't sound five million books as an author without that being something extraordinary going on. That's a phenomenon going on. That's what it, but it's hard to recognise this space that women were, in that particular time, the sort of the need and the urgency for somebody to speak what they were feeling in that way. It's very different. Now the times move everything changed that simple abundant was a phenomenon. Can you accept that? Yes I mean here and you talk that where, yes, that's exactly what it was yet a main, but an that's! That's the the catch! Twenty two! That's the you know them the mystery. That's the sea. I've really learned about certain
I have really learned that lesson now, but there is a part. Is their part of you, though? This is interesting? Is there a part of you? That's too is hoping you can get that back. Oh, I would love to have another hit on my hands are absolutely absolutely, this, I think thing this is, I think I'm gonna. Let you talk admit it. Isn't the things here s the thing you weren't, looking I hit. Then you want looking for a head. You were looking for a way to speak to the hearts of women. That's what you were looking to do am I correct. I was you know
the only woman whose life I was trying to change. One was running simple abundance was my own eye and then the miracle was that it was just touching other women's lives. It in you know just the momentum of it and what it was doing in and but that's the real truth is your writing. Peace, employment! That's one of the things that you said about this book. You wrote this book to save your own life, to sit down and in doing that to save your own life that tell you say by their peoples, lives yeah! Yes, that wasn't written to be a hit. That was written to be a healing for myself After simple abundance became a phenomenon, Saraband chronic return to England and fell in love, it would be her third, marriage and the one she thought for sure with last forever. So you married again, I did
after seven years. I met a man that I had originally met in my twenties, and I thought this is it. This is it. I thought it was my love story and I believed very much in it and it turned out it wasn't a love story now what happened? My family and close friends did not like the Englishman, from the beginning, but always I always you know we were all right for the first couple of years, although I did not like the we taking, you know. I investments in, and you know, selling them often Christy's and southern, He said I hope my gun. You know I mean out. Ok, how does that help?
How does it happen? How does it happen? What he told me that he that I was no good with money, despite the fact that I may undermine made the money. I was no good at handling the money, you believed because there is a part of you that would have to be the only way you can accept that, as there is a part of you that believe that that was true, yeah yeah and he was very forceful and he said his background had been in money but he wasn't earning any money. He was bringing anything in and and at first it was ok with you. I didn't realize it. I didn't realize he said he was an independent business was a sharing in the household responsibilities. Was helping you pay for things over? You For I was writing knowledge, as regarding all the chance he was trying his ventures, but I was writing all checks. We
Oh, my God, This I love on page three, o three. You say when I would bring up the subject of money. He would be eight me for not earning more yell at me for all Spending I did before he arrived on the scene and behave like an emotional bully. in his eyes. I was a loser and has been how to allow yourself- and I asked this not in judgment, because I'm sure you've asked yourself this and there's nothing. I can say to you haven't already said you was to. Ok! So how could you allow yourself to be but re for money that you had earned? You know the first time it happens, you think that's a little
Second, I call those the whispers years. Time is always struck should not be talking to be that way. Rice right and I also wanted his approval you now and since I had not accepted that simple abundance was a phenomenon for her. Since I thought it was a flu, maybe he was right, but then then you get start to get beaten down an arm. So you, the next question, is: why do you stay I was alone. I was isolated, my family, I was isolated from my friends and there was nobody in my circle. I was You know eight hours away from my daughter, my sister everybody. I would have been embarrassed if.
Someone had seen the way, then you would be. How are you doing here, which I am sure is true for a lot of people here, but the other thing is the first two years you know had been all right. I put it in quotes. You know I thought
that it wasn't that bad, because I love the way you say it wasn't that bad and you who wrote simple abundance, you're willing to now live with was if they had bad. You know there is not another woman in the world that I could share this with other than you, but I tell the truth and my work, that's the sacred contract. You know you can't tell the truth. I'm feeling that from you and in an unfair I filled the authenticity of the word here and obviously in simple abundance led the thread for you has always been what is the authentic journey and that's what you're trying to
I urge all of us and be able to say this is where I went off course, but I think all of us make compromises. I remember in my twenties being in a relationship with someone who didn't hit. That was my that better. That was my bit because Abuja I hear me. I'm not gonna be hit, but It would allow yourself to be demeaned in other ways. You know I figured that out in my twenties. You had already been through a difficult divorce couple times, so I'm surprised that the fact that you had all this- and I think that's really the real lesson for everybody, the even though you had all of the trappings of success in you, look like it didn't you walk like a ten year. The click of your one. No,
blocks on the pavement said, I am successful that still somewhere inside you must have not felt that in an authentic pure way in order to put up with somebody parading you I'll, except that I accept that, but you get better down and you and you become very, very vulnerable and are you saying that you stayed because you felt depended upon him at that time? Were you felt buying were tied to him or you didn't recognize that it now by the time that that you know- and it happened around our second anniversary- each really
this behaviour towards me and at some point I said the wire you treating me so me- I don't know, you know what's happened and he said because all the monies gone I realized all the monies gone, possibly Beecher. I get possibly have heard that it was true what disturbed you, the most, the fact that all the money was gone or the fact that you didn't matter as much, because other money was gone. All the fact that I did Matt. Ok, you know it was like why, so you are only here, because I have the money yeah that that that was the realisation for you that that was that was second, I mean
that was so soon and then I was ashamed and then the very things that he was saying I started to believe you know somebody hits you you know, that's it you're not gonna hit me yeah, that's right, but when it's these angry vicious things that are said Anne I didn't want to admit that I had made a disastrous mistake, but I just want to say this to anybody who is listening to us are watching us right now that it always always always- and you know this- it's always about you- it's always about you. Nobody can
speak to you in a way that demeans your spirit unless you are willing to be demeaned or feel that you deserve that incite. Would you agree with that? Yes, we just cannot a cat, that's the same idea as you can only betray yourself. That's right. I was, but I was betraying myself on.
any levels, but then I mean that the whole story has a happy ending image. I left. Yes, they gave you the courage to get up and leave that my daughter came over. She was worried about me. She surprise me for Christmas and dumb small. What's going on here, city sucking life out of you who is not making you happy, and I said, she's right and then I said I dont know how to help myself. She said: mom, you help millions of what meant. Well, ah, she said I'll help. You help yourself. Well, I said I don't. I don't know where to begin civil will begin.
So you ended up on your sisters, doorstep with your cat and ones who case and whence it came, and voice proceeding, starting or species. That is an amazing story from simple abundant abundance. Real abundance, thorough abundance too. On the doorstep from Newton, renewed and job in writing in this little table at your sisters house? Was that good for you? Yes, yes, because I never wrote a book like that. I mean I was there. I was writing for my life. I was not writing to make ahead. I was not you know this was this. Was my life That's my life on the page, understanding money, seeing how money my mistakes with money, how that head influenced or did so introduced Asian throughout pollution. Plenty! You talk about it as money, and you say that this book is about
in your path to financial serenity, but for me it's really not about the money, but isn't it doesn't feel to me that it's about the money, money is a matter for, and always a metaphor for your your true worth and to me you handled them. Me, as you saw yourself so in the moment the juice call yourself. You know if the Manolo Blahniks self and then with a chapel to that that that was an idea that you had about your worth in your value, but it wasn't the truth of what your worth and your value were. The money and the acquisition of the money was all about was a metaphor for worth. Yes, but yes, true, true trustworthy, that's what the peace in the plenty is really about to me. Yes, but it's not just for
If not we you know, we ve all had a shock. You know people. work their whole lives suddenly have nothing. You know is my he just a metaphor for them. You know when I started simple abundance. I didn't have a comma in my checking account and the accomplishment counted for nothing everybody is really looking at their life now and
and we are all having to say. Is that the money? Well, it is the money when you can't. You know when your house's foreclosed right, you don't have health insurance. You know why it is the money and I think that that's also part of the conversation, the money is sacred, which we are meant to do good with money, and it's just time for us to be is truthful about money and it's important to have you reached the place of surrendering for yourself. You say in here that you wrote this book to save yourself right. Are you there the place of peace in the same way with off until today, simple abundance some days or more authentic than others, some days or more financially. Serene. I loved your chapter that you did on tomorrow is another day because this as it is, you can get up and you have a chance. You know that a line from Scarlet o hara. Tomorrow is another day, and I often say tomorrow
Nowadays, scarlet and we didn t, try it again and the real truth is that having made me Digs really is the universe is way. Appointing you in another direction to say tomorrow is another day skull right yeah. I really felt that's when my eye the car pulled out of the drive way in England, even though I was leaving everything behind didn't know what would happen, I really felt that Heaven when she got it, she guy So where are you now? I'm good, I'm better than I have been. I feel like I've come out of a long tunnel and dumb. You know, and it's only been in like the last six months that I now
the world is so open for me, and you know I used to love when you would say that you know you'd, look at your dreams and they were so bright. You know that you need to sunglass and for them some? I feel that way. The major so braided burns, my insurance so bright, it burns by eyes it I really feel like you now do you feel I mean I often this too. I do not think that the universe I see everything as a life class. I see said this earth school is a school and we're all constantly learning, but I also wake up some days and say: Jesus don't teach me that today, I have learned enough in the pets. Don't judge me, no more lessons does just let me learn. I can still make it on last ITALY, S, sympathy,
so this was that this was a hard price to pay to come to peace in plenty a hard priced too. It was a hard fall. Was it not yes, but it was never fall from grace. It was a fall, but net days I didn't say that I know, but I wanted to say because grace raising grace is saved me, one day at a time coming back coming back so, and you know maybe for me to characterize it as a fall is, is a false interpretation of what happened here I think, if you're only looking at sea I'm buying into when you have the it bears a Manoa blonde eggs at one time in your living in Newton's cottage that that is excess, true success
as is the feeling of reward and self respect that you feel for yourself, and so perhaps, even in that moment, where it look where it look like, you know, wasn't real, so this is even closer to what the truth is for you, yes and being authentic. Now, when I looked back down at that that where I came from their stories now, I'm a storyteller and I can tell a story- and I will have you know the happy ending it may not have been the happy ending, I thought would be abandoned, but
you know I mean I am at peace, and what is that expression is that I wouldn't give nothing wouldn t dare met up then, for my name now wouldn't take nothing from my journey. Now, a man, that's great, you ever wish the fame and fortune never happened. No, I wish that I had been more prepared for it. You know there should be a school there. It should be of a master glass and a sort of a secret master glass that when somebody arrives big there, They receive a telephone call and some mentor that says you know we'd like to we'd like to have you over to our during. This is how you do it in. I feel very fortunate, because I I knew that early on that. I didn't know how to manage it so
I wasn't afraid to ask for help, and you didn't do that. Why I didn't want to bother anyone who. was it also true, you didn't want anybody to think you didn't know how to handle it. The that is a lot of apple, they think anybody to know that I don't know how to handle it, and you you give a truth serum here in this the right there. you didn't want anybody? You know that you didn't now know how to use it. Now it is a smart woman and I wrote simple balance that should be able to figure it out for him and that's right. That's what I hear that So what's the great spiritual lesson for you and all of this, I am always king for what is the spiritual lesson in this, is super sold Sunday. So what is the great spiritual lesson on the surface, its peace in play,
finding financial serenity with yourself. What is the great lesson guard your heart watch, your treasures, for what is your treasure we'll be your Heaven on earth. very good system. Button run very good where you living now, I'm living outside of delay. We able to move on to your sisters. I did to the apartment extorted. are you. Actually said, cure. You say you don't believe you could ever be secure, but are you stable? Yes, yes, and- and you know, I'm serene an army- you can buy groceries, ok Thank God and you can pay for your and I'm paying. Yes, your mortgage, your house or what the house is still for sale. Newton's travel is still for sale. Anybody interested in trouble.
Yeah, are you writing in your gratitude journal again? Oh, yes, yes, and sometimes you know, I repeat in the kick I woke up in the kittens were on their souls behind you know. Next man, we really had a lovely moment or you know I love this glass of wine and it was you know it was a bar again man, a reigned in California, and I could hear the rain and the picture. You know I mean very simple things going going. You know, as Elliot said, Ts Elliot that we go back to where we began. Yeah. What is this all? The soul is the spiritual essence of who we really are. What is your definition of God? Everything everything but a good answer like that when what's the difference between spirituality,
and religion. Religion says: there's only one way to Heaven. Spirituality says: choose the one. That brings you joy. What is prayer mean to you? Prayers is simply a conversation with God. Simply prayer is the constant conversation with God, and it is the most passionate conversation I have with anybody. Where do you feel most at home or peace with yourself with by animals? What do you think happens when we die? I hope I get to say
Oh wow? Oh wow! A well see jobs. Yes, that is that that is to me. I dont use an Ipad. I dont use an Iphone yet, but for me that is the greatest gift he has given to me personally, because I thought it Steve jobs could say: oh well as is going towards Heaven them. Well, what has he strengthening? That's been tested, ok onto the next. Can you finish these sentences? The world needs to be told, everything's gonna be all right. I believe in amazing grace love is the essence. We breathe
the essence of our heartbeat love is. I would like to thank, I would like to thank all of the millions of women who prayed for me over the years. There would send me letters and say thanking me, and they say I want only the best for you and I'm praying for your happiness, and I knew, as I came on the journey back to myself, that it was those prayer step protected. So, thank you. Isn't it amazing how a prayer from us stranger or note from a stranger when I was. through my trial down Texas. Ninety nine eight person is handed me on a little match book. Just denote did said, I'm praying for you and to this day,. just the thought of a stranger who doesn't even know you says I'm pray annually
and you have millions of women doing that for years, so you were prayed up. I limited by trade, the add on called at present. I am ready to forgive myself for making for not being good stewardess about money, because I am a good stewardess now. I hope baby steps, but I it took me long unto me years to forgive myself. Say it's all right, as mother Maya said, you know, when you knew no bad area is do better. I want my legacy to be. not a dry, and For someone to say the only hurt she ever caused was when she left us. Well, I hope that's nice rob that's good, that's good! Thank you! So interesting. Just two women really talk here.
really Tata I'm over Winfrey and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the pod cast. You can follow super soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple pod, CAS unsubscribe rate and review of this plant can join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-10-09.