Wisdom Lesson #13: A Lesson from Sarah Ban Breathnach — Ask for what you need!

[I originally posted this in the SHINE section of www.bythespirit.net. Reprinted with permission.]

“Today start asking. You see a woman with a great haircut? Ask where she got it. Ask for the name of a great paint color in a home accessory shop, a fabulous recipe from a hostess …. Ask for a deadline extension. Ask for the day off. Ask for a raise. Ask when the next sale will be. Ask Spirit for a daily portion of grace. Ask Divine Wisdom for operating instructions. Ask your guardian angel to manifest holy assistance. While you’re at it, ask for a miracle.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance [June 3 passage titled “Ask, Ask, Ask”]

Recently Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of the nineties phenomenon known as Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy, returned to a seat she’d occupied and indeed owned at that time; a seat across from Oprah Winfrey to discuss spirituality and finding the miracles in the mundane.

Decades having passed since the last time, now in 2012 both women are in a different place and space. Sarah is a proverbial Phoenix rising out of a series of devastating personal and professional losses and Oprah is in the midst of her own challenging life transition from a daily talk show to 24/7 programming as a network owner with The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). This time Sarah’s purpose and intention in her face-to-face with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday (covered in a recent ByTheSpirit.net post) was to share the wisdom of all that had transpired in the years since her initial rise to fame and fortune and the “fall” from its purported grace.

Her story of extreme loss (of all her wealth and, for a time, herself) was both heart-breaking and life-affirming for me for so many reasons. Her reflections on her journey were both encouraging and cautionary.  Her willingness to expose her “brokenness” in front of the millions of us (literally) who’d placed her on a spiritual pedestal and who soaked in her Simple Abundance wisdom like a dry, brittle sponge that absorbs water again, was awe-inspiring. Her honesty and humility seemed to make her advice and her wisdom so much more relevant, accessible and authentic.

When Oprah asked about how all this could happen to someone like her who by all accounts “knew better”, at least intellectually, Sarah identified her inability to ask for help to manage her money, fame and life coupled with her need to affirm her self-worth by giving as a primary reason.

She decided consciously not to ask for help when things were falling apart because she didn’t want to be seen as not knowing or not having all the answers. In her weakness, ironically she didn’t want to appear weak. She gave until it hurt (again, literally) and she also handed over the reigns of her life to others who didn’t have her best interest at heart. Essentially, Sarah admitted she was wonderfully, fearfully human. She allowed fear and self-doubt to keep her from asking for what she desired and needed desperately in her life. And she lost it all.

Oh, how often I have been in the same place. And oh how grateful I am for the reminder through Sarah’s testimony that sometimes the only way to receive is to ask! I am also reminded that

Asking never guarantees anything. Ask anyway.

Waving the white flag of surrender and asking for help is not an end, but a beginning. In fact, it is often an essential first step in getting what you desire and need when you need it. To ask is to accept that you don’t have all the answers (and you don’t have to!) and to create space for the answer to reveal itself so just the right person, opportunity or information “suddenly” shows up.

Clearly the wisdom in Simple Abundance was more for her than for anyone else. Her words – like mine at this Web site and in my poetry – were her own therapy, her own meditation, the best and highest God self speaking through her to others and in the same moment speaking directly to her.

As fate would have it (and I don’t believe in accidents) I found my way to the perfect passage on this very topic in that same copy of Simple Abundance I poured over when Oprah first featured it on her show. It’s from June 3 and titled Ask, Ask, Ask. A short quote from that passage began this post, but I encourage you to dust off your copy to read it in its entirety (I know you have a copy because 50 million copies or so were sold!).

And remember, Ask … believe … receive!

Creative Commons License
Wisdom in the Whisper™ lessons and WisdomintheWhisper.com by Tonya Marie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.wisdominthewhisper.com.

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