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Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday: Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, Oprah Winfrey brings audiences a new inspirational interview on her OWN Network with the show Super Soul Sunday, and this Sunday she interviewed the  New York Times best-selling author of “Simple Abundance” Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Although she sold 7 million copies of the book worldwide, the author shares with Oprah how she found herself completely broke and on her sister’s doorstep with only one suitcase and her cat.

While she had appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show nine times, and Oprah credits her for being “the reason I write in my gratitude journal to this day,” 15 years after her success she lost it all. “It took moving everything to help her find herself,” Oprah said.

She shares her experience and the lessons she learned in her book “Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity.”

“I think that I speak truth, and I speak it lovingly, and that I acknowledge my own mistakes,” Breathnach told Oprah about writing the book. “I’ve made every money mistake a woman could make personally and in business.”

Once a freelance writer living paycheck to paycheck, she wrote “Simple Abundance” about finding gratitude in every moment, and it spent more than two years on the NY Times best-seller list.

“What simple abundance did for me is to ritualize, to bring into my life on a daily basis the experience of practicing gratitude,” Oprah shared.

But one day, after 119 weeks on the NY Times list, the call that came every Wednesday to report she had made the list again … did not come.

Looking back, as wealth hit Breathnach, she realizes she was not prepared for it, and also admits she never thought it would all go away.  “I really thought it would continue because I was putting out the best that I could do. I did not slack,” she told Oprah.

She now says “wild spending,” including the purchase of Isaac Newton’s Chapel as a home for her to write, bad investments and a costly divorce contributed to her downfall.

When she wrote “Simple Abundance,” she explained she was only looking to change her own life, and had no idea she would touch the lives of so many women. She took the same approach with her book “Peace & Plenty.” Her goal was to save her own life. “It was written to be a healing to myself,” she said.

Breathnach also shared how her tumultuous and emotionally abusive marriage contributed to her downfall. “He told me I was no good with money… he was very forceful and he said his background was in money, but he wasn’t earning any money… I didn’t realize it. He said he was an independent businessman.”

She admits she started to believe the “angry, vicious” things he would say to her, and she “didn’t want to admit that I had made a disastrous mistake.” Once she finally asked him why he was being so cruel, he admitted the money was gone, and she realized that was the reason he was with her.

Finally, her daughter came over and surprised her for Christmas and told her she was worried about her. She said: “Mom he is sucking the life out of you. He is not making you happy” Breathnach explained. When she responded “I don’t know how to help myself,” her daughter said, “Mom, you’ve helped millions of women. I’ll help you help yourself.”

That is how she ended up on her sister’s doorstep. “I have really learned about surrender. I have really learned that lesson now,” she said to Oprah.

So what is her greatest spiritual lesson? “Guard your heart. Watch your treasures. For what is your treasure will be your heaven on earth,” she said.

Oprah ended the interview with a the Q & A segment transcribed below:

Oprah: What is the soul?
Breathnach: The soul is the spiritual essence of who we really are.

Oprah: What is your definition of God?
Breathnach: Everything.

Oprah: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
Breathnach: Religion says there is only one way to heaven, spirituality says choose the one that brings you joy.

Oprah: What does prayer mean to you?
Breathnach: Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Prayer is the constant conversation with God. And it is the most passionate conversation I have with anybody?

Oprah: Where do you feel most at home or at peace with yourself?
Breathnach: With my animals.

Oprah: What do you think we happens when we die?
Breathnach: I hope I get to say “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow,” – for me that is the greatest gift (Steve Jobs) has given to me personally because I thought if Steve Jobs could say “oh wow” as he is going towards heaven, then wow.

To watch clips from the interview, visit the Super Soul Sunday Web site, and tune into OWN next Sunday for Oprah’s interview with DeVon Franklin.

One thought on “Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday: Sarah Ban Breathnach

  1. Years ago when this book first came out my mother and I purchased “Simple Abundance” — it became our every day ritual and opened many a great discussion. My mother is gone now but I still read this book every morning with my coffee … I read a passage from the bible and the daily reading from Sarah’s book and then proceed to write in my journal. It’s how I start each day and it kind of puts me in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. I have Sarah to thank for that and you, Oprah, for sharing her with us on your show. I often wondered what had become of Sarah and I am so happy to hear that she is writing once again and her beautiful spirit hasn’t been broken. She needs to know how she has touched so many lives in such a positive way :)

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