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Bronnie Ware on finding comfort in discomfort

Bronnie Ware on finding comfort in discomfort - Episode 159 of The Slow Home Podcast

Many of you have probably heard of my wonderful guest today, Bronnie Ware, and you most likely first heard of her because of a viral blog post she wrote back in 2009. When ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ went berserk across the internet, Bronnie was thrust in to the limelight and found herself in a place she hadn’t necessarily expected.

Since then her words have impacted countless people as she laid bare those regrets faced by so many of her elderly patients as they faced the end of their lives. In one short, simple (complex) piece of writing she so beautifully dug in to the fears that lie at the heart of life for many of us – the fears that we will get to the end and regret our decisions, our actions or, indeed, our inaction.

If you haven’t read Bronnie’s post I can only encourage you to do so – it’s worth your time and it’s worth allowing her words to impact you. I often think of this list of regrets as I consider things like my eulogy, my Why and the legacy I want to leave behind and in today’s episode I actually thank Bronnie for that.

The full post is over on Bronnie’s website, but here are the five regrets she identified:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Incredibly powerful, right? And maybe not a little bit uncomfortable?

In today’s episode it’s actually that discomfort that Bronnie and I dig in to, and why in almost every case, change and growth comes through that discomfort rather than by avoiding it.

Turns out the past few years have been an incredible ride for Bronnie, full of unexpected growth and pain and discomfort and beauty, as she struggled with chronic illness, becoming a solo parent, and finding her own purpose and passion once she’d emerged on the other side. We talk about her gorgeous new book, Bloom, and the challenges that forced her to find courage and acceptance in the face of huge obstacles.

She shares her personal journey and insights with me as we talk about what it means to live a regret-free life and why it’s so often incredibly painful to do so. We talk about why discomfort is the way through and how learning to soften in to it is vital in finding acceptance and gentleness in life, as well as the role of simplicity and meditation in unlocking that acceptance and gentleness. 

Bronnie is a deep thinker, a modern philosopher, and there is so much goodness to unpack in this episode that it might just require a second (or third! or fourth!) listen. 

You’ll also hear a sneak peek of our newest show – Sampled Conversations with Seamus McAlary at the end of this week’s poggie. Once you’ve listened to Bronnie go check it out and subscribe

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

It’s Great to Suck at Something

It’s Great to Suck at Something - Episode 158 of The Slow Home Podcast

In a recent New York Times article, journalist Karen Rinaldi ruminated on the benefits of sucking at things:

“The notion of sucking at something flies in the face of the overhyped notion of perfectionism. The lie of perfectionism goes something like this: “If I fail, it’s only because I seek perfection.” Or “I can never finish anything because I’m a perfectionist.” Since the perfectionist will settle for nothing less, she is left with nothing…

“By taking off the pressure of having to excel at or master an activity, we allow ourselves to live in the moment.”

When I read this article (thanks for the heads up, Clare!) I basically fist-pumped myself with joy, because there is so much in this idea that I think we need to embrace. Not only that it’s OK to not be a world-beater in everything (or anything) we do, but also the idea that if we let go of our need to do something like a boss we actually free ourselves up to enjoy the hell out of the thing we’re doing, regardless of performance.

This is me when I snowboard. I’m fairly middling, will never be much more than that and that’s OK. The interesting thing is that once I stopped worrying about my ability and stopped comparing myself unfavourably to the ballers who would rip past me at the top of every run, I began enjoying it a whole lot more. Now I focus on the fact that I’m on a mountain. I’m sliding down that mountain on a piece of wood. I’m having fun doing it. The wind is whistling in my ears and the sun is on my back and I’m outside and breathing cold air and I’M ALIVE. That’s the important part of it for me. The doing, the playing, the being. Not the striving or the lamentation.

In this poggie Ben and I unpack this idea of sucking, and why there is so much to gain by being bad at things. We also talk about meditation and why, like I discussed with Sarah Wilson recently, it’s actually incredibly beneficial to not be good at it. And we also talk about the joy and delight that lies in allowing ourselves to be beginners, forever learning.

This is a really fun episode that doesn’t have a specific action to take away, but rather a question for you to think on over the next few days. What’s something you enjoy doing simply for the fun of it? And how can you learn to embrace the power of sucking at it? 

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Sarah Wilson on going slow and the power of a good flâner

Sarah Wilson on going slow and the power of a good flaner - Episode 157 of The Slow Home Podcast

The conversations I’ve had on this podcast have been some of the biggest highlights and most electrifying moments of realisation of my life. The opportunity to talk to people and pick their brains about simplifying, or intention, or making cool stuff or living according to their Why is amazing and I’m really grateful for it. But can I tell you something? I get so nervous. Every single interview has me tied in knots before I begin, hoping I’ll do it justice, worried I’ll sound like an idiot. Once the first question is out of my mouth I’m golden, but until that happens I’m a jittery, sweaty mess of half-formed ideas and the vague notion I’m about to make a fool of myself.

So let me tell you that I was very excited and a little [lot] nervous before I sat down to chat with my guest today. Sarah Wilson is someone I’ve admired for years – not only for the work she’s done to promote the notion of drastically cutting sugar in our diets and her more recent work in preventing food waste – but also the way she goes about that work. She is honest and open, prepared to stand for something regardless of whether people agree with her, and she’s also funny and smart and good at not taking herself too seriously.

Since the release of her most recent book ‘first we make the beast beautiful: a new story about anxiety’ my admiration has kicked up a notch. In it she talks honestly and beautifully about her own story of anxiety, depression and being diagnosed bipolar. She writes about the highly uncomfortable and life-affirming experiences involved in facing her anxiety, learning to move through it, live with it, and eventually embrace it as a vital and valuable part of herself. And she writes about the ways she has learnt to live most comfortably with it – through meditation, exercise, mindfulness, bush walking, learning, recalibrating, building awareness, simplifying life and understanding the importance of slowing down.

In this conversation we dive deep in to this topic of anxiety and how Sarah slows down in order to both strengthen herself against its more harmful side, and simultaneously go deeper in to it. We talk about the discomfort of true reflection and her growing boredom with shallow conversations and external grasping (and why cocktail parties are the worst example of this!) We also talk about the idea that it’s not necessary or even helpful to slow down simply for the sake of slowing down, but rather aiming to slow down in order to be or do something meaningful.

As an avid bush walker, Sarah talks about why she chooses to head off in to the bush every second weekend (more if possible) and what the rhythm and solitude of solo hiking provides her that other exercises can’t. Sarah shares her cure for insomnia and why one of her two major tenets of slow-ness is to simply walk. She also introduces me to the French idea of ‘flâner’, an urban wandering, and why sometimes it’s enough to simply walk through our own neighbourhood, noticing, paying attention, watching people and observing the comings and goings that surround us.

We also talk about meditation and why it’s the second key tenet of slow-ness for Sarah, and why it’s not only OK to suck at meditation, but why it’s actually incredibly useful to be bad at it.

I so often finish my conversations by saying that I could have spoken to my guest for hours and it’s the case here too. Sarah is a fascinating, open person and I loved chatting with her. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Your Why: Putting it in to practice

Your Why: Putting it in to practice

Today marks the final episode of this series where we’ve focused on uncovering and harnessing your Why. It’s actually been incredibly helpful to me personally to re-visit this process and really dig deep in to what it means to live my Why, what that looks like, and importantly, how to translate that in to personal values which I can apply to every day life.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve sometimes struggled to take my personal Why and use it to help steer me in smaller, more everyday decisions and that’s why I’ve focused on distilling the big picture Why, my eulogy, in to a list of personal values. It’s these values that we talk about today, and after last week I know what my values are. Compassion. Adventure. Responsibility. Today we talk about how to apply them and the ways in which they impact our life.

I’ve spoken about this before, but having our values clearly designated also helps steer us when faced with a difficult decision. We can refer back to our decision or the options facing us and ask if they bring us closer to or further away from our values. Often, although not always, that’s enough motivation to make a decision that we can look back on and be glad of.

And finally, in a dorky kind of way, I also like to put some of my decisions on a values scale. I’ll ask myself, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being least compassionate and 10 being most, where does this choice lie?” The helpful thing with doing it this way is that we can see that not everything is going to be a 10. In fact, most things aren’t going to be a 10. But aiming for more compassion over less is a good place to work towards.

This approach means that I’m aware of compromise (I live with, work with and spend time with other people and compromise is always going to be part of that) and embrace the fact that sometimes I’ll fall short. That works for me and helps me to view things through a much longer-term lens, one that allows for tilting and the ups and downs of a life that is ever-shifting.

This week’s action is to nominate one change or decision you can make this week and to place it on your own dorky values scale. Is it more or less of your value? Closer or further away?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of poggies on finding your Why. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Sunday funday, managing emails and our favourite beers

Sunday funday, managing emails and our favourite beers - Episode 155 of The Slow Home Podcast

It’s hostful time again and the questions we answer today are, as always, complete crackers. It’s such a fun thing to do and I find myself looking forward to it every month. Because not only do I get an insight into what you’re struggling with or questioning at the moment, but it also gives Ben and I the chance to talk about things in a way we may otherwise not have.

I’ve learnt a lot from these hostful poggies and I just wanted to say thank you to you for being here, asking questions, joining in, letting us know what you need. It’s a privilege and I’m so glad for it.

On to the questions we answer this week:

  • Do you have any tips on managing email and the impact it’s having on my life, both personal and professional?
  • How can I deal with kids clothes? We’re constantly receiving hand-me-downs and the sheer volume is making things difficult. Any tips on keeping it manageable?
  • Has there ever been a point in the beginning of your journey where you felt stuck? Perhaps lost momentum? I’m feeling a little frustrated at the moment, but I’m a long way away from where I’ve come. What can I do to move past this?
  • Do you meal plan for lunches and breakfasts as well as dinners? How does this work?
  • What’s your favorite choice of beer?!
  • And what do you like to throw on the grill?!
  • I’m trying to slow things down here and implement “Sunday Fun days” at my house. Would love to hear your take on slow, fun days at home.

As you can see, a varied offering of questions and lots of fun to answer.

Also, as promised, here is my recipe for sweet potato and black bean patties (excuse the vagueness of the measurements, I’m not really a measurement kind of cook!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 400g tin black beans, rinsed
  • 2-3 handfuls grated sweet potato (about half a medium one)
  • 1 small brown onion, diced finely
  • 1 egg or a flaxseed/chia egg if you’re going plant-based
  • plain flour or quinoa flour to bind
  • healthy sprinkle of coriander seeds, crushed
  • healthy sprinkle of cumin, crushed 
  • salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of chilli powder if desired

HOW TO:

  1. Place the beans into a bowl and using your hands, squeeze them roughly and begin to break them down.
  2. Add the sweet potato and continue to use your hands to mix/squeeze.
  3. Add the egg/flax egg, spices and maybe a couple of tablespoons of flour. Use hands to mix well and bring the mixture together. Add more flour or water as needed.
  4. Once the consistency is sticky and will hold its shape once rolled into a patty, scoop up the mixture in half-handfuls and roll into a ball. Flatten gently and place into fridge for at least 30 mins.
  5. You can cook the patties on the BBQ (they are quite dense so will take at least 30 mins on a low-med heat to cook. OR you can heat up coconut oil in a thick-walled roasting tray and place the patties in to a moderate-hot oven, turning after about 20 minutes. These taste best when they’re a little crispy, a little charred, so be sure to give them time.
  6. These are delicious in a veggie burger situation or an abundance bowl. If you’ve got leftovers you can simply stack them on parchment paper or reusable beeswax wraps, pop them in a glass container and freeze for another time.

Enjoy the poggie, and let me know if you try these bad boys out (they’re pretty delicious!) or if you have a smoked meat recommendation for Ben.

And thanks again to today’s sponsor Pocketbook – the personal finance app that takes the complexity out of budgeting and tracking your money. To download the free Pocketbook app and take control of your finances today, head to getpocketbook.com/slowhome and get all the details. 

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening: