Advice to my 18-year-old self…

Advice to my 18-year-old self - Episode 161 of The Slow Home Podcast

Hey, hey, it’s hostful time again! And (as always) the questions you’ve asked are excellent.

Things have been a little weird over here the past few weeks as I’ve been finishing the final edits on my second book so it was a lot of fun to sit down and chat through our thoughts on these questions:

  • I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think the role of your job/career fits into ones life, if it doesn’t link specifically with your ‘why’.
  • What are some strategies to manage the paper that builds up so that it does not become overwhelming clutter? How do you manage filing things that need to be kept, and dealing with the rest?
  • What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
  • How do I throw away gifts without the giftee noticing next time they visit?!

I have some fun lamenting my hair choice as an 18-year-old, and we also take a minute to acknowledge the paper volcano that is our desk right now.

We do also have some genuinely helpful advice though (thankfully) as well as a request: if you have a few spare minutes today could you please answer our new listener survey? We’re trying to work out our next steps and want nothing more than to be able to help more people discover what it means to live a simpler, slower life. To do that we need to know what you’re struggling with the most and how you’d like us to help. The survey can be found over here and thank you in advance for taking 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!

Creating Empty Space

Creating Empty Space - Episode 160 of The Slow Home Podcast

We’re back with another simple experiment for you this week, and it’s all about empty space.

Emptiness gets a pretty bad reputation. Seen as a negative trait, a lack of personality, a boring experience for a boring person. But I personally am a big fan of emptiness and this week Ben and I talk about the fact that there is something wonderful to be gained by embracing a little empty space in your home, your days, your head…

At the end of the episode we encourage you to live with one completely empty space in your home – one shelf, a drawer, one wall or your coffee table – for a week. But the reality is that you can choose to create a little emptiness in a lot more places than your physical environment.

Emptiness allows your eyes or mind somewhere quiet to rest, somewhere that isn’t completely overwhelmed by options and stimulus, and when we notice that emptiness and the feelings it brings up (maybe we’re a little unnerved or twitchy?) it actually encourages us to go a little deeper:

  • Why do we feel that way?
  • What stories are we telling ourself because of it?
  • Are we holding on to things simply out of habit?
  • What if we fought through that feeling of discomfort?
  • What is on the other side?

This week isn’t about convincing you that emptiness is something you should like. In fact, you may discover that you really miss the photos, the books, the cushion or the vases that you pack away, which is great. Because what this very simple experiment is doing is asking you to pay attention, to be intentional, to tap back in to your reasons for having things, rather than operating on auto-pilot. So while it might look like an experiment about stuff or space, it’s actually a reminder to notice more.

Of course you may also realise (much like we did when we removed all the artwork from our walls) that you enjoy the emptiness, and that’s awesome too.

So this week, simply try living with one empty space. Pack up everything on the coffee table, the bedside table or the dining table for example, and just see how you feel about it over the coming days. See what you miss, see what you don’t miss. Notice what you do or don’t like about the emptiness and use that noticing to propel you towards a little more intention in your days.

Let us know which space you’ve chosen to empty and how you find the following week. What did you struggle with? What did you enjoy about it? What did you keep or let go of or forget about completely?

And if you have two minutes to spare, we would be so grateful if you could complete this super short survey for us. Thank you!

——

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!

——

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!

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!

——

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!

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!

——

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! 

——

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!