Search Results for: tilting

W is for Wonderment: A-Z of Simple Living

W is for Wonder: A-Z of Simple Living

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?

——

 

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
                                                                                                               — W.B. Yeats

Simple living is many things. It’s:

But it’s also beauty and wonder and joy. Because if not for beauty; for unexpected moments of joy or delight; creativity and wonderment, then what are we working for?

It goes against the grain of our ‘efficiency and productivity at all costs’ society, but taking time to wonder and making space for wonder is one of the keys to a simpler, happier, more satisfied life.

Wonder of Curiosity

Take time to think and question, to be curious and to ask how? Why? Who?

Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” And it’s when we stop questioning that we lose the beauty of discovery.

If we didn’t question, we would not have the opportunity to marvel at exactly why the sky is blue, or how a bird’s skeleton is hollow, or the fact that children laugh over 300 times a day while adults manage around 15 giggles.

These things, and the world around us, hold such incredible beauty and wonder. If we stop being curious though, we miss out.

The Wonder of Tiny Moments

Dewdrops on a spiderweb, the rise and fall of a sleeping child’s chest, the lacework of shadows on the lawn, the way you and your partner can share a joke and just feel love, the plant flowering in the middle of a 4-lane freeway, the sky’s precise shade of lavender as the sun sets, the ridges and peaks of a knuckle, the warmth of your breath as it passes out your nose.

Take time to notice them.

The Wonder of Enormous Ideas

The sheer size of the night sky, the way music can bring an arena of ten thousand people together, the ocean, unconditional love, the way the least fortunate among us can be the most giving, Earth’s rotation, forgiveness from a child, wisdom.

Let your mind go there.

 

Wonder brings awareness. It brings gratitude for what we have and where we are right now. It allows us to bask in a very real beauty, even just for a moment. And best of all – it’s not reliant on how much you earn, where you live, what you wear or how many friends you have. Wonder and beauty are everywhere.

And the fact that you can find it in Tel Aviv, Chicago, Bangkok or Wellington is one of the greatest levellers there is. We all have capacity for wonder.

6 more simple living blogs that deserve our attention

(via Kelly Exeter)
(via Kelly Exeter)

Back in 2012, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist included Slow Your Home in a ‘blogs to watch’ post. Without drifting too far into hyperbole, that one link changed the direction of this blog and my writing. Suddenly I had people – quite a few of them – reading my words, and things have grown from there.

While my blog isn’t as widely read as Joshua’s I still like to pay it forward every year and pull together a list of simple living blogs that deserve our attention.

This year’s crop is actually very exciting to me, as I’m starting to see the ideas of simple living integrate into more mainstream concepts. One blog is all about simple, healthy food while another digs into capsule wardrobes (and soup). I feel like it’s a wonderful sign that this idea of living with less is really beginning to take hold, and to me, that’s incredibly exciting.

The simple living community is one of the most supportive and encouraging groups I’ve ever been a part of, and I hope you get as much enjoyment from these 6 blogs as I do:

Light by Coco

A self-proclaimed packing expert and capsule wardrobe genius, Coco writes and vlogs about modern simple living, time management, healthy (often vegan-friendly) meals and building a small, fashionable wardrobe. To be honest, many of the clothing choices are gorgeous but not practical for me and my lifestyle, but they don’t need to be – that’s kind of the point. I find her approach refreshing and interesting and flexible enough to adapt to my needs, which is perfect.

I like this blog because: it comes at simplicity from a different angle.

Think Big Live Simply

Becs is living the dream. (Well, my dream, at least.) She is a permaculture designer and market garden veggie grower, living most days up to her elbows in some form of green. A self-confessed garden nerd and simple living enthusiast, Becs writes beautifully and mindfully about what it is to be completely present in our days. She is passionate about the life she is building, and that passion comes through in her writing and her gorgeous photography. And living a mindful life with passion is what simple living is all about, right?

I like this blog because: it speaks to my inner garden nerd and fills me with energy, gratitude and positivity.

Minimal Student

I’m relatively new to this blog, but really love Jessica’s approach to simplicity. She writes about travel, goals, fitness, mindfulness, gratitude and simplifying – all through the lens of someone who is constantly learning and improving. I find that really refreshing and honest – after all, we’re all just learning aren’t we?

I like this blog because: it’s upbeat, honest and reflective. And it encourages me to keep learning and improving.

One Empty Shelf

Sal is a minimalist on a mission. 2015 is her second go-around with Buy Nothing New for a Year, and I am really fascinated to watch her progress. She is interested in permaculture, self-sufficiency and the sharing economy, as well as simplifying. She has already written very honestly about her first year of buying nothing (you can read about it here and here) and the struggles, both emotional and practical, that she faced. It’s wonderful to have your thoughts on the status quo challenged, and reading this blog does just that.

I like this blog because: it challenges me in a very positive way.

The Simple Kitchen

Real food. Simply made. Sounds perfect! Since going vegetarian I have occasionally struggled to find interesting, healthy options that don’t require me to spend hours in the kitchen. And then I found Chelsea’s blog, which balances healthful and nutritious recipes with interesting and simple ingredients. So while it’s not strictly about simple living, it certainly is about simplicity in the food we eat. And for me, that is a huge part of taking simple living from being just about decluttering, to being about how we live our entire lives – including the food we eat.

I like this blog because: Chelsea doesn’t subscribe to fad diet or labels. She just makes real food, simple.

A Life Less Frantic

You won’t find a more authentic and honest blog than this. Kelly writes about mindfulness and positivity, as well as how to make our days less, well…frantic. She writes amazing manifestos about simplicity, including this one (my favourite) and advocates kindness and compassion. This is a BS-free zone and it’s a breath of fresh air every time I read her words. If you need some food for thought when it comes to how your days unfold, both internally and externally, then you should check this blog.

I like this blog because: Kelly always stokes my brain fire. She’s always asking questions and is never afraid to put herself out there on the page, all in an effort to slow down and connect with what really matters.

Are there any simple living blogs you’re loving right now? I’d love to hear about them and discover some more simplicity advocates doing their thing on the web. Feel free to share below. 

Also: Beyond the To Do List

Last week I was interviewed by Erik Fisher of Beyond the To Do List – a podcast about the people behind the productivity.

It’s genuinely one of my favourite podcasts to listen to, so when I was invited to be part of it, I jumped at the chance.

Erik and I have a great chat about rhythm and routine, tilting and why it’s OK to not do it all.  You can listen to the episode here, or download it via iTunes, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Enough with the balancing act!

Drop the balancing act, let's tilt instead.

For Mother’s Day this year, Sparky and the kids bought me a slackline.

Basically it’s a 2-inch wide tightrope strung between two trees, and you can use it to balance on, walk along, perform tricks or even practice yoga on. And seriously, it’s some of the best fun I’ve had (standing up!) for a long time.

My current goal is to stand completely still while balancing on the line. Sometimes I try to strike a tree pose or lean forward while standing on one leg, and while it sounds easy, it’s actually really difficult. Fun, meditative, great for posture, but difficult!

Last weekend, as I was perched on the line with one foot in the air, my arms wobbling around trying to keep me still, I realised something:

Balance is exhausting.

Every muscle is taut, trying desperately not to over- or under-compensate, lest you fall. Your mind needs to be focused and singular in its attention, lest you fall. Your sights need to be set on a specific spot and not shift around, lest you fall.

10 minutes spent trying to remain perfectly balanced, and I’m head-tired.

If balancing on a line for just 10 minutes is so exhausting, when there’s nothing more important than ego up for grabs, why do we think we can manage to keep a busy, full life perfectly balanced and not struggle under the pressure?

Undoubtedly, balance is necessary when trying to stand still on a length of nylon 30 centimetres off the ground, but I’m convinced that in life, balance isn’t a goal we should be pursuing.

Actually, I’ll go further and say this – trying to achieve balance is harming our ability to enjoy life.

I’ve written about balance and tilting before, but am constantly reminded that striving for some perfect, balanced life is leading many of us to feel dissatisfied, resentful, exhausted or depleted.

Trying to maintain your attention evenly across all aspects of a busy life – work, family, friends, community, faith, relaxation, play, home – is to be in a state of constant tension. And I don’t know anyone who can enjoy life to its fullest when they’re a bundle of stress. I know I can’t.

So what do we do?

Personally, I try to tilt.

I’ve thrown away the notion of balance completely and now willingly throw myself out of whack. I work out where my attention is most needed and I tilt in that direction.

At this season in life, with a 3yo and a 5yo at home, I spend a lot of time tilting towards their needs.

I tilt towards an orderly-ish home with less stuff.

I tilt towards growing veges, cleaning with natural products and being environmentally mindful.

BUT:

Some days I need to tilt towards work, and the kids watch a movie during the day.

Some days my bathroom doesn’t get cleaned and the mail stays on the kitchen bench because I’m tilting towards the garden.

Some days I buy things that I could have made myself because I’m tilting towards getting through a busy month.

Sometimes there is tension, of course. But it’s a matter of having your priorities worked out and being able to say, “I can’t do it all.” And backing that up by not trying to. 

It’s something that I am constantly working on, as I believe we are taught that to be successful, well-rounded and worthy, we need to be able to do it all. But I also believe that this notion is wrong.

So enough with the balancing act, and here’s to throwing ourselves out of whack this weekend!

Enough

What is enough?

I’ve been struggling with the idea of enough. (Am I enough? Do I do enough?) And rather than rehash my thoughts on this same idea, I wanted to resurrect an old post where I ask, “What is enough?”

Interestingly, it was first published almost exactly a year ago. Turns out that my natural seasonal rhythm lends itself to quieter, introspective winters!

——

As a parent, friend, sister, daughter and wife I struggle with the notion of enough.

Do I play with the kids enough?
Am I healthy enough?
Do I call my sisters enough?
Have I been a good enough friend?
Is it enough to be content?
Am I trying hard enough?
Am I attractive enough?
Do I give enough?
Do I care enough?

Enough – not too little, not too much. Just… enough.

After struggling with the idea for a very long time – never feeling good enough, never satisfied, never entirely content – I’ve started to frame the idea of ‘enough’ in a different way. And can I tell you, it’s helping me find some much-needed perspective.

Much like the idea of tilting – where we willingly throw things off-balance and tilt in the direction life requires – I wondered if we could view the idea of ‘enough’ as a long-term notion, rather than something we need to achieve every day?

I think we can. And I think we should.

But what does that look like in real life?

Do I play with the kids enough?” Maybe not today, but sometimes clothes need to be washed, emails returned, toilets cleaned and phonecalls made. On the other hand, do I feel good in my gut when I ask if I’ve played with them enough over the past six months? Yes.

Am I trying hard enough?” Some days, I phone it in. And on those days, I am lacking. But, again, over the past 6 months? 2 years? 10 years? Yes, I try hard enough.

There are peaks and troughs, mountains and valleys for everything in life. Sometimes we feel that we are enough, other times we are filled with doubt. I think that’s simply being human. But reframing the idea this way has shown me that enough really IS enough.

But what about when it isn’t enough?

When you ask yourself the question, “Am I doing enough over time?” and the answer is silence. Or worse, when the answer is a pang.

What do you do then?

When that pang reverberates in my gut I know I need to pull up and listen. I know I need to make a change, or ask a different question.

Do I call my best friend enough?” PANG. No. Pay attention and make a change.

Have we made enough time to unplug on the weekends?” PANG. No. What can we do differently?

Am I present enough when I do play with the kids?” PANG. No. How can I change my approach?

My aim, in turning the idea of enough upside down, is to be mindful and intentional about what I’m choosing to do. Instead of being carried away by panic and regret and frustration at not being enough every day.

Essentially that means if I haven’t played with the kids enough, there’d better be a good reason. If I haven’t called my best friend enough, again, show me a good reason.

It’s a matter of listening to your instincts, your gut, and that little voice inside your head that when given a longer view of things suddenly becomes quite wise.

“Relax. You’ve done enough over time. That counts,” it says.

I think it’s time to listen.

 

 

 

What is Enough?

What is Enough?
{ via underthemapletree on Etsy – no longer available }

As a parent, friend, sister, daughter and wife I struggle with the notion of enough.

  • Do I play with the kids enough?
  • Are we having enough sex?
  • Am I healthy enough?
  • Do I call my sisters enough?
  • Have I been a good enough friend?
  • Is it enough to be content?
  • Am I trying hard enough?
  • Am I attractive enough?
  • Do I give enough?
  • Do I care enough?

Enough – not too little, not too much. Just… enough.

After struggling with the idea for a very long time – never feeling good enough, never satisfied, never entirely content – I’ve started to frame the idea of ‘enough’ in a different way. And can I tell you, it’s helping me find some much-needed perspective.

Much like the idea of tilting – where we willingly throw things off-balance and tilt in the direction life requires – I wondered if we could view the idea of ‘enough’ as a long-term notion, rather than something we need to achieve every day?

I think we can. And I think we should.

What does that look like in real life?

“Do I play with the kids enough?” Maybe not today, but sometimes clothes need to be washed, emails returned, toilets cleaned and phonecalls made. On the other hand, do I feel good in my gut when I ask if I’ve played with them enough over the past six months? Yes.

“Am I trying hard enough?” Some days, I phone it in. And on those days, I am lacking. But, again, over the past 6 months? 2 years? 10 years? Yes, I try hard enough.

There are peaks and troughs, mountains and valleys for everything in life. Sometimes we feel that we are enough, other times we are filled with doubt. I think that’s simply being human. But reframing the idea this way has shown me that enough really IS enough.

But what about when it isn’t enough?

When you ask yourself the question, “Am I doing enough over time?” and the answer is silence. Or worse, when the answer is a pang.

What do you do then?

When that pang reverberates in my gut I know I need to pull up and listen. I know I need to make a change, or ask a different question.

“Do I call my best friend enough?” PANG. No. Pay attention and make a change.

“Have we made enough time to unplug on the weekends?” PANG. No. What can we do differently?

“Am I present enough when I do play with the kids?” PANG. No. How can I change my approach?

 

My aim, in turning the idea of enough upside down, is to be mindful and intentional about what I’m choosing to do.  Instead of being carried away by panic and regret and frustration at not being enough every day.

Essentially that means if I haven’t played with the kids enough, there’d better be a good reason. If I haven’t called my best friend enough, again, show me a good reason.

It’s a matter of listening to your instincts, your gut, and that little voice inside your head that when given a longer view of things suddenly becomes quite wise.

“Relax. You’ve done enough over time. That counts,” it says.

I think it’s time to listen.

 

Do you ever struggle with feeling like you’re enough?  Would taking a long-term view help you feel better?