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T is for Tilting: A-Z of Simple Living

Tilting #simple #simplicity
{via Kate McGovern}

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?


Tilting isn’t normally seen as a good thing. It’s something strange and off-putting. It’s even something to be feared, because anything that’s tilting is surely unstable. Think the Tower of Pisa or a rickety bridge.

The reason we think tilting is bad is that we’ve been fed the myth of balance for too long. We think that to be in control means to be balanced across all areas. No leaning. No wavering. No tilting.

To me, and those of you who have read my book, ‘Destination: Simple’ have heard this already, tilting is a positive. And it’s definitely preferable to being balanced.

Essentially it’s denying the idea that everything needs to be perfectly balanced. That we need to perfectly manage the needs of everyone  and everything in our life, every day. And that anything less is a failure.

But What About Finding Balance?

If you look at balance as something you need to achieve every day – keeping the scales evenly weighted between your partner, your kids, your family, friends, yourself, your spirituality, health, keeping the home, your work – you simply won’t be able to do it. Because each day brings different challenges, different tasks and different needs from your life.

I am here to tell you that this balancing act is a complete myth. And you should forget about achieving it, because you won’t.

Instead, you need to learn to tilt. To willingly throw things out of balance. And, importantly, to be OK with that.

Actually, you need to embrace it.

A Definition of Tilting

‘Tilting’ is an idea I discovered on Sarah Wilson’s blog and it struck me as wholly sensible, simple, beautiful, flexible and forgiving.

A 2009 study by Marcus Birmingham asked the question “What are happy women doing differently?” And the response was not – as you may imagine – somehow striking the perfect balance between work/life/health/family/passions/spirituality.

“These happy women… realised that balance was impossible (and therefore stressful) to achieve, but also rather boring. Instead, they “tilted” towards activities and commitments they liked and found meaningful.

I love this idea. Tilting.

And here’s why: tilting doesn’t require putting the brakes on.

Braking constantly is exhausting. Saying “no” is exhausting and doing things for balance, rather than because it matters to you is, frankly, martyrish.

Tilting on the other hand is a positive flow forward, a moving “with” life.”


Sarah Wilson —

Essentially it’s about being aware of the changing pressures of life and being flexible.

Some days:

  • Your kids are happy to play independently – tilt towards catching up on tasks around the house.
  • Your kids are sick, or needy, or plain grumpy, meaning you can’t get anything done except the very basics. Tilt towards supporting the kids and being extra mindful of what’s going on for them.
  • Your partner is under added pressure at work. Tilt towards lessening the load on them at home.
  • You need to recharge. Tilt towards being kind to yourself and letting go of the things that don’t help with that.
  • You need to regain order at home. Tilt away from social engagements and towards time at home.
  • You have a busy time at work. Tilt towards simple meals, light home duties and simple rhythms.

See what I mean?

Tilting allows you to focus on what is important in the moment.

If this idea still makes you feel uncomfortably off-kilter, it can help to take a longer view of things. That is, instead of battling to find balance every day, it’s more important to create it over a month. Or a year.

How Do You Tilt?

It’s not a matter of learning a step-by-step approach. It’s more about adopting the mindset of tilting and keeping the idea in the back of your mind.

It’s about understanding – and accepting – the fact that you can not and will not ever achieve perfect balance. And what’s more, you probably wouldn’t want to.

Achieving and then maintaining a state of balanced perfection would be incredibly stressful and unfulfilling. Instead you need to understand that your time is limited and valuable.  And you can choose where to place your energies, depending upon where they need to be.

Ask yourself, what are your priorities in life?

  • caring for your kids, physically and emotionally?
  • supporting your partner?
  • being there for your family when they need you?
  • maintaining social relationships with friends?
  • working or creating to nourish yourself?
  • looking after your own health and well being?
  • finding contentment in life?
  • creating a home that is calm, warm and open to all those you love?

Then, one-by-one, think about how you have given each of those priorities time, effort and attention over the past six months.

Do they stack up? Do you feel confident that, over this period of time, you are giving them the attention they deserve? Are there any areas that don’t get enough from you? Can you see times where you consistently tilt the wrong way?

Keep in mind, you are the only one who can decide what this balance looks and feels like for you.

But if you keep your priorities in mind, you will find that tilting and adjusting your time and efforts will help you find a much better overall balance, than if you constantly battle to keep things even.


Slow Romance – A Deep Dive in to Slow Relationships

Renee Fisher

“Single task your relationship.”

Annnnd we’re back. It’s the first week of July, and while we’re due for a Slow Experiment, thanks to book tour commitments and a tight travel schedule, we’ve decided to keep walking that tilting-into-slow-living walk and take the pressure off. Instead, July will be a deep dive into relationships. Specifically, how we can bring slow to our relationships. Romantic, family and friendships old and new, each week we’ll be exploring ways you can create deeper connections with the people around you.

After Episode 242 was released a few weeks ago, where Ben shared his story and we spoke some uncomfortable but important truths about the past seven years, we received so much feedback and a whole heap of relationship-oriented questions, we could see that this was another area of slow living (and just plain old regular-paced living too) that isn’t spoken about enough. So let’s do it, friends.

This week starts with some smooching and some loving and me using the term “hook-up culture” about 28 times (sorry) as we look at how to bring slow to our romantic relationships. Ben and I talk about our own relationship, and acknowledge up front that our experience of the dating scene is quite old-fashioned. In fact, I thank all the love gods that there was no swiping right back in the early 2000s when we first met.

However, we do talk about the fact that a lot of dating technology doesn’t necessarily support people looking for a deeper, more meaningful connection and offer some suggestions for those of us who are looking to spark connection in other, non-Tindery ways.

We also talk about the importance of entering into relationships and getting to know people with a focus on intention over the endgame, and how presence and time helps to cement trust. The same principles apply to people already in a long-term relationships, and intention, turning up and building trust are where it’s at. Perhaps not surprisingly, we also advocate to drop the distractions and be present with your partner, and truly believe that turning up is vital in building a solid, steady foundation.

In the spirit of Episode 242 we also bring up some of the challenges we’ve faced in our own relationship, talking through some of the biggest obstacles and lessons we’ve faced over the past 18 years (what? 18 years? Aren’t I, like 25?) and finish up with a reminder that romance is constantly evolving.

We also invite you to be aware of your expectations in your relationships this week, and to explore finding joy and depth in the ordinary, everyday moments because in our experience, those ordinary, everyday moments are the bread and butter of a relationship. Finding joy in them means finding joy in every day.

Also: here’s to more loving.


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:

Welcome to the great experiment of 2018

A belated Happy New Year to you and yours, my friends. I hope the holidays were good to you (as forever ago as they may feel) and that 2018 is off to a great start. We’re coming at you from the amazing Rocky Mountains in Canada, just over a week in to our year-long experiment, and in today’s poggie, the first new episode, we talk about the past couple of months and all they’ve entailed.

Since December, we’ve sold our house in the Blue Mountains, given away the vast majority of our belongings, packed up all that was left, said goodbye to family and friends, and flown off to the great unknown. And even as I write those words it seems surreal. As though I’m still imagining those things rather than living them.

In this poggie Ben and I go deep in to everything that’s happened over the past couple of months since we last recorded. First we talk about the head, heart and hard work that went into selling our house, moving out, saying goodbye and getting on that plane. The amount of energy and emotion involved caught us by surprise, and at times Ben found himself in a really stressful place, potentially taking tilting a little too far. We talk about the role that planning and organisation played in getting through that stress relatively unscathed, and the fact that so often we overlook the importance of the unsexy administrative and logistical work in living a slower simpler life, instead favouring the big, showy changes.

We also talk about the specifics of what went down during January, including our garage giveaway, having a super slow New Year’s Eve, the emotions involved with leaving our house (specifically the garden) for the final time, packing and the difficulty of saying goodbye (especially to our dog).

It’s been a big few weeks, with some really big emotions, but never once have we questioned whether we were doing the right thing or not. Two days in to our big adventure and we really are living in the unknown, doing the experiment.

And speaking of experiments, as we mentioned at the end of last year, the slow experiments are back! They’ll be happening every second month, and the first one will kick off in March, so stay tuned.

In the meantime though, thank you for your patience as we took some time to settle in to our new situation, and for the wonderful support you’ve given us this year already. I’m so excited to share our discoveries, mistakes and realisations with you over the coming months, but also wanted to assure you that the poggie is not going to become The Slow Travel Podcast! Starting next week we’ll be back on deck with some great interviews with people who have embraced a slower, simpler way of life.


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:

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward - Episode 167 of The Slow Home Podcast

The thing that struck me immediately upon reading Helen Hayward’s blog and books is the way she writes about seemingly small things with such depth and attention to detail. Her words are so intentional, I couldn’t help but feel the carefully considered weight of each and every one of them.

And while her most recent book, A Slow Childhood: Notes on Thoughtful Parenting is, obviously, about parenting and raising a family in a very slow and considered way, so much of what Helen and I speak about in today’s poggie applies well beyond motherhood and parenting in general. We talk a lot about what it means to live an examined life, and why, as we’ve both discovered over the past years, those little things really are the big things in life.

One of the most common questions I’m asked, and can rarely answer with any kind of surety, is how to get (or keep) older kids on board with a slower pace of life. And while Helen’s two kids (17 and 20) have grown up with slow-ness at the centre of family life, Helen talks at length about the benefits of that, which I really enjoy digging in to.

Helen and I also talk about one of my favourite bug-bears: the myth of work-life balance and why she’s not even sure that long-term balance is a possibility, but rather requires an endless process of tilting – always in to one thing and away from another. To be honest, it’s pretty rare to talk to someone so willing to admit that balance is not only elusive, but often damaging to pursue, and I found myself wonderfully disarmed chatting with Helen!

I hope you enjoy the episode.


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:

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!


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: