Updated: Mar 17
Day 15/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Status: animated
When I left that 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home on the hill as I embarked on parenting solo, I escaped to a 2 bedroom batch on the beach. I gotta tell ya, cleaning those 5 bathrooms was a killer and it consumed every weekend!
That batch was our happy place. After a few weeks of cleaning and repainting and propping up the biscuit wall that seemed like it would fall out if I leaned against it, we settled into life on the beach. Less than 2 hours of cleaning each weekend and the rest of our time was recreational. I'd still be there if the landlord hadn't decided to sell 18 months later.
Live simply. Many people think that living simply is about doing without. Not so. By living simply you realise the abundance that you already have.
Today's inspiration asks us to embrace simplicity.
Look closely into what you have and spend time today noting in your appreciation diary, your deepest appreciation for the life you have carved out for yourself so far.
Every day I am grateful for my upbringing in the bush on a sugar cane farm. Every day I am grateful for my memories of lush veggie gardens, fresh golden-yolk eggs, fresh air, sunshine, warm rain and room to roam.
Living with less is second nature to me.
When the power goes out, there's no need to panic. I don't have a freezer full of perishables so don't have to worry about them spoiling. Instead I keep a pantry with extra beans and lentils and other dried foods.
When the phone lines go down I'm okay with that. Candlelight is lovely and I'm asleep early. It's healthier.
Bathing in a couple of litres of water is something I'm practiced at. Not something I relish but when it's a necessity...
After leaving our beloved batch, we moved to Wellington and renovated a small 2 bedroom home, my "apartment in the city". My son was raised on curiosity for the world of bugs and butterflies and creatures in our garden. He was a little bloke at the time. As I tended the garden, he would lay on his back on his trampoline looking up into the trees, examining bugs and flowers that came his way.
Our entertainment was bush walking and beach combing. Fishing off the jetties, growing flowers, taking day trips and an annual holiday to the beach.
Living simply, yet all the while this nagging feeling that I was missing out still driving me to try to create more.
It was only recently that I realised just how much that drive was again impacting me. So focussed on it that again I found myself feeling like I was missing out on life. Let it go, let it go, let it go.
This challenge is beautiful for me. As I let go of the last vestiges of that drive, feeling into all that I have, paying attention to the world around me that I have created, honouring it, caring for it, appreciating it, and watching it come alive is very encouraging and reassuring for me.
It means living with what you need, and let go of the rest.
The decluttering craze has taken the world by storm and I love it. It makes sense. Pass on the stuff that you don't use. It could be very helpful to others. Many, many years ago, I decided that if I hadn't used it for 2 years I would pass it on. Best decision ever. Since then there's pretty much have no clutter. Occasionally, as things accumulate, I'll pack a couple of shopping bags and take them to the local charity outlet.
A friend once asked me to take a trip to the tip with her. I did, thinking I was helping her out. She began unloading boxes of wedding gifts received from her previous marriage. I went into shock as I began to witness all these valuable and new items being dumped. Take them to a charity outlet. There are people who would love to get their hands on some of these things at an affordable price.
Then don't go buying more stuff. Gizmos and gadgets; do you really need these things? It's easier than ever to accumulate untold kitchen gadgets with all the loyalty cards that offer points to buy shyte. Leave it. Accumulate the points, pass them on, or cut up the loyalty cards. I've done the latter.
Downsize your lifestyle if you can. It's a decision. Think about it. Trade a status home with a mortgage for a practical one without. You'll never make a better lifestyle choice.
Then declutter your mind. That's the harder part. The commercial world is hell-bent on filling your mind with thoughts about what you need, and how you should live. When you expose yourself to this type of news and marketing you are enabling this form of social conditioning to creates neural pathways that drive your decisions. You have to manage this. Self-mastery. That's my work. I can help you declutter your mind.
There is less than zero commercial radio or television in my life. It means that I'm a day or three behind the news. That's okay. At one time we'd get up to date with the news once per week by way of a weekly newspaper. Yes, in my lifetime. It's okay. You're not going to die if you don't know what's happening out there. You'll get used to knowing what your local weather is doing and you'll figure out how to work with it, and that's about all you need to know, pending major disasters on your doorstep. Stay in contact with neighbours. They'll let you know more than enough.
Social media is another avenue for having way too much influence in your life. Again, manage it. Self-discipline is required to make the choices and decisions that serve your mental and emotional, and ultimately your physical health long term. Practice self-discipline. It builds resilience.
To be honest, I think that as our world goes through her correction we are going to need to know how to live simply for a while.
Learn to live simply. Think about it. Take the pressure off.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart. As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.