Do you sometimes find yourself longing for a life lived in simplicity? Do you have an image of what that might look like, but you only see hurdles on the road to get there? Are you aware of what narrative in your mind seems to withhold you from manifesting a life based on the principles of simplicity?
If your answer to the first question is yes, then hurrah! This blog will bring you one step closer. If your answer to question two is also yes, then don't beat yourself up just yet. It's all about the conditioning of your brain sweetheart, I will cover that too. If your answer to question three is also yes then I want to congratulate you, because it means both your fantasy and your self awareness are strong. Check! The only thing is, in this case, your fantasy is creating a counter productive narrative in your mind based on old, limiting beliefs (again, conditioning). So it's kinda working in the opposite direction. Uh oh. No worries, I'm going to flip things around here today to open up the possibility for you to see things differently.
If your answer was no to all three questions, then either you already live a simple life in which case I am thrilled for you! Feel free to share your two cents of wisdom on this topic in the comments! OR, your answers were no, because quite frankly you couldn't care less about a simpler life. You're on a roll and no one's gonna stop you. So, off you go brother or sister!
Anyway, back to you my dear. SO. I've got a little exercise for you. Close your eyes for 30 seconds, breathe calmly and bring an image of someone you know (near or far) that leads a simple life according to you......Ok now open your eyes. Did you find anyone? If not then picture, for instance, an image of the Dalai Lama or a Buddhist Monk or Eckart Tolle or one of those old French men you maybe saw on a holiday, just sitting on a bench on the square of the village, staring in front of him, chatting to some fellow men. Can you picture anyone? How does that image make you feel?
When you think of these people, it can be so tempting to project some extraordinary qualities to their being. We imagine these people were born with some special gene that made them content with less in life or they just happened to have very small ego's, and therefore were not sensitive to the high demands or expectations from their parents or modern day society.
Let me stop you right there. Because thinking that way is the easy way out my friend. And chances are, if you're reading this blog, you're kind of done with the easy way out. The old narrative in your head is excusing you from taking steps towards a life lived with more simplicity. You see, distancing yourself from other people who seem to live in simplicity like that doesn't do justice to their TREMENDOUS dedication. Nor does it do justice to what's possible for you in your lifetime. You are not an exception. No one is. We all have the same level of responsibility over our lives and we all face our fare share of challenges. Same goes for the people that live in simplicity. Yet, choosing to live in simplicity can bring so much peace and joy that it's worth the effort. In my opinion a life of simplicity is 50% choice, 50 % effort.
So why strive for more simplicity then? And how? Lets break that down shall we?
Exercises to write down in your journal
☯ Determine why you want to live with more simplicity and then you will find a how. If your why is strong enough, the how to do it, will always follow. Make sure you become crystal clear about why you feel drawn to more simplicity. This will help you stay grounded and determined during the many temptations society throws at you in a culture where more, better, faster seem to have become standard.
☯Specify your minimum & maximum. This might seems strange at first. Yet, a big part of being able to live in simplicity is based on knowing exactly what you need as a minimum income to cover basic needs of food, shelter & clothing. Then you do the same for your maximum. Part of the reason why people get so stressed is because the bar is always being raised. People always seem to want to make more money or create more 'security'. Why? Why should you need more, if you have enough? Don't be reluctant to be clear on what is enough for you.
☯Learn to gracefully say no and let go of shame.
The point here being that when you are clear about what is enough for you, once your basic needs are being met, you will find it less frightening to say no to any extra business opportunities or extra work, gigs etc. You simply just don't need more. And guess what? This means more freedom to spend your remaining time the way that suits you. For instance, I love the extra time this allows me to spend it walking in nature with my dog, connecting with my partner or friends, or cooking up tasty dishes. Those moments are absolutely priceless.
The longer you practice this, the easier it will also become to be honest to people around you. Can't afford to meet up with friends in a restaurant this month or go on that fancy holiday? Then say so and suggest an alternative pot luck dinner or trip closer to home instead. You will quickly find your imagination and creativity spiking through the roof!
If you're new at this, keep in mind that this is the road less travelled. It's not necessarily easy and can sometimes feel lonely along the way. But I want you to know you're not alone my dear. There are more and more people out there in the world who, just like you, no longer resonate with modern day's high standards. Since I flipped my worldview around 1,5 years ago and gave up my financial security (now earning just a third of what I did before!) I have had to overcome many hurdles and fears. I have had to redefine what connection, worthiness, acceptance, ambition and contribution and dependance mean to me. It takes courage and determination for sure! But I have been tremendously inspired by masters and teachers in many shapes and forms along the way (my life partner being the biggest one) and still seek their guidance as I continue to gain confidence and skills in this way of life.
Now I would love for you to feel supported in your journey towards more simplicity, which is why I'm sharing my personal affirmations and practices with you below. These will help you recondition your brain and open up to a new way of living, closer to your natural self. Sounds lovely right?
Practices & affirmations to create more simplicity:
I invest on a daily basis in the art of simplicity, knowing that it's a lifetime practice with no specific destination to reach. I practice the following to keep growing and contributing in a meaningful way:
☯ I enjoy the objects that come and go in my life. I choose them carefully and declutter with ease. Repairing when I can, or giving away when no longer needed. I practice detachment from material accumulation.
☯ I am comfortable being alone. Knowing that I cannot always (financially) afford to seek external stimulation or fancy things, I become comfortably familiar with spending time alone or by engaging in meaningful contact with others.
☯ I accept generosity from others and return the favor whenever I can.
☯ I find beauty within the smallest of things in life. A ray of sun, a friendly neighbour. A fresh harvest. A dog or cat to cuddle. There is no end to the amount of beauty I see around me.
☯ I choose work that I find meaningful and that contributes to people's wellbeing. I love my work and by giving it my utmost attention and presence I am rewarded accordingly.
Simpler living manifesto
By continuously practicing the art of simplicity:
☯ I feel a sense of clarity, knowing my self worth and the true value of life.
☯ I feel more peace by no longer being driven by competition or the need to accumulate. The thought of having and being enough brings me peace from within.
☯ I find time for intimacy with my partner and rejoice in profound connection with people around me by spending quality time with them.
☯ My nervous system has more time to relax and restore. Therefore my mental & physical health become more balanced.
☯ Knowing that I am safe, I make room for my creativity and sense of play. Therefore I allow myself to feel sheer joy and amazement.
☯ Redefining value, I find myself more grateful than ever. I practice gratitude on a daily basis, knowing to not take anything for granted and to be generous in whichever way possible. A smile, a listening ear. A shoulder to cry on. True value cannot be found in things.
Let me know how you're getting along on your simplicity journey. What draws you most to it? What challenges frighten you? I'm always happy to connect!
And if you feel like you could use more guidance in living in simplicity, you are welcome to join one of my mindfulness walks in nature or book a private nature coaching session with me by visiting my website.
Love & Simplicity,