From NHWN: The Magic of Small, Basic Tasks

“Simple tasks hold magic. They have the ability to untangle our thoughts. They can set us free from our doubts, giving us a chance to feel a small bit of accomplishment. The simple task grounds us, body and mind. ”

I often find inspiration in the shower, while doing the dishes (by hand in the kitchen sink, of course!), or when I’m stuffing mail into post office boxes at my day job. I hope this latest post from Suddenly Jamie on Live to Write – Write to Live inspires you to seek solace in the simple things as well!

~PEACE~

Live to Write - Write to Live

Keep things simple. Keep things simple.

When things get a little crazy (and when aren’t they a little crazy?), small, humble tasks create pockets of sanity in my day. I expect my gravitating toward these menial chores in moments of crisis is a bit like the British tendency to make tea even when (sometimes especially when) everything seems to be falling apart. There is comfort in the simple and the mundane, in purely functional activities that are what they are. These manual labors provide a sense of grounded rationality that is often otherwise hard to find.

Take for instance, mending. For months now, a small pile of clothes has been sitting high on a laundry room shelf, patiently waiting for me to repair ripped seams and broken fastenings. The job was not all that complicated, but I just never seemed to get around to it. And then new damage to my daughter’s favorite…

View original post 1,144 more words

The Importance of Finding Your Tribe

As I strive to embrace simplicity, turn my back on mindless consumption, and form positive habits in my daily life, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle every day. All around me, friends, family, coworkers, and even casual acquaintances question why I want to live this way.

Why don’t I want to eat a bag of Cheetos and a box of cookies every night?

How can I possibly be satisfied with a 3 year-old cell phone and a 5 year-old TV?

Why don’t I want to go to Wal-Mart?

How could I even consider giving up such a “good job” at the post office, when I’ll be “all set” with a pension for life if I just “hang in there” until I’m 60 years old?

Why don’t I want to make more money?  

Why am I giving away half the clothes in my closet?

Sometimes, in my darker moments, I even start to ask myself those same questions.

Then, every once in a while, I meet someone who gets it. Or I listen to the latest episode of The Minimalists’ podcast. Or I read a new blog post from Leo Babauta or Joshua Becker or Courtney Carver. And I remember that I’m not alone. I’m not crazy. I just want to do things a little differently. I want to live my life a little more deliberately.

If you’re following this blog, then chances are, you’re interested in living a simpler and more purposeful life as well. Some of the people around you probably don’t understand. But remember that there are plenty of us out here who do. Those are the people you have to surround yourself with. They are your inspiration and your allies.

Thanks for reading, and for being on my team. I hope we can continue to help and inspire each other to follow our own paths to meaningful living. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always rewarding.

~PEACE~

A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

Spring is a great time to clean house. Clear out those closets. Reclaim some free space in the attic, garage, or basement. Unload. Lighten up. Downsize. Simplify. Getting rid of stuff is so liberating! I feel freer just thinking about it, don’t you?

If you want to break ties with some of your baggage, but don’t know how or where to get started, here are a few suggestions and strategies I’ve picked up and perfected over the years. Trust me, once you get started, you won’t want to stop!

STUFF!

1. Start with one small specific area of your home, ie. the hall closet, the medicine cabinet, one bookcase, that catch-all dumping station by the front door, etc. Each small victory will drive you on to the next.

2. Decide on a short time limit, during which you will accomplish as much as you can without feeling overwhelmed. The thought of spending an entire weekend cleaning the house isn’t appealing to anyone, even a neat freak like me, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in just an hour or two!

3. If even that seems like more than you can handle at first, try getting rid of just one or two things per day for, say, a week. Then another week. Then a month. Pull one thing out of the closet every morning that you can live without. Take one knick-knack off the living room shelf. Pass along a book or CD to a friend and tell them to do the same when they’re finished with it.

4. Once you’ve gathered together all the stuff you want to remove from your life, what do you do with it?

  • Have a yard sale.
  • Donate or consign newer or lightly-worn clothing.
  • Donate books, useful household items.
  • Sell larger or more valuable items on Craig’s List or eBay.
  • Sell books, CDs, etc. on Amazon.
  • Re-gift.
  • And, when all else fails, simply throw away some of the old stuff. It’ll feel great, I promise!

Then, the trick is to maintain. For every new article of clothing that comes into the house, get rid of two. This really works for me! Don’t let things pile up. Do a quick daily clutter sweep, even just 5 minutes when you get home from work. Keep it up! You’ll be driven by your new sense of weightlessness — freedom from stuff!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

While clearing the space around you can be mentally liberating, you don’t have to limit the clean-out to just the tangible stuff in your life either. I started writing this blog post with the intent of giving you some tips and tricks for eliminating some of your physical baggage, but oftentimes, our mental and emotional “clutter” trips us up far more than our actual “stuff.” If you find this to be the case, perhaps some springtime spiritual cleaning is in order.

Consider freeing yourself from any negative thought patterns & bad habits that no longer serve you well. Change up your daily routines. Did you spend the winter eating unhealthy foods, drinking too much, and avoiding exercise? (Guilty.) Start fresh!

Guilt? Drop it. Anger? Let it go.

Consider cutting ties with any negative people and relationships that are keeping you down as well. Or at least limit the time you spend with certain people, even if you’re related to them. Be kind to yourself, and surround yourself with people who will do the same. You deserve that, don’t you?

Think about who or what is stressing you out, draining your batteries, wearing you out, taking up valuable real estate–in your mind, in your body, in your home, in your schedule? De-clutter your mind, heart, soul, and body while you de-clutter your physical environment. You’ll add years to your life. And they’ll be happier ones.

But above all else, try not to take anything or anyone too seriously. Ditch the darkness and drama. Un-complicate. Don’t forget to laugh. Life is too short, and it’s the only one you’ve got!

~~PEACE~~

 

 

 

Alcoholism, Bruised Butts, Cabin Fever, and Domestic Drudgery — Or, Winter in NH

I really hate winter. Especially this one. We’ve been under the siege of single-digit and sub-zero temperatures and weekly snowstorms for almost 3 months now. I apologize for using my blog as a vehicle for venting, but… How much more can we possibly take?! 

We’re almost out of firewood, so we’re relying less on the wood stove and running the furnace more. The sound of it makes me cringe every time it comes on.

I’m spending way too much time indoors. I haven’t been venturing out for my daily walks because I’m afraid to go outside if I don’t have to. Last week, I slipped and fell on the ice twice, slamming my tailbone into the steps and twisting my left arm in the first fall, and severely bruising my right, um, “buttockular region” in the second.

When I spend so much time indoors, I tend to slip into Crazy Compulsive Cleaning Mode. Dusting. Scrubbing. Rearranging. Not all of this is a bad thing. The results are gratifying, if short-lived.

Unfortunately, another product of my stir-craziness is that I find myself thinking things like, “I’ll just mix up a Cosmo. That will help me relax.” Or, “A nice hot toddy will help me sleep.” It turns out that the line between drinking enough to relax and drinking to the point of passing out is a very fine one for me. Not good.

Winter shows us the darker side of living that idyllic, “simple life” in the country. It’s a hard way to go, and it isn’t for everyone. But, in some respects, I guess it’s like childbirth. Once it’s over, we forget the pain and throw ourselves into the joys of the gentler seasons that always follow.

~~THINK SPRING!~~

Abraham Lincoln’s Rules For Living

256px-Abraham_Lincoln_seated,_Feb_9,_1864

In honor of President’s Day, here are a few words of wisdom from the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln:

“Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; steer clear of biliousness; exercise; go slow and go easy. Maybe there are other things that your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these, I reckon, will give you a good life.”

Friday Favorites: Tiny Houses!

A tiny, mobile house in a Portland, Oregon yard.

A tiny, mobile house in a Portland, Oregon yard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday Favorites: Tiny Houses!

I am obsessed with the art of living large in small spaces. Perhaps because I lived in a mobile home from the age of 10 until my mid-30’s, I admire and appreciate living accommodations that make the most efficient use of a limited amount of available space. I recently discovered and started following the Tiny House Blog, which offers tons of photos, house plans, building information, and real-life stories from the creative people who build and live in these small structures. Check it out, and join in my tiny obsession!