A Clean Slate

8 Jan

Last year I was exhausted.  Exhausted by all the activities I tried to commit to, the projects I picked up, old projects I had worked on for ages it seemed.  Busy, busy, busy, but I never seemed to ever catch up, I couldn’t get anything done.  I would sit down to work on one project and my mind would be racing in so many directions, all the ideas I had and wanted to bring to life, that I usually ended up getting nothing done at all.

I am happy that I am an ambitious person, full of creative ideas, crafty, and filled with excitement, but what good is all that if I am overwhelmed and hunkered down on the couch because I can’t handle how full my plate has become?  This new year is about embracing everything I love about myself, and learning to manage it.   Simplify, relax,  realize everything has a time and a place, and keep in mind that multitasking is completely over-rated.

I came across this article in “Yoga Journal”, a really amazing magazine.  It was written by a published author Helena Echlin.  It just made sense to me.  The article was all about how our true happiness is so hard to find because we are constantly filling our lives with things that only bring instant gratification, and not putting in the time to figure out what we truly need, versus worldly wants and desires, that leave us wanting more, rather than satisfying us.

In the article, Helena, states that simplicity means focusing on whats vital in your life and deciding what truly matters to you as a person.  Steer away from a more commercial lifestyle filled with mindless acquiring of possessions that usually have no true connection to you as a person.  To figure out what you truly value and what you can live without, Helena writes:

  • Identify what gives you energy
  • Talk about it
  • Slow down
  • Confront the numbers
  • Visualize the simple life

Focusing our time on something or someone who gives us energy, instead of taking away from our precious store, is key to happiness.  When we are energetic, we are optimistic, cheerful, ambitious, excited about life.

Talking to someone who you trust is important, ( I definitely don’t always know how I think or feel truly until I sit down and hash things out, with my husband, or family, or my dearest friends).  Talking is a way of thinking out loud, we hear our own thoughts, receive honest feedback and are face to face with things we don’t always notice by ourselves.

Slowing down is an amazing thing that can do wonders, ( I don’t really absorb anything when I am rushing around like a mad woman), just like when you eat too fast you aren’t really tasting all the flavors of your food.  Life is full of flavors and experiences, just waiting to be noticed.

Confronting the numbers, something everyone is scared to do, me especially.  Think about it though, how many of us are weighed down by money issues, trying to spread out every dollar, working extra hours so that we can have more of it.   Maybe the issue is not that you need more money but that your money is going towards things that don’t actually give to a lifestyle that is conducive for happiness.  Go over your bank statement and divide everything into groups such as groceries, activities, bills, entertainment, clothing, etc.  Then do the math, how much do you spend in each group?  Ask yourself the hard questions, is it worth it, is it contributing to my true happiness,  is this a necessity or something I  can do without?  Who knows, maybe you actually do have the money to take up that sewing class, or start a garden fund, or a vacation fund.

The last, visualizing the simple life, might be the hardest of all.  You need to be truly honest with yourself.  Make two lists, one filled with everything you don’t like or want to change about your life.  Things that you waste hard-earned time, money, and energy on.  Things that might not make you unhappy but don’t really give in a positive way.  The second list should be filled with everything you really want to do, or have, or be, that hasn’t happened, simply because of lack of time, energy, or funds.  Now compare the two lists, see how they can be merged together to create the life that is truly you.  Sometimes we can’t do everything we would like too, but by cutting out some unnecessary things, we are making room for something that wasn’t fitting before.

When I read that article, it was a total “light bulb” moment.  For me, life is finally becoming life again instead of just being something to get through.  It’s nice when these little bread crumbs show up, beckoning the way we should go.  Now I just have to man up and put in the work.

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