It’s been 5 months exactly since I’ve posted here at Simply Clearly, and honestly, it was a break that I have needed. But, I’m feeling the yearning again to write more about my experiences with simplifying life both physically and mentally, what is working and what’s not. I like sharing my journey and place extremely high value on transparency in life, it helps me stay focused on what’s important to me. So, here I am.
Why did I stop writing?
Honestly, I was overwhelmed and tired. Though I have worked hard to minimize my physical possessions, it isn’t so easy to do the same with my work schedule, children’s homework, my spouse’s training schedule or unexpected situations. Granted, paring down our stuff has made living the rest of life much easier and enjoyable, it doesn’t completely take away times of stress and feeling overloaded.
I had put myself on an unnecessary schedule of writing for Simply Clearly, which required early mornings and late nights, and less sleep. It wasn’t really sustainable, as my mother would say, I was, “burning the candle at both ends.” I needed a break.
During my break, I had more time to do the following-
-Took daily long walks as the weather warmed up
-Invited family and friends to visit
-Got more sleep
-Revisited my eating habits and added a few new dishes
-Watched my children learn to play chess
As the first couple of months went by with no writing and no self-imposed deadlines, I truly felt better, more rested and rejuvenated. However, after a couple more months passed, I missed writing and realized it is also something I use as a personal outlet and form of stress relief for other areas of my life. The key to reaping the benefits of it without feeling overwhelmed was intentionality.
Related: Finding Your Balance
Getting my intention back.
Before I went on my writing break, I thought I was living intentionally by writing so much for my blog, offering up something that was valuable to me personally, to the world, informing others of how beneficial living with less can be. Once my writing became a scheduled part of my day, something I had to do, the intentionality behind it disappeared and left me with the feeling that writing a blog post about simple living was just something else on my to-do list.
I had to take a closer look at what my intentions were with writing on the blog, did they align with my overall life goal of valuing experiences over ‘things’. I realized ‘things’ can extend to intangible items as well like writing blog posts, overusing social media, too much sleep and on and on. I had to get back to the basics.
With most of my possessions pared down as much as possible, my focus has been on living life as intentionally as I can. I’ll admit I’m not perfect at it, and sometimes I have to go back and revisit what ‘living intentionally’ means.
For me, this means doing things like-
-Adding empty time space between tasks so I don’t feel rushed
-Reevaluating commitments to make sure they are still adding value to my life
-Thinking about experiences I would like to have and how to make them happen
-Putting more effort into relationships
-Restricting my work schedule
-Make sure things like sleep, healthy food and exercise aren’t suffering
During my break as I took the time to look closely at what my intentions were on a daily basis, I realized that I needed to make some adjustments to areas like sleep, relationships and empty time space in order to bring the feeling of living intentionally back into my life.
Related: Finding Meaning In Your Day
Everything is perfect now.
I enjoy listening to podcasts by Noah Rasheta of Secular Buddhism. Recently, he released one titled, Perfection and the Problem With Comparing, where he talked about the idea of ‘perfection’ and how it is actually circular logic based on the definition of the words perfect and imperfect.
It made sense to me that everything is both perfect and imperfect at the same moment. Experiences, people and even things can be ‘perfect in their imperfection’. I suppose that may be where the phrase, “perfectly imperfect” comes stems from.
Embracing imperfection as part of our perfect human nature makes complete sense to me and allows me to-
-Be okay with my own imperfections
-Accept others where they are and appreciate them in their imperfect state
-Appreciate the ‘imperfection’ of fingerprints on the walls, dirt tracked through the kitchen and stained kid’s clothes as the ‘perfect’ childhood evolving
-Recognize that this imperfection is what allows me to grow as an individual
“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
Related: Finding Calm In Community
Where Will I Go Now?
The past 5 month break has been a welcome one. Although I have published this post and resumed my writing, I’m not sure it will be as regular as it once was. My writing is usually at it’s best when I feel like I have something meaningful to express, rather than writing just for the sake of posting something to my blog. What this means is you can probably expect to hear from me more often, but not on a regular schedule.
Recently, The Minimalists released a podcast called ‘Away’ where they spoke about their own decision to take a break from podcasting to focus on personal health. This was a difficult decision I’m sure, with millions of listeners who enjoy their podcast immensely, myself included. It is also a great example of living their own words of making important areas of life like health and relationships first. In that same vein of thinking,
Here’s what you can expect from me-
-Fewer posts, but longer and more intentionally written
-Occasional new resource downloads
-More sharing of others’ work that I find inspirational to simple living
If you need a break from something in life that you once enjoyed, or maybe you thought was essential, and now you feel it is causing an unnecessary amount of stress and angst each day, consider removing it even temporarily so you can see the bigger picture more clearly.
Sometimes it takes stepping back to see when and where something truly fits into your life, or if it should be removed altogether. Love and embrace yours and others imperfections, find your intention, live simply and move forward.