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Tag: simplicity

Intention

Let me start with a little reflection on decluttering…

I started my decluttering in 2011. I think I was ahead of the trend. By a smidge anyway. I had a tonne of boxes to go through because of my separation and move to my solo life apartment. I was depressed and anxious. I wanted to feel better about myself, my stuff and my space. I happened upon the book Magical Housekeeping: Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home by Tess Whitehurst and used it to clear up my space both physically and emotionally. It might not be the book for everyone, but I learned a lot from that book. It started me on my road to minimalism and simple living.

It also got me shaking maracas I got in Cuba during a solo heart healing vacation and burning sage to move energy around. I love doing both of these things.

There is something to be said about doing things with intention. Doing things with intention makes action more meaningful. It makes change more likely to stick. it sets a foundation and focus on how you want to feel and what actions you need to take to get you there. It helps you get things done, stay present and optimistic.

I think it’s a very powerful thing.

I have a tattoo of the letter I on the inside of my right wrist. It stands for INTENTION.

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Simple Yet Glamorous?

My life is simple in that I discovered some mindful and minimalist life strategies that bring balance and serenity to my day-to-day. It’s glamorous in that I love burlesque and I adore creating dazzling, silly performances and shows. Having both in my life brings me much satisfaction and pleasure.

It also means that I find bobby-pins by the door and glitter most everywhere, but that is OK by me. They remind me I’m living the life I want to live.

Perhaps SIMPLICITY & GLAMOUR is an odd combination, but it’s my version of Yin and Yang. They help me embrace LIFE in a BIG JOYFUL way  and I think bringing both into my life is an important part of my journey.

Life is complex.

My simple living and compassionate mindset allows me to meet life’s challenges, express what’s on my mind and in my heart. It’s what keeps me grounded yet able to fly free. It’s what helps me connect to those I love.

Keeping certain things simple lets me bounce around in the complex with joy, gratitude and authenticity. Bounce around in the unpredictability, uncertainty and vulnerability knowing I have a safety net. Having a toolbox of strategies and skills makes me more resilient when sh*t hits the fan – because it will.

So, what do I simplify?

Everything involved in my everyday is structured in a simple way. This took some time. I had to reflect on what I owned and what owned me. I had to think about my possessions and my space and how they made me feel. Yes, I used the Marie Kondo Method. While I’m not a 100 item minimalist, I have downsized in a BIG way. I know each and every one of my belongings and where they live. And I love them all.

My burlesque costumes may have sequins and fancy fringe trim, but they also are chosen and made with simplicity in mind. They are easy to store, maintain and to perform in (and out of). Streamlining my burlesque life means I don’t tear through my space last minute looking for a costume piece or have to create something last minute. I have just what I need. Not more, not less. When I have a show I know I can focus on my performance, deliver as best I can and be present for the entire process.

My internal life?

I simplify that too. It’s absolutely essential in fact because there is a part of my mind that likes to tell stories  – often attaching shame, guilt and fear to them. Then there is my gut that likes to do somersaults. And of course, my heart that likes to race.

I’m betting this all sounds terribly familiar.

Thank goodness there is a solution to this mess of stress and struggle. Mindfulness meditation – it’s the simple antidote to the busy mind poison. Sure, it’s a popular buzz word these days but there is a reason for that. It’s incredibly powerful. It’s an active way of thinking that helps calm the mind. For goodness sake, it creates new neuro-pathways! So freaking neat!

In a nutshell, it’s about observing yourself, your body, your mind’s stories, you name it and not trying to change anything. Experience them without judgement. Let all the weird, uncomfortable and painful sensations and thoughts just be. Then approaching it all – especially yourself – loving kindness. So simple yet so radical.

One of my favourite meditation resources is the work of Tara Brach. She has a wonderful weekly podcast aswell as incredible books I refer to. My therapist suggested I read Tara Brach’s book Radical Acceptance and helped me immensely in developing some equanimity. Something I had been seeking since I was a little girl.

And of course, there is Vietnamese Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. His books on finding peace within the present moment are some of the most accessible and beautiful out there.

I am sure I will write more about these topics in the coming weeks and months (maybe years – who knows!). If there is something specific you would like me to write about with regards to my exploration of simplicity and glamour, let me know!

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

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My Simple Wardobe

I’m a huge fan of a simple wardrobe – also called a capsule wardrobe.

I have two – one for winter and one summer. The winter one consists of thick black leggings, a white undershirt and a black v neck sweater. I mix it up with grey sweaters or slim jeans. I also have one dress and one knee length black pencil skirt. I wear slim boots when it is above -5 Celsius or above. When it is colder and there is snow I wear my super duper winter boots. If I am going out to something a bit fancy and not doing much walking I have high heeled boots. At home I have a pair of slip on sneakers.

I keep things simple jewelry-wise too. I have two sets of earrings by Swarovski (one set of studs and one that dangle), a silver metallic watch and a simple band I got for myself when I first got separated.

Why does this work for me?

Getting dressed used to be a stressful experience I dreaded. Very much anxiety provoking. As a child it meant temper tantrums. As an adult it meant a horrible feeling of panic and countless clothing changes until what I wore felt just right.

I was working from the outside in. Mistake!

Once I realized I needed to do the opposite – identify how I wanted to feel first – I was naturally drawn to clothes that did just that and I got rid of the stuff that didn’t (I call it the great purge of 2012).

Shopping changed. My old pattern was to be compulsive and buy something that immediately gave me a rush or a sense of escape. My new pattern is all about selectively buying only things of quality that fit exceptionally well (or I alter them as need be). When I get dressed the experience is simply one that generates My Core Desired Feelings in me. No more drama or anxiety.

VISA now hates me, but that is OK.

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My Morning Routine

I have done so much clearing out this year. Of damaging habits, old strategies that were hurting more than they were helping. It is an ongoing process of internal, mindful recalibrating of the way I think, perceive and respond.

I have also been doing this in a physical way. Lots shredding of old university research papers and documents. Lots of purging of clothes, CDs, books and other belongings.

One of the other things I have done in this recalibration is a mix of the mind and the body. I have created a new morning routine for myself!

Reading Courtney Carver’s mini course How To Create a Meaningful Routine (disclosure: affiliate link) inspired me. So much that I have decided I will apply the principles (slowly – you gotta do it slowly) for my evening routine.

Before I had a tendency to let the day get away from me – you know, look at the clock and realize it was 2pm and while I had done some productive work I was still in pyjamas, unwashed and unkept. I had fuelled myself with coffee and nothing else. I also felt exhausted and a bit of a mess.

Slowly creating and implementing a morning routine as the mini course guides you to do has helped me cultivate one of my Core Desired Feelings – Equanimity.

The Routine

Open blinds & window, push back sheet and duvet, fluff pillows, spray with my homemade lavender fabric spray, start coffee (I prep it the night before)

Bathroom, cat litter, wash hands

Wash the sleepies from my eyes with water

Feed cats, drink 1 glass of water, make bed, put on workout outfit

Have coffee, read The Skimm

15 minutes of yoga (I started with 5 and slowly increased over a few weeks), 20 minute run, 1 set abs (My goal is three sets as well as 2x week of a strength training routine as well as 1 long 1x week – again, I will be slowly adding these day by day, week by week as per the mini course by Courtney Carver)

Breakfast (usually slow cooked oatmeal with blueberries and ground flax seeds accompanied by Yves Veggie Breakfast Sausages – the only processed soy I eat – I somehow digest it well)

Shower, get dressed

That might seem like a lot but it takes me about 45 minutes to do it all. I don’t rush. I simply get moving and keep moving, one task at a time. Usually, I play some music to keep me company, keep me smiling. The Garden State soundtrack is a favourite.

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