29 August 2012

Simplifying My Focus On Safe, Sane and Happy

I have been thinking a lot about simplifying lately. Simplifying the food we eat, simplifying our belongings, simplifying the use of my time.

I've marveled at the complication and unhealthiness of the American diet and have been remembering back to when I was a child and my grandparents ate extensively from their garden and some nights my grandfather would have just bread and milk for dinner by choice. The plates were small and they were healthy and happy. They didn't go out to restaurants often and certainly never gorged on plates the size of food platters that are consumed in chain restaurants across America today.

I have been trying to figure out how to store in my apartment more than it can possibly store. I now have a good amount of The Man's things here to store until his return. I either need to pull yet another organizational rabbit out of my hat or get a small storage unit. My preference of course is the free option, but I don't know if I'll be able to pull it off. And it will take some hours to find out and deal with it all either way.

It causes me to look again at what I do and do not need. How many things am I hanging onto because I might need them "someday" and how often have I actually used any of those things. How many kitchen implements do I need? How about the clothing in the closet. What can I get rid of. What of all the hobby supplies tucked around for sewing, knitting, painting, wood projects and the like. Is there any way I can simplify those things?

Looking at the blog world and Pinterest my head often spins at the frenzy to produce more DIYs, more readership, more press attention, more pins, prettier boards and add more and more onto our goals and expectations for ourselves. Those include 1) to be stylish (and why not DIY our own clothes at the same time), 2) run a marathon (and have the body of a 19-year-old girl after giving birth to five children) 3) continually update our homes (and see how much of the work can you do ourselves), 4) and maintain a positive attitude and sound mind at the same time as we're driving ourselves crazy with all these unrealistic expectations.

Good life under mountains of these kinds of pressures is just not possible and something has to give. Is it our physical health from lack of sleep and exercise? Is it our families from lack of attention and proper nurturing? Are our homes and cars really a disaster until we clean them up for the photo shoot? I joke but you know that is a reality on some level.

I've learned a big lesson the past few months, the past few years in fact, about simplifying the use of my time. These lessons continue to come. When I slow down and really listen to myself and take time to keep myself healthy, I realize very plainly that I cannot do a million things every day. I cannot do all the things that would be good to do in a day. In fact, to be completely honest with myself, if I cut back to only things that I can realistically accomplish in a day, the list should be very, very short. Less than 10 items, maybe only five. That is the amount of things I can really do and still keep my health, maintain a positive, calm attitude and enjoy my life. Anything more than that just brings stress, unhappiness and misery for me and anyone who has to be around me.

The amazing thing is, when I slow down and cut back, it never feels like anything is lacking. Things seem more in alignment, more sound, more safe and more calm. The unnecessary things seem to just float away.

Slowing down has felt good. I'm able to hear the voice of my soul. I can happily fit in a few things that I enjoy doing, get more fresh air and be more conscious about my home, what we eat and what we do with our time. It's an astounding blessing.

Today I am hoping to make a skirt for myself. I need new skirts desperately. If this goes well, I'll whip up a couple of others. I also have a couple of long-sleeve shirts to bleach pen decorate for The Bug for this winter. Taking care of simple, home-centered tasks is incredibly calming and centering.

Yes there are still business concerns, career concerns and financial concerns to attend to regularly, but dealing with them quickly and efficiently makes all the more time for the lovely things of life, for people, for nesting and focusing on what really makes us safe, sane and happy.

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