â€śI have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.â€ť ~Lao Tzu
I am fortunate to have married a man whom shares my love of taking the simple road. Simplicity for us is not about how much stuff we do or donâ€™t own, it is a motivating force (core value) that underpins the decisions we make in life together. When I reflect on the choices that have led us to a simpler life, I can see that our love for the uncomplicated, echoes across almost every part of our life together.
Today Iâ€™m sharing some of the choices we have made that support our intention to invite more balance andÂ harmonyÂ into our lives. I donâ€™t believe there is any one right approach and the information shared below, is a snap spot of what works in our family. Simplicity has never been the bright shiny goal we move towards, certainly not for my husband anyway. We are joy seekers, we do what makes us happy and try our best to avoid choices that complicate this.
- One debt, no cards, less paper shuffling â€“Â Finances are kept simple. We donâ€™t do credit cards, investment or car loans. This equates to a manageable mortgage debt, less stress and less paper shuffling. Less paper shuffling makes me so happy. If you are at the debt end of the spectrum and want to be free, Iâ€™ve heard great things about Dave Ramsey and his no nonsense approach to getting yourself out of debt. You can get started by checking outÂ his free show.
- Minimal commitments â€“Â I donâ€™t commit to activities that stretch me beyond what feels right. My commitments change as my circumstances do. I know when my youngest boy is at school full-time, I will have more opportunities to say yes to volunteer at the school. For now I keep my schedule simple and I donâ€™t expend energy feeling guilty about what I canâ€™t do right now.
- Minimal possessions â€“Â Some time back I committed to de-cluttered every space in our home. I removed knick-knacks, vases, clothing, books, toys, dinnerware and so much more. I held the intention to own only things that I loved and were purposeful. Through the process I began to see the complicated stories in the things I held on to, due to guilt and shame. De-cluttering is a regular feature in my life now, as is the intention to consume less.
- Keep Weekendâ€™s Free â€“Â I love the feeling of an unscheduled weekend. It allows for a pressure free, spontaneous approach to activities and hobbies that light us up. Our kids arenâ€™t enrolled in extracurricular activities (though who knows, this may change) and we donâ€™t say yes to every birthday invitation that comes their way. When things do come up, most often itâ€™s a breeze because it hasnâ€™t been squeezed in between half a dozen other activities.
- Less Work, More Play â€“Â I made the decision two years ago to work less, so I can stress less. I want to be with my children as much as I want my career independence. This is a personal decision and a highly sensitive topic I know, but it need not be. When you know who you are and what you need to thrive, you can be confident you are making the right choice for you. My kids drive me nuts as much as the next person, however working full-time, putting my youngest into care and juggling the same amount of household responsibilities with less time to do them, would BREAK ME. I know this because I know how I function best and full tilt is not it.
When my decisions are motivated by a desire for â€śmoreâ€ť, Iâ€™m aware these desires really come from a place of lack. These not enough, never enough fear-based beliefs, often lead to thoughts of â€śneeding a bigger homeâ€ť, â€śa newer carâ€ť and â€śmultiple investment propertiesâ€ť. Sound familiar? When I slow down often enough and create space to examine the truth, the reality is we have everything we need.
Simplicity wins every time because I crave harmony and I find it by way of the uncomplicated.
Over the years I have come to observe that life gets stressful when I start believing half of the crazy thoughts I have. Honouring the intention to live simply and motivated by a desire for connection and inner peace, has developed into a conscious habit.
If you see yourself in these words and have an overwhelming desire for a simpler life, perhaps a question can help you refocus. Is there a simple truth that when spoken often enough, can stop those swirling thoughts in their tracks? I believe there is always a simpler approach worth exploring, whatever you feel caught up in right in this moment.
Be brave, take some time and really let yourself be with this question,Â â€śIs there a simpler way to do this?â€ťÂ This question can apply to anything and everything from the way you style your hair each day, to the way you prepare your taxes.
Iâ€™m curious, where can you invite more simplicity into your life? Iâ€™d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
About The Author
Liz Smith – As a mother of three children, I understand both the challenges and the necessity of creating a more spacious and balanced life. A life where it is possible to experience an inner sense of connection and purpose, whilst also remaining connected in your family life, working life and community endeavours.
In cultivating greater clarity, ease and meaning in daily life, first we have a responsibility to explore our internal landscape. When you know who you are alongside the beliefs, thoughts and feelings that create the greatest resistance, you can learn to navigate both the challenges and the beauty of life in integrity with who you are.
Simple practices when cultivated consistently, can help quieten the mind, steady emotions and support your well-being as you move through life. It is both my hope and intention that the offerings here, encourage you to create space in your day to day life to do just that.
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