“The mind is a beautiful thing because of the paradox.
It uses itself to understand itself.” ~ Adam Elenbass
Space, is a wonderful thing. Once you find it, it’s not something you want to let go of.
For me when there is space there is quiet, clarity, and in turn, peace. Delicious peace.
It’s not always sunny, but storms are easier to weather when there is calm.
The greatest lesson in finding simplicity I can share is to learn to simply say no…because when you do that enough you can then begin to say yes to what matters, to what makes your heart sing.
I remember the exact moment I first had that revelation…oh man I just have to say no to the things that I don’t need and yes to the things that I do. It was playing out in my head. I probably would have have been talking to myself (aloud, I always do). I was walking down Victoria street in Darlinghurst and I thought I’d just uncovered this incredible nugget of wisdom.
The more personal stories I read of people journeying to a slower, simpler life I found we all have this revelation. I wonder if at the time, they too thought they’d nailed such a wise truth.
In fact, a lot of the truths I’m uncovering that work for me are also written about in many stories of ‘life lessons learnt’. I’m currently reading The Good Life by Hugh McKay and he talks about wisdom coming simply from living. I do have a few years on the clock now so my truths are flowing.
In the space and quiet there is an opportunity to explore what your soul needs, what your mind thinks and in turn make the adjustments or changes to accomodate these.
I guess it comes across as somewhat selfish to say no but I think if you’re in a life that feels disconnected, under pressure or as was my case when I started this journey, not focussed on what mattered…then selfish is exactly what is needed.
So I started saying no rather than yes. I say no to things that don’t work for me. I will rarely go to a big dinner or party unless I know the people really well, I just find it too uncomfortable. I rarely go shopping (nothing new 2016) or to places of crass consumption. I rarely watch TV or sit in conversations in person or online where there is pointless negativity.
I have four kids and I manage their time by saying no also. We rarely do play dates during the school term and my kids know not to ask on the spot. Extra curricular activities are limited. I’ll do things like drop swimming in winter to create space. Parties are never doubled up, we simply can’t go to everything and it’s crazy to try. I also want them to have realistic expectations of enough.
Naturally, every now and then of course there are busy peaks. There may be an end of year concert or when those weeks of kid sickness that never ever end hit. In these periods the importance of a slower mindset helps, knowing that you can still be present and not flustered. I give myself a break. Sarah Wilson talks a lot about grace in her book First we make the beast beautiful it’s one of my favourite new words. Grace may be getting pizza for dinner and porridge the next night or not worrying about cleaning the house, not bathing the kids, going for a walk or run on my own as soon as Greg is home, long chats with dear friends are prioritised, whatever it takes to stay present. I always know the peace will return because I say no to the excess.
The thing about saying no has allowed me to get in touch with what actually matters (to me). What we needed as a family and to connect back to myself. So I say yes to a one on one coffee or an all day breakfast catch up. One on one conversations are better for me. Yes to spending an afternoon reading or writing to someone. Yes to making new connections with like minded people. Yes to telling the important people in my life they matter, spending time with them and hearing them. Yes to supporting a charity. Yes to more hikes and camp trips. Yes to quiet and space to think. Yes to more calm.
It’s an evolving process and now that I have more intention with yes I feel like I am able to give more of myself to people. My life has become more aligned with my values and that makes each day a little simpler. I needed to be selfish and step back to be able to step forward. I had to give less F*&^%s about stuff that really didn’t matter. Another excellent book right there The Subtle art of not giving a F*&^ by Mark Manson.
I do apologise to friends who sat in the wings and patiently waited, I hope you know who you are.
I did plan to write about something else but found this half finished post and thought YES! I’ll finish that. I’m trying to be a little better at that now. Committing and saying yes to getting some focus with my ideas and goals. Putting some intentional into what I want my life to look like post this incredible adventure we are all having and to continue to live creatively however that looks.