Simple Living. Something that keeps coming up for me, both unconsciously and consciously. I am absolutely an advocate for 'Living Simply' - but sometimes I get a little lost on along the way, complicate things and let my plate get full to overflowing. Lately, this feeling of being full to the brim has shown itself, and I've been in a state of retreat. I've had several courses on the back-burner, waiting for my full attention. Plans for this space, and plans to offer a service. SO MANY plans for the gardens here, and plans to book a holiday to New Zealand. Plans for books to read, plans for posts to write. And ironically, plans to simplify things even further. Plans are all well and good - except when nothing much is happening and you end up frustrated and overwhelmed, resentful of all the good stuff in your life! I had a conversation with a mentor recently, and she asked me 'What, out of all the things you have on your plate, is one thing you want to be able to devote yourself to wholly?'. My immediate, unhesitating answer was 'None of it'. Perfect.
So, that's what I did. I withdrew from interactions on Facebook, I skipped writing a blog post here, I stopped reading other people's blog posts (this was THE HARDEST, but oh so good for my creative voice). I've pushed the courses to the back of my mind, and taken a long look at what it is I really want to achieve with this space, and how I want to do it. Instead of planning, I asked myself these questions - 'What do I have to do right now, in this moment? What is in front of me that is requiring my attention?' and 'What action can I take right now, that will help me to remove something from my to-do list?'. I tried as much as possible to take the future out of the equation, and concentrate on the here and now. It was easy and it was hard. It was liberating to let go of all the expectations I'd placed on myself, the timelines, the pressure. When it came down to it, right now I'm happy to be working in the garden, taking photos, reading a book and generally just taking care of the day to day stuff that makes up my life (after all, if you take care of the days, the years take care of themselves, right?). I've been working on some suggestions for the beautiful Flick, who won the first Think Big Live Simply giveaway a while back - and while this has taken me far, far too long to start, I've been absolutely loving it. I've made bookings for the NZ holiday, and plans to catch up with some all-kinds-of-wonderful blogging friends in August and November. There's been talk of a house cow, and Muscovy ducks, and 3 little poddy lambs to feed. Lots of awesomeness, and all of it actioned in the present, not pushed into the future. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I mentally pull myself back to today - 'What do I need to do today?' - and take action, no matter how small (it was amazing to realise how much those unanswered emails were weighing on my mind, once I answered them one at a time!).
So if you are feeling overwhelmed (even if it's of the less-awesome variety), stop thinking. Just do something, ONE thing, right now. Don't be afraid to walk away from your 'commitments' because you feel you'll let someone down - chances are the only person you are letting down is yourself, by not taking control of your time, by not making enjoyment a priority.
Simple Living needn't just encompass your physical surrounds - in fact, perhaps the most important place to start 'Living Simply' is in your own head.
Cityhippyfarmgirl wrote about Choosing a Simple Life yesterday too - it's well worth a read!