For the past few years, I’ve worked on creating a ‘simple living’ lifestyle for myself and family. I have to say it was not an easy task. While there may be nothing complicated about simple living, undoing the overloaded lifestyle and stress, reshaping the daily grind, and rewiring the way I perceive life, does take lots of practice, patience, and lots of start-overs.
Someone once told me that practicing mindfulness is like exercising. If you are going for a run for the first time in a long time (or ever), your legs hurt, you feel out of breath, and possibly even feel like vomiting. It is very tempting to quit after the first attempt. But if you keep going for a run a day after day, practice will make it better and eventually, makes it perfect. So, if you are thinking of practicing mindfulness, be prepared for a long haul and lots of start-overs, but just don’t give up. Always remind yourself that practice makes perfect, and all your efforts are worthy.
One of the absolutely necessary steps towards my goal of mindful living, was the decluttering my daily activities in a major way (read about it here). It is absolutely impossible to practice feeling content when your day is overloaded with million things on your to-do list. Just decluttering my day in itself simplified my daily grind by half and gave my mind room to breathe and concentrate on rewiring the way I think and perceive things.
I want to make it clear, though, when I say “simple living”, I don’t mean moving into a Thailand monastery or to a countryside. These may be great options for some, but they are not for me. I like living in a busy city, going places and enjoying the experiences of a mix of things. My goal now is to learn to be mindful of my experiences, learn to be content with where I am at any moment in life and learn not to be hard on myself.
I recognize that this may sound like I am able to practice mindfulness in a place overfilled with temptations… kind of like practicing sobriety in a wine country. Temptations may be everywhere, but I and only I decide what I want to do and how I want to live. And if there are many people in my society practice multitasking, perfectionism, and unreasonable self-demands, I have a choice not to do the same!
In Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert said: “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day… This is a power you can cultivate.”
So here are the choices I practice daily:
- Just like I choose my clothes every day, I choose what to do every day, do fewer things throughout my day instead of tackling a superwoman’s* schedule. (read about it here).
- Just like I choose my clothes every day, I choose what to think about myself every day, be kind and not judgemental.
- Just like I choose my clothes every day, I choose to do what I love instead of what’s expected. (read about it here)
- Just like I choose my clothes every day, I choose to put away my phone and take a few breaths before and after I fall asleep, instead of going through social media before and after falling asleep.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how many hundreds of times I slipped into my old habits in the past few years (yes, years!). But practice does make things better, and I see a tremendous difference between myself even a year ago and now.
I will stop for now, but I will be coming back to this, probably one of the most important topics of this blog. Leave me your replies as to what are your struggles when it comes to your lifestyle, your mindfulness, and happiness. Do you feel stressed or content? Did you try to make a change? What worked for you and what didn’t? Love you darlings!! xo
*Superwoman is a fictional character.