Monday, May 23, 2016
Friday, May 20, 2016
This weekend, I challenge you to a completely free weekend!!
The easiest way? Become a tourist in your own town! Do an internet search for destinations in your own town and go exploring! Live by the sea...hit the beach. Live in a big city...head downtown. Frequently, museums offer free admission on Sundays.
Head to your local library. Check out a new book, a movie, or research a new hobby. All free!
Grab a leash! Perfect exercise for both you and your dog and a great opportunity to meet or visit with your neighbors.
Head outside with your camera or phone. Capture the beauty of the world around you.
Take some quiet time. Read, color, craft...even nap. Refresh your soul.
Above all else...enjoy yourself! The old adage is true. The best things in life are free!
Thursday, May 19, 2016
A lot of the topics we have been talking about require solitude. In addition, the removal of toxic people from your life and bring consequences of its own.
Recently, I disappointed a dear friend. As a result of my need to keep toxic people out of my life and maintain my personal peace, I was forced to decline an event that I know meant the world to this friend. Disappointing this friend broke my heart and I spent the day in tears. But I knew that I had to protect myself and my peace. I would have given anything to be able to do both, but in this instance, that was not a possibility.
As you strive for a simplified, mindful life, you may find yourself withdrawing a bit from the hectic pace of life. There may be friends and family that either do not, or do not wish to, understand what you are working to achieve. They may take your actions personally, believing that you are avoiding them. While that is not the case, their perception is also their reality. Explain what you are doing, but do not devalue yourself, your time, and your goals in the process.
I was blessed that my friend loves me unconditionally. The fact that I disappointed someone whom I adore, however, still makes me tear up even weeks later. I know, without any doubt, that I made the right decision for me. Now it is up to me to honor that friendship in a way that does not violate my peace and shows my love for my friend. I will find a way.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
One of the benefits of simplifying your life is becoming increasingly self-reliant. To do so, you must have faith.
Paramount is having faith in yourself. It is imperative that you believe, in your innermost heart of hearts, that you can and will achieve your dreams. This process starts within you.
You are better able to determine what you are capable of achieving than anyone else on the planet. No one else knows how hard you work, how vivid you dreams, and how grand your goals. No one else can see the personal, private inner work you are doing. Have faith in the work you are doing and have faith in the benefits which that work will reap.
Will you always be doubt-free? No...doubts will arise with no notice and will feel completely disabling. See yesterday's post on fear. This is where your faith in yourself manifests itself. That faith will stomp out those doubts and move you further on your road.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Even if you are focused, mindful, and have worked hard on simplifying your life, fear can still throw up roadblocks. It is part of the human condition, it seems, that fear raises its ugly head and stops us in our tracks.
What if I fail? Not if...when. Because you will fail, probably more than you will succeed. If you fail, start over. Try it again. You have already failed, there is nowhere to go but up.
What if I don't know how? Read. Educate yourself. Ask questions. Find a mentor. We live in the age of instant information. Whatever you want to learn, there is a means and method to learn it.
What if I fall? Get up. Like a toddler, learning to stand comes with a multitude of falls. Each fall teaches you something and moves you one step further.
I'm afraid. Good! While fear can be a roadblock, it can also be a powerful motivator. Fear means change. Embrace it. Never let it paralyze you.
Do you know the definition of courage? It is being afraid of something and doing it anyways. Get doing!
Monday, May 16, 2016
While on this journey of mindfulness, gratitude, and simplicity, it is very easy to lose focus. You may find, as I do, that life gets in the way.
Whether a change in circumstances, an unexpected illness, or any of the curve balls that life sends our way, it is hard to stay focused on our bigger goals.
What to do when life happens? This is when being still comes into play. Taking a small amount of time, even an hour, to be still and reflect will work to re-center you and re-focus you on your dreams and goals.
Although frequently dismissed as trite and overdone, this is when a vision board may be a helpful tool. It provides a visual reminder of what you love and what you are working for. It may be a board of your dream home, your dream job, or your dream vacation...whatever you are endeavouring to achieve.
Focus on your goal. Nothing is unattainable as long as you are willing to put in the effort required.
Heads up! Life is still happening. Focus regardless of what comes your way.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Last week, I told you how I spent the previous month's Amazon money upgrading my printer. Using this month's Amazon gift cards brought another upgrade.
For quite a few years, I have been the proud owner of a used, temperamental blu-ray player. It was a much appreciated hand-me-down and served me well. Yes, there were times the tray completely refused to open, but a lot of patience and repeatedly pushing the button worked eventually!
This month's Amazon money went to finally upgrading my blu-ray player. I was fortunate to have enough to get a blu-ray player with wi-fi built in and, a big thing, less than half the size of the player it replaced! I also saved quite a bit by buying an Amazon certified refurbished machine instead of completely brand new.
As I said last week, if you have a bit of extra time, you can make a bit of extra money! Just see the Money Makers tab on top of the blog!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
If you have never been a crafter, walking into one of the craft megastores can be overwhelming and incredibly expensive!
There are less expensive and easier ways to start crafting without feeling overwhelmed, intimidated, or just plain broke.
One way to begin crafting is to do an internet search for dollar store crafts. There are numerous posts online of diy projects that use only items from the dollar store. Some may require glue or paint but most can be made under five dollars! Also, if your quiet time activities are coloring or puzzles, both can be obtained at your dollar store. We frequently do 500-piece jigsaw puzzles we got for only a dollar each!
If you are looking for something extremely easy to try for your first time out, check out the craft kits on sites such as Oriental Trading. While a large number of the crafts are geared toward children, they are perfect for learning basic crafting skills, particularly if you have never crafted before. In addition, they are reasonably priced so if you find you don't enjoy a particular craft, you won't be out a large amount of money that you invested in supplies.
It may take some time to find the niche you enjoy. Remember, we are taking this in baby steps which means taking your time!
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Yesterday, we spoke about learning to be still. By no means do I intend to make it sound easy! Even now, I struggle with unplugging. Frequently, I will be doing a craft and still have the television on in the background. Not that I am actually watching it...I will just have it on as background noise. Besides being a waste of electricity, that is just plain stupid!
It is not necessary to go cold turkey! Begin with just muting your phone one weeknight. You don't even need to turn off the television. Actually, watch your favorite shows...but without reaching for your phone every few minutes just to check what's going on. Actually listen to the dialogue in the show!
On the weekend, try turning everything off for just a couple of hours. No huge commitment...just an hour or two to take a walk, read a book, or create something. Before you know it, you will look forward to your personal "quiet time."
Unplug. You won't regret it!
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
An added benefit to my recent reducing experiment is the added time for solitude.
In its finest form, solitude is a gift. The ability to be alone and quiet is something that is being lost in this age of social media and the noise of non-stop news and chatter. It is a joy to turn off the computer, silence the phone, and find a quiet activity to enjoy.
Whether reading, needlework, or woodworking, the ability to be still takes some effort at first. We have all become, not only accustomed, but actually trained to react at every ding of a notification, chime of a text message, and ringing of a cell phone. To turn those off and enjoy the silence does take some re-training but it is worth the effort.
Learn to spend some time with yourself. Rediscover who you are and what you love. Take time to just be still.
Monday, May 9, 2016
This was my second Mother's Day without my mom. If anything, this year was enough harder as I could not reach out to her with everything I am going through. Though I was not alone all day, the day was extremely lonely.
Our moms are (or are supposed to be) our safe place. No matter what our age, we still need that safe place. When we have reached the age where we are losing our parents, the need for that safe place does not wane. Once our mothers are gone, however, the need for that safe place is now tinged with grief and pain.
If you are still blessed to have your mother, and your safe place, let her know how much you appreciate her. Time is short and moms don't live forever.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Recently, I upgraded my printer to wireless. Love it!!! How did I do it? See that tab at the top of the blog called "Money Makers"? That's how I got my new wireless printer for free!
Saving up the Amazon gift cards that I earned, I was able to get not only the printer, but an extra set of ink for absolutely nothing! Remember, I do work a full-time job so this is just something I do in my spare time.
Could you use an extra $30-50 in spending money every month? Would you like to be able to get some great products to test for free? How about saving those Amazon gift cards and paying for Christmas presents? I even have a friend who used the money she earned to pay for Disney gift cards and paid for her family's trip to Disney World! Disclaimer: I personally do not have the willpower to save up that much!
Check out the Money Makers tab on the blog. If you have a little extra time, it can translate to a little extra in your pocket!
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
One of my biggest challenges on this mindfulness journey of mine is my utter inability to remain organized. Mind you, this challenge only exists at home. At work, you would think I was a completely different person!
My son taught me how to use the Sticky Notes app on my laptop. I bless him for that, as the ability to have my to-do lists, future lists, project lists, phone call lists, etc. right in front of my face is truly a huge help!
Granted, I never actually make it through every list. Well, I make it through the note I have for writing this blog! And every month, I make it through my list of bills. It is a huge help when I check off each bill as I pay them. I am never late with a payment and I never forget one either.
I also have some long-term and/or future goals on their own sticky notes. These I use to remind me of what it is I am working toward. It is easy to get bogged down in daily life and lose sight of goals. My goals are right in front of my face, where I need them to be. Someday, and sooner rather than later, I'll be checking off those sticky notes also.
How do you stay organized? Any special tips or tricks you'd like to share? Please let me know!
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Having reduced the number of items and removing toxic people from your life instills you with a sense of calm and peace.
By reducing clutter, you eliminate stress. Studies have proven that visual clutter increases levels of anxiety. Having reduced your items while we were doing the Thursday Ten, you may have already noticed a reduction in your stress level. At its most basic, reducing the amount of clutter in your home lessens your stress by having less to care for, clean, and keep track of an item's whereabouts.
Removing toxic people from your life has the same effect. No longer do you dread logging into social media and seeing a hate-filled or misery-spreading post. Without that sense of doom, you feel lighter, as if an actual physical burden has been lifted.
The peace and calm has a rippling benefit. If you are calmer, it becomes harder for something or someone to get you wound up. If you are calm, you are more prone to analyze something rationally instead of spinning into an emotional maelstrom.
Be mindful and enjoy the refuge of peace and calm you have created. You have worked hard to achieve it and you have built your sanctuary. Enjoy it!
Monday, May 2, 2016
A large part of being mindful is gratitude. Being mindful of the things and people in your life includes being grateful for them. There is no room for envy or jealousy.
Is it easy? No. It is easy to see someone living what you perceive as a better life and think to yourself "Why not me?" This is where being mindful comes into play. Be mindful of where you are now and where you have been in the past. Be mindful of the journey you have taken to get where you are today. And, more than anything, be mindful of the fact that, however someone's life appears, we can never know the true life someone lives behind closed doors.
Look at your life. Is there a roof over your head? Will you eat today? Have you at least one friend? You have so much, then, for which to be grateful. Be grateful for the multitude of blessings you already enjoy. Be mindful that you have them and treasure them.