Hi friends!! I have decided to start a new blog series about living a simpler (and healthier) life and I hope you will follow along with me!
The reason I create paintings is because I have a desire to create fresh modern art that is deeply influenced by the natural world around us and the love of a simple, slow paced life. I want my paintings to bring peace, calm, and joy in the midst of a chaotic world because that’s what I want in my life. Lately I have seen many friends and other writers talking about the importance of simplifying our lives and we all seem to have a strong desire to do so, but it seems like such a hard thing to attain for most of the people I talk to. Why is simplicity so difficult when it seems like it should be, well, simple?
Friends, I have a long way to go. I am not an expert. I am is a mom, wife, and business woman who is willing to open up and share the struggles and search in my life. I think it’s important to start by reflecting on the things that don’t work (or didn’t work) to understand how to move ahead and that’s where this post comes in… after this, the series will focus on things I am doing in my life or friends who are doing things in their lives that are working to bring simplicity and health.
So, let’s get to the meat of it…. why is it so hard? Here are the three reasons why I have found simplifying life so difficult.
1. Simplifying your life takes work, time, and commitment.
We want to simplify because we don’t have time, we are stressed or burned out, we feel overcommitted, and crave a break, right? So, it doesn’t work because we aren’t willing to spend the time, do the work, or make the commitment to transitioning to a simple life. It’s just easier to keep on keeping on.
What do I mean by it being time and work? Well…let’s break it down. If we want to simplify our homes and our wardrobe, we have to go through room by room / closet by closet and ruthlessly take out all of the things that are cluttering up our world. What an overwhelming task!! I know that when I clean out my closet, it’s a full day’s job and I usually don’t feel like I have a full day to commit… but here is the key. Once you invest, you only have to maintain the simplified space which is much much easier than maintaining an over cluttered space.
We have to decide first and foremost that we want a simpler life enough to put in the work to achieve it.
2. Simplifying your life means you have to let go of guilt
I realize that this one doesn’t apply to everyone, but it’s been a big road block for me personally, so I am including it!
OH THE GUILT!!
There is the guilt of saying “No” when a teacher or friend asks for help doing something. The guilt of not getting the laundry done or not attending an after work event. There is guilt in NOT putting your kids in a lot of after school activities (i.e. guilt because their friends are doing them, guilt that they will never make the high school team if they don’t start playing sports now, guilt because they are really good at XYZ so you can’t deny them the opportunity to live up to their potential). There is guilt in not cooking a good healthy dinner every day.
To simplify, we have to let go of the guilt. We have to come to terms with the fact that we each have 24 hours in a day and there needs to be white space. I love to cook for my family, so I have to learn the best shorter meals. We have to spend time studying and being together as a family (and I crave white space in life) so we cut out a lot of the after school activities other kids may be doing so that we can take walks and eat dinner together every night. I am not saying there is a right choice, because every family has different priorities, but I am saying that we have to accept that we can’t do it all and leave enough space and time to enjoy the things we choose to do instead of feel rushed to do it all or guilty that we can’t do more.
3. Simplifying your life means stepping away from the screen.
I realize that sounds counter productive if I want you to read these posts and share in my journey… but hear me out. Step away from the screen time that doesn’t add value to your life. Period. I realize that sometimes the news isn’t pleasant, but we have to be aware of what’s happening in our world, so keeping up with it will add value to your life, but here is where I draw the line… if a link or article grabs my attention, I ask – “Will this give me a better understanding of the world or make me a more educated and better person?” If the answer is no, it’s not worth my valuable time.
We can turn off pinterest when it makes us feel inadequate or we can step away from Facebook when we know more about the people who we went to preschool with than the people living under our roof.
It’s so easy to get lost in the vast WWW and I have gone down more than one rabbit hole… but then I compain about time??? If I want more time, a simpler life, stepping away from the screen is one of the fastest easiest ways to get it.
This is from a post about finding balance years ago that I still read over often (You can read it here)
“Technology is what drives my business and keeps me in touch with collueges and clients, and it is amazing…but there is a time and place for everything! I honestly had no idea how much time those innocent glances on the phone or computer sucked my time….and no, seeing an email the SECOND it came in has yet to be more important than my little ones. Ever.”
Those are my three biggest obstacles and I am working to move past them. What obstacles did I forget? What keeps you from the simple life you want to live? What can you do to get past those things?
I hope you will join with me and lets make this coming summer the best one yet!
I will be back next week with the first post in simplifying!