Live Simply in 2019, March Mantra: Re-Examine The Familiar

Friday, March 1, 2019

Live Simply in 2019. March Mantra.

Most of us yearn for familiarity. All we want is the safety and security that comes after routines have been established, relationships have been solidified, and the terrifying phase of the unknown has transformed into the familiar.

Our brains, in attempts to conserve energy, begin to ignore what has been deemed non-threatening to survival. It’s smart, really. Makes plenty of sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

But this kind of autopilot familiarity can be a breeding ground for complacency, for lost perspective, and for lingering unhappiness.

The shift from being tuned in–a mode in which we’re aware of how we feel, how a space or relationship or job makes us feel–to tuned out–a mode in which we lose our ability to actually see the reality and decipher what it conjures in us emotionally–happens in an instant. Without our knowing it’s happened, we’ve shifted from aware, perceptive, and insightful to resigned, in denial, or numb.

This is why people live among clutter for years. Why individuals stay with unhealthy partners. Why dutiful employees continue to punch in to thankless jobs day after day after day.

We forget that we have to continually turn our eyes back on.

Take a step back. Take three steps back. Blink a bunch of times. Admit that the version of reality you’ve been governed by all this time might just be one limited snapshot. There might be an almost-unlimited number of alternative perspectives from which to consider the scene.

Then the feelings start flooding in. Don’t send them away. Listen. Listen to the annoyance that comes up when you look at the crack in the ceiling–the one you’ve looked at every night for the past 2 years–and actually see that crack. Recognize the anger and overwhelm that comes when you analyze the true state of the closet you’ve gotten dressed in for the past 5 years and realize nothing about it makes you feel good. Acknowledge the exhaustion you’ve denied for years that’s the result of an inefficient, inauthentic routine.

Maybe there’s a better way to do things. Maybe there’s a smarter way, a kinder way, an easier way. Maybe your couch doesn’t have to go on that side of the room. Maybe there is a way to fit exercise into your weekly calendar. Maybe you actually can pursue your purpose. Maybe the solution to the problem is so much Simpler than you’ve made it out to be. Maybe all that’s needed to reinvigorate, correct, and release is to re-examine your familiar.

Dismiss all your preconceived notions. Shut out all your assumptions. Close your eyes and open them as if for the first time. Tell me, what do you see? 

Live Simply in 2019, February Mantra: Stick To Your Systems

Friday, February 1, 2019

Stick To Your Systems. #LiveSimplyin2019

Conceived during moments of epiphany, revelation, and ambition, the systems we build into and for our lives become integral to our overall functioning. We design them (or have them designed) because we need them in place in order to go about the business of being our best selves.

Without systems, our lives are chaotic. The flow of our days is unexamined and unconsidered. The optimal order of operations never nailed down.

Without systems, every action we take and choice we make is a laborious one, since there are no prescribed next steps to follow. 

A life without systems is the trickiest trick, because it appears as though it requires less work. It’s less work to not to have to commit to doing things one way. It’s less work not to pause and overhaul your entire, daily routine. It’s easier to just keep going as you are: flying by the seat of your pants.

But the amount of energy that seeps out of a system-less life is incalculable–drained in the flurry of looking for lost items, of doing tasks over and over again without ever feeling as though the needle has moved forward, of moving piles from one corner to the next corner to the next corner with no plan as to what to do with it next.

Systems simplify.

They create clarity where there was once crazy. They are your steady foundation when the building of your life is creaking in the wind.

The right system will straight up change your life.

But there’s a caveat to all of this. 

Everything created requires intentional and consistent maintenance, or it falls prey to entropy.

Order devolves back into chaos so easily, my loves.

The good news is that sticking to your systems (which sometimes means pushing yourself to hang up that last shirt even though you’re tired, and sometimes means slowing down enough to put that glue stick back exactly where it belongs) is still eminently easier than the alternative, which is something akin to flying through a heavily-wooded forest down a miles-long zipline in the pitch black, while strange birds you can’t see squawk at you, and wet leaves swat you in the face. It may sound exhilarating and spontaneous at first, but in actuality it’s terrifying, torturous, and utterly exhausting. 

So, stick to your systems. And if you’ve been slacking, go pick up the pieces. In today’s world, Simplicity requires hard work to achieve and sustain. It’s worth it, I promise. 

 

Live Simply in 2019, January Mantra: Begin Now

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Begin now.

Begin today because today is all we know for certain. Because tomorrow you will wish you had begun today.

Begin now if the urge strikes, if the curiosity has bloomed, because the moment it does is the best moment to move into action.

Begin now if you are ready enough to answer the wondering “what if?”

Begin now, even if all you can manage is a baby step forward, a tiny tweak in behavior, a google search. (Every big goal is achieved through small, seemingly innocuous daily action, remember.)

Begin now because you can. Do it for everyone who can’t. The people who aren’t brave enough, or hungry enough, or healthy enough. Do it for the people who haven’t had the privileges you’ve had. Begin today to be the path-paver, the living example.

Begin now to live by your values.

Begin now to make space for the unknown blessings that are already on their way to you.

Begin now to see that every problem or obstacle in your way might actually be an invitation for gratitude.

Begin now to focus on what really matters, and to find reasons to feel good.

Begin now because this moment is the perfect one to draw a line between “how I used to be,” “what I used to tolerate,” and “what I used to drag around with me unnecessarily,” and “who I am striving to be now,” “What I stand for now,” and “what I am choosing to invite into my space and my life going forward.”

Begin now because even if you fail wildly, and you go down on your butt like a skating neophyte on ice, your having tried will earn you the confidence that plies you back up.

Begin now because if all those other shmageggies can do it, why can’t you?! Look at that guy, I mean really

Begin now because it’s never too late, and you’re never too old, and time, though it keeps on passing, is always equally full of possibility.

The time for waiting, putting up with, acting out of obligation, living fearfully, is over the moment you begin.

So begin.

Now. 

 

 

Programming note: Some of you might have noticed that it got awful quiet around here in the month of December. Turns out it’s been nearly a month since my last post, which is the longest, by far and away, that I’ve ever gone without posting since this blog’s inception, 179 years ago.

I sincerely apologize to anyone who felt ghosted. The truth is that there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes; figuring out how to grow my business, figure out where my resources are best spent, not to mention overhaul the entire site (ridiculously long overdue). All of this is wonderful, and has meant, and will likely continue to mean, that the blog is quieter than normal. 

I promise to keep you up to date, and, and am sincerely grateful for your patience in the meantime.

All my love and happy new year wishes,

-Annie