Live Simply In 2019, May Mantra: Revel In The Routine

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Routines are magic. 

Tasked with making an endless slew of new, additional decisions daily, our overloaded minds thrive when they’re able to rely on pre-established rhythms and choices.

But when we aren’t present to our daily lives, when we’re just going through the motions, routines can turn into the stale traps a person dreams of escaping.

The way to avoid routine-burnout is to derive exceeding pleasure in the facets of your daily life. And the way to do that is to be very, very picky with every detail of it. To design your daily life.

If you’re just getting up, sloshing water and some cleanser or other on your face, chugging a smoothie, lacing up your crumby old shoes, showering, rushing to work, toiling away, coming home, heating up leftovers, staring at your phone, before going to bed to wake up and do it all over again, you’re getting it done. But getting it done and enjoying the doing are two different things.

Fall in love with your daily routine by filling it with your favorite things. Ensure that what you can control about it sufficiently serves and delights you.

Find the facial cleanser that you love to use. The one that smells or feels so good on your skin that you can, for that instant, enjoy the act of washing your face.

Compose an artful smoothie. Pack it full of your favorite flavors and nutrients. Savor it.

Give yourself the gift of an exercise method you love–or loathe the least–and then, when you’re done, soak up every ounce of those feelings of accomplishment.

Make your laundry room the happiest corner of your house.

And then–and this is key–stop rushing around and staring at your screen long enough to actually enjoy, and feel gratitude for, the nuances of your life.

Allow yourself the freedom to shift your routine as new curiosities and inclinations arise in you. When your deeper values are clarified, the small, daily choices you make to uphold them are easily tweaked. Usually, reviving a routine can be as Simple as re-ordering the clothes in your closet or putting a different fruit in your breakfast bowl. 

Your day has to unfold, and as a human, you’re duty bound to attend to such things as hunger, hygiene, and (I would add) housekeeping. Might as well be selective about those rhythms. The choice to view the unfolding of the day and the attending to needs as an annoyance or as an art is just that–a choice.

Will there be days when, even after you’ve designed your life, you’re dashing around the house like a mad person, swearing at the Nespresso and stubbing your toe on the coffee table? Mama said there’d be.

But when all else fails and you’re at a loss for how to get excited about your routine, there’s always the old faithful acknowledgment: How lucky I am to live another day! Thank you.


Live Simply in 2019, April Mantra: Find Reasons To Feel Good

Monday, April 1, 2019

It was a sunny, Spring afternoon, and I was headed home from a meeting with a fantastic client. I had my windows rolled all the way down for the first time in months, and I was really basking in it. Stuck my arm way out and spread my fingers in the air and everything.

A car passed me going the opposite direction, its windows rolled down also, so that the driver’s brusque baritone carried directly across the road: “GOD DAMNIT” was all I had time to hear.

The polarity of our experiences of that moment was too obvious, too hilarious. I laughed to myself as I drove on.

In every moment, there are as many things to feel good about as there are to feel badly about. As many reasons to feel slighted, shamed, insecure, and angry as there are reasons to feel grateful, accomplished, compassionate, and poised for possibility.

What we seek we find, and what we focus on perpetuates.

Find reasons to feel as though abundance is yours, to feel as if the forces of your life are working in your favor, to feel capable, lucky even, and the upsides become endless. Determine to find reasons to assign blame, to victimize, to feel fearful, and to wallow, and those shitty seeds soon enough yield shitty crop it will be your thankless job to harvest.

Our perspective is our responsibility. Our ability to choose is our greatest privilege. And not just to choose once, but to choose again, over and over, endlessly. No matter what you’ve channeled in the past, now is a chance to change your mind and reset your focus. Now is the perfect moment to release all that old baggage, those stories you’ve carried around for years, and just find something to feel glad about. One GOD DAMN thing to feel really and truly good about in this whole world.

Go on; you know you want to.

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?