You might think that it is impossible in the world that we live in to simplify but like all things it’s a step by step process. This process begins by nurturing your mental, physical & spiritual self and learning to appreciate all things, including yourself. We treat everything, even our vehicles, better than we treat ourselves.
A new Census report finds that, in 2008, the number of people without health insurance increased from from 45.7 million to 46.3 million according to thinkprocess.org but we wouldn’t dream of driving our cars without insurance. What does this statistic say about our self-worth?
There are a few things that can get you started on the path of simplifying and I have listed what I feel are the most important below.
- Go on a retreat – A pricey resort isn’t necessary, in fact you don’t have to even leave your home. But you must have self discipline if you are going to take your retreat at home. Keep in mind what you want to accomplish. Do you want to just “turn off” for the weekend, do some important inner work, make your life plan or begin to simplify? Start with a few rules; you don’t need 20 books, your laptop or enough clothing to trek across Europe so keep it simple. The hubby and I started doing this back when we had “no money” and couldn’t afford to go away. We would announce that we were “unavailable” for the weekend then do all of the chores throughout the week that were normally reserved for the weekend. I also recommend lots of soft blankets, pillows and cushions for your comfort and lots of good, nutritious food that has been prepared ahead of time. If you’re not accustom to spending time with you, this might seem foreign at first but stick with it.
- Decide what you believe – A time will come in your life where you have to put away outdated ideals and decide what your core beliefs are. One great way to go about this is to write your own biography. Who are you? What do you like? What do you dislike? Once you have done this it’s much easier to decide if an idea is something that you believe in or is it something that you are afraid not to believe in. We all want to be accepted so we often take on the beliefs of others as a way of fitting in, avoiding conflict or keeping a friendship, association, job or marriage; however, WE are the only one that WE have to live with and be accepted by. Also remember that it’s okay to question anything because that’s how we learn and don’t worry because you’ll come back around to the good things, the worthy things in your life. Nothing worthwhile ever really gets lost!
- Decide if you are being competitive or creative – The easiest way to distinguish is to ask yourself if your endeavor is rooted in fear. Fear is competitive. We do things competitively often times out of fear of not being accepted, not having enough money or not being good enough for our spouse or partner. Creation says that the world is good and that there is enough for everyone. Go out and make your own path and know that you need not “step on” anyone else to get to where you need to be.
- List your goals – Once you have decided who you are and what you believe then take a sheet of paper and “just go for it”! Remember, you are not living for anyone else. When I first put skydiving on my list of goals I couldn’t imagine that I would actually do it. I was afraid of heights, skydiving is expensive, and my hubby was completely opposed to the idea and so on. All of that aside, I still had a burning desire to skydive and I found that situations lead me to a “way”. The Sunday after my 40th birthday I put fear aside and completed a tandem skydive! I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself and how it thrills me to have people ask me, “did you really skydive?” and my answer is “yes, I did!” Ask yourself, “what will nurture my soul?” and begin from there. Maybe you just need to be proud of yourself.
- What are you giving – One of the core beliefs in Alcoholics Anonymous is that you must give your sobriety away in order to keep it. Many well meaning people think that they can write a check to a deserving charity and that is enough. What are you giving in your community, to your family, to your place of worship? We get so caught up in our “busy work” that we forget to take a walk through our neighborhood, smile at our neighbors, pick up a soda can that’s been tossed out. What about our family? How often do you get together and just talk? This doesn’t have to be a formal affair just ask your family to bring a dish to your home and spend an evening reconnecting. Warning! Don’t get so caught up in cleaning and the other “busy work” that you forget the purpose.
- What are you receiving – Are you letting other’s nurture you? Are you really receiving? And why do we feel so compelled to insist that someone not do something nice for us? Relax and accept! Know that you are worthy of good things and receive them.
- Debt repayment plan – This is probably the number one excuse for not simplifying! “Biting the bullet!” is the phrase that comes to mind. Set up an automatic debt repayment plan and begin to live your life. Stop focusing all of your energy on what you cannot change. Daveramsey.com has great budget templates so find a template that suits your needs then set up automatic bill pay through your bank. I recommend my recent article “Common Sense Money Management” to help you cut expenses and find free or low cost things to do. The point is to get your mind off of your debt and on simple prosperity.
- Therapy – We all have things in our lives that are in need of “sorting out” and every now and again. Remember, therapy can mean different things at different times in your life. You might just need to join a support group and learn to set boundaries or you may want to find a professional. Whatever the case, listen to your mind, body & spirit and you will know when it’s time.
- Downsize – In the article “Common Sense Money Managent”, I discuss having too much. Most of us have too much of everything and could easily downsize. Why are you holding on to a 4000 sq ft house and a minivan when all of your children are out of the house? Do you really need to maintain, heat and cool this space? Wouldn’t a smaller vehicle be more practical and more cost effective? Take some time and decide what you are really using.
- Slow Down – “Il Dolce Far Niente” (Italian for “sweetness of doing nothing”) Practicing spending time with yourself, loving yourself and nurturing yourself. Revive your spirit!
Hopefully this article will help you begin your journey and guide you along your path. May you find simplicity!