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We all like to think we will be thinner, richer, connecting with friends, have a great family and spiritual life and a beautiful home in the future. We want to be attaining goals. But, when it comes to taking actions to get there our favorite phrase is, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

The problem is tomorrow becomes today and you end up in the same place you were yesterday. We don’t like to think of what we have to do that will take us where we want to go. For most changes there is regular action needed.

What if instead of thinking about your fantasy tomorrow, you thought about making the present better. You could be aware so you could make conscious choices that make you feel good about yourself and your life. Throughout the day you could ask what would make this moment better? Your better moments means each day gets a little better.

How would you make your breakfast time better? It can be as simple as breathing or praying before your meal. Or adding berries to your cereal. Or turning off the to list in your mind. At breakfast ask what you can do right now – not tomorrow. What feels easy and natural?

For me and writing this article, it looks like picking up and cuddling the cat for a minute instead of staying annoyed as he walks back and forth in front of the screen.

If you become aware of yourself eating snacks on the couch watching TV, what could you do in that particular moment? Could you portion out the rest of the snack, move into the kitchen, put the snack down and walk in place?

Being present and aware also helps you cement those habits, those daily actions that get you where you want to go. I read somewhere that discipline is remembering what you want.

Your present and what you do becomes your next today. What choices can you make right now that will bring you the today you want?

Join us in our New Habits course to help create sustainable habits to help you in attaining goals that make the conscious choices easier.

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We all have habits that we automatically do throughout the day. Some are good like brushing our teeth. Some are not so good like zoning out in front of the TV with snacks.

When we realize there is a habit we want to change or create, initially we are very excited. We know how much our lives will improve.

Often when we are trying to create new habits, we get all drill sergeant. We set a strict schedule not to be veered from. The minute we don’t do our habit, we criticize, blame and tell ourselves it’s done now. All or nothing.

Convinced we are failures and can never create new habits, we give up. Until the next burst of energy for change appears.

Developing new habits takes time. It takes self-compassion as we navigate incorporating something new into our lives. It won’t be a linear process.

Even if it takes months to cement your habit, isn’t that better than never?

Never is what happens when you don’t allow yourself to fail. If mistakes can’t happen on your watch.

Is decluttering 4 instead of 7 days a week better than not at all?

Is exercising 1 day better than none?

Is doing your morning quiet time 80% of the time better than not doing it?

How can you be more self-compassionate as you create new habits?

If you need help developing new habits with a self-compassionate mind-set, we would love to have your join the 4 week Habits and Rhythms class.

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February is always a hard month for me as it’s the anniversary of my son’s death through violence. When something like a school shooting in Florida happens my heart hurts more. I allow myself to cry and heal.

Many people feel uncomfortable and move straight into anger because they find it easier to feel. Blame and “knowing” the solution feels good. Until the people you blame don’t do what you want them to do. Then you get angrier.

It’s not just up to government to do things. You can be active in trying to create change that way, yet it is also up to each one of us to bring more kindness and love into the world. Yes, love and prayers. Our world needs more love and prayer.  And healing hurt. You are not helpless in preventing tragedy.

What are you doing to make sure children and teens are loved, cared for and mentored?

Are you pouring love and kindness in the world or more anger, judgment, and impatience?

Can you add more gentleness or are you deepening the increasing coarseness in society?

Are you taking time to see people, especially people that are not often seen? Are you listening with compassion?

Can you support instead of ignore people in pain – even though it’s hard?

Who do you know that is in pain that you can show up for?

Are you bringing peace or harsh words and an agitated spirit?

Can you do something to affect change right in your community? Can you check with local charities and teen centers for needs?

Who might be feeling unloved where you live?

Are you increasing the love and unity in the world or focusing on division and separation?

When you look at your Facebook messages and tweets this week, what kind of world are they ushering in?

What media are you consuming? Is it violent, mean, glorifying the worst in society? Is it full of division? Is it creating greater discontent and drive to do and have more?

None of this is easy. It requires getting connected, feeling vulnerable and disappointed. We may be doing things we don’t normally do or talking to people we don’t normally talk to. It’s easier to live in our bubbles, blame other people and spout off on social media than do to the real work of affecting change.

But, that is what our world needs right now. People willing to unify, love and be courageous.

This is why simpler living is so important. It is so much harder to do the things to create a better world if we are chaotic and overwhelmed. It’s so easy to only see ourselves when we get super busy. Often we quit bringing our best selves and instead we show our exhausted, petty, impatient selves. It is difficult to be a light when you are moving so fast you blow out the candle.

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I’ve shared my delightful evening routine before. I thought you might want to hear about the habits of the morning.

It’s rare that it is exactly the same each morning. I want to feel centered, connected and peaceful from my morning routine so I keep the feeling in my mind.

A) Brush teeth, water pik, lotion, lemon water after I feed the cat

B) Movement to help wake me up – yoga, dance, walk, weights, pilates

C) Read from one or two of my daily books

D) Decide on a theme/intention for the day

E) Meditate and/or journal on the intention or find a meditation based on the theme in my Insight Meditation app

F) Prayer and Gratitude

G) Sometimes I will do exercises from a course I’m taking or book I’m reading or watch something inspirational. Or do some emotional processing through writing, dancing, art.

H) Drink my smoothie – Right now I am going through Food Network’s 50 smoothies I wash last night’s snack dishes and my husband’s breakfast while it’s blending.

I always to A and B first and H last. But, in the middle things move around. They don’t all get done every day, except prayer. I will check in with myself to see what’s feeling most needed to reach calm and centered and do that first.

I used to do more housecleaning in the morning, but now I do most after dinner. My routine was much different when the kids were at home. Yours will be different depending on what life spot you are in right now.

How do you want your mornings to feel? What one thing can you do or not do to make you feel that way?

Would you like some guidance in creating and keeping routines? Please join the Habits and Rhythms class.

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You don’t need a big block of time to start simplifying creating a fulfilling life. You certainly don’t need to change everything at once. Below are changes you can do each week.

Tiny Change #1 : Go to bed ½ hour earlier and wake up ½ earlier than usual

Tiny Change #2 : Go to your favorite bookstore to pick out a journal and start writing

Tiny Change #3 : Read at least 15 minutes a day

Tiny Change #4 :Organize your junk drawer

Tiny Change #5 :Have a daily quiet time

Tiny Change #6 :Start an exercise program for 15 min. a day

Tiny Change #7 :Get together with a friend at least once a month

Tiny Change #8: Start a Debt Reduction Plan

Tiny Change #9: Write out an evening routine that will prepare you for the next day

Tiny Change #10: Have a weekly family night to play games, eat together, or do something fun as a family

Tiny Change #11: Take the last few minutes of the work day to straighten up and plan for the day ahead

Tiny Change #12: Do a random act of kindness

Tiny Change #13: Keep water at your desk with you to get your 8 glasses a day

Tiny Change #14:Write or input birthdays on a calendar, so you can let others know you care for them

Tiny Change #15: Visualize the day you want to have while taking your morning shower

Tiny Change #16: Remember to laugh: rent a comedy, get silly with friends, or read a funny book

Tiny Change #17: Write out a morning routine that includes personal time, household duties and family

Tiny Change #18: Surprise your significant other with a fun date. Plan regular together times.

Tiny Change #19: Do your most important priority at your peak energy time

Tiny Change #20: Enjoy nature- take a hike, sit on the beach, dance in the rain

Tiny Change #21: Whenever you feel yourself getting tense, slow down and breathe

Tiny Change #22: Make a plan to regularly call your parents, grandparents, siblings or others you consider family

Tiny Change #23: Subscribe to a magazine related to your work and schedule time to read it

Tiny Change #24: Forget the mistakes of yesterday, today is too important to miss

Tiny Change #26: Practice really listening to someone

Tiny Change #27: Take two minute breaks during your work day to breathe, walk, look out the window

Tiny Change #28: Sincerely compliment others

Tiny Change #29: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night

Tiny Change #30: Resign from one committee, volunteer post, or duty you don’t really like

Tiny Change #31: Take time for your hobbies at least a few times a month

Tiny Change #32: Play a little every evening

Tiny Change #33: Set up a filing system for your mail: to do, finance, other family members, or to file

Tiny Change #34: Pack a lunch instead of eating fast food

Tiny Change #35: Memorize scripture, an inspirational quote, or a poem to give you a lift during the day

Tiny Change #36: Set up all your appointments for the doctor, dentist, hairstylist, etc. when you are at your appointment

Tiny Change #37: Plan to leave 10 minutes early for all your appointments

Tiny Change #38: Take a big vacation once a year, and mini weekend vacations throughout the year-even if you are just staying
home

Tiny Change #39: Go through your clothes and give away what you don’t need, want or fit into

Tiny Change #40: Make sure your work chair and desk are ergonomically correct

Tiny Change #41: Quit lying and making excuses to yourself

Tiny Change # 42: Stretch daily

Tiny Change # 43: When someone asks you how you are doing say, “Fantastic”, not “Really busy.”

Tiny Change # 44: Focus attention on a special person, really connect with them

Tiny Change # 45: Ask someone for help

Tiny Change # 46: Nurture a child

Tiny Change # 47: Make a list of 100 things you are thankful for

Tiny Change # 48: Write a letter of appreciation to your significant other or a friend

Tiny Change # 49: Do one thing you have been procrastinating on

Tiny Change # 50: Take time each evening to let go and to forgive

Tiny Change # 51: Use music to energize you or relax you

Tiny Change # 52: Focus on one project to complete this week

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I take a daily quiet time to center and prepare my heart & mind for the day ahead.

I like to do inspirational reading in the morning and if I have a couple minute break time during the day. I have my daily books  on my Kindle Fire. These are books with 365 essays/meditations. (I remember when I would have to drag my daily books to wherever I did quiet time for the day.)

I have the books categorized on my Kindle under the collection “Daily” so I don’t have to search for them every day.

I don’t read every book, every day but read from whatever book(s) I am drawn to that day. Ones I didn’t get to in the morning, I may peek at while waiting for water to boil or during a work break.

I used to feel so guilty when I got off track (which was every week). Now I let myself relax about it. With daily books I’ve read before I tend to read from today’s date even if I missed yesterday’s. On new daily books I keep going in order even if it takes 2 years instead of 1.

Here are my daily books:

What are your daily books?

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To get you ready for the lovely day, here is a checklist for every day. To keep it simple you don’t need to do it every day. You can pick only the ones that sound like something you want to do.

Feb. 1 Write a love note to your honey, detailing what you love about him or her.

Make your bedroom romantic by getting things out of the room that have nothing to do with getting dressed, loving or sleeping.

Feb. 2 Light candles around the house for candlemas day.

Decide if you want to spend valentine’s day with friends, significant other or family.

Feb. 3 Rent a sappy movie for your self to get in the mood or shop for some sexy outfit for valentine’s day with or without friends.

Try your hand at a love poem.

Put on a Valentine Screen Saver

Feb. 4 Do three nice things for your significant other today.

Plan where to spend valentine’s and make reservations or start picking up the house.

Feb. 5 Have a nice long talk with your honey, even if it is only on the phone.

If you are having dinner at home, decide on the menu. If not, think of a fun way to get to your destination.

Feb. 6 Find some romantic music to play at home or in the car for the big day. Start listening to it now.

If you have snow, freeze some snowballs for some fun this summer.

Feb. 7 Compliment your love at least three times today.

Get your haircut and/or a Makeover.

Feb. 8 Get some extra exercise in today; try some yoga moves.

Give yourself a facial- steam your face, wash, exfoliate, put on a mask, rinse off, then apply moisturizer.

Feb. 9 Set out candles and massage oil for an early romantic time.

Order flowers.

Feb. 10 Do a random act of kindness for your sweetie and don’t get found out.

Buy a present and make a card.

Feb. 11 Reread some old love letters and go through some pictures of the two of you.

Figure out or confirm any details of what you are going to be doing for Valentine’s Day.

Feb. 12 Make fudge.

Give yourself or go out for a manicure and pedicure.

Feb. 13 Pick up a movie, flowers, or anything else you need for tommorow.

Take a nice, long bath. Defuzz, exfoliate your skin, and slather on some heavenly smelling lotion.

Feb. 14 Make sure house is clean in morning, including fresh sheets.

Send a virtual valentine.

Enjoy your day!

Photo by: Katerha
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I’ve been on a journey to surrender more, at the same time I think we all have more choices than we think. I don’t want to feel helpless. That’s the balance isn’t it? I was meditating on this idea today.

Surrendering to what is, the reality, is so important. To not resist what is happening with thoughts like, “I wish it was [different].” “If only…” “They should be [this way].” Complaining is a big clue that we are not surrendering.

We usually resist when our expectation of how something should be or how someone should behave is not met. These are often based on beliefs we didn’t realize we had.

Energy is sucked away in the resistance. “It’s not fair!” “I hate this!” “Why, me?”

We change our energy, when we accept what is happening. We surrender to the flow. We allow people to be who they are. We have compassion for what is.

At the same time that we surrender to what is going on we can also notice what choices we have at the moment. We can choose our attitude. We can choose to act from our values and love even if we don’t like what is happening. We can choose what we think might improve the current situation instead of wishing it away.

That is where the power is – the present moment. If you spend your time resisting, you drain your power to change what you can.

We can surrender without floating into helplessness. There is the freedom of choice in every situation. We can act from that choice or we can ride the wave of worry & negativity.

We aren’t in control of the flow of life as much as we’d like to. But, we are in control of our choices.

Where do you feel stress, tension, worry or what are complaining about? What are you resisting? How can you surrender?

Now what is the next choice you can make?

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I used to be a terrible procrastinator and felt lethargically lazy.

But, I turned it around. Now I regularly get tasks that I used to procrastinate on done.

What was the biggest thing that turned me from procrastinator to being able to get things completed?

My speech and how I saw myself.

I noticed before doing many of the things I didn’t want to do, I would say things like, “This is going to be soooo hard (insert teenage whine)”, “This is going to take sooo long!” and “I hate doing this.” I’d pile on with how lazy and unorganized I was so of course I couldn’t do it. I’d tell myself all the reasons I should do it later.

By the time I was done, I had no energy left to do the work.

It was no wonder I couldn’t get the tasks done on time.

If all that whining made me lose energy then I needed to let it go. It sounds like it’s no big deal. Does it really matter if I complain about doing stuff? But, it affected me immensely.

So I quit.

Whenever I found myself using words like hard, no time, and lazy I’d stop myself. Now this took time since this was a many years ingrained pattern.

Then I upped it and added positive phrases like, “I can handle this.” “It will feel so great to have this done.” “I enjoy caring for my family with this task.” I started feeling more like a person that completed things.

Soon instead of whining and arguing with myself, I just did the tasks. Feeling lighter and happier in the process.

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January 15th. It’s the halfway point of the month and probably your resolutions. How are they going? For many people they have already fallen away.

If that is you, ask yourself, “Is this something I really wanted or was it something I thought I should do?”

“Should” goals do not last long because you don’t have the drive or motivation.

You are allowed a do-over for your goals. This time pick something you really want.

And if your goal was something you really wanted, re-connect with that why. Why did you feel the need to create this goal or resolution?

Release your doubts and remember your drive.

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