Keeping it simple

As life passes, the main theme I keep returning to is simplicity. Pre covid, I wouldn’t say life was complicated, however it was cluttered and busy, with many social occasions, meals out, shopping trips and much activity.

Covid marked a watershed for me. Life slowed down and thing that had seemed important suddenly weren’t as important. And a new and simpler life emerged-cheaper and to be frank far less complicated and far less stressful.

And I have maintained this. The most important aspect to me is that I have time to think and to discover reality in a new way. I have learnt that nature is incredibly therapeutic and interacting with nature especially so. Walks around a lake and communion with swans has been healing to my soul. And seeing friends now seems deeper and richer, because I couldn’t do it for so long.

I have realised what I can do without and how living a simple minimalist life is far better than the old life which was so demanding and yet now seems somewhat superficial. I think many of us have changed in the last two years and would be interested to hear from you on this,

Some things I have really discovered are: reading rather than watching a screen, good conversation, walking and thinking time. I have also learnt to give things away and to share things with others-when I have read a book I now pass it on rather than have it in a collection.

In simplicity there is much beauty. It distils thinking, it cleanses the environment and it heals. That is my experience.

Let’s talk about money

This is currently on a lot of people’s minds and many are anxious and rightly so. I am certainly no expert in this area, but I am learning a lot about how to do things differently and so I thought I would share some tips with you all. Please do share your views and any helpful suggestions are very welcome.

So here goes-some simple things are: maybe wear the same top for two days to cut down on washing. Turn off plugs you aren’t using and don’t over fill the kettle.

Dining out

I have really cut down on going out for meals and often go for a walk when meeting friends or a drink rather than food. This makes it a real treat when you do go out.

Shopping

And when I go to the local shops, I walk as they are so close by. This saves on petrol. I use my car only when totally necessary.

Use cash when shopping-I take out a lump sum at the start of the month and use this. I also regularly write down what my outgoings are etc. And a budget really helps too. And if you see something you like go away and think about it rather than buy on impulse. And use loyalty cards to save money too.

I also don’t do big food shops, as this is tempting in terms of buying too much and I often end up throwing things. So now it’s little and often. I also regularly check the cupboards to make sure things are getting used up not wasted.

I have also stopped buying new clothes-there are many in my wardrobe already waiting to be worn. And I regularly look through things to see what I may not need anymore, to pass on to someone else.

Selling

Selling things is another way of making money-so many helpful sites exist: eBay, Vinted, Facebook marketplace. That way pre-loved things can go to a new home.

I swap books with friends rather than buy new ones. And I try to read the ones I have so I don’t need to buy any. And I don’t have a telly-I read instead and that saves me the licence fee.

There are just a few tips and I hope you find them helpful. I think saving money is often doing the little things-like cutting out takeaway coffee, not buying those lovely trousers that you saw and didn’t need! That took a lot of effort.

Please let me know how you are finding the current economic climate. I wish you all a wonderful weekend X

Reclaiming the F word

Now what on earth is this post about? Well I will keep you guessing for a little while longer. There is a short word whose second letter is u and in my opinion many of us don’t get enough of it. Have you worked it out?

FUN

I have been thinking about this for several weeks and a short while ago I realised my work life balance was dreadful and what is more-the harder I worked, the less I seemed to achieve.

Working longer and longer hours doesn’t mean we are more productive. In fact this leaves us stressed and more tired. I am finding that really focussing on tasks and then having relaxation time and doing things to switch off helps me be more productive.

We have all been through a worldwide pandemic and in my view we need to learn what fun looks like. Seeing family or friend, walking, spending time in nature (for those that know me I have a wonderful relationship with some swans who follow me around the lake as I walk).

Other types of sedate fun include; reading, writing a blog, watching a nice film. The most important aspect is obviously enjoyment.

I wanted to write about this topic because many of us feel guilty about relaxation and fun. But we were not designed to simply work and the old saying goes “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and I think this is true-we can become very uninteresting if we do not have a life!

So fun loving readers please share some ideas of fun-the crazier the better. And if you haven’t partaken recently then set yourself a goal to just let your hair down and enjoy life. We only get one go at life and fun is such a great aspect of existence.

Love to you all X

Tackling the difficult stuff

Today I wanted to write about how we go about tackling difficult issues in our lives and what we can do about being stuck. I think most of us wrestle with some aspects of life and it is interesting to explore this a bit further.

Procrastination is an easy opt out. This essentially means avoidance-avoiding things we don’t want to face, putting things off. And it is so easy to procrastinate. Life can feel like climbing a mountain.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think more and more that life is about keeping it simple and also putting in boundaries. How much time shall I spend tackling this? With something difficult, setting aside ten minutes to get started can be helpful. And this helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Asking questions too is worthwhile

Am I in the right place? Is this working for me? If we are procrastinating and avoiding then maybe there is a good reason. And if we feel stuck then maybe ask why this is.

Life is so short and to be lived. If life is very tough then it might be worth getting professional help too. Speaking to friends can be a good starting point to help tackle our difficult issues, as they can cast valuable insight onto a situation.

And finally being kind to yourself is very important. We all make mistakes, we can really lose our way. But being kind says it’s ok you got that wrong, let’s start again.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

please share your thoughts on this and how you go about tackling some of the tough stuff. And my final tip is to do it one step at a time and that will make an impact. And never never never give up on yourself or others-keep hoping forward.

Keep on learning, keep on changing

As we journey through life, the years pass and seasons change and so do we. As humans, we experience so much in one lifetime, yet life flies by and this happens faster and faster as we get older. Life changes and we grow older and hopefully wiser.

Today I wanted to share some thoughts on learning and growing and making the space to do this. Recently I have been on a journey of simplification and decluttering which I would definitely recommend.

I have in this process abandoned projects that have been planned for over twenty years and never undertaken. I have given myself permission to rehome those things to somewhere else. I have rehomed books that I don’t really want to read and recycled things that were simply old and out of date.

I had previously held onto these things because they were memories but after a while there were too many and it became a burden so now I am enjoying sifting through and sorting out. Life feels more manageable.

I think a major lesson from this experience is that letting go is not losing out. It means as my dear mum told me, making space for the new. And isn’t that a lovely thing.

So, today I challenge you to look at your life and if it is cluttered in any way to maybe start a process of decluttering, whatever that looks like. Lessons in life are sometimes very simple but wonderful and this is one of mine recently.

Reflection

Hello everyone. I hope you are all doing okay. Today I just wanted to do a reflection on the gift of silence and quiet.

In our busy bustling world, many times we can rush from one thing to another, caught up in the melee of it all. And possibly not even taking time to stop.

The beauty of nature is out there for us to enjoy. A quiet walk, a peaceful restful embracing of tranquillity can act like a soothing balm. Just focussing on some aspect of beauty can make a huge difference.

I often walk by a beautiful lake and visit swans. They are so lovely and graceful and really friendly. They interact amazingly with humans, although respect needs to be shown them. This is a joyous gift. The dappled light glinting down through the leaves, the dancing of refracted light on water, is simply beautiful.

And sometimes just sitting quietly and looking out of the window is also a joy and a gift. Silence is golden as the saying goes. In that silent space I commune with God. And for those who don’t have faith, it is a chance to tune in to your inner being and refresh yourself.

I think we all need to stop and take stock. Perhaps use a journal-that can be really helpful.

Please share your thoughts on stillness and silence. I am very interested to hear from you.

Love to you all X

Step by step

Today I want to share about stepping forward and also about perseverance and consistency.as I feel they are somewhat undervalued. So what do I mean by this?

In March I did some fundraising and attempted to walk 300, 000 steps. I did my best and although being honest I didn’t achieve it, what I did learn was about step building upon step towards a goal.

Reaching a goal or climbing a mountain doesn’t come through strides; it comes via steps. And that I feel is the way to approach difficult situations. Many of us are battling at the moment-cost of living increases, covid, general pressures of life.

I think as many of us are heading towards financial hardship, the way to face this is step by step. What can we do without? How can we enjoy life without having more and more things in it? And if in debt how on earth to reduce this- then again small steps; one takeaway coffee less here, one less visit to the chippie there. Gently chipping away every month will reduce the debt over time.

Small steps towards a goal are achievable. In my decluttering efforts I have started small and am slowly slowly rehoming things that I don’t need. It feels kinda nice facing this as I have planned to do this before and never gotten round to it.

And that is where small steps are helpful, because the small grows but also it doesn’t overwhelm.

And I now have 170 followers, who have joined. From 0 followers that is small steps and growth. I am hoping for 200- at one point 100 was an amazing amount. So there is a lovely example of growth a step at a time.

And to close, sometimes we need to take a step backwards or away. We don’t always go forwards, particularly with the extreme battles like addiction. We can go round and round before having a breakthrough and that’s okay. So let us be human and not strive to be perfect. Because in my view vulnerability is far more preferable. Because it is jolly real!

Stuff and nonsense

So it’s been a while since I last posted and thanks for your patience. I have been rather busy over past months and I want to thank you for reading the posts and also to welcome all new followers. I am so happy the site has grown and I hope you are enjoying it. All suggestions welcome and comments.

I like to share things in life that I have been learning and one thing that has recently been a major focus is decluttering. As a younger person, I had a vast book collection I prided myself in; often putting them in sections and alphabetical order. I loved my books-they gave me a sense of identity and meaning; I identified with characters and was influenced by the stories.

Questioning

And now I find myself in a different position. I have started to look at things I have collected over the years and to question-do I need this? Has this book served its purpose? Do I like this ornament?

I recently passed on something that I didn’t love and it went to someone who absolutely loved it. That was such a lesson, because it gave joy to another human.

I had a pile of books on my floor ready to go and I actually thanked them for the joy they had brought me and sent them off to a new home (there is a wonderful re-use project nearby). I had had some of them for years and hadn’t opened them, so what was the point of them sitting there unread?

I think that as we go through life, it is important to ask questions of ourselves. Why do I do this? Why do I have this? Do I need these things?

Avoidance

Being honest, it is easy to procrastinate and accumulate. I would put things in a box sometimes and the box got filled, so I would start another box. I think this behaviour is about avoidance. So now I am tackling those boxes and getting rid of things. And it feels hard but good.

Does anyone relate to this? I think pre covid the world was a different place. There was a lot of emphasis on having the best, looking the best and being super amazing with a fantastic facebook lifestyle.

Now, I think things have shifted. Prices are increasing and with that the struggle to maintain a lifestyle. So much has been reframed-going out for dinner, socialisng, new things, holidays… Life has altered.

Simplicity

So what I am thinking about and now working towards is a simpler lifestyle and a simpler more meaningful existence. Possessions don’t make us happy. They are simply objects that can be replaced. Having objects for years is of course okay, but also maybe they can become a burden rather than a joy. And if they are in storage, then are they entirely necessary?

Treasure

People are so precious and having them in our lives and having meaningful relationships is incredibly important for us all. I advocate squeezing the maximum meaning from every relationship and experience.

So that is where I am at in my thinking and doing and living. Where are you at? Do you agree with these thoughts?

I wish you all peace and joy as you journey through life X

How to act with integrity

There has been an awful lot in the British media recently about the British Prime Minister and lockdown parties, that apparently broke his won lockdown rules. The Metropolitan police have also been under scrutiny, with Cressida Dick resigning from her position, after many high profile scandals involving bad behaviour by police officers.

Integrity is a word which is not spoken of a great deal in contemporary society. And yet I wonder if it was more of a mantra and taken more seriously, whether we would see less scandalous behaviour in the public arena. Anyway, let’s unpick this a bit.

Integrity is defined as:

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”a gentleman of complete integrity”synonyms:honesty · uprightness · probity · rectitude · honour · honourableness · [More]
  2. the state of being whole and undivided.”upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”synonyms:unity · unification · wholeness · coherence · cohesion · undividedness · togetherness · solidarity · coalition

I think it is interesting that the two meanings are linked and imply that moral integrity leads to unity.

Thinking about moral integrity, what does this look like and why is it important. Using the lockdown parties as an example, many are enraged that they were adhering to rules and making sacrifices, when it appears some were fragrantly flouting these and enjoying themselves. This is in essence hypocrisy.

It is so easy to break rules and get away with it; a little speeding here, taking stationery from work there, upping expenses claims etc, but essentially this is acting in a dishonest manner. Personally, I feel living life with integrity means being honest in every area of life. And one person who I feel acts entirely with integrity is Queen Elizabeth II. She showed this when sitting alone for her husband’s funeral.

And why is integrity so important? Because without it lawlessness prevails. There is a veneer of the law but if no-one has integrity then basically it is an anything goes society.

These are just my views and of course I am interested to hear from followers on your views.

And here are some ways I think we can act with integrity

  1. Own up. If we make a mistake acknowledge and apologise and yes maybe even resign, as in the case of Cressida Dick, who was in the public eye and therefore represented the integrity of the Metropolitan Police force (or lack of it).
  2. Be transparent. Ask questions, be curious and don’t hide mistakes
  3. Be open with others. Be accountable to others and ask their opinions about your life and behaviour
  4. Be willing to change
  5. Be humble; none of us is perfect and we can all improve

These are just a few random thoughts. I am very interested to hear from you on this so let me know what you think.

References

(accessed 12/02/2022)

Reframe, reframe, reframe!

I have ben thinking a great deal about the way we complain recently. I feel that sadly society has very much become focussed on what is negative (especially the media). I would love to read news which focuses on positive things rather on what has always gone wrong with the world. So today let’s explore this topic. I want to look at reframing ways of looking at things over the next few posts and today I want to discuss the issue of complaining.

When we complain to a company or organisation, there may be a representative of that company on the phone. They may have had six complaints already and may be feeling unwell, or having a bad day. I have sometimes felt extremely cross at a service I have received and have sometimes vented, as probably have most of us. But I am more and more starting to consider the effect my actions have on other people.

The statistics we read about rising energy costs and the effect it has on people are reflective of the people behind those figures. Many people are in low paid jobs and many people have had Covid and may have long Covid. Some customer services representatives or retail workers may be struggling financially and have in many senses been on the front line throughout the pandemic. and of course, not forgetting NHS staff and key workers, such as social workers.

So, I feel it is especially important in these challenging times, to be kind and notice when people do things well and thank them, even if they are just doing their job. There is a lot of suffering going on behind the scenes at the presnt time and I don’t want to add another blow to someone’s already rubbish day.

You may be thinkng I am saying don’t ever complain. I am not. I think the way we complain is very important and not making it personal when someone may be doing their best under challenging circumstances.

Let’s be kind and when we have done that, be kind. Love to you all X