Tag Archives: Simple

I Have Been Decluttering for Two Years

13 Aug

I love this.

Image Source: Door

This makes me panic.

Image Source: Sales MOMS Network

Even this is too much for me.

Image Source: Dying of Cute

I have been decluttering for the past two years.

Image Source: Simply Stated

I only buy what can fit into a suitcase.

I recently threw away 7 kgs of university notes.

Image Source: The Way of Improvement Leads Home

I still have CDs, books and notebooks to sort out.

Image Source: State Library of Victoria

I can’t wait to declutter my home completely.

Image Source: Minimalisti

Related Posts:

The Art of the Essential

The Art of the Essential II

The Art of the Essential III

Confessions of a Book Abuser

On my (Failed) Plans to Rule and/or Own the World

29 Sep

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else” ~ Judy Garland

We all know what it means to not be ourselves, or in other words, to pretend to be someone else.  We usually discover this in school, when, in an attempt to make friends or to become popular, we pretend to like certain bands, or we start dressing in a certain way, or we voice ideas that we know will get us kudos points.

This phenomenon starts in school, but for many it can last way into adulthood. Some of us remodel our personality for a job, a circle of friends or for a partner. In most cases, this is to feel secure and accepted, to be approved of and loved. We pick up many signs on what is a ‘good’ person, an ‘intelligent’ person, a ‘worthy’ person, a ‘successful’ person and so on, from society and from our immediate circle of communication, such as friends and family. Many of us feel obliged to live up to these expectations, to show the world that we are the perfect example of that perfect person.

During my university years, I saw myself in a way that many London students are taught to see themselves: confident, well-groomed, intelligent, popular and successful. My decisions, starting from where I would drink coffee to where I would go clubbing, would be based on this self-image that I’d constructed. If my conscious could have picked out an image to explain who I was aiming to be, it would have looked something like this:

models

I wanted to be a supermodel with a successful business career, with cool and rich friends, a million talents, an address book full of useful contacts, and regular holidays where I would either tan on a yacht or build orphanages on a lost island. I wanted incarnate everything that magazines made look so easy. I wanted to live up to this image of the ‘perfect’ woman, according to the metropolitan capital’s society.

This ‘perfect’ woman, however, was far from the perfect version of my true self. I started realising this three years ago, when, spending a year away from London in a small Southern city, I began to see life differently. I met people who were natural and who lived honestly and simply. I met people who found it surprising to see me in make-up, rather than shocking to see me without it. I met people whose dreams were to have a family and live in a house in the countryside, rather than to rule and/or own the world, as was not uncommon to hear from people my age in London.

This eye-opening experience led me to take several spiritual psychotherapy courses upon my return to London. In these courses, I discovered my inner child, I learnt that what I think I want out of life or relationships is only what my conscious wants, and most importantly, I learnt to connect to my subconscious. From this, I discovered that my true self actually looks something like this:

Quite a difference, eh?

It took a while for me to understand and accept the true self that my subconscious was showing me. I took small steps to embrace my true self (I will talk about this in detail in a future post), often coming up against fear of the unknown, fear of ‘letting down my defenses’ and fear of being different. A year and half later, I am living away from London in a quiet town in France. In the eight months that I have spent here, I have never reminisced about this other young woman that I once was or aimed to be. On the contrary, I have felt a sense of peace and freedom to not try and live up to an image, to not try and meet someone’s expectations, and to not be constantly thinking about whether I am good enough, intelligent enough or beautiful enough.

I recently read a passage in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love that struck a chord with me. I believe it conveys perfectly what I used to feel, and, had I remained aiming to be this other self, I would have achieved the ‘perfection’ that I was seeking, but in my heart, just like in Hermione’s, there would have been a void for where my real self should have been.

“Hermione knew herself to be well-dressed; she knew herself to be the social equal, if not far the superior, of anyone she was likely to meet in Willey Green. She knew she was accepted in the world of culture and of intellect. She was a KULTURTRAGER, a medium for the culture of ideas. With all that was highest, whether in society or in thought or in public action, or even in art, she was at one, she moved among the foremost, at home with them. No one could put her down, no one could make mock of her, because she stood among the first, and those that were against her were below her, either in rank, or in wealth, or in high association of thought and progress and understanding. So, she was invulnerable. All her life, she had sought to make herself invulnerable, unassailable, beyond reach of the world’s judgment.

And yet her soul was tortured, exposed. Even walking up the path to the church, confident as she was that in every respect she stood beyond all vulgar judgment, knowing perfectly that her appearance was complete and perfect, according to the first standards, yet she suffered a torture, under her confidence and her pride, feeling herself exposed to wounds and to mockery and to despite. She always felt vulnerable, vulnerable, there was always a secret chink in her armour. She did not know herself what it was. It was a lack of robust self, she had no natural sufficiency, there was a terrible void, a lack, a deficiency of being within her.”

D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

~

Are you living up to an image that is not reflecting your true self?

If you could show your current self in an image, what would it look like?
If you could show your real, subconscious self in an image, what would it look like?

What small steps can you take to embrace your true self?

Lessons Learnt During Lent

24 Apr

Fourty days of Lent have gone by, which for me means the end of a fourty day vegan and alcohol-free diet. Whilst my normal diet includes regular meals with meat, dairy products and wine, lent in the Christian Orthodox tradition involves giving up animal products, alcohol, cigarettes and all other ‘unhealthy’ products (and habits) for fourty days. This is intended to be a detox for the body that creates a detox for the soul. Although I have not felt any major spiritual changes by limiting what I eat, there are several things that I learnt thanks to my fast that will no doubt have a positive effect in the long-term…

No Exceptions: by the second week of lent I was already thinking “And what if I was to have just a small glass of wine tonight? It won’t do any harm; I won’t really break the fast because I won’t do it often”. Luckily, I didn’t take action on this thought, because it passed through my mind at least twice a week. Had I listened to it the first few times, I would have ended up not fasting at all! If we

There are few things that we truly need

set out to do something, we cannot allow ourselves to make exceptions (except for reasons such as health, of course), because these will prevent us achieving our goal.

Making an extra effort is worth it: seeing as I couldn’t eat anything that is a ‘quick-fix’, such as sandwiches, pizzas or ready-meals, which all contain meat or dairy products, I always had to make an effort to prepare my meals. Even in the hungriest of states, when I wanted to devour everything in sight, I made real meals; this took more time, but my food was healthier and tastier.

It’s easier than it seems: once past the starting period, new habits become second nature. Fear tells us that what we want to do is hard or even impossible. Yet once we get started, we realise that we are more than capable of doing this.

The right to say ‘no’: it is easy to say “Oh, go on then”, when someone offers us a cake when we’re dieting, a cigarette when we’re giving up smoking or a drink when we’re cutting out alcohol. In most cases, we say ‘yes’ because we’re scared that the other person will judge us negatively or consider us ‘boring’. By saying ‘no’ in such situations, we are being honest and respectful to ourselves. Fearing other people’s judgment will cause us to live life by other people’s rules.

Fun Without Alcohol: yes, we can have fun without alcohol. Yes, we can enjoy an evening out without alcohol. Yes, we can relax without alcohol. Yes, we can enjoy a meal without wine. Yes, we can chat, laugh, joke and dance without alcohol. For some, this is obvious; for others, this is ridiculous. Either way, it is true.

We CAN have fun without alcohol...

Do you need what you want?: most of our consumption is for pleasure, not for necessity. There are few things that we truly need, all the rest are things we want.

Limitation Increases Appreciation: today, in Western society, the majority of people live in abundance, where they can have almost everything they want at any time. There is a huge choice of food, clothes, entertainment etc., and we rarely have to restrict ourselves in our consumption. By limiting myself in my range of food, I was able to appreciate the special meals more: a dinner in a restaurant (which made a difference to the classic meals I was making at home), a non-alcoholic cocktail (with more taste than the water I was drinking all week) and, of course, the Easter meal which included delicious meats, wine and creamy deserts. When we constantly spoil ourselves, we no longer get any pleasure from pleasure. Living more simply makes special occasions all the more special.

~

I wish you all a Happy Easter and a beautiful spring!

Clouds in a Cup

27 Mar

We have all been guilty of looking at an object a million times, but never noticing it. We walk past flowers on our way to work, but we are in a hurry, so we only glance over them. We hear a busker playing a moving song on the metro, but we have to finish reading our newspaper, so we block the sound out. We have windows facing west, but we don’t take a moment to look at the sunset, because there is a show to watch on T.V.

In this way, we miss the simple beauty that is constantly around us. We search for meaning in material or virtual things, when real meaning is right outside our doorstep. Trying to find meaning in anything other than our everyday lives is like going on a treasure hunt across the world, with the treasure already in our hands. To notice the preciousness of life simply means shifting our attention to the small things, the tiniest details.

A few days ago, I was drinking tea on the balcony. I do this every day, and this time did not seem to be different to any other time: the view was the same, the sounds were the same, the tea tasted the same. But one thing was different: as I raised the tea to my mouth, I noticed that there were clouds in my cup.

Clouds in a Cup

The sky was reflected in the water! I had never noticed this before, yet this small detail, this minute observation, made a huge difference. I was no longer just gulping my tea down and clearing my mind during my work pause; I was genuinely enjoying being on my balcony, drinking tea and looking at the sky.

Reflection of Clouds in Tea

The Clouds in the Sky

This change in perception transformed my ten-minute break and it transformed the rest of my day; I had seen something new and experienced something original, which put a smile on my face and lifted my mood. It doesn’t take a lot to be happy!

All around us there are things to inspire us, make us smile and fill us with energy. All we have to do is notice the small details and see them for the significant things that they are.

A New Country, A New Adventure!

3 Mar

Three weeks ago, I moved to a new country. I packed all of my essentials into one suitcase and set off to start a new life. The lifestyle in my new environment is different to the one I’m used to in one of the world’s central capitals, which means that I have felt a bit lost and confused at times. However, once I remind myself of the reasons for which I decided to move,  I am able to see what a wonderful and exciting opportunity this is.

I am here to…

  • be with the person I love
  • be independent
  • have a calmer lifestyle
  • be closer to nature
  • discover a new place
  • discover a different way of living
  • meet new people
  • lead a more active and outdoor lifestyle
  • have more fresh air
  • grow my own flowers and herbs (in the outdoor space that I now have)
  • be in a warmer climate
  • cycle
  • spend time in the countryside
  • buy fresh food from local producers
  • …and so – eat better food
  • have a new challenge (of starting life in a new place)
  • go on road trips
  • take evening walks on the beach
  • lead a simpler life

Let this adventure begin!