Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Simplifying: the Easiest, Hardest Thing to Do

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Hello dear readers ~ I hope that this post finds you well and enjoying your day. The sun is shining brightly here in northwestern Vermont and the bare branches of the trees are just beginning to bud. Though the temps are very cold (in the 30s) I'm grateful for the sun shining through the windows. One can only take so many gray skies ...

A podcast wake up call

Last Friday on my way to work, I listened to a great podcast by Brooke over at Slow Your Home. In it, she interviewed author and simple living guru, Rhonda Hetzel. Throughout the interview Rhonda shared tips and thoughts that really resonated with me. I found myself nodding along murmuring, "yes," and "oh, I know!" and wishing that the podcast would go on even longer.

Though Rhonda is a simple living advocate, I sometimes balk at the term as it pertains to simplifying one's life. Simplifying, to me, is making easier, clearing away the unnecessary and in some ways, taking out what you can in order to achieve some semblance of balance. To Rhonda and many others, simple living means making from scratch, doing things yourself, slowing down and living more frugally.

When I went back to full-time work in a city that's 45-minutes away, I had to let some things go: baking bread, cleaning/tidying as much as I usually did, making homemade gifts and other similar tasks. For me, living like Rhonda--making my own bread daily, hand washing clothing, sewing/knitting gifts, etc., wouldn't work right now.

Logistics aside, one of the things that she said that really struck me was this (I'm paraphrasing): when you do things for yourself--like making your own food from scratch--it's a way of putting your own stamp on your life. You're not simply doing what's easiest and buying convenience food (generic) but contributing to your own life.

Baking and playing on a Saturday = bliss

I was so inspired by Rhonda's messsage that early Saturday morning you would have found me standing at the kitchen counter, bread dough in my hands, kneading away. It was wonderful. It was relaxing and offered me time to reflect and be silent and really present. I was standing facing a window over the sink, so part of the time I watched all the activity in the yard: birds flying here and there, a squirrel stuffing itself with black sunflower seeds, the clouds moving across the sun.

Later that day, I practiced presence again when my son took out his sidewalk chalk. We started drawing designs and were soon joined by my husband who got in on the fun. The sun was warm and a breeze that smelled like spring blew through the yard. It was luscious.

It was also a good reminder: am I missing these moments every day? Have I become so immune to simple pleasures that they haven't even showed up on my radar?

Finding time

I'm looking hard at my schedule recently, even doing a sort of informal time log to see where I'm spending--and wasting--time. I want more of these simple moments in my life. I crave them and am so grateful for the reminder last week to seek them out.

What about you? Are there simple pleasures or moments that you look forward to each week or day? if so, what are they? 

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