Posted in Uncategorized

How Are You Affecting Others? – 16 Things You May Want To Stop Doing

Serene Reflection

Land Art by Richard Shilling

Tools For Empaths’ is the most highly viewed and shared post on my blog. It seems that many of us(myself included) often feel that we are at the effect of other’s energies. However, nothing is a constant and nobody is one thing all the time. It is only fair to examine the other side of the coin and see if we may be impacting another in a less than positive manner.

For better or worse, our interactions shape each other. Energies(much like water trying to find its own level) tend to move in a way that achieves resonance and balance.  When these shifts move us to a higher vibe, we describe it as harmony and flow.  If we find ourselves moving to a more agitated state, the experience is unwelcome and off centring.  While we tend to find harmony more easily with some and feel…

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Posted in Intentional Living

Unplugging from the Consumerism Matrix as a novice Minimalist

more-or-less

This minimalism lifestyle is becoming more and more attractive to me with every project I start on, and complete, or maybe not complete fully because this is like peeling layers off an onion.  It is to awaken from a long slumber, to unplug from a matrix.  The calmness and simplicity that minimalism is bringing to our lives is something I am looking forward to on a daily basis.

What a wonderful feeling of happiness to do shopping and stick to my 10 item list.  Well almost.   A beautiful winter top and some hot chocolate for the kids slipped into my shopping cart.   But it is okay because I am so much more aware of my WHY now, before I buy something that isn’t REALLY necessary.   I am well on my way towards living intentionally.  And I know each passing week my liberation from the consumer matrix will be more profound.   Not that I have ever been a big spender on gadgets and household items to start with, because I have always been a believer in quality over quantity.  But I have to challenge my consumer mindset about quite a few things…

Clothes.  I mean who needs a sweater or jacket in every shade of beige/stone or grey?  Just in case, you know?

Coffee.   I am honest… I am a coffee addict.  And coffee machines.  I have three.  And three plungers.  One can never have enough of those, can you?

Tea.  All kinds of different relaxing and herbal or green teas.  To try to overcome the coffee addiction, you know?  Well, I am still drinking coffee.

Wine.  Club, export wine.  Because they know exactly what I like so they just make up a box of my favorites and it gets delivered to my doorstep.  Oh, and cheaper cooking wine. Because I like to try out new recipes.

All of this has been trapping me for years in the consumer matrix.   Without questioning WHY I think I need this or that.  We are so conditioned by powerful and catching marketing phrases without realizing this is a form of entrapment into a certain lifestyle or way to be.   Or if you buy this car, or gadget or tool or lipstick it will magically transform you into a more desirable, prettier, or then manlier you.  Or if you buy this new cooking appliance it will transform you into a domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson style.  Or they play on Time and promise instant or easy when you are a busy career woman.  This has led to junk food consumption on huge scale and resulting obesity and poor health.  But that is a topic for another day.

Words are powerful and evoke emotional responses from our subconscious.  Marketers count on this and use phrases and words like:

Luxury

Desirable

Instant

Free

Powerful

Bargain

100 % money back guarantee

No obligation

Guaranteed results

Just this morning I opened my e-mail and it was flooded with the following from a few online shopping sites (which I promptly un-subscribed from):

The one announced some exclusive shoes:  “R400 off when you buy 2 pairs”

“Buy 2 shirts for dad for father’s day and get 30% off”

“Beat the cold weather in style”

“The only blues you need this Monday is 20 % off jeans”

“A dress for every occasion”

Getting the picture already?  Before embracing a minimalist lifestyle I would have probably bought the 2 pairs of shoes.  Without thinking.  Not that I need more shoes, but just because I bought into the matrix, thinking I need something just because it is a brand name or something desirable.

The dictionary definition for matrix and consumerism:

Matrix – the cultural, social or political environment in which something develops.

Consumerism – a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.

My conclusion from my very first intentional trip to the shops today:  Embracing minimalism as a novice like me, comes with a gauranteed benefit… you are more conscious and mindful of buying things you don’t need.  I don’t need to fill up the empty spaces in my home anymore… simply because the calmness and effectiveness less is bringing to me is the most desirable, happy feeling I can ever want.

It is true that less is more!  More free time, more family closeness, more joy, more meaning, more simplicity, less organising.  Because organised clutter is still clutter.

 

Posted in Intentional Living, minimalism, simplicity

My Minimalist Journey towards a simpler, happier life.

 

It has taken me a while to start using this blog, as I was not sure what I even want to write about.  Would it be about personality types?  I am an INFP and Enneagram type 5w4 and on a bad day I test as 4w5.  My unquenchable thirst for knowledge and strong pull towards living a life of happy simplicity and minimalism is probably more Enneagram 5, but I am not (too) worried about that.  (So I will get back to the happy, elegant simplicity and minimalism in a bit).

Or shall I write about a healthier and thinner me since I jumped on the Bantwagon with a Low Carb lifestyle 3 years ago? Here my Enneagram type 5 aspect was fighting back again… oh no wait, you are still busy with your coaching course… you don’t have credibility yet.

But I will however, shortly, post a mean Low Carb Quiche recipe! Delicious, tried and tested and our family favorite.  And it is quick and easy to make.  Breakfast, lunch or supper.  Simplicity!  Simple eating, simple living.

So THIS is where this current journey of mine started:

As an INFP I just couldn’t do the deadlines, stress and traffic anymore.   The SF and ST world is just not for me.   My soul yearned for peace, calm and simplicity.  For years I was rushing pass my husband and kids in the morning, and feeling disconnected from my own life, my emotions (Enneagram 5 again), my home.  What was first just a nagging feeling became a decision over the span of 2 years time to start my own home-based business.    I planned for it, emotionally and financially and could finally leave the corporate ”matrix” middle of April.    I knew that wanting a simpler life would not be a step backward.  It was a new beginning for me to create the life that I truly want.

I am still settling in at home.   The first 2 weeks I felt totally disorientated.  No peak traffic, no deadlines.  Do I make breakfast for the family first (my husband took this over for years because I had to leave before him) or do I shower first?  I realised how I thrived on the adrenaline day in and day out, and without it I felt somewhat lost.  Like a scaffold that kept me up straight and all of a sudden it collapsed around me.

I need structure like a fish needs water though.  It is an INFP thing.  We don’t need strict routine but we do need daily structure to ground us.  I can be incredibly practical and focused on a task but if I don’t have structure I can get lost in my Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Intuition and just like Alice fall down that rabbit hole.

When I chose my company name, Urban Simplicity, back in October 2016, little did I know how this journey would unfold.  Living a life of conscious simplicity.  At the time I didn’t fully understand exactly what that means.

My soul’s yearning for simplicity, a calmer life full of meaning that we (family and myself) truly thrive in, not just dream about, brought me straight to Minimalism and simplifying life.   And straight to Uncluttered Course by Joshua Becker, the Minimalist Lifestyle Guru (or he is that in my view anyway).  Check out his Becoming Minimalist website here

What is Minimalism?  Or maybe I should start with what is Minimalism not?

It is NOT self-deprivation.

It is liberation.

Minimalism might initially conjure up all kinds of images in the mind of going without your favorite possessions or giving up some of life’s comfort and luxuries.  I would call it an alternative lifestyle which liberates you from the world telling you to own certain things, lots of things, to be somebody.  It liberates your identity from your belongings and to fit into the ”norm” set by society.

Minimalism is an intentional lifestyle.   An art of letting go.  Letting go of old and sentimental things which clutters up space, old worn out ideas, old beliefs.  You ask WHY before you buy.  You unburden your life so you have time to accomplish more.  You only surround yourself with the useful and beautiful.  You free up time to spend time with your loved ones, do the things you love and bring calm and joy into your life.

Too much stuff leads to clutter and in turn that leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed.  Clutter is a major cause of stress and indecision in our lives, but it is hardly ever recognized as such.   For example, my decision-fatigue in front of my closet every morning has been real for many years.   What a relief to now design a capsule or minimalist wardrobe only wearing clothes that I love… no more indecision because I have too much to choose from.  Personally I love the elegance and timelessness of a French capsule wardrobe (must be my French ancestry) so I will be working on this over the next few weeks.

I am currently in Week 6 of Uncluttered Course and recovering from this major cause of stress, and simplifying life. This coming week I am starting on the kitchen.  I am looking forward to simplifying this space.  It is the heart of my home and for me a source of joy.   I spend a lot of time trying out new Low Carb recipes for my business and cooking healthy, but simple meals for the family.

Owning less stuff helps me focus on what I really want in life… happiness, joy and simplicity.   What a joy to walk into a room now and be embraced by welcoming calmness in stead of overwhelm.  I am really excited to share my progress and journey this way and introduce more people to this kind of liberating, intentional living.