I often speak with people who say they long for a more simple life. For less drama, for less material “stuff” around them, less worries. When I suggest a few ways they could slow down and simplify things right where they are, some will dismiss the idea. They have a held image of what a simpler life entails and to them, it’s nothing like the life they have now so that means it is not for them at this moment. It exists in the future, in a time where they will be happy.
I understand this feeling, I was someone who told myself those stories. “Don’t worry, you’ll be happy when…when you leave home, when you return home, when you look better, when you have more money…” and on and on it went for several years. Making promises to myself that if I could just endure the conditions of the present, all would be well in the future. Of course, this future did not arrive because I was so focused on the next part, I was missing all the opportunities to be happy where I was in the present. And so I was never very happy. I had moments of feeling content, but it was a constant struggle between wanting what I didn’t have and not knowing how to get it without suffering. If you are feeling this way too, don’t worry- YOU can change this. Starting right now in fact!
After a few years of this, I gradually came to realise that the comparisons and the holding myself to perfection were not helping me achieve anything. In fact, it was the opposite and they were holding me back. I had turned down many opportunities due to not feeling I was right yet and although I do believe in following intuition, looking back I think this was going against those inner senses and forcing myself to live in punishment.
Having experienced all of this, I love to share how we can start living joyfully and more simply wherever we are. Those inner feelings must come first to then be able to spread out into the surface self and beyond into creating your life.
What if a simpler life starts right now, right where you are. Even in chaos, even swamped in clutter, even in situations you don’t wish to stay in? What if we look a little differently at how our thoughts work? Perhaps it’s not as clear cut as we have believed. Perhaps there is more of a two way flow between actions and consequence. Stay with me on this one, it’s an interesting way to think. What if, instead of believing that “the future picture of my dream life will make me happy” we change that to, “If I am happy now, then that will mean my future is happy and filled with my dreams”
This is not to say don’t have dreams. I am a huge dreamer! I adore imagining all the opportunities I want coming true and all the beautiful experiences I will have, but I no longer hold these in some golden cabinet locked away. I allow them to weave into my daily life so that I always have a lix of living my dreams and having lovely goals ahead.
Here’s how I began to change my perspective and shift into a simpler, more joyful life…
Breathe into Simplicity
Firstly, just stop. Breathe. Notice the atmosphere around you. Listen to the sounds of the room. Is it somewhere you want to be? Is it somewhere you are staying out of guilt or thoughts of “I should”? Becoming aware of our surroundings and our inner feelings towards them is a great first step towards becoming more in tune with ourselves.
Take a few deep breaths, breathing in thoughts of simplicity and letting go of the opposite- any chaos, any unwanted busy-ness.
With this exercise, you have started your path to a slower, more joyful life right where you are! That is wonderful. You have just broken the pattern of feeling that happiness is for your future self. You have connected with this moment and with your inner self.
Breathe in: Simplicity,
Let go of: Chaos
This is often suggested as a technique and rightly so as it truly is life changing. Learning to become grateful is one of the best ways I have ever experienced in changing my thoughts. Once you start to take notice of the wonderful things that are already in your life, it means they can be added to far more easily. Each night I have a diary that I right in things from the day that I’ve been grateful for. This was truly transforming for me personally. It took a few weeks to feel what I was writing and not just go through the motions of writing things down. Have fun with it. I love finding really tiny things to be grateful for like seeing the first bumblebee of the year or realising there was a chocolate left when I thought they were all gone haha!! It’s your list, so whatever you feel goes on it. Once you get into the habit, really delve into the feelings of gratitude. Instead of mechanically writing, “I am thankful for my children, I am thankful for my partner” what is it about them you are thankful for? Words like “I am thankful that my partner is kind” connects us far better to the feelings of gratitude and increases our love for what we’ve written about too. Try it and see how it works for you!
Make One Small Change
You can ask yourself if there is anything very small in your situation that you can change right now. Be sure that you are not promising change in the far off future, this is the important part as it is breaking the pattern of “I’ll be happy when.” This is very powerful if it comes from within. Your change might not even be in the physical world. For example, if you are always frustrated that your house is untidy, the change might be to see what the positives of this situation are. That you have a house, that it is messy because your family feel comfortable in it…whatever is a personal reason to you. Once you have a shift in perspective, it becomes easier to change the aspects that you want to be different. It makes communication easier so now instead of building up anger about an untidy house, you can approach a conversation in a more balanced way- from a place of understanding and gratitude for the good things. Once you have this change in mindset, it is proof that other things can change going forward. Starting with one small change is a actually a big step in growth.
I do fully believe that this life can be joyful for all of us. It does take an opening to it and being open to change. It can start as simply as with our breath though and finding our power in the present.
Let me know how you found this and how it may have changed your perspective!
Best Wishes and Deep Breaths,