Meditation for beginners with Emily Cordes

Meditation for beginners with Emily Cordes - Episode 46 of The Slow Home Podcast

I’ve always thought I had a handle on meditation. If not the daily practice or the practiced way of sitting, at least I understood how to let my mind relax and not engage with the thoughts that flow – simply let them be instead.

That was until this year.

Ben and I are practicing yoga every morning at the moment, and most days we finish with a short meditation in corpse pose. This year, my ability to just be during these few minutes has just… disappeared.

Thoughts flit by and I grab on to them, and before I know it I’m thinking about my day or mentally working through an issue. And honestly, it’s kind of super frustrating.

So today’s episode comes at a golden time for me, and if you’ve ever tried meditating, only to be constantly frustrated by the thoughts incessantly drifting across your mind, today’s episode is just as much for you.

I sit down with meditation practitioner, yoga teacher and all-round delightful human, Emily Cordes, and we dive into what it actually means to meditate, how to get started, and how living mindfully has personally helped her work through periods of anxiety and depression.

We also talk about the realisation that we don’t actually have to believe the thoughts our anxious minds present – a revelation both myself and Emily have come to as a result of therapy, simplicity and mindfulness.

I realise this might sound like a heavy episode, but it’s actually a really uplifting and inspiring conversation with loads of resources and links from Emily, to help everyone try their hand at meditation.

Enjoy!

Today’s show is sponsored by Audible.com where you can access over 180,000 audiobooks, including The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. Click here to get a free, no strings attached, 30-day trial of Audible and claim one free audiobook of your choice.

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No Sugar #2

No Sugar #2 - Episode 45 of The Slow Home Podcast

(I got in trouble for pairing my first No Sugar post with a picture of jelly doughnuts, so here is a much more appropriate picture of a big-ass chocolate sundae. Enjoy!)

We’re a week in to our first Slow Home Experiment now and (thankfully!) over the worst of the sugar hangover we were experiencing last week. But how are we feeling? What are we missing? What are we enjoying? What’s surprised us so far?

In this fairly relaxed episode (we were quite literally laying down) Ben and I chat about our recent bout of illness and whether we think it was related to giving up sugar, our thoughts after watching That Sugar Film and The Great Vodka Debate of 2016.

We both feel like we’ve broken the back of this challenge after the first week, and things are definitely starting to feel easier. I’m certainly eating in a much more mindful way and am far more aware of my tendency to procrasti-snack (it’s a real thing).

I’d highly recommend you watch That Sugar Film if you haven’t already, and if you’re struggling to stick to the experiment or a similar lifestyle shift, I’d also recommend you check out my interview with Gretchen Rubin from last week. She goes deep into our tendencies and why some people find it easier to stick to new habits, and how to embrace your personality traits and use them to stick to your positive life changes.

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

 

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

If you love the show and want to support it by continuing to subscribe, listen, share with friends/family or leave a review on iTunes, that’s awesome too!

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

Happiness and habits with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin on happiness and habits - Episode 44 of The Slow Home Podcast

This interview has been a long time coming (thanks, technology!) but I can tell you it was absolutely worth the wait.

In this ridiculously enlightening episode, I chat with Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of Better Than Before, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.

This show starts out as any other – a regular conversation – in this instance, about happiness and habits and the changes Gretchen is most proud of in her own life. But somewhere around the middle it shifts into something different… A personalised habits counselling session, as Gretchen digs into why I’m so inclined to take on too many projects and burn out (in a big way).

We also discuss the Four Tendencies of Habits, and why that means I’m less likely to do a morning yoga class by myself, but far more likely to turn up if Ben joins me.

This is such a fun conversation with plenty of insight into why we do and don’t find making changes easy. And for anyone looking to make a shift towards a slower, simpler life, there are plenty of tips and tricks from Gretchen to help you make those changes as seamlessly as possible.

Also, in light of the #slowhomeexperiment, Gretchen has some killer insight into why some changes stick while others fall by the way, so if you’re giving up sugar along with Ben and I this February, you’ll definitely want to tune in.

This week’s episode is brought to you by…well, you! Some listeners want to support the show in a more direct way, so we’ve created a Patreon page so you can do just that. There’s no obligation to contribute – simply sharing the show with friends or leaving a review in iTunes is fabulous – but if you did want to help support the show financially you can donate as little as $1 a month and know that you’re helping us to cover our costs.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

If you love the show and want to support it by continuing to subscribe, listen, share with friends/family or leave a review on iTunes, that’s awesome too!

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

No Sugar #1 – The Slow Home Experiment

No Sugar #1 - Slow Home Experiment

Today marks the beginning of the Great Slow Living Experiments Experiment on the podcast! In case you missed it, Ben and I have given our bodies and brains to science* in the name of testing a variety of slow living approaches.

Part of the reason we’re tackling these experiments is to simply share our experiences in trying to adopt more slow living into our day-to-day. We’ve been so inspired by the guests on the podcast over the past 9 months and are excited to pull some of their actions and behaviours into our daily lives.

The other reason is a simple one of mindfulness. It’s so easy to slip into a place of mindless living (the exact opposite of mindful living) and actively engaging these changes every month means we’re paying attention, challenging our assumptions and expanding ourselves. And there’s nothing more intentional than that!

So every month we choose one experiment to focus our attention on, and each Monday we release a podcast where we talk about our experience to date. And today is the very first one!

February sees us giving up processed sugar, in an attempt to become more mindful of what we’re eating.

Both of us have been guilty, regularly, of slipping in to boredom/emotional/habitual eating and the conversations I’ve had with various guests on the podcast have inspired us to get back to mindful eating in a very big way. It made sense to cut out sugar first, as that’s one of the biggest drivers for my personal mindless eating (give me all the chocolate in the house right now pleasethankyouverymuch) and one that’s currently very popular.

So a few days ago we began. And it wasn’t pretty…

*Not really science. Just us.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Show Notes

The Rules of the No Sugar Experiment:

  • No processed sugar at all (soft drinks, biscuits, chocolate, white breads etc)
  • No alcohol – even though some are low fructose, we’re going the whole hog here
  • Cutting back on fruit but not eliminating it completely. We plan on having  a small amount of blueberries or half a banana in green smoothie.

Coping strategies (possibly effective, possibly not):

  • Drink lots of water
  • Be prepared with sugar-free snack options like carrot sticks and hummus
  • Recognise when I’m bored or stressed and do something else, like slacklining or some deep breathing.

Why we might find it easy:

  • We don’t drink soft drinks
  • We don’t eat much chocolate, cake or biscuits (because I don’t buy it. If I buy it, I eat it.)
  • I’ve been cutting back on sugar over the past couple of weeks so it should be a gentler entry into No Sugar Town.
  • We both drink our tea and coffee unsweetened with no milk
  • When we drink alcohol, it’s usually red wine or vodka and soda, and beer for Ben. None of these are particularly sugar-y so that might help?

Why we might find it hard:

  • One of my favourite snacks is a piece of cheese with a dried date. Dried fruits are out this month. ARGH.
  • When I get emotional/hormonal I tend to go for sweet things. Our kids start school this week so I might be a little emotional…
  • I snack when I’m bored or procrastinating. PROCRASTISNACKING.
  • Tasty, savoury sauces and condiments, like mayo and sriracha are usually packed with sugar so we’ll need to find alternatives.

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

If you love the show and want to support it by continuing to subscribe, listen, share with friends/family or leave a review on iTunes, that’s awesome too!

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

Pretty minimalism with Stacey Roberts

Pretty Minimalism with Stacey Roberts - The Slow Home Podcast

The first non-McAlary podcast guest of 2016 is the delightful Stacey Roberts of Veggie Mama fame, and honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an hour on a rainy Friday morning than chatting with this lovely, open, honest woman.

Stacey and I talk about how negative relationships drove her to learn about mindfulness and what she’s discovered from a decades-long meditation practice. We also talk about the negative thought patterns both of us have had to break free of and how living a simpler, more intentional life has helped.

One thing I’m asked a lot is whether trying to do all the simple living things actually makes a simple life more complicated, and Stacey has some insight into that and why it’s far more important to do what you enjoy rather than what simple living “should” look like. We also talk about the importance of saying no, having fun and what she means by ‘pretty minimalism’.

Don’t forget that next week we start publishing two shows a week (I know! Exciting!) and next Monday we kick off our first month-long experiment by giving up sugar. If you want to play along with us, head over to Facebook or Twitter and tag your posts with #slowhomeexperiment.

Until then though, enjoy my chat with Stacey!

Today’s show is sponsored by Audible.com where you can access over 180,000 audiobooks, including Matilda, The Twits and James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl. Click here to get a free, no strings attached, 30-day trial of Audible and claim one free audiobook of your choice.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

If you love the show and want to support it by continuing to subscribe, listen, share with friends/family or leave a review on iTunes, that’s awesome too!

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

PS: It’s not too late to join A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicity. Registration will be open through the end of January. Learn more here.