Category Archives: Simple

The Slow Walk

clarity

Over the past couple of weeks, I stepped back from the online world. I went 10 days without checking emails and over two weeks without posting to the blog or social media.

And, somewhat surprisingly, the world didn’t stop spinning.

The world didn’t stop spinning, but my head certainly did.

And do you know what I realised? I’ve shifted so far away from my personal philosophies that I hardly recognise myself.

Back in the day, before my breakdown, before I closed my business, before I discovered the delight of living a simpler, slower life, I used to rush everywhere.

Everything was hurried and harried. I was never off. I was never at peace. I could never sit and watch a movie without checking my email. I couldn’t enjoy playing with my daughter without feeling like there was something more important to do.

While I was offline these past two weeks I realised I had become that hurried, harried, disengaged person again.

Ironically, writing, blogging, podcasting, teaching, tweeting and Facebooking about slow and simple living has made my life fast-paced, hectic and far too complicated.

Previous to this offline break, I can’t remember the last time I was able to fully disconnect from work and be present in my day to day life. What’s more, it happened so gradually that I wasn’t even aware of it until now.

So I’ve come to a difficult, but ultimately positive decision: I’m stepping back and making some big changes.

That means I’ll be closing The Bloom at the end of August (members, all details are in the email I sent on Friday) and aside from show notes for the podcast, I won’t be posting here regularly.

Instead, I’m going to spend the rest of 2015 focusing on the podcast and our in-person Slow Living events, while reclaiming the slower, simpler life we’ve worked so hard for. (I’ll also be sending an exclusive article to newsletter subscribers once a month.)

I need to re-engage with my priorities. I need to let my ego go. I need to stop thinking that success and importance come from busyness. I need to simplify.

I can’t, in good conscience, talk about the benefits of living a slow, intentional life if behind the scenes I’m living in a way that is anything but. That’s hypocritical and it’s doing everyone a disservice.

The truth is, living a slower, more intentional life means making hard choices and tough decisions. It means saying no to things I want to do now in order to say yes to things I really want in the future. 

This has not been an easy decision, which is why I can tell you it’s the right one.

I also want to tell you how much your support, kind words, emails, messages, comments and encouragement has meant to me over the past 4+ years. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being part of this community and thank you for your support and your understanding.

Here’s to walking the slow walk.

 

 

 

Kristen Ottaway on films that will change your life – SHP017

The Slow Home Podcast Episode 17 with Kristen Ottaway - Films that will change your life.

I’m always fascinated to see the unintentional themes that pop up in my podcast interviews, and one of the most frequent has been the idea of community and how it plays a huge part in living a slower, more intentional life.

Today’s guest is Kristen Ottaway, a health and well being advocate based in Brisbane, who has created a community of like-minded people through her business, Inspired Living Events, where she runs documentary screenings to help inspire people to change the way they live.

Honestly, aside from the fabulous conversation, this episode is worth a listen just for the film recommendations!

When I initially contacted Kristen to appear on the show, she questioned whether her life was actually slow or simple enough to qualify, but as you’ll hear, she’s made huge changes over the past few years and is now living a significantly slower, simpler life than she even had recognised.

We chat about how that happened – how she got out of debt, downsized, started a business and created a community of like-minded people who have been instrumental in her making and maintaining big changes in her life.

Enjoy!

Today’s show is sponsored by Audible.com where you can access over 180,000 audiobooks, including Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. 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.

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

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You’ll Hear About:

  • The book that changed Kristen’s life
  • What slow living is and why Kristen thought her life didn’t qualify
  • How she and her family got out of debt and completely turned life around
  • The huge role that community has in helping Kristen not to feel alone in her choices and ideas
  • Kristen’s most excellent film and book recommendations.

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Big Picture

Have faith in the big picture >> Slow Your Home

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep our eye on the big picture. Sometimes it’s hard not to get bogged down in the grind of day to day. Sometimes the small, consistent steps required to make big progress feel too small and too insignificant.

Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes we lose sight of our why.

You know that giving your kids boundaries will hold them in good stead. But it’s hard to see that when your 4 year-old has a meltdown at the shop because he can’t have the dinosaur toy he desperately wants because he saw it just now and he didn’t know it existed until three seconds ago but it’s most definitely the best thing ever and if you get it for him he will never ask for another thing everinhiswholelifeplease.

You know that eating a wide variety of healthy, unprocessed food and being active every day is good for your body and mind, and you know it will serve you well as you get older. But it’s hard to see that when you really do want that extra piece of cake and you really don’t want to get out of bed and go for a run.

You know that saving your money and not buying that fourth pair of skinny jeans is good for the bank balance, which in turn is good for the house/holiday/car you’re saving for. But it’s hard to see that when you really want to keep up with fashion trends and, seriously, they’re on sale! It’s like I’m saving money by buying them!

So today I’m telling you (and myself) to have faith in the big picture.

Have faith in the fact that these steps, these choices, these decisions that leave you wondering, “What’s the point?” continue to move you towards the big picture.

And that big picture? It won’t look like you’re imagining. The future never does, because once you arrive you’ve already experienced all the hard work that went into creating it. And that doesn’t seem as magical as when it’s viewed from afar.

And while it might not be magical, it will feel amazing because you will have earned it with your small, consistent steps and your faith that they were making a difference.

Everything you do makes a difference. Don’t forget that.

The Slow Road

The Slow Road - A Simple Living Workshop

I don’t normally post here on a Tuesday, but I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you tickets to the first of our Slow Living Workshops are now available and I couldn’t be more excited!

The Slow Road is a half-day workshop designed to help you create a slower, simpler life.

Co-hosted by myself and Bele Masterman of Blah Blah Magazine, we’ll be sharing gentle and practical ways to slow down and simplify in a world that values speed, consumption and constant connection.

You’ll walk away feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired, but just as importantly, you’ll also leave with a range of tools to use in your everyday life. You’ll learn how to uncover your priorities, live mindfully, create rhythms and escape the burden of your clutter.

What’s more, you’ll learn about these things in the company of others who want the same for their own lives and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of Bele and myself as we share our own (very different) journeys towards a slower, simpler life.

Lewers Gallery

Workshop Details:

Date: Sunday 26th July, 11am – 3pm.

Venue: The gorgeous (and somewhat unexpected) Lewers Gallery in Emu Plains.

One of my favourite places in the Sydney area, Lewers is close to where I grew up and somewhere I take my kids on the regular. It has amazing gardens, three beautiful exhibition spaces and a cafe that serves exceptionally good local food, coffee and cocktails.

We chose the gallery because it exemplifies slow living and offers you an amazing chance to reset, refresh and reflect on the life you want to live, plus it’s just so ridiculously pretty.

Inclusions: Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day, and you are more than welcome to bring your own lunch or buy something from the cafe on-site. (I can highly recommend the grilled haloumi burger!)

Tickets:  We want to keep the workshop small and intimate so places are limited.  Tickets are available here.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Also, we’ve already had a lot of questions about workshops in other cities.

  • Gold Coast and Brisbane folk – we’re thinking about a couple of events in mid-August and will keep you posted.
  • Melbourne people – we’ve had a lot of requests so please know we’re working on it and will update you when we have details.
  • International readers – thank you so much for taking the survey last week! Portland, Chicago, Atlanta, London and Berlin all represented super strong. I’m working on plans for workshops and will let you know details as soon as I can.

Sydney friends, grab your tickets to The Slow Road here – we look forward to seeing you there. 

A Manifesto for a Simple Life (and Giveaway – CLOSED)

A Manifesto for a Simple Life - Kelly Exeter

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from my friend and fellow simplicity-seeker, Kelly Exeter of A Life Less Frantic. Kelly has five copies of her new book, ‘Your Best Year Ever’ to give away – see the end of this post for details.

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Four years ago, feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I sat down and wrote myself what was effectively a wish list. I called it A Manifesto for a Simple Life, and it helped clarify a (clearly) deep-seated craving I had: the need to distil my complicated life down to only what was necessary.

Four years on, those words still stand up (always nice when that happens!). I return to them whenever life threatens to overwhelm me. They’re an ongoing reminder that while we may live in a complicated world, life itself can be simple if we let it.

And it seems I’m not alone in finding relief in simplicity. That manifesto has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media, and I’ve received countless emails thanking me for breaking it down. People often ask me about what it all means. Why did I choose these particular aims to help me with my goal of simplicity?

This is the story behind my Manifesto for a Simple Life.

Eat less, move more

There is so much angst and self-loathing around food and body image these days. How do I know this (beyond what my eyes can see)? Well the number one article that Google sends people to on my site is this one about ‘how to stop thinking about food all the time.’

Given I wrote that post, I clearly know what it feels like to obsess about food and the effect it was having on my weight. And happily, since I’ve been able to overcome it, I can assure you that not doing that anymore has made life a LOT simpler.

What’s been the biggest game-changer for me in this regard? Mindfulness.

For example: would you like a piece of cake? Then eat the damn cake! But, instead of cutting yourself a tiny sliver (because then it doesn’t ‘count’ right?), and then another, and then another (and getting to the end of the day to find you’ve eaten half a cake), cut yourself a God-honest piece of cake.

Now sit down with it and savour every single mouthful. Eat ALL your food this way. Mindfully. When you’re mindful (as opposed to obsessive), you just naturally ‘eat less’ and you also find yourself eating ‘better’.

The same applies to ‘move more’. Be mindful of the opportunities in your day to move your body, and then take them! Get off the bus one stop early. Park in the far corner of the shopping centre car park. Walk with your kids to school rather than driving.

The human body is designed to move. It’s been shown that regular exercise is the world’s greatest wonder drug. Let’s get more of that good stuff in our day!

Being in good health makes life unimaginably simpler! If you’ve ever had good health snatched away you’ll know this as truth.

Buy less, make more

The rampant consumerism in our world right now is a concern, don’t you think? If you’ve ever had the pleasure of moving house, you’ll have a good idea of just how much ‘stuff’ you’ve managed to accumulate. Mostly stuff you just don’t need.

All that stuff is complicating your life by cluttering not just your physical space, but your mental space, too.

So if handcrafting gifts or growing your own food is your thing, please, do more of that.

If spending money and keeping the economy alive is your thing, why not buy experiences instead?

That way you get the opportunity to make memories as opposed to buying more “stuff”.

Stress less, laugh more

One recurring piece of feedback I get from people reading A Manifesto for a Simple Life is: “Stress less? I’d love to, but I don’t even know where to begin.”

Well the perfect place to start is by surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh (or at the very least put a smile on your face.)

We’ve all got people in our lives for whom everything is a drama. We’ve all got people who send our cortisol levels through the roof. Do we need these people in our lives? Probably not. Can we spend less time with these people? Almost certainly.

Life becomes a lot simpler when we choose to focus on the relationships that are good for our souls. If someone makes us laugh, makes us feel lighter, then that relationship is good for the soul.

Feel blessed, love more

Every one of us has goals, dreams and desires for the future.

And every one of us (no matter our situation) has something abundant in our life worthy of celebration right now.

One of life’s simplest truths is this: if we’re not happy with the abundance in our lives right now, we’re not going to be happy with any abundance the future may hold. 

If you’re really struggling to feel blessed, the quickest way to overcome this is to put more love out into the world. It’s a simple truth of the universe that we get back what we put out, and love conquers all.

Another technique you can try is this one:

Sit down and run through all the things you have to do in your day. Ie “I have to get out of bed in the morning …” and so on.

Now run through the exact same list but precede everything you have to do with “I choose to …” In other words: “I choose to get out of bed in the morning.” That’s a nice shift huh?

Now try the same line with “I am blessed …” at the start. “I am blessed to get out of bed in the morning.”

Game-changer. I can’t think of a better way to practice gratitude and feel blessed every day than this.

Find a quiet spot every day and breathe

When all else fails; when everything going on in our lives threatens to overwhelm and crash down on us, it’s time to carve out some quiet moments in the day for ourselves.

It could be five minutes in the shower. It might be two minutes in the toilet (with the door locked so the kids can’t get in!) It might be that one minute a night between putting down the book you’re reading … and falling asleep.

These moments are so precious. And crucial!

They bring us firmly back into the present and allow us to re-calibrate.

It’s these moments that give us the truest taste of what life can feel like when we keep things simple.

And if you’re anything like me, those moments are more delicious than cake! 

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Kelly Exeter is a mother of two, wife of one, writer, designer, blogger, runner, business owner … the list does go on. After many years on the hamster wheel she’s finally figured out how to live A Life Less Frantic®. She shares the 7 simple shifts in thinking that got her there in her book Your Best Year Ever (which is currently 99c on Amazon so … get on it!).

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GIVEAWAY TIME: Kelly has FIVE copies of her new book Your Best Year Yet to give away to readers of Slow Your Home. To enter, simply leave a comment (be sure to include your email address when filling out your details) and let me know your favourite part of the manifesto. 

This competition is open to everyone and entries close Thursday 2nd July 2015 11:59pm AEST, with winners notified within 24 hours.

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