Don’t be impressed with busy-ness. Be impressed with intention.

Don't be impressed by busy-ness. Be impressed by intention.

As you may have seen last week, I quietly opened the doors to my new community site, The Bloom.

The Bloom was created to support you through the process of simplifying, slowing down and living the life you crave, and dozens of members have already joined. Last Thursday night we held our first live coaching chat and I can tell you that the community we’re creating is something very special.

Membership for Founding Members will be closing at midnight this Friday 15th May (AEST) and the 50% discount for the first three months will be closing with it.

If you want to join The Bloom and gain access to our private forum, weekly coaching calls, video courses, handbooks, interviews and checklists, head over here and sign up today.

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 So many of us wear our busy-ness like a badge of honour.

“Ugh,” we sigh. “I’m just so busy. I’m so tired. I never feel like I’m finished and there’s no time for things I enjoy and I never have down-time and everyone always wants something from me.”

This is code for:

“I am important. You should be impressed.”

And you know what? You are important. But not because you’re constantly busy and tired and over-committed.

What I find impressive is someone who’s intentional in how they spend their time. Someone who doesn’t say yes to everything and complain about being busy. Someone who says no, even if they’re saying no to me. I find that impressive.

Impressive in the sense that it makes an impression on me.

“Huh,” I say, as though it’s a new idea that people can say no.

Maybe they don’t have time, or maybe they don’t want to, but when they say no it feels more honest and authentic and intentional than saying yes to everything and then bitching about how busy they are, or saying yes and doing a half-arsed job.

Part of the reason we are overwhelmed with life but find it difficult to change is because those changes are uncomfortable.

It’s uncomfortable to sort through your cluttered home and let go of the excess.

It’s uncomfortable to decide which sentimental items are no longer serving you, and it’s uncomfortable letting them go.

It’s uncomfortable to revisit your priorities and realise that the way you’re living is not in keeping with the life you want to look back on.

It’s uncomfortable saying no.

Uncomfortable doesn’t mean undesirable though.

Having a clutter-free home is worth it. Not feeling the weight of those heavy sentimental items is worth it. Readjusting your life to fit with your priorities is worth it. And saying no? Absolutely worth it.

Please don’t mistake what I’m saying.

You can be both busy and intentional. Being busy isn’t really the problem. I personally like being busy – to a point. I also really like down-time and the fact that this weekend I spent two hours in the hammock reading comics.

But how do we say no?

Start by understanding what you want from your life. Knowing your Why helps you say no and keep your priorities front and centre when there are tough decisions to be made.

Then commit to living by your Why. Ask yourself whether this commitment, this responsibility, this event, this piece of furniture or item of clothing is going to help you live according to your Why, or if it is going to take you further away.

Don’t put your self-worth in busy-ness. Don’t fall for the myth that constant action equals importance. Don’t buy into the endless game of busy-ness and martydom because no-one wins.

Instead choose to live your life with intention and make an impression on yourself.

 

 

Joshua Becker on Pressure, Nagging and Navigating Change  – SHP007

Joshua Becker on Nagging, Pressure and Navigating Change

Honestly, I don’t think today’s guest really needs any introduction.

Joshua Becker runs one of the most widely read minimalism blogs in the world today, and I’m fairly confident almost all of you have heard of him and have benefited from his relaxed but forthright advice on how to live a simple, mindful, intentional life. I know I have.

If you’re only new to the idea of simple living or, by some miracle, have not heard of Joshua, he’s a writer, a father, and a self-described regular suburban family man – without the dog and the garage full of stuff.

As the writer behind hugely successful blog, Becoming Minimalist, he’s been one of the biggest influences in my life as I worked to slow down and simplify and I know he has impacted hundreds of thousands of other people in similarly powerful ways.

In today’s episode of The Slow Home Podcast we talk about the moment he realised that life wasn’t fulfilling in the ways he expected it would be, as well as the impact blogs, Facebook, Instagram and the like are having on our expectations of what a “successful life” looks like.

I also asked Joshua if he ever feels as though his work is actually adding to the pressure people feel – now we need to keep up with a different, less materialistic but ultimately still aspirational set of Joneses – and his thoughts on this really fascinated me.

I hope you enjoy listening in to our chat about life, family, clutter and the new Joneses as much as I enjoyed taking part in it.

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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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What You’ll Hear About  in Today’s Episode:

  • The moment Joshua discovered minimalism and decided to start living a simpler life
  • What life was like pre-minimalism
  • His advice on how to talk to a partner who isn’t on board with decluttering
  • Why we need to sort ourselves out before we start thinking about criticising others
  • The list of “shoulds” that we really do need to pay attention to
  • Why we think minimalism as a lifestyle is growing at an ever increasing rate

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

 Keep Listening:

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The Bloom

 

In other news, this week I very quietly opened the doors to a new venture called The Bloom.

In essence it’s designed to guide you through the work of simplifying, slowing down and creating a more contented life. At it’s heart is community, via a private forum (not a Facebook group) and live weekly coaching calls.

The Bloom also includes an expanding list of video courses, guidebooks, checklists and simplifying projects to help you create the slower, simpler life you dream of. After all, life is to be lived, not raced through, right?

For the next few days I’m offering a 50% discount for the first three months to those who join as Founding Members of The Bloom. (This means you pay only $5 a month until August.)

The reason I’m offering the discount is this:

The Bloom is brand-new. It will grow and evolve and blossom into something I can currently only dream of, and it will do that because of you. Founding Members have the opportunity to shape the community from the very first days and will have a massive say in the products, programs, resources, courses and interviews I create for The Bloom and I personally can’t wait to see what we create.

Learn more and join The Bloom here  to get your first 3 months at 50% off.

PS. The Founding Member price will only be available for a limited time (this first intake of members is being kept small), so if you don’t want to miss out, sign up today.

Cybele Masterman Talks Convenience – SHP006

The Slow Home Podcast Episode 6 - Cybele Masterman

After last week’s big launch for The Slow Home Podcast, I’m back with another interview and couldn’t be happier to bring this one to your ears. 

In this episode, I chat with Cybele Masterman of Blah Blah Magazine. Cybele is passionate about sustainable, simple living and creating a more mindful life for her young family. She is also killer with the DIY home and body care, and shares a recipe for a homemade, all-natural coffee body scrub that really freaked Ben out.

During our chat (and this is very much a conversation between two friends) we talk about the joys of slowing down and paying attention to our surroundings, the difference between mindless consumption and mindfully choosing what to bring in to our lives, and why I personally don’t think comic books are clutter.

I hope you enjoy listening in to our conversation, and, as always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

*Audio Note: I’ve been having some ongoing issues with recording interviews, which is making guest audio a little fuzzy in places. Please know that I’m working to rectify this and I’ve done all I can to minimise the fuzz in today’s interview.*

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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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What You’ll Hear About  in Today’s Episode:

  • The benefits of slowing down, getting outside and paying attention to our environment
  • Why watching or reading a screen before bed impacts our sleep
  • How Cybele’s grandfather’s second-hand undies helped influence her choice to create a simpler life
  • The myth of convenience
  • The idea of contentment versus happiness
  • Why I don’t think comic books are clutter
  • How simplifying has made it easier to keep our homes tidy(ish) and us more likely to entertain on a whim.

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

 Keep Listening:

Fighting the Resistance

Resistance - via Slow Your Home

I’m very much a yoga novice. I take a class twice a week and practice most days, but I’m not much more than an enthusiastic beginner.

When I’m in a pose or a stretch I find difficult, my body does this weird thing where it resists the movement. It actively works against itself to stop me from going all the way into a stretch.

Recently I’ve learnt that breathing into it, letting go, releasing the resistance and relaxing helps. A pose I don’t think I can get into (mermaid, anyone?) often becomes easier when I mindfully choose to release the resistance and breathe into it.

(As an aside, that’s one of the things I’m loving so much about yoga – it’s such a mindful practice. No matter how preoccupied I am when I walk in to the class, my mind is clear of everything except yoga for those 60 minutes. I come away feeling mentally light.)

This weekend, as I was doing the washing up, trying to listen to music, hearing the kids squeal and play, thinking of all the stuff I had to do before going out later in the day, I could feel my shoulders get tense. I could feel the muscles of my back crawl up my spine as I continued to resist life.

I didn’t want it to be noisy, I didn’t want to be washing up, I didn’t want to go out that afternoon.

But I realised that resistance was coming from me, not from the circumstances I found myself in. I was resisting those not fun parts of my morning. I was resisting the things that needed to happen. I was resisting life. The everyday, mundane, not fun parts of life felt like something I wanted to fight against.

Of course, the reality is that I can’t. And I don’t really want to.

I don’t live in a vacuum, and there are things I need to do simply because I would be a jerk if I didn’t. There are parts of daily life that aren’t amazing, so it’s best I quit resisting and soften into it.

Standing at the kitchen sink, my shoulders climbing higher up my neck, I took three big deep breaths and told myself to quit fighting and enjoy the moment, in all its mundane normalness.

And while this sounds like typical bloggish hyperbole, the truth is that my shoulders dropped, the fuzzy feeling in my head disappeared and I felt peaceful. even amongst the everyday noise and chores and life stuff.

When it comes to mindfulness, I feel like I’m pretty much an enthusiastic beginner, much like my yoga practice. But I have learnt enough over the past few years of slowing down and simplifying to recognise the benefits of releasing this kind of resistance.

I feel happier, more content, more present, more at ease with wherever I am in life. I feel less stress, less anxiety, less strain, less distraction. Simply by not fighting the resistance.

(Which sounds like some kind of Star Wars reference. But, really, I’m not that clever.)

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I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who listened to The Slow Home Podcast last week. The number of people who tuned in blew my mind (well over 20,000 people at last check) and the feedback I’ve received has been amazing, so thank you.

I also received a few emails asking about the blog now I’ve launched the podcast, and I wanted to reassure you I will still be writing blog posts here every Monday. I think much more clearly when I write, and I also know there are a lot of people who would prefer to read than listen, so the written posts aren’t going anywhere.

Every second Friday 6,000 people also receive my newsletter, which includes an exclusive post (for subscribers only) and a list of Five Things For Your Weekend – a collection of links, thoughts, challenges and other tidbits. If you want to receive the newsletter, you can sign up here.

So the good news is you can now get your Slow Home inspiration three ways:

Rhythm, Baby – SHP005

Rhythm, Baby - Episode 5 of The Slow Home Podcast

When it comes to routine versus rhythm, it’s rhythm all the way for me.

In today’s show (another solo outing to round out the big podcast launch week) I talk about the difference between rhythm and routine, and why it’s important to apply the friendlier notion of rhythm to our days.

Shifting into a rhythmic approach has been one of the best changes I’ve made to my life over the past few years and I feel like I actually get more done (most days) than if I was to apply a regimented routine to my days.

Later in the episode I also take a look at what my morning rhythm looks like at the moment, why my alarm is set for 4am and what I manage to get done before other members of my family wake up.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first week of the show as much as I’ve loved bringing it to you! After today’s episode I will be releasing a new podcast every Thursday morning (Australian time) so be sure to subscribe to the show so you don’t miss out.

If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would be so grateful if you could take one minute to subscribe and leave a rating or a review in iTunes. Apparently this gets the show pushed up in the iTunes rankings and will help other people discover the podcast who otherwise may not. One of the biggest reasons I’ve created the podcast is to help share the ideas of slow living with a wider audience, so any help you could offer would be amazing.

With that in mind, grab a cup of something tasty and dive in to today’s episode.

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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 from the blog, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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What You’ll Hear About  in Today’s Episode:

  • The difference between rhythm and routine
  • Why I think rhythm is a better option, particularly when trying to create a slower, simpler life
  • Why I choose to get up at 4am
  • Why this approach may not work for everyone
  • What my mornings look like and how I have created a rhythm that helps me get a lot done before my family wakes up

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

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