Category Archives: balanced living

Are You Ready To Live A Simple Life?

Living the simple life is not so simple.  Not at first.

It requires letting go.  And if you’ve grown up in a consumer society, where everything is readily available and abundant…and convenient…this can be a real challenge.

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Here’s a telling test.  Sit in a quiet room.  Alone.  No distractions whatsoever.  And sit there for 20 – 30 minutes. In. Complete. Silence.  Think you can do it?  If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, then you won’t be able to simplify.  At least not right away.  You can ease your way into it by starting with a few minutes a day and then building from there.

Living the simple life is living life on your own terms for your own pursuit of happiness, no matter what anyone else says. But you can’t live a simple life if you’re unwilling to let go of what you’re used to.

Therein lies the conflict…releasing what you’ve learned in the past in order to embrace a new way of living for your future.  It can be quite painful, but it’s the kind of pain that pushes one forward.  Think of it as physical therapy for the soul.

There was a time when I tried to be everything to everyone. But all I got was exhaustion, emptiness, feelings of failure and sadness. My health declined. I suffered migraines. I hated my life.  That’s when I took a vow of simplicity.  I wised up and pared down.  Instead of a life of constant busy-ness and rushing, I chose a life of contemplation, creation, and connection with nature, the people I love, and the activities I enjoy doing.

Does this mean I have no distractions or complications? No. But I have much less of them because I have reduced them to make space for the more important things.

If you’re feeling called to lead a simple life but are struggling with the idea of letting go, here are some reflections to help you process:

While letting go can be difficult, it will become easier if you start with a one-day or one-week challenge, upon which you can expand. Let go of something for the allotted time period and see whether you like it or not. Keep a record of your observations.

Decluttering your home and work space will declutter your mind. As you open up space in your environment, you free up your mind. Less time will be devoted to finding things once you establish an organizational system that works for you (you may have to train your family on your new system).

Waking early is a gift and gives you the time to go into your day unrushed. Use this time to read, write, meditate, and center yourself.

Let go of watching the news or programs that fill you with anxiety or fear. Negative energy breeds more negative energy. Also, get away from watching commercials that want you to buy things you don’t really need.

While social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are a great way to stay in touch and share with others, they can be a source of frustration and much pain for some people, especially when those people begin comparing what’s happening (or not) in their lives to what’s happening in the lives of others. Reducing your dependency on such sites opens up space for you to begin creating a better life for yourself.

Waiting for the right time to do something is wasting time. You have to make time, especially for what is important: time with your spouse, time with your kids, time for creating, time for exercise, time for nature, time for self.

Learning to say no gets easier. Reducing your number of commitments reduces your level of stress. Overcommitment is a cardinal sin against simple living. The less you agree to do the more time you will have for yourself. Choose the commitments that are most important to you.

You don’t need to change addresses or move deep into the backcountry to discover simplicity. You can create it right where you are. Simple living is all about self-reliance. It’s about taking your life out of the hands of others and into your own hands.

What will it take for you to live simply?

Balancing Act

I was balancing my checkbook this morning only to find that the numbers didn’t match.  Frustrating.  So I scrutinized my online banking statement and compared it to what I had logged in my checkbook.  I found some addition and subtraction errors and finally balanced the numbers, but it took some effort and time.  My frustration melted away.  Ahhh…

Then I got to thinking about living a balanced life.  You know when you are living a balanced life because you enjoy every moment, you have coping skills in place when challenges arise, you are happy without any reason, and you are your authentic self.  There’s nothing simpler than living a balanced life.
Some people may try to blame the world for the imbalances in their lives.  They feel overworked, fatigued, and stressed because of the demands of their careers, family obligations, and other responsibilities.  What these people fail to realize is that it’s not the world that causes imbalance; they are the cause of the imbalance themselves because they were the ones who agreed to the demands in the first place, consciously or not.  
How does one restore balance?
Living a balanced life will take some work.  Balancing your life is like trying to balance a checkbook when your numbers are off.  It takes scrutiny.  Every area of your life, every nook and cranny, needs to be analyzed.  Once you find where you can make changes, you’ll find yourself in the flow and you’ll discover ways to steer your life in your desired direction.  You will feel empowered.  
Here are some essentials to help you live a more balanced life:
1.  Admit that your life is imbalanced and realize where you need to make changes.  Take inventory of our life.  Where do you feel the most pressure happening?  Become aware of those stressors so that you can begin a plan of action to take care of yourself.
2.  Cultivate awareness and mindfulness.  This is the key to balanced living.  You begin to appreciate every moment of your life.  Being mindful means being in the present moment; it does not mean living in the past or the future, even though it’s important to plan for the future and to learn from the past. Remaining calm in the moment keeps you from making decisions you may regret in the future.
3.  Set boundaries.  Learn to say no.  Don’t take on more responsibilities than you already have.  Your goal is to lighten the load you’ve been carrying.  Being everything to everybody will leave nothing for yourself.  You’ll be of no help to anyone, not even yourself, if you do not take care of your needs.  
4.  Pay attention to your body.  Your body will tell you when it needs to recharge.  Your body is a gift.  Take care of it.  Eat proper nutrition.  Get plenty of exercise.  Rest when you need to rest.  Balanced living is not possible without a balanced body.  
5.  Simplify.  If your work schedule is a major contributor of stress, you may need to delegate some of your responsibilities.  If that doesn’t work, have a heart-to-heart with your employer to help you make the much-needed changes. You may have to change jobs if there is no other solution.  If certain relationships are stressful, you may have to end them and begin connecting with people of positive influence.  Reduce your social media exposure if you find yourself spending too much time online.  
6.  Turn on your creativity. Challenges are a part of life. Put your creativity to use when solving problems. Use your creativity to turn your dreams into reality.  Balanced people are in touch with their creativity.  
7.  Be patient with yourself.  Some things take time.  Track your progress along the way and reward yourself when you reach your goals.  Patience will help you to keep things in perspective.  A patient mind is a mindful one, and mindfulness leads to balance.  
Living a balanced life may take some time and effort, but the pay-off in the end is a life of happiness, joy, and peace.  It begins with choice.  If you truly desire a balanced life, you will do what is necessary, but it begins with you and no one else.