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Posted on May 20, 2013 in How to simplify

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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To simplify our lives, we can use all three of these activities for our home and our activities.

  • Reduce what you spend time on to only the things that mean the most to you.
  • Reduce the commitments you make to those that bring fulfillment and happiness.
  • Reduce our possessions to make more time and resources available for what we want in our lives.

Lately, reusing objects has become fashionable. So fashionable, that the practice has moved into mass production: distressing new objects to look old, and mass-producing retro items to look reused. We still can repurpose things and activites to make our lives simpler and more meaningful.

  • Take a walk around the lake with a friend instead of going to the gym, then meeting them for dinner.
  • Donate time to a food bank with our whole family on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Reuse those grocery bags to collect trash or recycling instead of letting them take over your cabinets.

Recycling is so satisfying, but you can do more than just put your newspapers out for collection each week. Think about what you have in excess, and what is needed somewhere else.

  • Give your third term as President of the PTA to someone else, and devote the extra time to something you have been wanting to learn.
  • Have a monthly collection day with your kids for books, toys and coats that they have outgrown. Have them join your when you dro them off at the collection site.
  • Find out what can be recycled that you are currently throwing in the trash. You can find help here and here, or find a link to your town’s recycling program.

Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass

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Posted on May 16, 2013 in Inspiration

Only this moment

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Don’t Panic.
-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

When a loud noise outside wakes up my dog, he lifts up his head and looks worried. I find myself saying to him:

Everything is OK, doggie. It’s OK.

Listening to myself say this, I realized that even with the stresses at work and the loud banging of the garbage truck outside, that it is true. True for me too. Right now at this moment, everything is OK. We are both warm inside our house. We are healthy, we have enough to eat. We are safe. In an hour, I may be at my desk with 100 emails to face, but I can scratch behind his ears, and pet his neck, and thank him for reminding me.

For LV
Photo Credit: egar2c

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Posted on May 14, 2013 in Inspiration, My Journey

Gratitude 101

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Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I was reading a blog today, and it made me think of yesterday’s post. What I was trying to say was that when you stop focusing on resentment, you can see what you have to be grateful for. I set out to simplify by preventing anger at those little things that get me down some days. I never considered how many busy streets I cross every day without a second thought, or how great stoplights are.

What I saw was from Russia. You can find it here or here.

I think what the lesson could be in the video is that if you focus on what you are grateful for, you can be happy and not notice the things you could be angry about. This is advanced gratitude, and I am still in gratitude 101, though. I’m still going to have to ask for what I want.

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Posted on May 12, 2013 in My Journey

More Than You Ask For

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Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.-Abraham Lincoln

Resentment is heavy to carry around all day. I started a challenge last month. Instead of doing the slow burn or venting to friends, I asked for what I wanted. I try hard to ask as a genuine request with a smile, without added irritation or forced politeness. Here is what I found so far:

  • The line-cutting man was not happy, but agreed that it was the right thing to do as I helped him move his stuff to the back of the grocery belt. I made it home on time.
  • The flight attendant was perfectly OK giving me water to take my vitamins AND coffee. Two hours later, she said no to giving me a whole can of sparkling water.
  • The administrator who handles my group said she could not possibly do one more thing for me this month because she has to go on a two-week vacation in only 10 days.
  • The florist gave me a free upgrade to make up for the late delivery of flowers I ordered as a gift.
  • My fancy pedometer was cheerfully relplaced with a newer model when I wrote an email saying that it did not correctly count flights of stairs climbed.

These were small requests, and not completely successful. Not a bad result though, considering I may have just let them all go by previously.

The funny thing was that I started noticing when people did kind things for me without my asking. One person picked up my scarf and returned it when I didn’t notice I had dropped it. Someone left space for me to turn in onto the street front of them as they were waiting for the light. Another waited to hold the door for me as I struggled with several bags. I found myself doing these things more often too.

I began this project to try to complain less, but the surprising outcome was that I changed my focus from what was annoying me to what else was happening.

All I had to do was ask.

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Posted on May 10, 2013 in How to simplify, Uncategorized

3 Steps to Get What You Really Want

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Sometimes simple is not easy.

Decide what you want, not what you don’t want.

Most of us have a vague idea of what we want in our lives. We usually have a very clear idea of what we don’t want, though. This is a good place to start. If you know that you don’t want to work in a cubicle, where do you want to work? At home in your pajamas? Outdoors? In the corner office? You deserve it, so why not have what makes you happy?

Think about what would be different if you had what you want. Write all this down in a list.

If you work at home in your pajamas, your commute would no longer be a source of stress for you. No one would eat your lunch from the office fridge or jam the copy machine and walk away. Pajamas are sooo comfortable.

You will also need to do several things, including get rid of your suits, have a home office (or couch), get yourself out of bed every day and work without spending 4 hours playing Candy Crush or watching a whole season of Swamp People, and very likely pay for your own health care.

Think about this a lot. Read about the jobs that allow pajamas. Do some have health insurance? What skills do you have that would allow you to have your own business? What skills would you need to acquire? Do you need to save money? How long will this take?

Make the things on your list happen.

You can’t anticipate everything. Some of the things on the list will be easer than others, but do some of them today. Start on the difficult and complicated ones today, too. Talk about this goal and the list with people who will listen to you, especially if they have done some of these things themselves. Do some more things from your list tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Then, take the leap.

Knowing what you want is a big step. Knowing what you have to do, and having it written down will keep you focused on the goal, and help open your eyes to opportunities that you might otherwise miss.

It might not be easy.
Do it anyway.

Photo credit: cogdogblog http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/

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