If I Only Knew…

If Only I Knew

If I only knew back then:

That a simplified life was within my reach.

That buying all the stuff for our new home was a waste of time, money and energy.

That throwing these huge birthday parties for my kids would not make their lives any better.

That hanging out with small minded people would make me, well, small minded.

That filling all the minutes of my day with tasks and activities would not create an enriching life for me.

That the importance of health is underrated and I should make the time to look after myself.

That sleep is more vital than we realise.

That having a wedding with 30 guests would have been far better than a wedding with 100.

That what people show on the outside is not a true reflection of what is going on inside.

 

But these things, I didn’t know back then. I do now. And the difference is, I can appreciate what I know now more than I could have back then when I was younger.

Not knowing back then what I know now allowed me to experience some hard lessons and some frustrations. But these were all lessons that had to be learnt.

If you told me 10 years ago that I was hanging around with too many small minded people, I would have denied it.

If you told me I shouldn’t be throwing big parties for my kids, I would have ignored you.

If you told me I should have given up some of the activities I was involved in, I would have argued with you.

Yes I wish I knew some of the things I know now. I wish I had started my unbusy journey years ago, or had not embarked on a crazy busy life instead. But there’s no point wasting my energy on regret and wishful thinking.

You may have found this post as somebody about to begin their unbusy journey, or someone who has finally had enough of living a life of busyness and less meaning. Maybe you have finally embraced minimalism and simplicity and wondered why you never did it earlier.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But so is living in the present moment.

Forget “if I only knew” and remember “what I know now”. Use what you know now as your source of inspiration moving forward. It will be far more rewarding than regretting the past!

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? What do you know now that will help you shape the rest of your life? Share with me in the comments.

This post is linking up with “I must confess” via the wonderful blog “My Home Truths”:

I Must Confess

7 Habits For Living A More Simplified Life

Living a more simplified life

 

One of the beautiful aspects of living a more simplified life, is that you get to define and create your own version of an unbusy lifestyle.

My own definition of an unbusy life is constantly being tweaked and refined, as I learn more about myself and what makes me and my family happy.

What I consider to be living a more simplified life would be different to what, for example, my sister or my mother would consider. And I’m sure my version of unbusy is slightly different to your version of unbusy.

I have a friend who loves fashion and shopping for clothes, but does so with intention and purpose, rather than going on a random crazy shopping spree. She has culled her wardrobe and adopted a more minimalist approach to what she wears.  This has resulted in spending less money and reducing her credit card debt. She now feels more freedom from not owning so many clothes and from not having as much debt. This is her version of a simplified life.

But whether we own 375 items or only 55, or we spend our spare time reading or hiking, there are certain similarities we all share when we live a less busy and more meaningful life.

 

7 Habits of People Living A More Simplified Life

The following is a list of 7 habits of people living a more simplified, and less busy life. These habits form the foundation of a minimalist lifestyle, regardless of what you build upon this foundation. I have gleaned these habits from spending time with friends who have embraced minimalism, as well as bloggers I follow and look to for inspiration, and what I have found out while on my own journey.


1. Letting go of perfectionism

Embracing a less-than-perfect life is a great way to slow down the pace a little. Imagine how different your life could be if you stopped trying to make everything perfect. This can be difficult at first, but it doesn’t have to involve dramatic changes overnight. It could be as simple as accepting the less-than-perfect moments- a pile of dishes or washing not yet completed, or not being as organised as you previously would be. Letting go of perfectionism creates a less busy life- it frees up time and money and reduces stress. We are already perfect in our own way, the good bits and the not-so-good bits!

2. Accepting the things we cannot control

I have to admit that this was one area of my life that completely changed once I started living a more simplfied life. Previously, there was so much in my life that I wanted to control: the way my children behaved, my employment situation, the direction of my life. While it is true that we can steer our lives to a certain extent, there is still a lot that is determined by what is going on around us. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! By letting go of control, we are not allowing our lives to spiral out of control. Rather, we are not fighting what is a natural occurrence! If we let life just “be”, and let the universe work its magic, life becomes quite amazing.

3. Quality over quantity

Contrary to popular belief, living a minimalistic lifestyle does not involve sticking to a certain number of items. Or even counting items, for that matter! It doesn’t matter if you own 50 things or 500 things, what matters is your connection to the things you own. It is true that the fewer things you own, the less stress and busyness creeps into your life. However, we are all at different stages of our simplistic lifestyle, and we all let go of “stuff” when the time is right- when we are ready to learn a new lesson.

4. Practice, don’t preach

I learnt this lesson the hard way, but can you really blame someone for wanting to share something exciting with as many people as possible? But sometimes being the sharing and caring type can really put other people off. The best way to get your message about minimalism across to the people you care most about, is to live an unbusy and simplified life. The benefits will be obvious to everyone around you, and will speak more loudly than words ever could. My husband still doesn’t really “get” what minimalism is all about, but he sees the change in me and the change in our family.

5. Swimming the other way

As you begin to change your way of living and adopt a more simplified lifestyle, you will notice that some of your choices and decisions will not be considered “the norm”. In fact, you might find that you start swimming away from the rest of the crowd.

As Maya Angelou once said, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Consider your new direction to a less busy life as the beginning of something amazing. Ignore any negative comments from others, and stay strong and true to your word. I promise you, that by living a less busy life, your perception of the world will change. Your perception of your own life will change. This can open up some amazing opportunities for you.

6. Starting on the right foot

Do you feel stressed and in a rush as soon as you get out of bed each morning? I remember waking up and the first thing I would do is run a list in my head of all the things I thought I had to achieve and complete that very day. This was before I had even had a chance to wish my family good morning, or even have a cup of coffee. People who live a less busy and minimalist lifestyle value morning time. Making the time to eat a nutritious breakfast. Making the time to perhaps meditate, or do some yoga. Making the time to wish the family a good morning, and to ask how they slept the night before. I now make sure I wake up an hour earlier than I used to, before the kids wake up. I spend about an hour in my lounge room drinking a cup of coffee or peppermint tea, and eating breakfast. If I still have time, I might read for about 10 minutes. Spending this time on myself means I don’t feel so stressed for the rest of the day, and I feel that I have honoured the importance of looking after myself. Which leads to the final habit…

7. Honouring yourself

One of the biggest flaws in our society is believing that thinking about ourselves, or doing things for ourselves is selfish. This is not to say that we abandon our responsibilities and run away with the circus. But rather, doing small things on a regular basis that makes us feel happy and healthy is vital. We need to put more value and emphasis on the “small things”, and realise that they are actually “big things”. A couple of examples that spring to mind is spending the time enjoying our meal rather than scoffing down a quick lunch because we are too busy (and possibly ending up with indigestion!). Or taking a longer bath or shower because the warmth of the water feels so relaxing and soothing after a hectic day. For me, I love sitting down with a good book and reading, uninterrupted, for about half an hour. We need to learn not to feel guilty for enjoying these simple pleasures. We deserve to be looked after. We deserve to be happy and healthy.

I hope that this list of habits helps you live a more simplified life.  It might take some of the confusion or guilt out of changing your lifestyle, or it might make you feel that you belong to a community of other like-minded people. Because there are many of us out there- more people are opting for a simplified lifestyle. We may have lives that appear very different from the outside, but beneath all that, we are minimalists at heart.

I would love to hear whether you have adopted some of the above habits, or whether there are other habits that you have adopted since living an unbusy life.

9 Signs You’re Doing Ok! (Even If You Feel Like You’re Not)

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Today, I almost decided to stop writing Unbusy Me.

While I was flipping pancakes for my kids at breakfast time, I made a decision that it was time to move on from writing and sharing stories about living a less busy life. It was time to find something else to write about and share.

These feelings stemmed from the writer’s block that I have been experiencing since before Christmas. In fact, I could probably call it “life block”- feeling unsure of what to do next in my life, while watching everyone else create wonderful businesses and achieve their dreams and goals.

But then I received an email from a friend and follower of Unbusy Me, an email relating to what I write about which got me all excited and inspired.

And I listened to a talk by best-selling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr, who talked about embracing the different seasons of one’s life. My life is currently in a “winter” phase, however there are a few blossoms starting to show up. Not much is going on at the moment, and it’s not a time for me to jump into a new job or career. However, I am planting a few seeds which will hopefully grow in the coming months.

I always tell my kids not to give up when things get a little tough. Just last week, my 10 year old daughter was complaining that she hates her ballet class this year, because the steps are getting more difficult. Then I reminded her that she says this at the start of every year, and to persevere because by the end of the year when she dances in her concert, she is so happy and loves what she is doing.

So I have decided to take my own advice!

I have reversed my decision to stop Unbusy Me. I’m not going anywhere just yet!
It’s okay if you ever feel tempted to return to the life you used to live. If you feel tempted to join your friends on a spur of the moment shopping trip. If you find yourself starting to fill up your calendar or forget to say no when someone asks you to do something for them. If your kids start complaining that you aren’t spending enough time with them.

If you decide to quit your business, or stop writing your blog.

When we feel tempted to leave our unbusy journey and return to the lives we once led, let’s embrace these feelings of temptation and uncomfortable confusion. Let’s try to find the lesson in such thoughts and emotions rather than just walk away.

To help you through these “winter” moments of your life, when things aren’t really moving and you just feel like hibernating or chilling out, I have created a list of signs that tell you that you’re doing okay (even when you feel like you’re not!).

Print the list up and stick it on your fridge and read through it whenever you feel lost or confused about the changes you are making to your life.

1. You know who you can count on during tough times.
You choose to spend your time with those you love and you have built solid friendships with those who will celebrate the good times but also help you get through the bad times.

2. You know when your body is tired.
You listen to your body when it’s telling you that you need to rest and are maybe taking on too much. You don’t feel guilty for choosing to rest- maybe not taking your work home with you, or deciding to go to bed an hour earlier than usual. And you’re ok with it!

3. You appreciate material possessions but don’t feel the need to own them.
You browse and admire things when you are out shopping, but you don’t feel the pull of having to own the item. You are happy to borrow a book from the library rather than buy it, and you admire a gorgeous dress but realise that you don’t really need it.

4. Your definition of success does not include the words “power” or “money”.
Your definition includes words such as balanced, fulfilment, happiness and giving.

5. You embrace the negatives as well as the positives.
Rather than viewing yourself as a failure, you embrace the not-so-good experiences and view them as lessons. You appreciate such experiences and know that they are stepping stones to your growth and enlightenment.

6. You make the time to look after yourself.
You no longer feel guilty about deciding to sit in a relaxing bath once a week, or finding the time to moisturise your feet, or reading that book you’ve been meaning to read.

7. You find joy and fulfilment in helping others.
You realise that one of the quickest ways to experience happiness is to help someone in need.

8. You own less stuff than you did when you began your journey.
You have been decluttering your home and getting rid of stuff that is cramping your life. You might have more you want to get rid of, but you have come a long way since you began.

9. Your calendar has more free days than previously.
You don’t feel the need to cram your calendar full of events. You no longer mind having a weekend with nothing on, or an afternoon without any plans. In fact, you look forward to having a lull in your week or month.

Is there anything you would add to this list that helps you realise you are doing ok? Or are you embracing a season- maybe it’s the summertime of your life and you are out there creating a wonderful life and living big, or maybe life’s a bit more chilled out like wintertime? I’d love to hear from you- please leave a comment!

My Wish For You This Year

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Happy New Year to all my readers!

My wish for you is that you have a happy, safe and restful 2015, and that you take some time to enjoy each moment that presents itself.

The beginning of a new year can be an exciting time, as we are given the chance for a “do-over”. The possibilities and opportunities for the next 12 months seem endless. But the other side of the coin is that we can feel pressured to set high expectations for what we want to achieve: it could be weight loss, giving up smoking, business expansions, radical makeovers.

Although we do not know what is in store for each of us this year, we can set intentions for the way we want to think, feel and behave in any given moment. We can focus on how we want to live our lives.

My intention for 2015 is to continue to live a less busy life- to honour each moment of each day. I want to embrace life for what it is, rather than trying to control a situation, or keep up with the busyness that many of us get caught up in.

Perhaps you are thinking of doing the same. Perhaps 2014 was a crazy busy time for you, and the year flew by and left you wondering where the time went. Perhaps you realised that life can feel like it is slipping by. Perhaps you are tired of trying to keep up with a hectic pace. Perhaps you just want to slow down.

If your inner voice is telling you that the way you are approaching your life is not the best way, maybe it’s time to listen.

There is ALWAYS a better way.

Many of you know that I was laid off from my job of 10 years in late November. I decided I would embrace my time not working, and that I would enjoy 2015 and live a slower pace.

Well, the first six weeks of being unemployed created a mix of emotions. Although my body was trying to tell me to slow down, that silly voice in my head was saying that it wasn’t right for me to simply enjoy not doing anything. The guilt started to set in- my husband would come home from work each day absolutely exhausted, while I spent the day pottering around the house. Or reading a novel.

I’m a modern day woman who has been used to juggling a career and motherhood, and household responsibilities. I felt a bit “naked” without having a career anymore.

In fact, as stupid as this sounds, I felt like I had lost a part of my identity.

That’s when I realised that for many of us, our careers are our identities. Think about when you meet someone for the first time. What’s one of the first questions you might ask the other person? “So, what do you do?”

And for the first time, I do not have a concrete plan for the year. We have a big vacation planned for the family later in the year, and I am focusing on finishing my degree. But workwise, no plans at all.

And that’s ok. Because life is about enjoying each moment, and not just focusing on what we want our futures to look like.

It’s ok to think about the remaining 11.5 months of 2015 and think “I have no idea what is in store for me this year, but that’s ok because I will enjoy every moment”.

This shift in perception requires changing the mindset- going from thinking about tomorrow, or next week, or next month, to thinking about today.

Thinking about now.

If you want to slow your pace down, start off by changing your perception towards time. Think about the present moment- are you enjoying what you are doing right this minute?

If you would rather be reading a novel than washing the dishes, then give yourself permission to stop and read.

If your child has asked you to play a game with him/her, then give yourself permission to stop what you are doing and go play that game.

If your friend has called you right in the middle of household chores, stop, sit down and have that conversation.

Focus your efforts on how you want to think, feel and act in each moment of 2015.

The rewards for changing your perception will be plentiful, I promise you. Living the life you were meant to live will result in new opportunities and possibilities presenting themselves to you. You will notice a shift in your mood, your attitude, and your energy. You will start to attract opportunities that reflect your change in mood.

Now that sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

It sounds a whole lot better than setting to-do lists, new year’s resolutions, or goals.

Please stay in touch, and let me know if you have decided to live a slower pace, and how this has changed your life. Throughout 2015, I will continue to share with you tips and ideas on how to live a less busy, and more meaningful life. You deserve it!

Happy new year!

 

Natalie

Today I Left My Job

crossroads

The following is a post I wrote on Tuesday morning at 4am.

I couldn’t sleep and was inspired to write.

Today I left my job.

After 10 years with the same company in the same job, it was time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.

I had set a goal to leave my job by the end of 2015, but back in August the company announced a restructure of our department and I was given the option of a new job with unfavourable conditions, or a redundancy package. I took the latter.

So here I am at 4am, unable to sleep because of mixed emotions: excitement that I have finally left work and will not return to the workforce for a while, and also disbelief that this has actually happened! For the first time in my life I do not have a job! I’m unemployed!

If my redundancy had occurred five years ago, I would have been a complete mess.

But today, there is so much excitement about what lies ahead. Although I have a few exciting plans for 2015, largely my life is in the hands of the universe.

Universe, it’s time to show me what you’ve got!

What I am looking forward to the most is the different turn that my unbusy journey may take.

When we experience a life changing event it’s a good time to look deep within ourselves, and also at what is going on around us, to decide which path we will now take. It’s also a good time to let go of any tendency to control the next stage of our lives- if we don’t know what we want to do, let the universe do its thing and give us some guidance.

By taking the time to pay attention to what is going on in the present moment, we can uncover lots of information about what we should be doing next.

Paying attention, instead of keeping busy, means there is no room for distractions and noise that might try to convince us to stray from our journeys.

There is no room for regret of the past or fear of the future, or else we will miss what is going on in the here and now.

There is no room for second guessing ourselves.

For me, my life will be at its least busiest!

There will be more time for lingering, more time for pausing, more time for celebrating and more time for resting.

Now that I won’t be in paid work, I am peeling back the layers of busyness even more. What lies beneath the layers? Only time will tell!

Have you recently experienced a recent life changing event? Have you reached the crossroads of your unbusy, or even busy, journey? I’d love to know!

REMINDER: Don’t forget my upcoming December Challenge: 31 Days of Random Acts of Kindness. Contribute  your suggestion for a random act, and look out for my upcoming PDF printouts to use for the challenge, starting December 1.

 

December Challenge: Random Acts Of Kindness

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

We often get so caught up in our everyday lives that we think we are too busy to stop and help others around us who are in need, or we think that the world’s problems are too big for us to help solve.

So for the month of December, I would like to set a challenge for everyone reading this- each day, choose ONE random act of kindness to perform.

I have created a list below of 20 random acts of kindness, and need another 11 to make up 31 acts, enough for each day in December. This is where you can contribute to this challenge- comment after this post, a suggestion for a random act of kindness. I will then select the best 11 suggestions to add to my list.

Once the list is finalised, I will create and provide a PDF of all the acts, which you can then print off, cut up, fold and place in a jar or container. Each morning in December, take one random act out of the jar and make it your mission to perform this act sometime during the day.

The idea is to help us pause each day in December, which is traditionally a busy month in the year for many people.

Creating a less busy and more meaningful life means taking the time to help other people, and to play a role in making our planet a better place to live in. When you spread kindness to other people, you are sharing more positive energy around you, which leads to others sharing positive energy around themselves. Kindness is infectious- it makes you feel good about yourself, and makes others feel good about themselves too. It starts a domino effect!

Here is the list I have created so far:

Open the door for someone

Pay for someone else’s coffee

Smile at a stranger

Let someone queue in front of you

Write a lovely anonymous note and put it in a neighbour’s mailbox

Pay for someone’s parking ticket

Give your neighbour’s dog a toy

Write an inspirational quote on a piece of paper and leave it on someone’s car windscreen

Say hi to someone you often see but never speak to

Get your children to write and post a letter to their grandparents

Donate a book to your library

Pay a compliment to a work colleague

Write a thank you note the next time someone does something nice to you

Call someone you have not spoken to in a long time

Write a note to your spouse listing all the things you love about them

When packing your child’s lunchbox, leave a little note for them

Offer to look after someone else’s child for a few hours

Next time you’re at the supermarket, ask the person serving you how their day is

Share your umbrella when it’s raining

Send a Christmas card to someone you don’t see very often

Ok now it’s your turn. Write one random act of kindness you would like to see on our list- whether it’s an act of kindness to others, yourself, your workplace, your school, the planet, your neighbourhood…

Share below and let’s see what wonderful list we can come up with for our December Challenge!

What Makes Me Weird

Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

 

I prefer being alone than with a large group of people.

I hate clothes shopping.

The smell of tuna makes me feel ill.

These are just three things about me that make me weird- there are many more, but I won’t bore you.

For many years, I have conformed and tried to “fit in” with certain groups of people while at the same time have been preaching to my children the importance of celebrating diversity and individuality.

We want our children to leave their unique footprints in the world rather than following the crowd and conforming to certain expectations, but we also want our children to be seen as normal and not “weird”- we want them to have healthy friendships and not endure bullying from others for being a little bit different.

How many of us practice what we preach? How often have you changed your behaviour or allowed others to dictate how you live in order to “fit in” and feel accepted?

When I was younger, I remember going out with a group of friends who were quite “girly” and loved to dress up and wear make up so I did the same- dressed myself up in clothes I would normally never wear just to be able to fit in. We spent the afternoon shopping and trying on different outfits. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and feeling physically ill because I was acting like a complete fraud- I did not feel comfortable or happy, and was bored! I wanted to go home and put on some comfy clothes and listen to music in my bedroom, alone.

The sad fact is, this sort of behaviour is not just limited to teenage girls, but also adults of all ages.

Conformity happens in the workplace, in local communities, and in the public eye.

The cost of conformity is not only losing your sense of identity, but losing time. Some people spend years living a life that is expected of them, and then suddenly wake up to realise that they have wasted their lives.

Conformity can also lead to busyness and living a hectic lifestyle. Here are 3 ways that hiding your “weirdness” and conforming could be making you busy:

1. You have expectations to fulfil: Maybe extra meetings you need to attend at work, activities you need to undertake (a weekly appointment at the beauty salon?) or an obligation you need to fulfil (baking for the school cake stall) in order to meet the expectations of others.

2. You have standards you need to live by: The most coveted home in the neighbourhood, the coolest car, the glitziest parties or the full social calendar. Living by such standards takes time and money.

3. You are busy hiding who you really are: For some people, it takes a lot of time and effort to hide who they really are from the rest of the world. Time that could be spent living a more honest and fulfilling life if only there wasn’t a need or desire to conform.

By identifying what you are currently doing in your life due to conformity, you can make the decision to change your behaviour and not only be more true to yourself, but also gain more time. You don’t have to start breaking the law or dyeing your hair pink, but making small, subtle changes can create a positive ripple effect. It could be learning to say no, or deciding that something does not “feel” right to you, therefore it isn’t worth pursuing. Or perhaps all you need is to change your perception of something about yourself- see a weakness as an actual strength!

Judy Garland once said “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

Let’s all leave an individual footprint behind!

If you are feeling game enough, I’d love for you to share 3 things that make you “weird” or something you have always wanted to do but have been too afraid because it isn’t the “norm” for someone like you!

 

If you have the time…

I have written three guest posts in the past fortnight that I would love for you to read:

Sharon from Rediscovered Families(presence and awareness for strong family connection) was kind enough to invite me to share a story as part of the “Choosing To Connect” series, No Substitute For Time. Thanks Sharon!

I also did a guest post Finding The Time for The Mindset Effect (the power in the way we think)- thanks Ali!

Many of you have found me via Miss Minimalist, but for those who didn’t, here’s a link to a profile I wrote for her. Enjoy!

The Beauty of Abundance

(Image: The Debonair Dame via Pinterest)

(Image: The Debonair Dame via Pinterest)

 

Last week I was given the news that I am being made redundant from my corporate job that I have been working in for the past 10 years, in the banking and finance sector.

Oh no, you’re thinking.” That’s terrible, to be out of a job”. “It is so difficult these days to find employment, especially when the economy isn’t so strong”. “How will she help support her family?”” How will she pay her bills?” ” I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes…”

I was first made aware about the possibility of being unemployed about 6 weeks ago and to tell you the truth, I was shit scared. How would I pay the bills? Put my kids through the school of our choice? Meet our weekly financial commitments? It was a stressful time for me and my family, with my kids seeing a side to their mother that they had not seen before.

First came shock, then denial, then anger. How dare they try to get rid of me. Don’t they realise I have 10 years of skills and experience? I know all the policies and regulations, the products, how to provide the best information for my customer.

During the 6 weeks from announcement of the department restructure to the announcement of my redundancy, I began doing some serious soul searching. I knew that in order to keep some sort of sanity intact and to get through the emotional rollercoaster of employment instability, I had to rely on something other than my mind which tended to wander off into “what if” territory…

I’d like to share with you 3 lessons I learned during my soul searching, and a lot of it relates back to money, or our fear of a lack of money.

1. We can learn to separate fact from “what ifs”. Fact: I will be unemployed in a couple of months. Yes, this will occur, but no I will not be living in poverty as a result. Yes, we may need to rework a few things in our family budget but no we will not be without. Yes, I will be without a job but no, my skills, knowledge and expertise will not be disappearing.

Likewise, when it comes to time, or our feelings of a lack of time, by breaking down the situation into what is actual fact and what is just a “what if” scenario that messes with our minds, helps to put a clearer perspective on a situation. Yes, you have a deadline to meet but no, time is not going to be shortened for you. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day and yes you need to get that job done and yes you do have time.

2. Abundance attracts abundance, while lack attracts more lack. This all begins with the thoughts you carry with you every day, which then translates into your feelings and actions. By focusing more on the abundance in your life rather than the lack, your feelings, attitudes and actions change and with that, you attract more abundance into your life. This includes thinking and feeling that you have all the time that you need to accomplish what you want to accomplish. By thinking in terms of a lack of time, you will always find yourself lacking time and being caught up in your busyness.

If I was to focus on thoughts of not having enough money, not being able to earn more money, not being able to find a job, not being able to get out of a feeling of negativity and despair then guess what- I will continue to attract lack into my life. This does not mean that if I start saying to myself everyday that I have a million dollars that a million dollars will eventually appear in my bank account (although it would be lovely!), but if I focus on the fact that at any given moment I have everything that I need in my life, I will feel abundance and therefore will continue to attract abundance. My life is abundant with love from my family, love within myself, happiness, a sense of gratitude, time, skills and knowledge that I can share with others, good health.

3. By trusting that the best outcome for everybody always occurs, I can have trust in the present and future, that everything will be okay regardless of whether the outcome I want eventuates or not. Sometimes we are fixated on what we think we want and need, yet a situation may pan out quite differently and it isn’t until much later on that we realise that what eventuated was indeed exactly the best thing for us.

How we react to life changing events can influence the next direction our lives take, however by becoming more mindful of the reality of a situation and accepting the thoughts and feelings that we initially experience and then changing our thought system to one that is more trusting of life, we will notice a shift in mindset. We will  begin to experience life from a different perspective, one that allows us to accept whatever happens to us and trust that it was the best thing to happen in that point in time, even if we don’t see it until weeks, months or years later on.

I wait for the next stage of my life to unfold, and accept that my job redundancy is the best thing that will happen to me in a long time. Although I am not sure exactly what will come next in my career and life, I trust that whatever lessons I need to learn and whatever door I need to open will appear at the right moment.

And that’s the beauty, and mystery, of life.

Nat xx

 

Change Begins With YOU

Image: cntraveler.com

Image: cntraveler.com

 

 

One of my daughters has a habit of sucking her thumb, mainly at night before going to sleep. Her thumb sucking has caused movement in her teeth and while she still has all her baby teeth, we are concerned that once her adult teeth come through her thumb sucking may cause permanent damage. And so we have been encouraging her to stop.

Her dentist recommended joining a $500 positive reinforcement program to help my daughter stop sucking her thumb, and while it sounded like a great idea, the thought of having $500 sucked out of my wallet was not too appealing. However, the dentist asked my daughter a very important question: “Do you want to stop sucking your thumb? Because we can try helping you in many different ways, but if you don’t want to stop, then nothing will help you”.

Up until this point, I had never thought to ask my daughter this question. I assumed that as she was still sucking her thumb, that meant she still wanted to. However, her answer was “No”.

She didn’t want to suck her thumb at night anymore, but she did not know how to stop.

Last week she was playing outside on her scooter when she fell off and grazed her thumb, and it was the thumb that she sucks on at night. We had to put a bandage on her thumb to stop the bleeding.

That night, she couldn’t suck her thumb because of the bandage. For the first time in her life, she did not suck her thumb at night.

So we tried again the following night. The bandage again prevented her from sucking her thumb.

She was so happy.

For the past 10 days, we have placed a bandage on her thumb at night and this has stopped her from sucking it. Every morning she tells me with excitement, “Mum I didn’t suck my thumb last night!”

There was no doubt that she would stop sucking her thumb, because she WANTED to stop. It was just a matter of finding the best way to help her do this.

The same can be said for becoming unbusy.

I can give you all the tools, the tips, the advice but you have to want to be unbusy. You need to have the desire to stop being busy, otherwise your reality will not change.

Change begins with the willingness to change. The rest will come, and change will happen, but we have to give ourselves permission to change.

Sometimes it is as simple as making a statement to the world about what you want to change. I want to stop sucking my thumb. I want to have more money in my life. I want to find more love in my life. I want to be less busy.

A willingness to change opens up our minds to the possibilities of change. Once we have verbalised the desire to change something, life provides us with the opportunities to make the change happen and reveals endless possibilities and experiences.

My daughter falling off her scooter and hurting her thumb provided us with the opportunity to change her thumb sucking habit.

My change in work circumstances has opened up my mind to the possibilities of other career options and aspirations that I would not have thought about otherwise.

Sometimes the opportunity for change has been knocking on our doors for a very long time, but we have not been open to it. We have not verbalised our desire for change, or we have chosen not to see the lessons that are being taught to us because we have become so busy and caught up in our everyday lives, maybe out of fear?

Do you want to be unbusy? Do you want to find more time in your life? Do you desire more freedom, more life, more happiness? Only you can answer these questions, but answer them out loud.

Tell the world what you desire.

Yell out to the world what you want to change, for when you do, the biggest step has already been taken and the world will guide you down the remaining path.

Change begins with you.

 

Letting Things Fester

ForgivenessHave you ever given advice to someone and then realised that you have been doing the complete opposite, and so feel like a complete hypocrite?

That happened to me today.

I was talking to a friend this morning and giving advice about how to overcome a situation where two people cannot move forward after a disagreement- it made me feel frustrated thinking about the negative energy that remains after an argument, and how by letting things fester, we are not only making ourselves and the other person feel crap, but the negative energy that festers spreads to other people around us.

And by not forgiving someone, we are wasting time and energy on an emotion that stems from our egos.

After my conversation this morning, I felt uneasiness and guilt for I realised that I had been treating a person in a similar manner, and had let the tension between us fester for several months. Oh I was still annoyed with this person, and believed I was the one in the right, but after stopping to think about the situation and how much time and energy I had wasted being frustrated and annoyed with this person, I realised that I had to let go of the situation. I had to forgive this person, and move on. Clear the air. Nip the bud.

I realised that negative thoughts and emotions contribute to our busyness. How, you ask?

Think about the last disagreement you had with someone- were you able to walk away from that argument and continue on with your life like nothing had happened? You may have made it look that way to the rest of the world, but I bet deep down in your subconscious you were still suffering from the negativity.

Myself, it can take me hours or days to be able to continue on with life as it was before said disagreement. I might be washing the dishes then all of a sudden stop and think “Damn *insert name*, I’m so angry with them for what they did” and then I realise I’ve wasted 10 minutes allowing negative thoughts and emotions to take over me. 10 minutes I could have spent doing something far more productive. And then I find myself working twice as hard to stay on top of everything. I have become busy.

We might call a friend and vent our frustrations, and end up on the phone for over an hour.

We might feel like staying in bed all day feeing sorry for ourselves.

Not only have we exchanged positivity and happiness for negativity and anger, we have given up time: hours, days and sadly, sometimes years.

The time spent allowing something to fester is time that could be spent on more important things. And we let things fester because we are afraid: afraid of what we will learn about ourselves  if we confront the other person or situation. Afraid of appearing to be “weak” or admitting we are wrong. Afraid of how we will feel afterwards.

We let our egos get in the way of resolving negative situations.

So this afternoon, I finally had enough of the festering. I wasn’t happy with the situation that had unfolded with this person, and I was certain she felt the same. I imagined the weekend I would have, thinking and analysing and feeling hurt and upset about the situation- wasting time and energy. I imagined she doing the same throughout the course of her weekend. I imagined the ripple effect this would have on those around us.

This afternoon, I made the first step in apologising and moving on, and her acceptance and apology in return made me feel like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. We both agreed that the tension between us was not worth the time and energy we had already wasted on negative thoughts and emotions (and could have continued to waste) and it was not serving anyone.

Now we can both continue on with our weekends, spending time doing the things that make us happy.

More living and less busyness.