Posts tagged ‘simple life’

Finding Peace in Who I Am

Peace – The absence of war or other hostilities. An agreement or treaty to end hostilities. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Peace. We like the word. We hope for peace on earth. We dream of peace. We pray for peace. However, we see peace as something outside ourselves. Something that happens in the outside. Seldom do we relate to peace within, or when we do, we attach it to spirituality.

According to the above definition of peace, the absence of war and hostilities is necessary to achieve peace. There must be an agreement, a treaty, for peace to be possible. To achieve peace within, the same agreement with oneself must happen, not out of spirituality, religious beliefs, or a third-party (although those could be a door/a catalyst for some people) but out of acceptance and understanding. How can I find peace in who I am? And without involving third parties?

It is a question I’ve asked myself many times. It is an evolving question. As individuals, we grow and evolve. We fight outside wars and inner battles. We deal with feelings, emotions, and facts. We dream, we imagine, we hope, we love, we hate … . We embrace complexity, many times in the quest for simplicity, in the search for truth. I’ve come to the realization that for truth to be found there must be inner peace, and for inner peace to be present, there must be acceptance and understanding of my self, of the one who I am, the one who grows and evolves.

How do I find peace in who I am? By not fighting the process. By not being at war or resisting the inevitability of evolution. By agreeing to take every step in the journey in acceptance and understanding. Whether the battle originates internally, or is a result of focusing on the fire being directed from outside sources, the only way to achieve peace is by looking at my truth objectively, and understand, accept, that I am in the moment. The past I am is no more, and the future I am is an illusion. I am now, and as long as I understand and accept that, then I am at peace.

000

This is how I’m starting the new year, at 000. It is a gift just to be here, and I want to start anew, fresh, without any preconceptions. I want to live 2014 as if it was my last year here. 2013 left its mark, and I am grateful for it all. I receive this year at 000. It is a new opportunity, a new beginning, a new purpose, a new living, a new second, millisecond … . I want to make the most of it, not in traveling or great accomplishments, bucket lists, or to-do lists, but in being present every second of my life, in seeing the awe in the minuscule, the humble in the majestic, the new in the old, and the old in the new, the love in everything, and the one in all. I don’t want to take anything for granted. I want to wake up everyday at 000, the second I open my eyes. I invite you to do the same. Happy New Year! 

000 

Little Tree – The Simple Things

It is the simple things that make me happy. For many people, the end of a year presents an opportunity for self-evaluation, and for thinking about areas that need change or improvement, or even things that have to be eliminated from one’s life. Every year, I welcome this season and think about the course of the year, set new goals, and set aside some time to really look at what can be simplified.

I am a planner, love lists, and crave organization and structure – a character trait that serves me well but can become overwhelming at times. Such are the times when I tend to overanalyze, make more lists (on top of lists), and when I am hard on myself for not performing as expected (by me) despite giving more than 100 percent in effort. It is then when I need the simple things to help me refocus, and to bring me back to living the simple life – the life that happens in the now, does not follow lists so much, and focus on the beauty and good things/blessings that are present. One of those things is the Christmas season.

Last year, I adopted a little tree that I came across while at a farmer’s market, and I named it Little Tree. I even blogged about the unusual circumstances that surrounded that day. You can read the post here – The Little Tree That Could. Today, and a coincidence at the writing of this post, happens to be a year since I brought Little Tree home. It has grown a bit, and I want to share before and after pictures of it.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree this year.

Little Tree this year.

As you can see, it has grown a few inches, its branches have taken a darker hue and spread out. If it wasn’t for the 2012 picture, the changes and growth would have escaped my mind because its growth has been slow but steady. Maybe Little Tree has a message to share, after all.

 

Celebrating Your Power to Say No – Watercolors Friday

I want to dedicate this Watercolors Friday to YOU.  To all that is YOU.  I hope that you think about that.  You are more than the sum of your parts – you are a special creation.  You are more than all your roles; you are more than all your labels, and you are more than all your thoughts and dreams together.  Together … to be.  All the possibilities that your being – your creation – gives you.  I hope that you celebrate yourself today; I know that it is not easy to do this sometimes.  Many times, we forget to celebrate ourselves because we are too busy celebrating others – or what others want in our lives.  Sometimes, we do not want the same things, but we are afraid of saying NO.

It is easier to say YES than to say NO.  It take guts to say NO because we are afraid of what others will think of us – and that is pretty much it, we care too much about what others “will think” or “feel” and we end up forgetting about our feelings, wants, and needs.  We stop celebrating ourselves.  At extreme, we end up living unhappy lives, lives that belong to others.

Saying NO doesn’t come easy; it takes time and training/practice.  I remember the first time I learned to say NO and being conscious of it – as a decision.  I was two and a half (my memories start at that age).  My Mom wanted me to play with two little girls that lived across from us (by the way, we lived in a haunted house – no kidding here).  I hated to play with them because they would not let me play with their toys – they wanted me to sit and watch only.  One day, I had it.  I waited until their Mom came to ask my Mom to let me go and play.  I waited until they started playing with their beautiful plastic horses – tons of them.  I wanted to play with a light caramel  horse.  I reached to grab it, and they took it away from me.  That instant it clicked (I remember the moment like it was now) – I swiped my hand across all their horses and scattered them all over the living room – then, I could not stop doing it, and horses of all colors and sizes flew up on the air.  I was free. I said NO.  The girls started crying, and their mom took me home.  That was the last time I had to go there; I was happy.

Over the years, I stopped saying NO and learned to say YES more often, until another dramatic day … It was like that for me for most of the time until I grew up and later in life, much, much later, I understood that I did not have to say Yes, when all I wanted was to say NO.  That is when I started celebrating myself.  Today, I am confident saying NO when I mean to say it, and that is when saying YES will make me unhappy.  It is better to say NO than say Yes and do what it is that you said yes to with an unhappy and unloving feeling, or doing it half-way, with no passion, or to do a crappy job at it – just because NO was what you were supposed to say.  That only disrespects the other person, who is counting on you.

There are many times that we will have to say Yes when we rather say NO; however, this happens because we truly want to help someone – and that is honorable.  However, it is when we prolong the Yes, and it starts affecting our happiness that it matters to say NO.

Happy Watercolors Friday! Celebrate YOU!

Reminder:

I will be giving away three copies of Ramblings of the Spirit, the first book of the trilogy The Dinorah Chronicles.  To enter for a chance to win one of the three copies, just like my Facebook page (link at the right of the screen on this blog) and that is all you have to do.  I will announce the three winners on May 20, which is the birth date of the person to whom I have dedicated this book – my maternal grandmother.

Loving What You Do

English: Heart and Earth

Image via Wikipedia

The New Year is here and I’m happy that it is.  Despite all the doomsday talk, the way I see it, each day is full of possibilities, so I got myself a year full of possibilities.  Each day important, and certainly, not taken for granted.  Although I am a planner by nature and I love lists, I have trained my stubborn self to appreciate each day for what it is, despite the curve balls that life serve and the not so happy situations that may present along the way.  I have learned that everything is temporary, nothing is forever, and things are as bad as you make them to be – the mind and the attitude will master your emotions, and the acceptance and understanding of emotions will shape your day – days will shape your present and your future.  I say this because I have realized that life is indeed too short.  I know everyone repeats this adage, but many have not ponder the depth of it, and truly, when you think about it, life is too short for all the things you want to do and live.  This is why it is so important that you love what you do and try to pursue that love and get there.  Whether that means moving to another state or country, no one will know but you, and there are always sacrifices on the way – a great salary, time, lifestyle … it is different for each person .

I think of the day I arrive to this earth, my birth day, and I am amazed first, that I was born, and second, at how fast the years have gone by.  Yes, I regret the bent on the road, some detours, but then I understand that without taking those, I would not be writing this post.

I have arrived to a point where I can say that I am blessed and I am happy, and it doesn’t have to do with financial status, material possessions (I have none of those) or the curve balls that life serves – all of that is temporary.  One thing I am glad I found along the way – that I CAN love every single day.

Pairing Down to Discover Yourself

The Queen of Hearts, from a 1901 edition of Mo...

Image via Wikipedia

It started with a desire to de-clutter my surroundings and get rid of everything – this is when I knew that I was headed towards simplifying my life and spiritual transformation.  A friend once called me  “the queen of everything” since I loved everything charming and cozy and my home was resembling “The Brass Lantern” – a local store that is filled with the most precious trinkets and magical things, a favorite of both.

The desire for simplifying started in my closet, and moved on to the entire house, luckily coinciding with our decision to move to Virginia, to a simpler life, which made it easier to get rid of much stuff.  The result was – being able to pack everything we own in a medium size hauler, the kind you use for transporting one car, I think an 8×16 or so.  I was happy with that, but during the de-cluttering, I found myself longing for true purpose and undergoing a spiritual search – I’m still working on that.

During the process, I found a few things about the stuff I owned and its relation to the person I was becoming.  First, I was amazed at the amount of stuff I had, although my home has always been very organized and neat.  I learned  that you can have tons of clutter neatly organized.  Eddie has always been a minimalist, and I guess his love for me tolerated my insanity.  However, he discovered that he was getting attached to stuff, and had some issues with letting go of some of it.  My insanity silently had made its way to the minimalist I married over 24 years ago.

Second, I learned that much of that stuff was not me anymore, but I kept it throughout the years.  In a way, I had outgrown my possessions, and the stuff did not suit the persona anymore.

Third, knowing what I knew now, and the evolution I was undergoing – from Queen of everything to Princess of Bare to Basics – made it easier to get rid of much of my stuff – a ton of it.  Understanding that it was better to live surrounded by the things that I truly loved made it easier as well.  I only kept what I loved and had meaning and let the rest go.

If you find yourself on this path, it makes it easier when you approach the path to a simple life from the point of view of the new you and the relation of that persona to the things you own – this will lead you to keep the things that you truly love and are meaningful and get rid of the rest.

There is one organization that is in need of donations and you can schedule a pick up online – The United War Veterans Council (UWVC).  Their website to schedule a pick up is http://www.uwvcpickup.org/  and you can also call this number 1-888-821-UWVC(8982).   In that way, your pairing down serves a purpose as well.