I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and living simply lately. And how I think the two sit really well together, like peas and corn. Or scones and jam.
This year I have taken a lot of pressure off myself. I’ve cut down the number of responsibilities I take on, and although I’ve revved up the copywriting side of my business I feel more in control. Life actually feels slower.
I am listening to my inner voice a lot more. The voice that isn’t concerned with perfection or perception. Just the voice that seeks contentment. It’s a nice soft voice, but at times stern, to keep me on track.
It doesn’t seem all that ‘fearless‘ though does it? But in a huge way it is.
Stepping back, regaining control and peeling back the expectations of life is fearless.
The book I’m reading at the moment kind of ties in with all these themes: happiness, simplicity, and fearlessness. It’s called ‘One Summer in Venice’, by Nicky Pellegrino. I will review it here on the blog when I’m finished reading it (I’m three-quarters the way through), but basically it’s about Dolly who spends a summer in Venice in order to complete her ‘happiness list’. Her marriage is falling apart, her restaurant suffering from bad reviews and she is living each day burning the candle at both ends. She hopes the answers will be found on her list.
A little while back, I wrote a post that started out as 10 Things That Make Me Happy. The list, and the post ended up being 25 things. And I could have gone on.
When you take a close look at things that make you happy, you really do start to find so much more. There are of course the big things like family and friends, and then there are the things you enjoy like reading or music. But then there are the little things that bring a sense of contentment, which for me, is so much more than happiness. Things like a warm, balmy summer’s evening, or the rain on the roof while you are going to sleep. It’s those things that begin to fill Dolly’s list.
Now I can’t tell you what Dolly discovers at the end of her list, or whether or not it solves all her problems as I haven’t finished the book yet. But one thing that is glaringly obvious for me, and at least 3/4 of the way through the book for Dolly, is that the pairing back of life to the simple things, brings the most joy.
Now this is not something new, people have been discovering this for years. You only have to look at the minimalist and zen movements. But, the thing I have learned is, that it is something that’s so deeply personal. There’s no A-Z of living simply. There’s not guidebook that will help you reach your destination to a slow life. It’s only something you can discover yourself.
How a slow life can bring you happiness depends on you.
One person’s slow may be another person’s fast lane. I know my slow, still appears pretty hectic to others. Four kids, two businesses, three jobs, a household and hobbies and activities fill my days. They are busy. From the outside, there doesn’t seem to be a way to slow things down. And I think this is where a lot of people give up. The problem looks to grand.
But there is always something you can do.
It lies in the choices you make.
And not only the choices on what to say no to. The choices in how to feel about things. Accepting the things that are. Embracing the things that must be. And letting go of the things that bring stress.
So how do you live slowly?
By living with purpose. By being aware. By listening to your inner voice. And by understanding what slow means to you.
No, it’s not easy. It takes courage and purpose. But it also brings such calm contentment that makes you warm and fuzzy inside. Not all the time. Although, that would be nice, it’s not realistic. There will be times when life gets on top of you, but you begin to learn that the flood will subside, and you can pick up where you left off.
The point of this post? I’m not sure. I’ve rambled a lot. Maybe it’s just me trying to express the joy I’m finding in slowing down. And to tell you, it can be done. And it doesn’t have to look like what you think it should. It only needs to be your slow. That’s all.
What does your slow look like?
Is it lazing on the beach, or is it simply taking five minutes to walk and not run each day?
Linking with Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays. Because I do.