Keep Life Simple in a Noisy World

keep life simple

Inside: One of the clearest signs that life has gotten off track a bit is the feeling that I’m wearing someone else’s shoes or trying to walk in their path. 10 ways I plan to keep life simple moving forward.

It’s easy to complicate life despite our best intentions.

We live with competing tensions and desires and, let’s face it,  we’re messy people.

I want to learn all the things and be the expert at everything.

But I also need lots of sleep and time to putter and think; I like making simple food and hanging out with my kiddos.

Dilemma.

Rhythms and routines light me up, I love time blocking and goal setting, and everything in its place (if you do too, you’ll love these purposeful printables!).

But I’m a messy person in many ways:  emotional, deeply sensitive, with a tendency to be reactive and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Messy doesn’t lend well to simple.

I run an online business that feeds my spirit,  helps pay for braces and feeds kids at university, and makes a way for me to offer my small gifts in this big world.

Yet sometimes I want to run and hide and ignore social media for days. I’m concerned I’m just contributing to the noise, I’m scattered or unmotivated.

Worst of all, I have the feeling that I’m trying to walk in a pair of shoes two sizes too big.

In order to thrive, I need to come back to simple.

 

This was true for me when I was having babies and homeschooling three kids. It was true when recovering from surgery, learning to let go of people I love,  or when I returned to school at 40 years old. And it was certainly true for me as a sensitive, calm-loving child.

I’m wired for slow and simple. I keep life simple first and foremost by listening.

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent. – Parker Palmer

Every year, around the time of my birthday, I choose a new mantra or verse to guide me.

(you can read about last year’s mantra here)

This year, I am being called to listen. Or more specifically, to listen to my life speak.

 

I need to come back and ground myself in my voice and vision. Honor my inherent wiring, core message and the ideas that most light me up.

I want to listen to my body and to what gives me pleasure – what I want more of or less of. I want to listen to others with less anger and more gentle curiosity. I want to listen to my breath and the birds and my inner voice. To the leading of spirit or intuition but I also want to simply hear and then release the voice of my inner critic. The fear and comparison. I want to hear and see the truth of how I show up and offer myself compassion.

I need to ditch the noise and deepen my roots so that I can show up with clarity, calm, and confidence – and keep life simple.

I need to wear my own shoes (hint: they’re flip flops!). One of the clearest signs that life has gotten off track a bit is the feeling that I’m wearing someone else’s shoes or trying to walk in their path.

Since I’m a big fan of birthday lists AND I often find answers via writing, I’ve decide to share a list of intentional ways that I will keep life simple moving into this new birthday year. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to craft your own list.

10 ways that I plan to keep life simple

1. Narrow my scope.

I can’t teach, write about, expend energy learning about all the things – this is seriously painful for me:) I’m writing out lists to remind me of my core message and priorities and will practice saying no to the rest for a season. I will write down – maybe make a cute printable – my primary mission which is to be a light of hope & encouragement. This serves as a filter for all my decision making.

2. Track my energy and moods.

I love tracking and honoring the energy ebb and flow of my monthly cycle and the seasonal shifts that affect my mood and energy. Noticing when I am happiest in the day getting deep work done, engaging with others, or moving my body helps immensely too. I’ve created a new weekly rhythm with time blocks for deep work and rest for the summer and will craft another for the school year. Because I am such a strong introvert, I may move client days from 4 to 3 in the week and leave more space for writing.

3. Nourish my body and mind.

This body of mine has special needs (so does yours) and when I care for it well, I am happier, more productive, and kinder. I cannot run full speed ahead and want to be even more intentional about not filling up all the spaces in my life with doing and insist on time for simply being, even if that looks and feels indulgent. Dawn & Dusk Rituals to book-end my days help keep me mind-body healthy. I think it’s safe to say that I have formally entered perimenopause and listening well to what my body, mind, or spirit needs will be helpful moving forward.

4. Tweak my values-based budget.

I will have regular money check-ins and be more vigilant about sticking to my grocery budget this year. We have more exciting travel plans in the works and this requires saying no to other pleasurable options. We’ve paid off a second set of braces (hallelujah!) and my computer just died unexpectedly (boo!). I also want to boost our “emergency fund” by another $1k.

5. Celebrate imperfect action.

I suppose I’m pretty good at this but could be gentler with myself about it. I’m often winging things – like writing this post at 10 pm the night before publishing. If I get stuck in thinking I ought to be better at things by now, or tip over into comparison, I end up hiding. So I’ll continue to celebrate imperfection and just showing up and honoring my commitments to myself.

6. Prioritize collaborations.

I’d like to outsource a little more the things I’m not good at or which aren’t the best use of my time. I hire my daughters sometimes to help me with tasks and have learned that collaboration (even for this lone ranger) is a super power. I’m excited about several collaborations in the works and will stay open to new ways of leveraging individual strengths and working with people I respect. This also meets a deep need in me for connection which has been quite unexpected.

7. Maintain a minimalist wardrobe.

I wear the same thing several days in a row, buy almost only black and grey clothing that I feel like me in, don’t wear makeup and keep a simple hair cut. This is a definite happy thing. I actually hate shopping but recently bought myself a couple items (to replace worn out clothes) from eco-friendly, Canadian shops – pricey but pleasurable.

8. Craft a life of simple pleasures.

Although we are currently in a season with flexibility to travel a little, our life is rather humble. I find great pleasure in simple things (that are still luxury for many in the world): my French Press and a favourite pottery mug in the morning; library books; an occasional meal out; fresh, colorful salads; the late afternoon sunlight in my living room; walking hand–in-hand with my husband; visits to my big kids in the city; an occasional long chat with a sister or friend; meaningful work. I refuse to defer happiness and make great effort to live with an attitude of abundance and gratitude.

9. Be the real me.

I can’t handle wearing clothes that don’t feel like me and I am equally uncomfortable trying to fit into someone else’s shoes or way of showing up. For the past several years one of my mind-body-spirit intentions has been “authentic.” Played out, I know. Still, it reminds me to just be me. Take me or leave me. Being raw and real, honest and vulnerable in my relationships, life, and work is foundational to my sense of well-being.

10. Take time to rest.

I’ve been running A Life in Progress part-time for almost three years. Some weeks I work very little on my business and other weeks are very full – but I appreciate the flexibility to take days off as needed. While I don’t mind writing late at night on occasion, I found myself doing this too often for comfort this past year. I will need to more often embrace the discomfort of leaving things undone this coming year in order to respect my work boundaries. I may post a little less frequently or invite more guest posters. I really love my work but I am listening and what I hear is that I can’t pour out what I do not own.

Life is messy and noisy. I don’t want to live scattered, stressed out, pulled in multiple directions by all the shiny things. I want to wake up each day calm, clear on my purpose, and confident about my greatest points of contribution.

I will live on purpose by choosing to keep life simple.

Krista xo

NOW WHAT? I recommend (referral link) Let Your Life Speak or Essentialism. You may also want to join me in my closed FB group for a 2-week journey to QUIET. An opportunity to quiet the noise so you can observe and breathe and hear your life speak but with some encouragement and support.

Quiet the noise of comparison, perfectionism, and fear and show up fully (with joy and on purpose) to your imperfect & beautiful life.
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14 comments on “Keep Life Simple in a Noisy World

  1. As I sat on my deck this morning with coffee in hand I had the intention of having a good heart to heart with myself as to why I am feeling unsettled lately. Your post was just what I needed to start that investigation. Thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for this. I’m going to sit down and make a list for myself. I wish you clarity and wisdom and you align your actions with your values in this next year, whatever that may look like for you. And nice picture of you two enjoying some time together!

  3. Always a breath of fresh air! I’ve been simplifying in various ways over the years and even more so lately but still have work to do to reduce unnecessary “clutter” in order to live more peacefully. Krista, since you invited another to share, and I believe we learn from each other, and I would like to read others’ lists, too…my list, in no particular order:

    1. Stress less about what to wear to events. This is about self-image and self-esteem. No one else really cares, and if they do, it’s their problem, not mine. People spend time with people, not other people’s outfits.

    2. Find a simple haircut that works for me. I don’t know why I allow my hair to have such control over me, but my days are happier on “good” hair days. Again, no one else really cares. Krista, something like your hair cut in the pic of you and your husband may work for me. Can you please tell me about it? 🙂

    3. Listen to my mind and body signals, telling me I’ve been at something for too long and need a break. Take the break.

    4. Cook and eat more real healthy food and stay hydrated. I know I feel better, don’t kick myself and am less anxious when I avoid sugar, processed foods, and foods I love but know will do me in. I’ve been cooking ahead some, so I have things at the ready to help me avoid grabbing junk out of convenience. And I need to remember to drink water.

    5. Turn less than favorite tasks into appreciation, such as for having a home to clean, a yard to keep, clothes to wash, dishes from which to eat.

    6. Ask my OCD when I am stuck in repetitive counting and checking: what’s the worst that can happen? and what if it does? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

    7. Meditate daily. I am a more relaxed, less critical, better rested person when I do. I intend to make it part of my daily ritual, and keep it that way this time. Walking would be another good addition to my day, even if it’s at the shopping mall in bad weather. Or maybe I need a treadmill, or I can walk in circles through our downstairs.

    8. Get together with friends. After care-giving for a parent, all inclusive with the exception of living-in, I found my physical and mental health compromised. My body and spirit were spent, and I was feeling empty, worthless and afraid. I rarely ventured out and even avoided friends. I am on the road to recovery and slowly stepping back into my own life. I’m ready to be with friends again.

    9. Do things I love. Feel that I am worthy of taking time (and money if needed even though I am not much of a contributor at the moment) to enjoy leisurely walks, spend a day at the ocean, craft something.

    10. And, yes, listen to my life and what the universe is showing me, with an open mind. Focus more on that than all the worries about things I can’t control or that don’t really matter. Also, have faith that I already, deep down, have a good grasp on some of the things I need to do for myself. I just need to do them, and keep at it. I intend to be still enough to learn why I am here, my purpose, my true passions and what can I do with this, plus, give myself permission to be myself, make mistakes (and learn from them), knowing even small things can make a difference, not worrying about others’ judgments.

    • I LOVE your list – thank you for sharing! I agree that we learn so much by hearing from each other. For my hair it is cut with layers, using a razor. I love that this gives it a piecey, imperfect feel. I chop my own bangs all the time as they grow really fast. With hormonal changes my perfectly straight hair became wavy which is fun.

    • I realized that number 5 on my list makes it seems that eating is a less than favorite task. Not true! Edit: dishes to scrub. 😀

  4. This inspired me to make a list–thanks! Here’s the short version:
    1. Unitask: focus on the priority in front of me, in the present moment. Give up the idea that “everything” can/should/will get done.
    2. Process over Outcome: exercise letting go of ego, results, and external measures of success.
    3. Create Breathing Space/Down time: good workday boundaries, at least one day off per week, time to reflect and plan. And *extra* down time on days that have big events or lots of people in them.
    4. Nourish my body: with sufficient sleep, healthy food that I like (and permission to have “unhealthy” food w/o judgment), walk/move my body every day. Offer kindness to my body.
    5. Nourish my soul: make time for pleasure reading, creative writing, knitting, cooking/baking, photography, etc.
    6. Wear only things that I like and that fit well (and plan work clothes the night ahead!)
    7. Let go of judgments (of others and myself)
    8. Cut the “Noise” (including internet and email—maybe set apart time for them? I never have managed this, but I can aspire)
    9. Rule of Three: no more than 3 main goals/objectives per day (sometimes just 1-2!)
    10. Connect with loved ones and friends on the regular.

  5. Hi Krista,
    I like visiting new blog and instantly feel the warm spirit behind the words.

    That what I’m getting here.

    When we feel like we’re going crazy and don’t think we can handle life then we need to get back to simple fast. 😁

    Being a light of hope is an excellent mission statement.

    I come to realize that we’re influenced by the people we’re around and they are influenced by us as well.

    A big part of keeping life simple includes considering who we choose to spend time with.

    You have an encouraging blog!

    Vernon

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