Inside: Choosing simplicity in life will help you live on purpose in every season. Even the hardest of them. I’ve shared 10 great questions to ask yourself when life is messy!
Building a right-sized life means one that is authentically aligned to your True Self, your wiring, needs, desires, life stage, values, and sense of purpose. It is not a fairy tale ideal; it involves truth-telling, questioning, grappling, and coming face to face with the reality of what is. We take responsibility for that which we can control and choose our response to the rest of it.
Life is a whole lot simpler when we decide to stop measuring ourselves against arbitrary standards, blindly following the status quo, or jumping through the expected hoops without knowing WHY they matter to us.
As we create an authentic life that works with instead of against our wiring, honor the truth of who we are, and give ourselves permission to walk out our core values, the more we experience freedom, mind-body and relational wholeness, and joy. Even in the messiest season.
I like messy people- folks who don’t color in the lines; who march to the beat of their own drum and live like they mean it. People who are not afraid to be unapologetically themselves and walk with courage and confidence. These are the type of people I want to raise.
simplicity in life helps us live on purpose In Every season – even the hardest of them
At some point we all find ourselves in a season in which we are invited (or forced) to let go of how life used to be or how we thought life would be, to make peace with the life in front of us. Simplicity in life often means quieting all the noise so we can stop fighting reality and find our way forward.
This being human thing is a work in progress. Along the journey, we may navigate many ‘death and rebirth experiences’ that usher us into a new season. Divorce, empty-nest, a health diagnoses that changes life, death of a child, the transition into and through menopause that leads us into Second Spring, for example.
Crafting a right-sized life necessitates flexibility of mind, heart, and body, an openness to growth, iteration, and becoming. It’s not always a pretty or comfortable process but we have the privilege of saying yes to the fullness of life anyway. Growing older and all the ups and downs of a messy life is a privilege.
10 questions that can help you live on purpose when life is messy
There’s nothing like a well-timed question to stop us in our tracks and help us strip away all the noise and clutter and then re-orient as needed. These are questions I use often myself and that many of my clients and community members practice.
1. How can I let this be simpler or easier?
2. Is this mine or is this theirs?
3. Am I tipping into comparison or perfectionism or am I truly honouring my own idea of ‘enough’ and ‘success’ in this season of my life?
4. Do I have a leaky boundary? (and who has violated my boundary – me or another?)
5. Am I moving towards or running from?
6. Am I pausing long enough between impulse and response?
7. Why does this matter? Is it clearly aligned with my core values and life vision?
8. Am I making myself wrong – am I believing the story that I am bad, wrong, or broken?
9. Do I feel unsafe or do I feel uncomfortable? And what do I need today to feel mind-emotion-body safe and whole?
10. Am I allowing joy to live alongside the messiness of my life? Am I living present and truly seeing the beauty all around me?
The Brave + Beautiful Community is for brave + curious women in the middle season of life committed to living with more freedom, health, and joy. We gather from different corners of the world to learn, practice new ways of being in our body and life, and build healthy community.
life is messy. Now what?
There is no perfect life – there are many beautiful possible paths, all of them messy. When faced with change, loss, or grief, or the common but significant and vulnerable life transitions most of us navigate, we can challenge our assumption that messy and imperfect equates with bad. Or that different means worse. Sometimes different is simply different.
Simplicity is always helpful. We tend to needlessly complicate life by doing more, adding on, and raising the bar. The harder the season, the more simplicity is needed. The busier you are, the more time in rest and reflection required.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE WELLBEING AND SHIFT OUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE
1. sense of purpose
I distinguish between finding “a purpose” vs living “on purpose.” A sense of contribution and purpose are linked to agency, healthy aging, and happiness. But when we live overly focused on trying to uncover an elusive “life purpose” we might forget to simply live “on purpose.” We might feel stuck or like something is wrong with us and fall prey to comparison or feelings of not good enough.
Living on purpose is about setting our intentions and creating a vivid internal picture for who and how we choose to be in the world, and identifying our core values, and then walking this out, consistently, intentionally – in big or small ways. So, purpose matters but how we think about it might matter even more.
2. flexible mindset
Our mindset has a huge impact on our experience and emotional reality. For instance, a healthy mindset about aging can add 7.5 years to your life (more than quitting smoking!). Not everything we think is true. Not every deeply rooted story directing our habitual behaviour deserves a place in our life. We can write a new story for our life!
Instead of living on autopilot, we must learn to turn toward and examine our stories, to pause between impulse and response, to notice our habitual nervous system patterns, sit with our emotions, bodily sensations, and our thoughts… and then choose our response. As we begin thinking more clearly, we feel more internally resourced, we can access our wisdom more easily, and we enjoy life more fully.
3. healthy community
Healthy community is one of the best ways to improve wellbeing and life satisfaction. We heal, grow, and become in safe and healthy community. We are highly influenced by the people we spend the most time with (and the voices we listen to whether through media or in our local circles). Feeling lonely or isolated is harmful to our health so we need to put effort into feeling socially connected.
So we need each other yet we may not find ‘our people’ in our local communities or we may need to forge new community when in the face of a life transition. We can get creative about where to build safe, growth-minded community.
4. consistent imperfect action
Choosing our response to life and our consistent habits or behaviours, also have an impact on our happiness and overall experience of life. I may be genetically predisposed to an autoimmune condition, for example, but I take action to manage stress, improve my gut health, and find joy in life to lower the chances of actually tipping into autoimmunity.
To build a life we want to be in requires action. Consistent, intentional, imperfect action. Many of us need to learn to expand our capacity – the feeling and belief that we can do hard things. Things that scare us. We grow into our strength as we practice, in motion, not before. It’s like building new muscle memory and while it’s hard work at first, it does grow easier over time.
In addition, understanding factors that impede positive action or trip us up, is important. In the Brave + Beautiful Community, we explore factors like disempowered thinking (like all or nothing thinking), comparison, perfectionism, fear, the impact of grief and trauma, lack of self-trust, nervous system dysregulation, and the old stories and conditioning that keep us stuck in old patterns.
Let’s do the work to examine what we want and need – and why – and then intentionally handcraft our imperfect and beautiful life, brick by brick.
Simplicity in life is not only for those of us who seek a slow life or smaller footprint. It helps every human quiet the noise, strip away the clutter and distraction so that we can see ourselves and lives clearly, and show up fully to this messy and beautiful life in every season. Even the hardest of them.