Intentional Living: My Introduction to the World of Minimalism

I would say my conscious journey towards intentional living began in 2014. That year, three adults from PA living independently moved into one large rental house in TN. We had duplicates, triplicates, and sometimes even more! There was a lot of sorting, organizing, and deliberating over STUFF. My husband spent a considerable amount of time outside or in the garage. Can you blame him? This primarily left the job of dealing with all of this stuff to my sister and myself. We donated a TON and it felt great, but we still managed to completely outfit our 3500 sq.ft. rental house none the less.

During this life transition my sister stumbled across a new and unusual concept called minimalism. Coming from a long line of “just in case” hoarders this concept was dazzling and terrifying all at the same time. My sister dove in headfirst, while I started testing the water with my tippy toes. Buh-bye even more stuff…

Then my husband and I found our dream home. A 1600 sq.ft. abode, really a majestic castle when compared to tiny homes, nestled on 57 acres. A single story dream, unfortunately lacking in the moat and alligator department, with a finished basement, both having its own kitchen and bathroom. Perfect for our trio. SOLD!

Did I mention the pond?

All The Things Must Go!

Thank goodness for all the avenues that are currently available for selling and donating stuff. However, I assure you this was no easy task. I swear there was a 2 hour deliberation-slash-crying session over picture frames, PICTURE FRAMES! Should I keep all of them or just some of them? What if I NEED them later? Do I not value my friends and family if their faces are not framed all over my house? What if I keep the wrong ones and my tastes change? How can I possibly decide which pictures to not frame? The questions could go on forever. They were repeatedly asked again and again, whether it was picture frames or clothes or kitchenware.

There was so much fear and attachment to non-material things. These feelings still exist, but not nearly to the level that they were before.

And then we moved … let’s just try that downsizing thing again shall we? I would say that there is still way too much “stuff” in my life but I am finally getting closer and closer to freedom. Our lives are filled more with friends, family, and dogs, and less with all of the tasks that go along with owning tons of physical stuff.

Our dogs love that we have created lots of space for them, literally & figuratively!

This intentional living expedition has opened up so much space in our lives to do more of what matter most to us. The path has not always easy but it has definitely been worth it.

What could having more space in your life mean for you? What are some ways you have been able to make space in your life?

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A New Perspective: Starting the Journey to Self-Discovery

How often do we find ourselves being critical of well, ourselves? Often the biggest critic in our lives is us. Today, I want to start a conversation about self-discovery. I know well that we also like to compare our bodies, homes, belongings, etc. to others but to begin let’s limit this heart to heart with our battle with self-comparison.

Our amazing bodies are not mirror images side to side of themselves. We tend to notice things like “my left thigh is thinner” or “my right hip is tighter than my left” or “my left arm is weaker” or “my right foot is wider” or we have a “favorite” side, this list goes on and on. This self-running narrative about our perceived limitations needs to STOP!

Self-discovery is understanding and acceptance of our unique selves. 

How we long to be perfect mirror images of ourselves, but the differences and nuances side to side are not something to put yourself down about. These are the things that make you wonderfully, beautifully, uniquely YOU!

When it comes to my yoga practice and perhaps in yours too, you really begin to notice these fantastic things about your body. If you do not have a practice, I cordially invite you on a magical journey of self-discovery. It is unfortunately so easy to be hard on ourselves when we note the differences in our bodies, pigeon comes to mind for me, but that perspective is wrong. It is a journey of love and understanding. We are explorers on the most important expedition of all, SELF-DISCOVERY. I challenge you to get to know your body, become the world’s expert on every single little thing about it! Be Excited! We have this one most precious gift, so do not waste it!

Through true and deep self-love and understanding we can then begin to fully love one another. In this self-expedition we will discover we are more similar than different, that we are all connected, and above all else, we are ONE.

What have you discovered about yourself that makes you grateful to be you?

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My Personal Uphill Battle: Self-Care

I am by nature a “giver.” When someone asks me to do something I always say yes. Sometimes I end up regretting saying yes, not because it’s something I do not want to do, but because I have said yes to so many other things. If I could do all of the things I would. This instinctual reaction to respond with “yes” is not helped by my extremely extroverted nature that unfortunately does not let me stop and think before blurting out YES! I also am a believer in the fact that if I tell someone I am going to do something then I will do it. All the while this means that everything I wanted to do for myself ends up on the back burner … sound familiar anyone? It’s easy to get swept up in wanting to help others and it is very hard to tell our loved ones and causes we firmly care about “no.” What I am talking about today may not be easy to do but I assure you it is necessary for your physical and mental well-being.

I am on a wonderful journey that is my life. Part of that path has been discovering things like essentialism and minimalism. By working toward getting rid of the excess it has allowed me to have more time to wonder and learn. I intentionally want to be less busy. I want to get things “off of my plate” but that usually means I just stack new and sometimes more things back on. I want to create more space and more time. This change started a few years ago in various ways yet continues to develop. It has been difficult at times but is nothing that could even compare to the rewards it has brought and continues to bring.

As a society we pride ourselves on being busy, as if it is a competition. We showcase our laundry lists of tasks in an effort to “out busy” one another. As if in the end we are awarded with some large medal for all of our hard work. Yet I do not think I will look back on my life and think thank goodness I did not take care of myself and my body. I am grateful I ran myself into the ground, bending over backwards for everyone else, said myself never.

I do not know about how you feel but I want this nonsense to stop. I want us to brag about how many books we read or snuggles we shared or walks we enjoyed instead of listing our daily duties as a badge of honor. There are tasks we have to complete for day to day life, I agree, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything in your life presented to you and do it to perfectionist standards to succeed.

Samson practicing self-care: snoozin’ on the back of the couch with his favorite ball.

I am here to tell you that it is okay to say NO. Sit down and think about what you really care about. I am currently working on setting limits in my life. The smallest limits count! Even something as simple as: I will not teach yoga on the weekends my husband is off because that is our time together. This sounds so easy but I assure you it is very hard to keep. Set aside time for you, your hobbies, your family, YOUR VALUES. This time is sacred. It will be hard at first but I promise will get easier with time.

Saying “no” is a form of self-care and self-love, especially if your natural setting is to always say “yes.” Where do you need to set firm limits in your life? Do you feel overwhelmed and overworked at the expense of yourself? Please share your experiences in the comments below! Let us change and grow together!

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Behind the Scenes: The Women we Take for Granted

It takes a village is not an adage that should soon be forgotten. When we see one person rise to the top and make a difference there often was a lot of equally awesome people who helped them get there. A lot of times we forget about the women in our lives. Women tend to also be particularly hard on other women. We often question their ascent into glory much more than we would of a man. If a woman makes it to the top without the “correct” credentials we wonder how she got there and if she actually deserves it. When a man does it we congratulate him for “beating the odds.” I am guilty of this too and I am trying to change. We expect change to be this rapid, earth shattering, cataclysmic event but it is really small, incremental, and often overlooked but in the end adds up to a big difference. Just look outside if you do not believe me. Look every single day. We often do not realize how much changes day to day until we “suddenly” realize that our flowers are blooming in the spring or going to seed in the fall. If you checked every single day you would notice teeny tiny changes happening. That is what I am asking for my friends. When you notice yourself doing something small that you know does not add up please change it. These small changes will make a huge difference over the course of months and years!

Last week I posted about Eric Latham’s Walk Across Tennessee and briefly mentioned his beautiful wife Kat. She is a freakin’ rockstar. When I told her I was let go from my societal big girl job she squealed and sang to me “a whole new world.” Her vision and drive is limitless, with intuition that I only dream of. She is a powerhouse, bound and determined. I love her and her insight. Her ability to hold it all down with all the things she juggles will never cease to amaze me. The circus has nothing on her. She is the backbone of her family with a heart of pure gold. Who do you think is taking care of those amazing girls while Eric walks across TN? Who do you think is managing Johnson City Brewing Company too? You guessed it, Kat!

Kat Through My Eyes

I want you to stop and think about the women in your life. What are they juggling? We all drop a few balls from time to time but instead of focusing on those look up! Look at all of the ones they are still juggling! Let us look for the good in one another and build each other up. Look at each other through the lens that everyone is always doing the best that they possibly can. Above all else, encourage, strengthen, and LOVE.

Who do you admire? We are all ONE, what are the qualities that you find amazing in others? Please share!

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