Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

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We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

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Facebook Be Like…

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

You know, I’ve deactivated my Facebook. It’s been almost a month and I don’t miss it. I do not plan on re-activating it anytime soon because:

Facebook Be Like… back in the day bringing all your photo albums and scrapbooks to your highschool and letting the entire student body look through them.

Ew. I would have never done that back then before Facebook was a thing. Why should I do that now?

I know the high school aged kids these days grew up with Facebook; but I didn’t. I actually remember the days when my private moments were private, or I could pick and choose easily who knew my life story.

I mean, that was a long time ago – but not that long. It was a simpler time with disposable cameras, landlines, and outside activities. It was a time when you worked for what you earned; everyone didn’t get a participation ribbon just for being there (hint: real life isn’t that way even today). It was the days of face-to-face contact and telephone conversations. I genuinely miss those days.

I’m not so sure I ever want to continue making my personal life available to everyone on my Facebook anymore. I want to grow my friendships offline like I used to- like we all used to.

While I am all about technology in moderation, I still must ask myself: why am I doing this? Why am I involved? What am I trying to gain or lose?

It’s all part of the process. Until then, social media off-grid I will be. The ones who are close know how to reach me; and the one’s who don’t? Well, they should be out of my business anyway.

Financial Boss: Part 2

De-Cluttering, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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This is Part 2 of the Financial Boss series.

Within 24 hours I went from reactive to PROactive about telling my money where to go.

Because there are so many internet articles on how to budget, and how people deal with their personal finances, I want to tell a little bit about my history.

I opened up my own checking account when I was 19. Before then, I only made a little money at odd jobs and spent it all on clothes, of course. With time, my account would fill up with money, whether from work or from student loans through college. I never had a budget, I just knew I would be getting this much and could only spend so much.

This left my account empty for many, many years.

As I got older, I started working full-time and slowly began making more money, but also paying bills. I got a car, student loan debt, cell phone, gas, and insurance. I managed my bills the same as I always did: I received so much money a week, and owed so much money a month. I just knew not to spend more than I made.

Easy enough.

Then, time went on and I switched careers, got married, had a baby, and bought a house along with more bills on top of my ‘early years’ bills. I continued making more money, but increasing the money that I owed by buying more stuff. At this point, my credit card debt was minimal, and if I ever used credit cards, I paid it off quick. I knew how much I made, how much I owed in fixed bills, and then I wouldn’t charge more than I could pay off quickly to credit cards.

Insert AWESOME credit score here.

I didn’t have a hardcore budget in place at this time. I just made sure I wasn’t going in the hole. This made it possible for me to pay all my bills on time, with just enough discretionary to get what I needed. However, no money was leftover at the end of the month and I had no idea where my money was going. But, I continued on in a reactive approach. My bills were autodrafted on time, and I just didn’t spend a lot on frivious things. Still, I had no idea where my money was going. I just knew I had zero at the end of the month and nothing to save.

Insert JOB LAYOFF here.

Oh man.

I got laid off last year. Since my finances were stretched to paycheck to paycheck I certainly couldn’t pay my bills. I don’t know if you are familiar with unemployment income…but it’s not enough to pay the basics such as a mortgage or car. It’s better than nothing or you would surely starve to death, but beware: if you have debt over $800 a month you are about to spiral down to a hot mess just like I did.

Insert CREDIT CARD purchases here.

Because I couldn’t afford diapers for my child.

Now, this is extreme and I don’t take fault for this part, but it changed the way I view my current expenses.

Insert TRASHED credit score here.

If we are not prepared for the worst, the government will not cover your expenses even if you live ‘modestly’ as I do. By modest I mean: a modest house, car, and insurance. Forget it.

So, I am now trying to pay off my debt, reduce my expenses, and find out ways to survive on my own should this ever happen again. Like, gardening, savaging and the like. Sounds extreme right? Well, not really.

What would you do if you lost your job? Or, if you stay home and husband/wife supports the fam, what would you do if he/she left?

It’s something to think about, for sure. I always put those thoughts out of my mind so I wouldn’t be scared about my future.

But if disaster strikes, we need to be prepared.

This is what inspired me to boss my money, instead of letting it take on a life of it’s own without my direction.

Part 3 will discuss my first steps in de-cluttering my wallet/credit cards and getting a game plan in order.

Financial Boss: Part 1

Clarity, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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It totally happened yesterday.

I am now in charge of my finances aka THE BOSS.

Financial advice is totally rampant on the internet because so many of us live reactive to our money.

I want to share with you how I went from reactive to proactive in 24 hours. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is and it a’int. It was a long day yesterday getting my finances in order:

but I went to bed PROactively in charge of my money last night. 

I’m going to break up this explanation in parts because it is a little lengthy. I want to share my personal history and background and then tell you how my strategy changed drastically.

It’s not a magic potion or fix-all. It’s just a financially lazy, simple girl’s way of shaking up the way I do things and TELLING my money where to go.

You may be in the same place, but scared to make a change. It is kind of scary, but when you have your mind made up that you must do things differently, take risks, and are in an energetic, positive mental state: It can be done.

So, follow along if you want to hear about it. It’s time for change and it’s time to be the boss.

For starters:

That picture above was my stack of credit cards as of yesterday. Wow. Let’s just say that it has reduced drastically as of today, only 24 hours later.

Why Do We Do the Things We Do?

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist, Simple Life

It’s Friday and we are all super excited that it’s the weekend. We get to leave our ‘have to’ life of working for someone else and actually attempt to do something we really want to do: like our passions this weekend.

Aren’t you tired of watching the clock and counting down hours for 40+ hours a week? Do you ever wonder how life got on auto-pilot and we all just accepted that this is just how it is; I have to do this day in and day out to survive?

Well, I am wondering that very question and am actively searching for my answer. I can’t help it, because deep in my soul I can feel the fueling of the flame. There is more to life than this. Yes, I created where I am now (and am pretty dang proud of it). But if I honestly dig into where I am and what I have done to get here: it was society that told me I had to. My elders told me I better get my education and grind, grind, grind to thrive in this horrendous world. It’s dog eat dog they said.

And I believed them.

Even when that voice told me: maybe it’s not what I really wanted, I still had to do it because I would be an adult one day, and that’s just what adult’s do.

So what did my young, hopeful self do? Went to college and majored in business, of course! Because, you can’t go wrong with that and BY GOD, I MUST GO TO COLLEGE AND I MUST WORK A MILLION HOURS A WEEK TO PAY OFF MY SHOWY DEBT SO I CAN ‘FIT IN’ IN THIS COUNTRY: I said.

And I did it; like a boss.

Even though I wasn’t happy the whole time because I freakin’ hated business. Booooring. Snore, snore.

And I suck at math and accounting and statistics. Even still I graduated with a high GPA.

Mostly I am just proud that I sat through that many hours of business talk.

I still learned a lot and am not discounting my experience. But, what I am saying is:

When are we going to get to know ourselves again?

When are we going to find out what fuels us?

When are we going to do the work necessary to lead our life’s mission?

When are we going to say ‘I quit’ to what society tells us is normal and what we should do with OUR OWN life?

When will we turn the sail, get to know ourself, and actually BE that person?

The ‘when’ is right now. Not in a minute, but right now.

We can start by doing a few easy things:

1. Asking why do I do the things I do? As creatures of habit, it’s easy to get on auto-pilot. We need to find out how to shake ourselves up from the inside out and get back to center. Why do we work where we work? Why are we stuck and stagnant in our careers, relationships, behaviors? What I can I do get where I want to be?

2. Be conscious of our daily choices. We actually have power and control over our choices. Whether we do the right thing is a different story. There is power in each choice. We just have to make choices that align with our values and true self.

3. Discover what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter what makes someone else happy, I am talking about you! Everyone is different. Embrace who you are. Hint: if you would do this with no one watching or for free: that is what I’m talking about.

4. Focus on yourself. Quit worrying about what other people think about you. We are all abnormal, right? That’s what makes life awesome and everyone special. So don’t be embarrassed about who you really are. It may cause friction when the true you comes out, but you are strong and can handle it! I’m letting loose a few new things about me and it feels so good!

5.  Decide what you can do today. First thing is to start. Now. Exit out of this blog and do what you know you need to do. Is it exercise? Get a glass of water? Create a piece of art? Start your own blog? Research a new class you’ve always wanted to take? Call your best friend?

I’ve heard that good luck and success and happiness doesn’t fall from the sky:

We actually have to CREATE it. 

What will you create today and this weekend?

I’ll be enjoying swimming (handstands and flips included), creating new designs for my Etsy shop CharlisWeb (I opened my shop back up to continue perusing a passion), de-cluttering my junk, getting plenty of sleep, and loving on my family. I’m excited about it.

We run things, Things don’t run we

Free Spirit, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Simplicity, Yoga

I have this really amazing playlist I made for my yoga practice. It’s not ocean sounds and birds chirping like you would imagine (although, I love that too and need the zen sometimes as well). This particular list has songs like:

Radioactive

Boom Clap

Holla Back Girl

We Can’t Stop

I’m So Fancy

You know, just your basic ‘gettin’ into it’ music. Anyway, I am who I am and I like a little funk and pop while I fold into a pretzel sometimes.

In the middle of my side crow pose, We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus came on.

Now, what do me and Miley Cyrus have in common you may be wondering?! Not a damn thing. Except the lyric:

We run things, Things don’t run we

It hit me then that my things: whether it is my material possessions, stress, guilt, shame, fear, frustration, other people’s behaviors, finances: have all been ‘running’ me for far too long.

In truth, I AM THE ONE WHO RUNS THINGS, not the other way around. I am taking the power back to my center. I am taking control back over my heart and mind. I am choosing what I do and what I allow in.

This shifting is monumental and also necessary for change. 

So, thank you Miley for allowing me to get deeper into my poses, have some fun while I sweat, and reminding me that it is WE who run things.

Things to Remember as You Change (for the better!)

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism

We all have a tendency to build emotional walls, develop coping mechanisms, and hone in on our fight or flight survival skills. I’ve learned that with time, all of these things defenses build up emotional plaque.

I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, and neither are you. Our experiences have changed us – either for the better or worse. Perhaps we have baggage and negative energy we have bottled up inside. It never gets dealt with because we don’t make or have the time for it.

As we shift and change through time, this bottling up can become a very stressful situation.

If we let it go long enough without dealing with it and changing our behaviors, issues will eventually surface. The daily grind can become overwhelming simply because our inner primal instincts tell us to run from the lion, even if there is no lion.

This is the effect of busyness, stress, frustration, clutter, and simply not taking care of ourselves.

Because my health is now suffering, it is time to do the work and deal with it.

I have attempted to de-clutter my possessions and simply for many, many years but I always end up stuck and giving in. I will donate, then binge trying to fill the void.

Life is full of lessons and I have learned a few things so I can adapt and change:

1. Take it slow. Although I am doing a panicked de-cluttering of my possessions, I am really feeling and experiencing the weight this has on me this time. Instead of just taking my unused possessions out of my living space and downstairs for later or labeling it ‘may use in the future’ it goes straight to the donation center.

2. Be patient with yourself. When we face reality, it can be tough. Especially if you are like me and have just pushed issues inside without the time to deal with it. All of it will eventually surface. It’s worth noting, looking into, and letting go.

3. Celebrate. Yes, de-cluttering and simplifying can be daunting. You will come to realize a lot more about yourself than you may even be ready for. But, this is time to celebrate! You are facing your demons and changing for the better. It’s a celebration!

4. Grace. You and I have made a lot of mistakes. We are human after all. But, everyone has and everyone has to own up to it. By hiding behind the curtain of denial, nothing is accomplished. We can not change unless we bring it all to the table. I’m learning with time, that I forgive myself. Not everything is my fault; whether it was someone else’s doings or my own: what happened has happened. There, I said it. Now, let’s do something else.

5. Live for now. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter anymore. You learn from it. You have permission to let go and be your best today. Tomorrow hasn’t happened; and quite frankly, may not ever happen, so let’s not worry. Let us live our lives for today in this moment. We better make dang sure we live the life we want because we only have 1 shot at this.

You will know when it’s time to make a drastic change. You may be lurking here for some inspiration or someone to relate to. That’s what I do. Know that you can’t change until you are ready to do the work. Start now. Be the person you want to be. Don’t focus on the end result, focus on what you do right now and what your next decision will be. All the littles make the bigs in the end. It takes daily tries and choices – not just one big bang! Get that momentum and do it.

That’s where I’m headed; imperfectly perfect.

A De-Cluttering Past

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

I stumbled across the idea of minimalism when I found the website zenhabits.net in 2007. That’s a long time ago. It was prior to Pinterest and prior to the big ‘buzz’ of the unconventional lifestyle mainstream. I remember being intrigued by the notion of how small habit changes daily, can change your life! From there, I attempted to make changes. I was young, fresh out of college, unmarried, and pretty dang hopeful.

From there, I spent years on and off of the simple life. I would declutter and be excited, then feel lost and go on a shopping binge. Just like any other addiction, really.

Then there was marriage and combining stuff and moving a few times and major life shifts.

You know, the usual.

This binging and purging of stuff and debt over the years has left me mentally, physically, and emotionally drained.

Partly because in my heart I am a simple girl. I want the simple life. I don’t want the excess and mess – but somehow society creeps in and tells me that I just have to have it to be successful.

So, I try that and in the end feel worse than I did before.

I’ve done massive, MASSIVE decluttering stunts in the past. And, I always feel better afterward. But then, I want to do DIY Pinterest crafts…so I go to the thrift store, load up, repaint and refurb, and then store the junk. Then I feel guilty.

Endless!

My last major declutter was last year after I was laid off from work. I was able to stay home for a while and thought it was a good time to get rid of some stuff.

Well…I did.

But, then I just kept it ALL down in the garage in case I needed it.

Somewhere, between then and now ALL of that junk made it’s way back upstairs and in my living space.

Now, I am decluttering the same stuff and then some again!

I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty insane to me.

This time, I have a serious, serious rule.

What I donate and do not need gets loaded into my car and taken to the donation center right then.

It’s been working like a charm.

I’m different this time. I am focused this time. My life is slowly changing for the better.

This is where I want to be.

Enjoy the Journey Up

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Simplicity

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When I was telling my best friend about the biggest, hardest, tragic, most emotional event in my life she said the comforting, lovely words to me: “Shit happens.”

Well, that was pretty blunt and why I love her so much.

Not what I wanted to hear necessarily, but it was definitely a shot of truth. Over the last few years I have tried hard to accept some truths about my situation and life as hard as it is. And then, last night I finally had a revelation. I mean, I’ve know this revelation, but somehow it just sunk in and gave me peace.

See, here in Alabama we are hardcore college football fanatics. It is serious business. And, being a University of Alabama football fan – we hear it all the time:

When you are at the top, there’s only one way to go. Down.

This is our justification for winning so many championships and taking it to heart and being spoiled so when we lose it is pretty much the end of the world. Panic strikes and there are tears and toddler tantrums from adults.

Could it be that I am tired of the swampy heat and craving some rotel dip? Probably. Or could it be that it makes sense and that my life circumstance could also apply the same concept?

I’ve been on top of the world. I busted my tail to get where I was. As far as I was concerned I had ‘made it’ and my life was about to be gravy. My hard work and conscious decisions lead me to where I wanted to go: great credit, awesome SUV, husband, cute house, baby, and a stellar job.

I mean, what else really is there?

The ‘what else is there?’ is that you can fall to the bottom quick. Should the stars not align perfectly one day, you can be knocked off the high horse. Deep down we know that can happen – I mean…who’s gonna stop that tornado from demolishing your home, or a sickness, or wreck, or any other crisis? Not me, and not you.

The problem was that I clung so hard to my life that I created. I did it. It worked out. But it was A LOT of pressure to keep it there. Constantly on the defense. Always stressing and worrying about getting knocked off.

And then it happened.

I was knocked to the bottom and nearly lost everything.

Not of any fault of my own – it just happened and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

So here I am with a mess.

But secretly (and here was my acceptance and revelation)… I am thankful.

What? How in tha? How did I do that?

Well, if you are at the top there’s only one way to go…down.

But, if you are at the bottom there is only one way to go…UP!

Yay!

I can let go of the control and pressure from the top. The top is where I was using all my energy for worry and defense and stress to stay there.

I am at the bottom and it’s an excellent way to do things differently. I can now do things the way I want and not the way society tells me I have to.

I can let go and enjoy the journey.

Because truth is, I feel the same as I did at the top except I don’t have the pressure to stay there. I can ride back up with a different set of eyes. I can create something new and beautiful. I can learn from the fall. I can learn to trust intuition and destiny.

When you have nothing to lose, you lose nothing. 

Consent: Making my Personal Life Personal Again

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

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Social Media has really taken over, hasn’t it? I remember when Facebook was just for college students, it was a whole lot more private, and didn’t take up so much emotional, mental and social energy. Well, I opened my account in 2004 when I was in college. I’ve been through all the waves and curve balls and here recently, I have just had enough.

I have had enough ‘social posting responsibility’ and people micro managing what I post, who and what I respond to, and the like. Not only that, I notice that the more time I was spending on Facebook the worse I felt. It’s like I was watching a train wreck, but couldn’t quit looking.

I’m not against people who want to use Facebook by any means. But, by hearing my close family and friends chatter about it – it seems they are getting a good fill of it too. Jealousy, frustration, feeling less-than, and constantly comparing their lives with someone else. I mean, we all know deep down that people only post their highlights mostly, but it still can be a real drainer of energy if we don’t control it.

I took it upon myself to go on a Facebook hiatus the last few months and it has been lovely. Yes, I have missed out on a few social updates; like someone had a baby or got married. That’s awesome and all, but I don’t need to continually ‘stalk’ other’s daily lives anymore. I have a lot on my plate and I am changing and rearranging my life – and really don’t have time for that.

So, I deactivated my account today. Although I wasn’t logging on, I feel better knowing that I am unsearchable. I know people are going to notice, and when they do, I will just inform them to text or call me if they need something, no biggie.

I remember the days before social media. It seems like I knew a lot about what was going on around town anyway without logging on to read other people’s business. And also, obsessing over posting MY OWN business. Do I really want everyone to know what I’m doing? No, I don’t.

My personal life is now that. Personal. And I’m already liking it better that way.