What Consumes the Mind, Controls Our Life

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

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Simplifying our lives has many aspects to it; and it varies from each person to person. For me, I am not an extremist by any stretch, but I want to remove the excess that is weighing me down so I can be energized and focus on what truly matters to me.

As I am constantly de-cluttering my possessions and spending less on consumerist spending, I am also de-cluttering my mind. When I first began simplifying my life, I knew I needed to get rid of physical clutter to have more brain space and clarity to get down to business on my insides. It was only natural that at some point, a lot of my mental clutter began surfacing as I was decreasing the amount of possessions I owned.

This is my favorite part of a minimalist lifestyle!

For me, “you are what you eat” translates not only to actual food consumption, but also to what I take in to my mind and thoughts. My focus is to remove the negativity that keeps clouding my thoughts and turn it in to positive affirmations.

I took a few weeks to really listen to my thoughts that rattle within. My inner voice was speaking; and it wasn’t pretty. Self doubt, worry, frustration, anger, and incessant chatter seemed to never end. After meditation and letting go of this mindset, I knew there were some changes that I would have to make to clear the mental clutter.

This became a priority and still is.

1. Social Media: I am off of Facebook. Period. I was comparing myself to others, and then other people’s constant questioning about my personal Facebook activity was a major trigger in anxiety. Now, all of my closest family and friends know to contact me directly via telephone or person if they have something to communicate as I am not on Facebook for the drama anymore. It was weird for a few days because I would unknowingly pick up my phone to check Facebook as a terrible habit. But, I had deleted the icon app as a reminder not to log on. I don’t miss it at all.

2. News: I love the news and shows like Nancy Grace (my hero!). However, I feel very agitated, angry, and defensive after soaking in updates from around home and the globe. Truly, I was getting to where I felt hopeless and sad. So, I simply just don’t watch it any longer. Now, I know they say to keep up with cultural events and such; and I do get info from my Husband on events that I am interested in so I can stay in the loop on what matters to me. But guess what? The world hasn’t crashed and I haven’t become an obsolete being just because I am not ranting over politics and the like.

3. Diet: I can’t think well if I don’t feel well. My eating habits have changed and I no longer include sugar in my diet. I feel more energized and can focus on what matters – like having fun – instead of feeling guilty because of what I have eaten during the day.

4. Drama: Other people have a way of sucking me into their drama. I am by nature a very empathetic and compassionate person, so I take on other people’s burdens as my own. This drags me so far down and makes me collapse with exhaustion. This is probably one of my #1 soul suckers. I have to consciously choose not to be involved in drama anymore and it’s making a huge difference in my positivity.

I want positive, hopeful, happy thoughts. Along with my possessions, I am de-cluttering the gunk as well. We think what we take in. We speak what we take in. We feel what we take in.

Isn’t it time we put a barrier to the negativity so we can embrace our true selves? If you want to feel energetic, you must take in energy. If you want to think positively, you must consume positivity. Let’s use our energy for positive vibes instead of the negative, shall we?

What gunk to you need to get rid of to add some light into your days?

Make Room For What Matters

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

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Over time, our possessions and negligence to our priorities begin to pile up. The mile-high to-do list keeps growing. You never feel fulfilled or caught up. You burn out, become resentful, and think that you are stuck.

It’s human nature to want our homes to be organized, clean, and a complete haven from our busy lives. We want to come home to a refreshing environment where we can relax and enjoy ourselves and our family. If we use consumerism to battle anxiety, or go shopping as a hobby, we end up in debt: which makes us feel guilty. Not only that, we become self-appointed Stuff Managers. We have to organize, store, move, clean, and up-keep our belongings.

Just writing that last paragraph made me out of breath. Whew.

I am giving up being a Stuff Manager.

I want my home to be tidy, minimal, useful, and relaxing. My past spending habits and acquiring nature has taken it’s toll. My home is no longer my haven; it’s a never-ending to do list that exhausts me before I even walk in my door.

My goal is to keep and use what is beautiful and useful. Everything else must go. 

A few minutes ago I dropped off about 5 construction sized garbage bags and several 13 gallon garbage bags full of unused junk to a local donation center.

I left feeling lighter, clearer, and more positive.

Once we realize that what we buy and keep actually owns us, not the other way around, we can begin to carve out, remove, and make room for what really matters in life.

Don’t you just salivate thinking about a clean slate? What would you do with bare walls and clean cabinets?

I certainly wouldn’t go back to the thrift store and just buy something because it was cheap to fill up my walls again: I would display my favorite photos of my family with pride. I wouldn’t buy clothing just because it’s trendy or on sale trying to look like everyone else: I would buy only what fits and what I love. I wouldn’t use shopping to pass the time or to fulfill a void. I wouldn’t keep things just because I felt obligated to.

We don’t live in the past or future, we live in the here and now.

I am not the same person I was 5 years ago, so why am I keeping clothing and things that no longer suit my needs and wants?

Well, I am not anymore. I am living for today and am going to keep and use the things that represent who I am today.

In another 5 years, I am sure I will have to repeat the cycle. And that’s OK. I don’t want to be who I was last year. I want to be who I am today. That’s who I live for.

And, I’m not stocking up for the future, either. I do not need 5,000 paper plates just because they are on sale. I need 1 pack. If I need another pack in the future, I will just go get another pack then.

Living in the moment and for who you are today means letting go of guilt, fear, and worry. We can live lighter and more carefree enjoying what we have an who we are in this moment by keeping and doing the most important things.

That’s the way I will live.

Re-Arranging Life

Clarity, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Simplicity

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An excess of possessions is sure to smother a good mood. You work all day just to come home to a house full of chaos. There’s cooking to do, rooms to clean, and stuff to put away.

It’s an energy-sucker for sure.

I know how it goes and I still get very frustrated at the unused, useless stuff I have sitting around.

I’ve spent so much time and money re-organizing and then organizing my stuff again and again throughout the years. The fact is, we can re-organize our stuff, but not re-organize our life. This is the key.

We can get rid of things, purchase containers to store, rent a storage building and still end up cluttered and out of control. Our behavior and priorities have to change first to be successful.

I wish this was as easy as it sounds, but it does take effort, soul searching and work.

Currently, I am re-arranging my life and my stuff.

This takes a lot of clarity and focus to make the result I want a priority. My priorities:

  • Quality family time
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Freedom in my schedule
  • Plenty of rest
  • Search for passion
  • Pay off debt
  • Get healthy and active
  • Rid home and life of excess and clutter

To do these things, I have to focus. The heart of my minimalist mission is to get rid of excess clutter to make room for my priorities.

That is the first thing that makes sense to go, to free up the time for me to spend with family, get more rest, explore my passions and future, and to pay off debt.

My daily decisions and choices are key. I have to make it a reality that I am living the life I want. Do I chose a bottle of water or a coke? Water. Do I buy a bunch of stuff I don’t need, or pay off debt? Pay debt. Do I want to work myself to death to buy useless stuff, or do I explore my passion and get my life in that direction? Work towards passion.

Every decision I make is important. Every time I feel overwhelmed and tired and unmotivated, I focus on my priorities and do that.

When you get to the point in life where you realize what you are actually doesn’t line up with who you want to be, it’s time to make a shift and change. Otherwise, you will wallow in guilt, shame, and sadness. I know, I’ve been there. And now, I’m scratching and clawing to simplify and focus on the important things. I want to be who I was born to be, not who society tells me I have to be.

Meditation: How to Begin

Clarity, Essential Oils, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

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This is one of my favorite meditation spots.

Meditation has done wonders for me over the last few months. More than exercise, therapists, or medication ever thought about.

It’s powerful because you take back control of your thoughts. It helps bring you back to center and allows you to explore your authentic self.

Life has a way of becoming hectic, wild, chaotic, busy…if we let it.

If you are at your wit’s end and don’t know what else to do, like I was not too long ago, it’s time to try something else.

How to meditate:

This is something that you will discover for yourself because there are tons of different ways people do it. It’s not just for Yogi’s or Buddhists. It’s also for you.

Just like everything else, it takes practice and patience. It also takes mindfulness and the willingness to try something new.

Here is how I started out:

  • 2 minutes: I made it a priority to sit with myself for a minimum of 2 minutes every day. Normally this was in the bathtub where I could relax after kids were in bed.
  • After some time, I then became mindful of meditation: driving down the road, sitting on the porch, drinking coffee, cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • I welcomed my thoughts. Let’s be real, they don’t stop. Our minds go and go and are constantly chattering. I simply observed and then watched them float away like a balloon.

I try to meditate every, single day. I don’t put a time limit on it, I just do it. I make a point to be mindful, to be quite, and to look within.

You don’t need a fancy room or pillow to meditate.

It’s just a simple exercise that you can do to quieten your thoughts and gain clarity.

My recommendations:

  • Quiet room: bathtub, bedroom, on the road; anywhere with little distraction
  • Peaceful music: nature sounds, slow tunes with no words
  • Start with deep breathing. Take your time and take long, deep breaths. Focus on the in and out
  • Watch your thoughts. They will be there, but after a little time and with a little breathing they will become less and less
  • Essential oil: Sometimes I like to add a little ambiance to the experience. Frankincense brings a little woodsy aromatherapy and helps me focus
  • Let go of guilt. Don’t feel guilty about giving yourself a few minutes throughout the day to ease anxiety and get to know yourself again
  • Stay with it. You may feel tempted to procrastinate feeling like you are ‘wasting time’ just sitting and breathing. When I first started out my thoughts were all the same: “I really should be doing the dishes” “I’m missing my favorite show” “I have to fold laundry” “Hmm. I’d really like to re-decorate this room” Sit with these thoughts and let them go. They will pass and you can remain calm and realize that these thoughts are not urgent. They will come back later, I promise.

After meditating, you will be able to attack your tasks, family, and self with a calmer attitude. You will learn what is most important to you. You will be able to let go of anxiety. You will regain control of your thought patterns.

Isn’t it time to take back control of our thoughts and life so we can live in a meaningful way?

How can we know which path to take among all the mental chatter, busyness, and chaos?

Meditation will help settle this so we can move in the right direction and live from our heart.

Caveman Skincare

Free Spirit, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Natural Beauty, Simplicity

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A lot of us have spent so much time and energy on over-the-counter and medicated facial cleanser. We scrub, exfoliate, moisturize; wear clay masks, apply toners and astringent, and pop zits.

If you are like me, then all of this started as a pre-teen when acne was running wild and it was cool to start using beauty products and makeup.

I’m in my thirties and the question still remains:

Why do I still have crazy skin and what can I purchase and do to make it go away?

It seems like I have tried everything imaginable and nothing is making it any better.

I had a turning point after I was using a combination of facial exfoliation, medicated facial wash, charcoal mask and makeup: my face broke out unbelievably and my cheeks turned beet red and very sore.

That’s when I made the decision.

It’s time to do something drastically different.

Then, I stumbled upon the Caveman Regimen in skincare. It really doesn’t get any more simple:

  • Wash your face with water only
  • Or, don’t wash it at all

I opt for the washing my face with water only and a baby soft rag.

After only 3 weeks, my skin has totally cleared up and my oils have regulated. Also, my black and whiteheads came out on their own. I will admit: it was disgusting but so amazing at the same time. After the first week, I looked in the mirror and they all made their way to the surface. If I hadn’t been in such shock, I would have taken a picture because it was wild; gross, but awesome at the same time. I’ve been trying for years to get them all out: biore strips, exfoliation, mashing. Well, they are gone now and haven’t returned. I’m sold and lo and behold my body is doing what it is meant to do. All on it’s own.

Why make the switch?

  • Conventional facial cleansers have chemicals and medication that may simply be way too strong for your face. They also can be stripping you of natural oils causing you to dry out and break out
  • You have tried every product on the market all your life and nothing is working
  • You want to save money. Water only is free!
  • You want to simplify your beauty routine
  • You want clear skin
  • You want to trust your body. The body is a machine made to cleans, heal, and grow all on it’s own. It doesn’t need our help with products. It already knows what to do if we just let go and allow it to do what it’s designed to do.

It’s really not as scary or gross as it sounds. It’s actually very beautiful and skin is allowed to heal naturally – which, is what your body is trying to do in the first place before we take it upon ourselves to slather and scrub it raw.

What to expect after making the switch from conventional to caveman:

  • Few days of transition. My skin was very oily and felt weird for a few days. I wasn’t used to water only and I had the strong desire to go back to my products. But, I held strong and am so glad I did. After a few days (depending on the person), your skin will begin to regulate and you can continue water only washing until it becomes your new norm.
  • You will realize that you have been spending way too much time and money on facial cleansers. Haven’t you heard that companies know that you will have to keep coming back for more? You try it: skin dries out, you buy moisturizer. You break out: you buy acne cream. You use makeup to cover acne: cycle starts over and continues.
  • You simplify your routine. I spend my mornings meditating, working on blog posts, yoga, and sipping coffee instead of slathering makeup on top of makeup to conceal my blemishes. Now, I put a little organic CC cream on my face and do something else.
  • It becomes the norm. After a few weeks, you quit thinking about your face. You don’t reach for cleansers in the bathtub. Oils regulate and skin clears. Ah. So nice.

Am I going to continue with caveman skincare?

Without a doubt.

The results can’t be denied. I wanted:

  • Simplified beauty routine
  • To save money
  • Clear skin

I now have all three.

It’s healthier and my skin is happier. Much, much happier.

Coming Home Blend: Essential Oil DIY

Essential Oils, Free Spirit, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Simplicity

unnamedOne of the best feelings in the world is coming home to a clean, fresh home.

I was away on a weekend trip where I was low key and packed lightly. Being away from my home is fun and makes great memories, but when I get home I am ever so grateful.

Before I leave I make sure:

  • Dishes are clean and put away
  • Toys, clothes, clutter is in their spot
  • Clean sheets are on my bed
  • Fresh towels and bathroom are clean
  • Smelly-goods: that the house smells fabulous upon arrival

Being welcomed by a calm home is peaceful.

The hustle, bustle, and travel time away drains us of our energy. The last thing on our minds when we get home is to have a to-do list. Our minds and body can relax if when we arrive our home is happy and clutter-free.

Coming Home Essential Oil Blend

  • 5 drops lavender
  • 5 drops frankincense
  • 5 drops lemon

This is the blend that I whipped up as soon as I got home. I put it in the diffuser and let my spirit be nourished and relaxed. It was a little woodsy from the frankincense, fresh from the lavender, and clean from the lemon.

My home smelled lovely as I gave into the exhaustion and enjoyed being where my heart is.

Then, I brought out my yoga mat, took deep breaths, and rejuvenated my senses as I parted from the weekend and welcomed the upcoming week.

How to Pack Light for Less Stressful Travels

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

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Sometimes traveling and packing can seem overwhelming. There is washing clothes, cleaning house, buying products to take, making sure everyone in the fam has what they need, considering the weather and an outfit to match each and every possible scenario. Just thinking about it is enough to cause a stress-out.

Over time, I have tried to minimize the way I pack for getaways and I have recently came up with a philosophy that works perfectly when I have a hard time deciding what to do.

It’s the Half Philosophy.

Whether it be laundry, packing, grocery shopping, my closet, what I purchase, or what I think about…I just cut it back to half to bring in some equilibrium and free up some space.

Why packing light invites peace and freedom during travels:

  • Less to lug around
  • Freedom to spend time at the destination instead of worrying about stuff
  • Fewer thoughts put into wardrobe choices
  • Less stuff to unpack and wash when returning home

All four of those bullets is enough for me to pack lighter. I have learned plenty of stressful lessons in the past. Traveling becomes less daunting when you realize you don’t need as much to bring with you while away.

How to apply the half philosophy and pack less:

  • Pack as you normally would starting out (if you are a first-timer). You will learn to pack less and less each trip in the future if you apply this as the norm
  • Let it sit in your suitcase and extra bags for a day or even a few hours
  • Come back to it with a fresh eye before your leave
  • Analyze your items: think about the weather, where you are planning on going, which events are a must
  • Unpack half, leaving only the necessities

My recent pack in photos:

unnamedI started out thoughtfully believing that I had packed just what I needed. It wasn’t overbearing and was fairly light to begin with. I let it sit for a day.

When I came back to it and began moving my stuff around I realized that it was entirely too much for the lax weekend getaway that I would be traveling.

I unpacked half leaving a few causal, comfy outfits and only one extra pair of shoes (besides the ones I would be wearing). Everything was versatile, mix and match, and comfy.

Then, I switched over to a smaller duffle shoulder bag, rolled up my outfits, and was ready to go!

But, did you have enough while you were away?

Yes. I had plenty. I was comfy, cute, and went about my business as usual. I even had an outfit that I didn’t even wear and swimsuit that didn’t get used.

When I returned home, I dumped my dirty clothes directly into the washing machine, barely taking up a load and put away my clean clothes.

I was unpacked and had laundry clean within an hour of returning home.

When we analyze our necessities, take what we need an discard the rest, we can enjoy our time in the present without stressing over all our ‘stuff’ and ‘work’ required in taking care of our stuff.

Moving on From Mistakes

Free Spirit, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

In our busy, chaotic lives we sometimes forget to pay attention to the lesson in our mistakes. We are inherently reactionary to our to-do lists, family, kids, jobs…life. When we get to the point when we are so overwhelmed, we make mistakes. Our clear-thinking self disappears. Life become autopilot. Living with the aftermath of our past mistakes simply becomes the norm.

Some may think that we have to live and thrive in our mistakes, but I say we are afraid to own up to them, practice change, focus on the present, and become our best self.

We are afraid that…

  • we are out of control of our choices
  • we have to much to do to follow our heart
  • we can’t beat addiction
  • we are stuck in our ‘ways’
  • we can’t be better

This is bologna! Our minds constantly cloud us with negativity and criticism. So much so that we actual believe it.

It’s true. We all have made mistakes, after all we are human. The point is in the lesson in how we react to our mistakes and if we move forward in a positive way.

How to let go and learn from mistakes

Own up to it: You made a mistake. You are in debt. You are addicted. You are not happy with your situation and lifestyle. Well, that was yesterday. Each day we are given the gift of a clean slate. You actually do have a choice in what you do with your life today. Get busy acknowledging what happened and get serious about letting it go and starting over each and every day.

Create a passion statementIt’s so important to know your heart. What are your passions and musts in life. Not what you wish you could be – who are you? Who are you right this instant. You are compassionate, eager, skillful, useful, and beautiful. When you create a passion statement of your priorities you can better hone in and focus on what you want out of life.

Meditate: Sit in quiet with your thoughts hippily. It’s not as wacko as it sounds. Sit still and breathe. You won’t stop your thoughts at first. Just acknowledge them without getting sucked into the drama. See them for what it is. It’s chatter; not truth. Watch them float away into the sky, letting go. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe deeply. Do this until you are finished or until you fall asleep. The more you practice the better it is to control the negative thoughts.

Focus on your heart: This is where I missed the mark so many times. I do things so as to not disappoint people. I totally deplete myself trying to take care of everyone else. There is a time and place for that but it is vital to take care of yourself. Listen to your heart. Are you living the life you are supposed to? Or have you gotten so caught up in the mess that you have forgotten who you are? It’s time to get that happy person back. You and everyone else in your life deserves you. The real you.

Forgive yourself: Let go of the guilt that you are carrying from your mistakes. If it was a harsh word, an angry look, going in debt, feeling like you aren’t measuring up to others…let. it. go. The guilt being carried is as heavy as the mistake itself. Ask for forgiveness. Get a game plan to get out of debt. Focus on you. Do something nice for others. Eat a home cooked meal. Get extra sleep. Change up your routine. You are only human and you have lots to offer. Don’t lose that feeling sorry for yourself, worrying, or feeling guilty.

There are many other ways to move on but take the gentle approach. Take care of yourself for once. Do something fun. Let go. Rest.

I know that I have carried guilt and the feeling of not measuring up for long enough. It is another reason I am on a hippy, carefree, simplified journey. It’s time to be light. It’s time to give back. It’s time to be authentic and celebrate the here in now. Life is way to short.