Tag: Mindsets (page 1 of 3)

Simplicity: Streamline into Purpose

You’ve been hearing about this world-wide counter-culture trend of minimalism, from tiny living spaces to capsule wardrobes and multi-functional furniture. I’ve been inspired by many of these pioneers who’ve achieved zero-waste homes and streamlined their errands.  I study WAHMs (Working At Home Moms) blogs in amazement, because one day, I want to rock the mom thing (Tsh, Nina, Ruth and Anna are some of my favourite bloggers in this area). I often think of these bloggers and forward-thinkers as miracle-workers. I think: “I couldn’t possibly do what they did.”

But I can, and we can… we just trip and bash our egos on the details.

Although minimalism and intentional living have tremendous benefits as lifestyle choices,  the overarching concept of simplificity and streamlining (often put forward in minimalism) serves as  guiding principles on a spiritual level, which then trickles down into other areas of our lives.

By valuing simplification, it’s easier to streamline our choices and actions towards doing less of what does not suit who we are and what we want out of our lives. By simplifying down to what we value most (in varying forms such as relationships, careers, passions, families, hobbies…), we make room for meaning in our daily lives. We create our lives in practical and artful terms and in the process, we find purpose in meaning.

The BIG Shift to Simplicity

Since returning from holidays, I’ve discovered the many ways this trip has benefited my development and well-being (travel – the gift that keeps on giving!). Being around friends from all walks of life, one sentiment that stuck with me through the trip was how anything is possible. This was such a freeing realization, one I finally understood in my heart and in my gut as much as in my mind.

You’re probably thinking: “how is this simplifying? How does that have anything to do with streamlining, if she’s saying ‘anything’s possible’ ?”

As I sit with this thought, my mind goes straight into problem-solving mode to respond to my deepest longings. My mind says: “Heart, if anything is possible, this thing you hold dear, this dream you want to live out, this project you want to birth; it is possible! We can make it happen together!”

We're happy to be having a picnic in Bruges, Belgium

Anything is possible! (Here, we’re having the best picnic ever in Bruges)

My heart and my mind had a pow wow and agreed; the ONLY decisions that matter are the ones that allow Mercedes to follow her calling and co-creating loving relationships.  Those are the decisions that lead her to take action toward her dreams and her Self, making her feel most alive!  Everything else is gravy, as they say. Everything else then becomes about savouring life’s surprises and going with the flow. But the steps I take mindfully, I take in the direction of my calling and my loving relationships.

All of a sudden, judgment and fear takes a backseat. I don’t care about likelihood, opinions, past failures or “wasted” years. What I need to do is clear and moreover, I need to keep listening to the part of me saying:

“You’ve known all along and you’re more than capable, and worthy of your dreams. Don’t let others write your story. You aren’t greedy; you only want to follow your path. That’s also very yogic; you’re stepping away from things that aren’t meant for you, as you know they are meant for others and what’s meant for you is already yours. You’re already accepting of what comes to you in your journey, whatever that is. You’re ready to BE who you are.”

This is such a HUGE shift for a woman who’s been “glorifying busy” most of her teens and

Mercedes is at the fountain in front of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Refreshing! – I’m at the UN fountain.

young adult life. I was someone who was “trying on ambition” in the traditional sense and it felt like an itchy wool sweater. I often felt I needed to earn favours, work hard to deserve success and work even harder to earn leisure and rest. When I write this, I feel silly; my head knows that I’m worthy of happiness but that’s not how I’ve been living. There must have been beliefs (soul agreements) that prevented me from enjoying a simple, meaningful life. Heck, I could create that simple, purposeful life right now.

“But first, I should do…and then I need to…and really, this has to…” …aaaand nonsense.

It’s all just smoke and mirrors. If you want to be happy, be happy now. Make that choice, then work out what it means. If you want out of the life situation you *currently* have (whether that’s a job or a relationship), then ask yourself what *would* honour you and then work out how to do it and DO IT.

How Does Simplicity Help Me?

If you don’t know what your calling is or don’t believe in the concept of purpose, then by all means, listen to what lights you up, makes you smile and gives you energy. What makes you want to get up in the morning? What is the favourite part of your day? Whom do you most admire and why? How are you and your heroes alike? Are you envious of anyone? Ponder that.

For me, the spiritual simplicity of my life means that I will not limit my thinking or my options, because that would mean getting caught up in the details. After all, my mind should serve me, not control me. I won’t focus on a goal, but on the action. I ask myself: “does this honour me? Does this help me fulfill my calling or create loving relationships?” In even simpler terms: “Does this help me write? Does this help me practice reiki? Am I helping others in my way, with my gifts? Does this help me grow in my relationship?”

And that is how I focus my actions around my choices, which are based off my values. I am gaining clarity because I’m guided by few but strong principles.  Right now, I am called to write and to focus on wellness. Right now, my love partnership is a strong, rewarding bond that will (one day) blossom into the family we wish to welcome. As a harmonious partner (in the making) and a (mostly) serene writer and reiki practitioner, I feel I am better equipped to co-create other loving relationships (with family, friends, colleagues). I also feel more prepared to ride waves of life, because I found my centre.

With the steps I take, I’m streamlining my life choices so that I create, in love and in self-honouring practice, a life that is as true and alive as I was ever meant to be. Simply.

In what ways has simplifying your choices, actions or schedule improved your life? What does it allow for? Have you streamlined an area of your life to your greater satisfaction?

The Power of Visualization

The May 24 weekend sees thousands of people flock to the hip and chic central neighborhood of the Glebe for a long-standing tradition: The Great Glebe Garage Sale (GGGS). For Ottawans who happen to also be thrifters, it’s a pretty big deal. My partner and I being thirfty and creative people watchers, this is an exciting meeting of the senses. We’ve been almost every year since we’ve met as friends and decided to shack up. Although some years have been less successful in terms of “finds”, we usually have a grand ol’ time running into friends and basically, contemplating the quirks and trends of locals.

This year being one where I’ve redefined abundance, I didn’t feel the same need to ‘hunt’ for treasure. The mindset is quite a liberating one. Don’t misunderstand; I like a mad deal and a unique find as much as the next fashionista or DIY queen, but it just wasn’t a drive. I wasn’t attached to an outcome. For me, it was all about the experience. I wanted to spend a sunny Saturday morning with my honey, walking about, narrating our adventure and sharing some banter on why some rather pessimistic attendees call the Great Glebe ‘Garbage’ Sale. It surprises me how some people just don’t see the humour in the (very) broad scale of stands, exhibits and displays. Besides, doesn’t it make it all the more precious when you find the ‘right’ thing for you?

In any case, I wasn’t looking to blow my spending budget nor did I want to get impractical trinkets. For a woman who loves beauty and who cares about her environment, this is saying something. Wow, sometimes, I feel like I’ve come a long way! I decided to make peace with the outcome of the GGGS before it happened. I decided to roll a film in my head of the absolute best finds for me. As I pictured myself finding certain (practical and less practical) items, I knew deep down that if they were a good thing for me, however practical, I would find them. I then imagined the following…

Visualization Before The GGGS

I pictured myself finding one or two yak or alpaca wool sweaters in a neutral colour such as beige or brown. I saw myself smiling that I had found just the right sweater for my needs. You see, I wanted a sweater to wear travelling this summer, because you simply can’t dress up a hoodie.

I pictured myself finding books I would use. Nothing specific, just a book I would find a use for. I love books… we’ve established this in earlier posts. 😉

The next thing I visualized, and this was a whim, a whisper from my heart, not so much a practical wish, but one that charmed me just thinking about it, was that I would stumble upon a mechanical typewriter. I didn’t care about the model, the year or even the colour. But just for shakes and giggles, I decided to picture three colours I would particularly find fetching: blue (turquoise, sky, teal…), pink or cream. I figured, if we’re dreaming, might as well be wild! Might as well dream big!

Before falling asleep, I’d decided my morning was going to go smoothly, and I’d decided that the only things I wanted were the few things I’d find a use for and would also please me aesthetic. As I imaged this, I felt how giddy I’d feel if I found those items. And then, I let it go. I was ok if I didn’t find them then. I was ok with whatever timeline I’d get those things in, if they were meant for me. But I trusted that it would all work out. And I fell into a restful sleep.

Morning Of…

Saturday morning rolled around and we got up, my honey made breakfast AND my coffee. This is key, because he doesn’t drink coffee and I love it, so the fact that he made me one, for the road, was him going above and beyond to make my morning good.

We had trouble finding parking but we found a nifty spot next to the Canal, at Dow’s Lake. Within a few minutes, I found a dynamic yoga book. “What? That’s so cool!” It was in some milk crate of old random books, not on some neat display of wellness books. I leafed through it and it offered the right amount of “challenging” poses as I’d expect from a book I’d use at this stage in my practice. SOLD!

After wandering for about an hour and a half, we had to use the facilities (one of us more than the other). He wanted to head back to the car (which was still pretty far) and I wanted to go to Bank street to find a coffee shop and something to nosh on. We settled on the French Baker and I yielded that if he still wanted to leave after that, I’d be ok walking to the car. As we stepped out with croissants in hand, he suggested we mosey-on back to where we parked, all the while taking in the sights from other streets. Curiosity got the better of him. I didn’t mind one bit.

On the next to last street on our way back, I stumbled upon a Montreal-based guest merchant who happened to be selling beige sweaterend of stock alpaca wool sweaters. There were two left in my size: a beige and brown pull-over and a brown and beige button sweater. What?!? The best past was that they cost me under $25 and were BRAND NEW. Alpaca and yak wool sweaters go for upwards of $60. He was also certified fair-trade. So I couldn’t even feel guilty about the deal! Huzzah!

I was pretty happy with myself by then and I was trailing behind my partner like a three year old who had too much candy and her arms full of blanky and teddy. When I finally caught up, that’s when I saw a beautiful, multi-coloured paisley scarf I’d been looking for over a year ago. I simply needed to throw it own and hear that it was going for less than our two croissants and I was making out like a bandit.

My soft new pashmina. Style can be a bargain!

My soft new pashmina. Style can be a bargain!

As we walk down the last street to the car, I’m overheating, it’s about 10:15 and I’ve just about had it with the crowd. My honey went ahead to bring the car around. That’s when the crowd dissipated and I felt a welcome breeze. It blew past my left ear. That was the sale side. I brushed my hair behind my left ear and turned to take inventory (and a breath). That’s when I saw it: the blue Remington typewriter.

Blue Remington Typewriter

My blue Remington!

I hesitated for a second before I shook off my surprise and walked up and put my hand on it, in good garage-sale form. I asked a trendy, smiling lady just barely younger than me if she was selling it. She was happy to tell me she was, it was in full working order and it had belonged to her great aunt, who’d done her nursing degree with that blue baby. She’d kept this in storage and felt bad it wasn’t having adventures of its own anymore. We were equally pleased with the transaction; the Remington was going to a good home.

This experience is just another example of manifestation and serendipity working in my life. By tuning in and believing, while being open to receiving in whatever format, I am allowing for the things I need (and a lot that I want) to come to me. And when I do meet a helpful person, hear an insightful message, receive a thoughtful gift, benefit from a great deal, I’m all the more grateful.

Have you ever visualized something into your life? Have you been surprised by the power of your own visualization?

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