Project Simplify: The beginning.

It’s warming up here in Southern California. Summer is officially in full swing. It is actually my least favorite season here. It’s just too damn hot for me. I’m not very effective at getting things done in the summer heat. My body says sit still, drink iced tea constantly and read a book. My brain says – you’ve got shit to do.

I’m working on striking a balance with that this year, because hopefully this will be our last summer living in So Cal. Yes I’m putting it out there – Woo hoo!

James and I have never moved anywhere together. We have been together nearly ten years now, and in the time that we’ve lived together (8 years) we have lived in the house that he owned when we met. I am so excited about choosing our next location and building a home together that fits exactly what we see for our future.

I have been reading a lot this spring and early summer, and there are several books that helping me to pause and think about how I want to prepare for our big move. The book that seems to be landing on everyone’s recommended list this year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo was the first inspire me in the direction of simplifying now before our move is imminent. If you haven’t read it yet, see if you can borrow it from a friend who has already bought it (I guarantee at least one of your friends has got a copy).

It is not in fact a book about tidying. Well she talks a lot about tidying but what we learn is that tidying by definition is not something you should be aiming to do in your future. The point is to simplify your collection of belongings so much so that everything you possess has its very own home.

Once you wade thru years or decades of stuff that you have acquired because you “needed” it and keep only the things that truly bring you joy today in this moment, you will start to feel a sense of clarity and freedom. This is a super distilled description of the thesis of her book.

She really helps explain why one big paring down of your belongings to things that truly bring you joy can have such a profound impact on your life. Gotta read it!

Within a week of following Mari’s plan to simplify and de-clutter the house James noticed what I was up to and got super inspired to start mapping out our plan for the next nine months. Now I am by no means done working thru the whole house, but I have to say it feels so good to be on the simplifying path that it crops up in my mind to keep plugging away at it daily.

This idea of simplifying our lives in general is something James and I talk about all the time. It’s a big part of changes we will make in choosing where we live (location wise) and how we live in the future.

We are planning on massively downsizing our home size and living on a much smaller budget, and least for a while. We want our lives to focus around being outdoors as much as possible, travelling, crafting a rich home life where friends and family will love to come and unplug.  Our choice of work will also be tailored to our new life, but more about that another day.

I want to make on more book recommendation for wrapping your brain around the path of simplification: Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. This one book is all about the philosophy “Less but Better.” Greg talks about the mind set shift that needs to happen so you can choose where to focus your energies more effectively. Great tips for applying these principles to your life and your business. It’s absolutely one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait to dive into a second read of it.

I will share so much more about Project Simplify as we move along, so stay tuned. I hope you use some warm summery days to get outside and enjoy time with family and friends at the beach, or around a campfire (one of my all time favorite things to do).  It’s also a great time to spend a sweltering afternoon with a good book (like those above if they resonate) and a refreshing drink (booze optional;)

Thanks for being here,  and sharing in my life’s journey!

The Noise We Create in Our Lives

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the noise we create in our lives. There are so many pulls on our attention these days that it can create this immobilizing overwhelm. There are so many things that we allow eat up on our precious time. Are they really important, or are they really necessary?

Do you ever feel that way? I know I certainly do. Living in Los Angeles comes with it’s own level of constant stimuli. I remember the first time my uncle visited me here, he and his wife were struck by the number of people here, always going somewhere, doing something, and always on the roads. I could relate to what he noticed right away. You can’t miss the long stretches of cars containing often only the driver filling up the roads and always in a hurry.

For a while I had a job that required me to be in my car diving all over the city. I was visiting boutique accounts for another jewelry designer. It’s funny to me that I didn’t find it stressful. I was able to relax and find peace even when it might take me 20 minutes to move half a mile. The reason is that I was getting paid for all that time and I could listen to music, or podcasts that I chose. It felt like a luxury.

I can usually find the grace to move through this society with an open heart and patience. Then there are times when I notice all of the competition and stress and constant pushing forward really gets on top of me.

Sometimes I think all this rushing and frustration I see is because we feel so full of “shoulds”. I have been hearing this a lot lately. Fuck the “shoulds” do the ‘wants’. It’s all about changing your mind set. It is not about ignoring responsibilities and living with disregard for others.

I think focusing on the wants is where I’ve been getting stuck lately. I am beginning to realize that maybe the things I have been “wanting” to create in my life come from deep-rooted expectations that I believe other people have of me. When in fact I’ve been creating these shoulds to follow a path I dreamt up long ago. It’s time to craft the new wants.

We change all the time. Every new experience we have, every book we read, or struggle we go thru all have the power to allow us to change. We can come out the other side with new perspective, new information, or new resolve. Don’t listen if someone says people don’t change. I wholeheartedly believe we do.

I also have to believe that it is possible to start making conscious changes in the way we structure our lives, the choices we make and the dreams we dream that will allow us to cut back on the noise in our lives. It is possible to live with deeper intention and love.

This is the path I’m on, and I hope you’ll join me.  Think about the things you’ve been chasing in life. Do you know why you are on the path you are? Do these reasons still resonate with you? Are you chasing the dream you truly want, or are you checking off everyone else’s shoulds?

I’d love to here what you have to say in the comments, or feel free to shoot me an email.