Since buying this house, over three years ago now, we have been trying to create a slow and simple home. There are some weeks when I glance around our home and the space is far from slow and simple, and having a slow home feels as elusive as ever.
When you are in the midst of house renovations there are bound to be patches of chaos. We have spent the last few weeks with the house feeling topsy turvy whilst we restored a sash window and then moved all the furniture out of one room into another in order to paint a floor (more on that later.)
Recently, I’ve been getting frustrated with how slow the progress has been. I know it’s ironic for some one who writes about slow living to admit that, but I just wish we could speed things up a little. How your home feels, and the space around you can have a really big impact on your well-being, and at the moment I am definitely craving more calm and order from our home.
It’s a new year, 2018 is here and there is a fresh new energy. Time to plan and set intentions for the new year ahead right? Well, what if you’re not quite in that head space yet..? How about we try another approach? Take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breath and really tune into your body… what’s the one thing it really needs right now? If it’s dreaming and scheming then go for it, but if you are anything like me you are craving rest, rest and a bit more rest.
I have definitely been easing myself into 2018. In previous years by now I have been struck by inspiration to dream, plan, choose my word for the year ahead, but that is not how I am feeling this year. I have an idea or two about why that is, but more on that later, in the meantime, I am just allowing myself to take things extra slowly. Which Is why it has taken me until now to write this first blog post.
Our bodies are wise, and even if you think you are pretty good at listening to yours, it’s sometimes so easy (with the wonders of social media) to get distracted by what everyone else is doing. It’s tempting to allow ourselves to fall in line with other peoples rhythm. Only you can set your own pace, not anyone else. Do what feels good for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, pick one thing to focus on, or do small things that feel manageable. Currently what’s helping me is concentrating on where I am finding the most joy.
Over the last few years I have realised that everything always comes in waves… creativity, work, energy, mood, seasons, monthly cycles… all of life is always ebbing and flowing. Before, I would get panicky if things got too quiet, or I wasn’t feeling creative, and I would often put pressure on myself and force myself to keep going. Now, however I am learning to savour the lulls and soak up the quiet pauses. If I am not feeing something, I sit and wait and have faith that it will return again as sure as spring will be here in a few months.
Christmas can be such a busy time of year. With all the festivities and all the extra things to do, it’s easy for it to pass by in a festive blur. I find it’s really important to stop, take a breath and remind myself to be really mindful about what we commit to as a family, and make sure I am able to enjoy all the special times that December has to offer.
Here are some of the things we do in order to have a slow and natural Christmas…
Winter is well and truly here, the sun is much lower in the sky, we’ve had a few frosty mornings, and the mittens are out. It was such a beautiful Autumn this year, full of gloriously warm and sunny days, but it seemed to be over really quickly. Winter always feels like a big adjustment when it arrives, and I’m never quite ready to say goodbye to the golden days of Autumn. At least all the festivities of December provide the opportunity for joy and twinkly moments for the first of the Winter months. I actually really like the depths of Winter, once I get used to the cold and remember to wear my thermals and an extra jumper.
Here’s the Monthly Voice for October and November, including some exciting news about an upcoming online retreat, plus I reflect on how I’m doing with my word for 2017 ‘ease’, and as always a round up of what we’ve been up to and what’s been an inspiration this month…
Creativity and having a creative practice is so important for our general well-being. For me, creativity has always been an opportunity to play, a safe place to explore, experiment and express whatever is going on in my life. It’s easy to see why those characteristics are so beneficial in helping us to feel good.
A while ago I mentioned that finding those creative moments seems harder than before. More accurately, the main shift over the last year and half is that I have started to earn money from my creativity – my writing, my photography, and this blog space.
Previously, my creativity was just for me, it didn’t really matter what anyone else thought or whether it fulfilled someone else’s ideas. However, now I am submitting features to editors and working with brands, and that context changes how it feels to create the work.
I realise it’s a dream for many to transition into earning money from their creativity and I feel very thankful to have been paid for my creative endeavours over the last year and a bit. However, when your creativity starts to become your source of income, how do you combine a creative self-practice that makes you feel good and fuels your well-being whilst also earning you money?