How to slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty

slow-down-enjoy-life

 

The lazy sunlight yawns through the partly opened curtains. 

I pour the coffee grounds into the pot followed by the boiling water.  

 

Three stirs to the left, then three to the right.  

The motions of my mornings, slow and serene.  

 

I hop from foot to foot as I wait for the coffee to brew.  

I take delight in the effort of plunging, the delicious anticipation. 

 

Gently I tip the coffee into my cup, inhaling to alertness.   

It’s deep and bold and makes me feel ever-so-slightly dizzy.  

 

I sit and sip and peruse the newspaper.  

Finding rest in the gentle morning’s embrace.  

 

 

My father is one of those people who just cannot sit still. No matter what, it always seems as though he is on a mission. He has an admirable dose of determination and a laser focus like no other.

 

I know for sure that it is him I inherited this particular trait from. It is him that I blame for my obsession with to-do lists and my antsy-pantsy need to get every, single task done.

 

We are like bees, buzzing so quickly from one job to another that if you blink you might just miss us.

 

But for every doer there is a thinker. A brake that causes us to decelerate. An anchor that keeps us moored to the shore.

 

They are the ones who urge us to stop for a lunch break. Who remind us that night time is for sleeping. Who will gently bring us back to rest when we are whirling around like spinning tops.

 

My boyfriend is one of those people.

 

He knows how to slow down and enjoy life. It comes naturally to him in a way it never has to me, so we often are at odds with one another.

 

We are forces pulling in opposite directions. We are a paradox. An unstoppable force meeting an immovable object…that’s us.

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But I am learning how to slow down and enjoy life right now, in this very moment. I am learning how to sit still without thinking of my to-do list.

 

I am learning to find peace in those quiet moments and to practice patience in those painfully slow moments.

 

“Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday.” – Papyrus  

 

I’m terrified that because of my nature, because it isn’t often that I’m not in a hurry, I could end up missing out on life.

 

I could get so caught up in getting tasks done that I actually wouldn’t take the time to enjoy the seconds and minutes that life is made up of.

 

The irony is that sometimes I try so hard to make a moment memorable that I actually miss out on the enjoyment of the moment which is the very thing that makes it memorable.

 

But how do we become hummingbirds? Able to hover and rest in the moment.

 

How do we actually slow down and enjoy life?

 

Create a done list  

 

A list of the things you have achieved for each day or that week.

 

I often find that I can’t stop because I feel that slowing down means I am unproductive. And there is not much I dislike more than feeling lazy and unproductive.

 

So an easy way to get around that feeling is to prove to yourself that you have been productive. That’s where the ‘done’ list comes in. This means you can enjoy your time off because you know you have already worked hard and earned it.

 

Make time for it

 

Schedule that slow, restful time in your diary.

 

It might sound absurd to someone who is laid-back and doesn’t need to schedule time for rest. But for those of us who can’t sit still, having time set aside for relaxing can be the only way we will actually remember to do it.

 

Sit still or meditate

 

I’ve never been so great at meditation because my mind tends to wander and start working instead of resting.

 

I’m trying to get to the point where I absolutely clear my head and can rest there, but for now I find simply sitting still and absorbing the scene around me is all I need to escape for awhile. This brings my focus back to being present in that moment.

 

Again, this might sound excessive to some, but maybe try setting an alarm at random points throughout the day and for a minute just pause and take in what’s before you.

 

Notice the sights, smells and sounds. Be aware of how you are feeling at that moment and consider if there is anything you could do to make yourself feel better.

 

Do something just for fun

When you get stuck in cycle of constant productivity you don’t tend to leave a lot of time for goofing around. In fact, when other people try to get you to have fun it often ends in an irritated squabble.

 

One of the best skills to have is the ability to be adaptable. You can work on your flexibility by doing things just because they are fun.

 

Everything doesn’t need to have an ultimate purpose or a goal for you to achieve, some things (the best things) are simply just fun to do.

 

Be patient with yourself

Most of all you have to recognise that learning how to slow down and enjoy life isn’t always easy. As we move through life we will always be learning so we have to be kind to ourselves and extend grace where it is needed.

 

We might not always have as much patience as we wish we did. We might get frustrated by those who put on the brakes and slow us down. We might keep going and going until we burnout.

 

Eventually we will get to a place where slowing down comes naturally to us.

 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott

Do you struggle with feeling guilty for slowing down?

13 super easy ways to make your life a little simpler

make-life-simpler

 

A year or so ago I watched theMinimalism documentary. And from that point on I have become increasingly more aware of my consumption habits. To be honest, after watching the film I felt terribly ashamed and embarrassed about the way I had been carelessly allowing clutter to fill up my home and life.

 

I was in this continuous cycle of purchasing and discarding. Searching for newer and better things to replace the perfectly good items I already owned.

 

It is really easy to make shopping into a sport. A social activity. An outlet for stress. A way of taking control.

 

But it is that mindset which left my bookshelves overflowing, my closet heaving and myself still feeling empty.

 

A part of me wished I could do it better. If only I could make my life a little simpler. I wished I could find contentment with what I already had.

 


 

Then I came across another documentary, “Before the Flood.” In which Leonardo DiCaprio urges us to become aware of the impact we are having on the planet and to take action to prevent further harm.

 

With any emotive film, book or TV series, I am quick to jump on board their crusade. I want to do my bit. I want to take charge of my destiny. I want to feel like I have a teensy tiny bit of control or a say in how these things pan out.

 

So I felt the crushing weight of responsibility for my actions. I recognised my bad habits were impacting more than just myself but also the planet I called home and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about it.

 

I am not one who subscribes to the ‘this job is too big for me so I won’t do anything at all’ philosophy. No way. If I can make a change, no matter how small, you bet I will.

 

So first of all I got thinking about what is most important to me. These things would be the focus for my simple living goals, the hooks I would prop my coat on.

 

The things I value:

 

People. The relationships I have in my own life but also the indirect ones I am a part of as a consumer.

I wanted to be more intentional about who I spent time with, who I bought products from and who I followed on social media.

 

The planet. I love nature and being outdoors. I love that the country I live in is so beautiful and that we have the opportunity to appreciate forests, lakes and mountains that people travel from all around the world to see.

I wanted to be mindful of the products I purchased and the way they were processed so that I could help prevent further damage to our precious planet.

 

My health. I have spent a long time fighting against my body and I finally am in a place where I appreciate it for all of the marvelous ways it enables me to live.

I wanted to do more of what makes me feel good. I wanted to take care of myself so that I could live life to the fullest.

 

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With those things in mind I decided I needed to take action and make some changes. Thus my new philosophy for life was formed.

 

My simple living philosophy…

 

“To be intentional about the way I live in order to minimise my impact on the planet and others. To sacrifice convenience for the benefit of quality time, compassion and overall well-being. To live in a way that makes me so excited about the now that I forget about the not yet.”

 

Making tiny changes to my lifestyle has had a huge impact on the way I feel. I believe that when we live authentically, in a way that remains true to our core beliefs, we can stop fighting ourselves and find contentment.

 

So these are a few super easy things I have done to incorporate my simple living philosophy into my everyday life. Perhaps these are things you might like to try also…

 

How to make your life a little bit simpler:

 

Start composting-

I just started gathering food scraps and heaping them in a pile in our backyard. Then I would take that compost and return the nutrients to the soil in my garden. From nature to nature.

A lot of people think that food will decompose in the landfill but that isn’t actually true. Food scraps are trapped among the rubbish and unable to get enough oxygen to biodegrade.

 

Buy sustainable beauty products-

I’ve been working on buying products without palm oil and that come in recyclable packaging. I already have a strong appreciation for bar soap and I am keen to try out solid shampoo and conditioner bars.

 

Unfollow people who make you feel icky-

Stop comparing yourself to others. Only follow people who uplift you, inspire you or bring you joy.

 

Eat less meat- 

The agricultural industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and there is some speculation as to whether we should be eating as much animal protein as we currently do. I’m trying to include at least one vegetarian meal per week and when I do eat meat, I want it to be better quality.

 

Try growing your own vegetables-

I started this in order to better appreciate the effort required to get food onto my plate. I also wanted to become reacquainted with the lost art of preparing all elements of a meal by hand.

 

Buy secondhand first-

I absolutely love a bargain. But I also love that shopping secondhand first means less waste is created. We simply use what already exists.

 

Spend less time online- 

Find joy in being present wherever you are. Take less photos and spend more time actually enjoying the moment.

 

Buy quality products-

If I do purchase something new then I usually will spend a little more in order to get something of better quality. Because in the long run, quality products tend to last longer.

 

Reduce your plastic use-

The amount of plastic we produce is insane. Especially for products that get used once and then thrown away. So anything that can be used in place of plastic and reused is brilliant.

 

De-clutter your physical spaces-

Clear out your closet, your pantry or the backseat of your car. Make space so that you can actually breathe. This means you will also know what you have/what you need and can avoid over purchasing.

 

Be intentional with relationships-

Put down your phone when you are with someone. Make time to see old friends. Call or message often. Be the one who makes the first move.

 

Eat seasonally-

Learn what foods are in season then shop around for the best deals. Eating seasonally saves you money and means less environmental cost due to shipping from the other side of the world.

 

Support decent brands- 

If possible, make purchases from smaller, local businesses. Support brands that do good, and care about their workers and their environmental impact.

 

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And this is just the start of it. There are so many more things we can do to make our lives simpler and more intentional. If you want a little help getting started then check out the 7 days to mindful living challenge I released just last week.

 

Basically, it all comes back to awareness. Being aware of the impact, positive and negative, that you have on everyone and everything around you.

What little things do you do to make your life simpler?

Simple living: the secret to thriving in a society obsessed with the hustle

secret-to-simple-living

 

Sometimes things only become glaringly obvious to you days, weeks or years after they should.

 

Like the fact that leggings under shorts is not a good look. Or swimming in an outdoor pool without sunscreen is a bad idea.

 

Or how draining living in a big city can be on your soul.

 

At first, I didn’t notice the subtle ways the latter was true for me. The nights I couldn’t sleep. The tears I would sometimes shed in the car. The clawing feeling of wanting to escape that I kept ignoring.

 

I thought it was just the stress of trying to find a job right out of college. Or the helpless way I kept falling in love and getting my heart broken. Or my perpetual fear of an uncertain future.

 

Only now I am out of the city I can see the way it utterly depleted me.

 

I wasn’t happy. At least not the kind of happy that stretches deep beneath the surface, that bubbles away inside of you, giving you the energy you need to keep going.

 

The big city and all of its ways abraded me. It felt jarring, consuming and arduous to be a part of.

 

Being in the city felt like everyone and everything was taken in, chewed up and spat out into the same stressed out, discontented state.

 

There was something within me that knew I could never be happy there and when I finally listened to that voice, I got out.

 

I bravely packed up and moved home. To a city, several hundred thousand people fewer. To a place I feared would bore me. To a life that seemed slow and dull but in reality was the very thing I needed most.

 

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We live in a society that deems slow to be boring. We want things NOW. We want the biggest and the best. We want what everyone else has and more.

 

We live to consume. To outdo each other. To obtain more and more.

 

But this way of living is exhausting. The effort is futile and totally unsustainable. The ‘hustle harder’ mentality is not something we can maintain long term, eventually we just burn out.

 

That’s what happened to me.

 

I was so weary I could hardly summon the strength to get myself out of bed and go back to work.

 

I couldn’t face another day of squishing in between people on the train ride, running late and rushing through the crowds down the street or having to take so many coffee orders that I hardly had the time to look up and greet a person as they entered the café.

 

Every part of me felt suffocated by the way rushing had become the new norm. 

 

I wanted to have space again. I wanted to walk down the street without being swept up in the current of people moving forwards. I wanted to have room and time to actually breathe.

 

When you are constantly busy you don’t even notice the length of your days. Weeks fly by in a matter of minutes. I was terribly afraid that if I kept this up, my whole life could flash by and I wouldn’t even have lived it.

 

Simple living is about slowing down and realising what’s most important in our lives.

 

It’s about finding peace and contentment in the here and now. Being mindful of the way we consume and being aware of others around us.

 

I’ve seen a drastic change in myself over the past few months. Now I am out of the city and no longer a part of the hustle.

 

For the first time in a long time I am actually sleeping well. My mind switches off at night instead of worrying about all the things I have/haven’t done.

I finally feel positive and excited about life again. Once again I am actually looking for the beauty in every day. I’m no longer dreading and avoiding hard work. I’m even choosing to exercise because it makes me feel good!


 

But all around me I see people stuck in that same trap I was. Hustling endlessly each day, wishing for the weekend and burning themselves out.

 

I wish I could make them see that there is more to life than this constant competition for the flashiest Instagram photos. Or the addition of more belongings which clutter our homes. Or the mindless consumption of food wrapped in plastic, completely unrecognisable from its original form.

 

Simple living brings everything into perspective.

 

I thought slowing down would leave me feeling bored and irritable but instead, learning patience and practicing gratitude has made me so much happier.

 

I want that for other people, I want that for you.

 

So I decided to create a little challenge in order to do that.

 

And here it is…

 

Each day I’ve covered a different topic such as how to use social media cautiously or eat mindfully.

I’ve gone into detail to explain the importance of mindfulness in each area of our lives and then set a challenge for each day. This way you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

 

Often I find that starting is the hardest part. It can be daunting and confusing to figure out where to begin. So this challenge will hopefully make it easy for you. 7 days and 7 ways to make your life a little more simple.

 

I’m super excited to share this challenge with you. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burntout and you’re keen to find more peace and contentment then join me by signing up below…

 

 

I hope you’ll slow down a little today and remember what is truly important in your life. It’s not all the THINGS you own or accomplish, it’s people. PEOPLE are what matter most.

 

One of the biggest struggles I have faced with living simply is making time for people. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting things done that I miss out on opportunities to build relationships.

 

So I’m interested to know your thoughts on this…

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to simple living?

The power of vulnerability: having the courage to say how we really feel

the-power-of-vulnerability

 

I never really grasped the power of vulnerability until I started dating.

 

The effort required to put yourself out there and meet someone in the first place is immense. And this only compounds once you are actually in a relationship and forced to share so much of yourself with another person.

 

I had no idea how difficult it would be to articulate my frustration or the depth of my affection. But both things are equally challenging.

 

Both require a level of vulnerability I was completely unprepared for.

 

Even for someone who loves words as much as me, finding the right ones to say can be nearly impossible. It’s like my mouth dries up and the ability to formulate a sentence disappears.

 

One of the biggest lessons I am learning is that withdrawing from vulnerability and bottling up emotions is a surefire way to cause trouble in a relationship. And when broken people try to build relationships, trouble is already present in spades.

 

When I was doing a spot of gardening this week I found a perfect metaphor for this phenomenon.

 

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I’ve recently come to learn that walnut trees are prolific and tenacious in their pursuit of complete, garden domination.

 

They grow up into these ginormous, towering trees which look absolutely magnificent but are really just huge, leafy pests. Every autumn they drop hundreds of walnuts beneath their canopy and an army of shoots sprout before your very eyes.

 

I was given the critical task of removing the excess shoots from beneath one of the trees before they got out of control and created a backyard platoon.

 

Due to my lack of gardening experience, I foolishly predicted the work would be easy.

 

At first, I found that the small, immature plants were easy to pull out. They only required a gentle tug and the entire shoot and roots would be in my hands.

 

The larger plants were a different story however. Their roots were well established, their stems were thicker and so they were tougher to remove from the ground.

 

And as I huffed and puffed under the shade of that grand old, walnut tree I thought about how similar these shoots are to our bottled up emotions.


 

We start out with a little niggling frustration, a slight undiagnosed sadness, there will be something that upsets us and we will refuse to figure out why.

 

Then little by little, the frustrations mount, the anger seethes, the sadness deepens.

What once was a small shoot becomes a fully developed plant. With roots spanning deep and wide. We find it is impossible to remove with a simple, gentle tug, instead we must cut off the stem and dig out the roots.

 

The problem with avoiding vulnerability is that our issues never get resolved.

 

That’s what we are doing every time we fear vulnerability and say “I’m fine” even though we are not.

 

This is what happens when someone upsets us but we choose to not make waves or confront the problem.

 

And this is what we allow to fester when we refrain from doing the difficult work of dealing with our emotions through self-reflection.


 

I’m guilty of this as much as anyone.

 

I have a terrible propensity for believing people can and should read my mind. That they should be aware when I am upset and they should know exactly what I need them to do to make things right.

 

This doesn’t bode well in relationships. People can hardly ever read my mind. Most of the time I just go quiet and no one will be any the wiser that what they did upset me.

 

Sometimes I get lazy and prefer to avoid dwelling on my negative emotions. Instead of asking myself why I am feeling upset and working out what I can do about it, I numb myself. I run in the other direction. I shut out those feelings.

 

But staying silent doesn’t make the problem go away. Numbing ourselves or pushing the negative emotion down deep doesn’t allow us to heal.

 

The problem just simmers away in the background, waiting dormant, ready to pop back up at any moment.

 

the-power-of-vulnerability

What we need is to understand the power of vulnerability.

 

Choosing to say how we really feel. Laying our cards on the table. Opening up and allowing ourselves to heal.

 

Daring to be vulnerable is a terrifying feeling. Like losing control of the car you are driving. Like being a bug under a microscope. Like leaning dangerously over the edge of a cliff.

 

There is no easy way to wander into vulnerability. It takes a great deal of work.

 

But the rewards of vulnerability are countless. The power of vulnerability is incredible.

 

When we find the courage to say how we really feel, we create an opportunity for real connection with others.

When we allow people to see our weaknesses, our fears and our biggest needs, we allow them to step into those places and help us mend ourselves.

 

If we learn to process our emotions, to express our feelings, to release instead of bottling them up, we can find a deeper sense of belonging.


 

We have to be braver about this.

 

We need to start tackling those shoots when they are still small. Instead of just brushing things off, we need to start dealing with our emotions.

 

We need to become more self aware so that we know our strengths and weaknesses. So we know what makes us so very frustrated or absolutely delighted. We have to take the time to get to know ourselves first.

 

And we need to ask for help when we feel sad or confused or lonely. It isn’t fair to expect people to read our minds and determine our needs.

 

I think now I realise the power of vulnerability. To be vulnerable is not to show weakness but to recognise our strength. To understand that saying how we really feel is one of the bravest and best things we can do.

How to be confident even when you feel afraid and unsure of yourself

how-to-be-confident

 

I wish I was one of those people who boldly jumped at the chance to try something new. I wish I felt the thrill of adrenaline and chased rampantly after adventure. I wish was braver, brighter and more exciting. I wish I knew how to be confident.

 

But time and time again, I am reminded that I’m not a thrill-seeker and confidence doesn’t come naturally to me.

 

The other day I went mountain biking for the very first time. I jiggled and bounced my way along the tracks, gripping onto the handlebars for dear life. The entire time, telling myself I was going to fall off or my brakes would fail and I’d be grievously hurt.

 

I felt ridiculous for going so slowly and even more ridiculous for having to stick to the kiddie track because the others sounded too terrifying.


 

It seems that whenever I try to do something new or scary, my mind is flooded with insecurities and I feel so awfully ashamed.

 

I feel frustrated with myself for being so afraid of everything. I feel guilty for slowing everyone else down. I feel stupid for needing to stop or for crying when I feel overwhelmed.

 

I churn these thoughts over and over in my head until I feel totally battered and bruised. As soon as I find the confidence to step out, shame pulls me right back.

This shame is so deeply entrenched in me I don’t even know where to look to begin excavating it.

 

I watch other people stride confidently through life and I wonder why I can’t do the same.

 

Why do I hold myself back and hinder my own progress? Why do I believe I am always going to fail? Why do I whisper the worst possible outcome to myself so that I walk in trembles rather than strides?

 

I’ve considered that maybe this is just a part of my personality or the way that I was raised. Always cautious and much happier to observe than participate.

 

But I think there is something more to it than that.

 

I think what I need to learn is how to be confident. How to hold onto that steadfast belief that I CAN do it if only I try. Shame has taken every smidgen of self-belief and squeezed it out of me.

 

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The reason my friends zoomed out on to the ice this past weekend when we went skating, while I held on fiercely to the railing is because they believed in themselves, and I didn’t.

 

They’ve done it before and they knew that they could do it again. They weren’t afraid of falling because they knew they were perfectly capable of composing themselves and getting right back up again if they did.

 

They had confidence in themselves.

 

I, on the other hand, saw the slippery ice and felt the thin blade on my shoes wobble beneath me and I was absolutely certain that I would fall straight on my face and make a spectacle of myself.

 

Every time, what trips me up is that little lingering voice of negativity. The one that tells me I can’t do it, that I’m not safe and if I try, I’m going to fail. It is the fear of falling that terrifies me and stops me from jumping in.

 

The bravest thing I can do is hear that voice but go anyway. Give it my best effort, show up even though I’m afraid, try even though I might fail.

 

I think that’s what we often get wrong about courage.

 

Confidence might be flashy, impressive or pretty to look at but courage usually isn’t. Most often, courage looks like simply showing up. Actually doing the brave thing, even though it scares us.

 

It reminds me of the lyrics from a song in ‘The Sound of Music’…

 

“I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again!
Besides, which you see
I have confidence in me!”

 

I want that so very much. Even if I look from the outside like I’m shaking. Even if I’m quiet as a mouse and the last to jump on my bike. Besides what you see, I want to have confidence in me.

 

I want to back myself. I want to give myself the credit I deserve. I want to feel proud of who I am and what I do.

 

I don’t want shame to cloud my vision or make me feel inferior anymore.


 

So I’m learning how to be confident…

 

I’m starting with working on my mindset. Replacing those negative thoughts with brighter ones. Telling myself that I CAN do it and I AM strong enough and I’m brave even just for trying.

 

Then I’m going to push myself to do even more. I’ll fill my life with more adventure, more excitement, more of the things that make me feel a little bit shaky but incredibly alive afterwards.

 

So that shame finally realises that I am not one to be messed with. I won’t let it stop me from living fully.

 

And lastly, no matter what, I won’t give up.

Even if it takes me three times around the ice rink holding onto the sides before I let go. Even if I have to hold someone’s hand the entire time or if I have to stick to the kiddie track and cry a little bit because I’m afraid.

 

I’ll keep on trying until eventually, I succeed. Until at last I find that confidence that’s buried deep within me.


 

I’ve let shame get the best of me for too long.

 

I have allowed it to throw shadows over my dreams and batter my self esteem until I’m too afraid to even try.

 

Regardless of how many times someone might tell you, you are brilliant or lovely or wonderfully talented, there is still that one voice which tells you otherwise.

 

But I think it’s time we start believing what everyone else says about us. We are brave, we are strong and we CAN do it if we will only try.

 

Besides what you see…I have confidence in me. 

Reasons for living: looking for the beauty in a messy world

looking-for-the-beauty

 

I’ve been feeling haunted lately. Overwhelmed by the frequent visits of the ghosts of anxiety and depression.

 

I’ve unlatched the windows and left the doors wide open. I’ve welcomed them in and made them tea. We’ve curled up on the couch together and I’ve let them talk me into the same old habits.

 

The moping. The dreading. The hiding.


 

I have always liked the quote by Rumi…

 

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

 

In this bittersweet world of heartbreak, delight, suffering and awe, finding this balance becomes a matter of survival.

 

I need to hold on to the sweet, the good, the lovely and the joyful. These things are like a life raft, the only barrier between me and the freezing waters below.

I must let go of the bitter, the sad, the unfair and the awful. Because holding them too long scorches my hands, blinds my sight and cripples my whole being.

 

It sometimes seems cruel to me that we were created with such inquisitive minds, yet left with so many unanswered and unanswerable questions.

 

I so often wonder why… but I am old enough to know now that there are somethings we don’t know.

Perhaps everything doesn’t happen for reason. Maybe some things just happen.

 

So as I’m wrestling with my confusion and trying to make sense of the mess I see around me, I have decided that I will refuse to let the darkness win. I won’t be overcome by sadness, emptiness or numbness.

 

Right now, I am choosing to live.  I am searching for beauty in the midst of this messy world, in the middle of my messy life and here’s why I think you should too…

 

Reasons to live:

 

One.

When you hold someone you love so much that you cannot help but squeeze them tightly. Willing them to never let you go. And that precious feeling of realising that they are squeezing you right back.

 

Two.

Sitting outside in the summer with clear, blue skies above you. The sun warming your back and penetrating its warmth deep down into your soul.

 

Three.

Going to the beach and feeling the salt cling to your skin. The way it leaves your hair matted and lingers on your tongue. The sand that squishes in between your toes, gathers in your towel and spreads absolutely everywhere.

 

Four.

Jumping into a bed covered with freshly washed sheets. So crisp and clean you feel like royalty.

 

Five.

Biting into a soft dinner roll that is still warm from being in the oven. Spreading butter lavishly across the bread and watching as it sinks in beautifully.

 

Six.

Staying outside to watch the dusk melt a glorious sunset into the dark night sky.

 

Seven.

Getting dressed up to go somewhere fancy. Feeling like a million dollars.

 

Seven.

Watching a delicate butterfly dancing lightly on the breeze.

 

Eight.

That fluttery, stomach-sinking feeling of talking to someone you like very much.

 

Nine.

When it’s cool in the winter and you can see your breath billow around you like smoke from a dragon.

 

Ten.

When you share a special smile with someone that only the two of you understand.

 

Eleven.

That floopy feeling you get when drinking cocktails on an empty stomach.

 

Twelve.

Bagels that are toasted, smeared with thick layers of cream cheese and boysenberry jam.

 

Thirteen.

Thawing out your fingers beside the fire after braving the icy wind outside.

 

Fourteen.

Napping in the afternoon and waking up feeling all cozy and yummy.

 

Fifteen.

Finding a cafe that makes a perfect cup of coffee. Inhaling the soothing scent and buzzing when the caffeine finally wakes you up.

 

Sixteen.

The satisfaction of eating something you grew all by yourself in your garden.

 

Seventeen.

Back rubs and side hugs.

 

Eighteen.

Coming home after a very long day and kicking your shoes off your tired feet. Putting on comfy slippers that melt beneath each step.

 

Nineteen.

Watching a thunderstorm roll in. Feeling the rumble of thunder echo in your chest. That violent terror that shakes you with every bolt of lightening.

 

Twenty.

Being out in the middle of nowhere on a crisp night and seeing millions of stars twinkling high above you.

 

Twenty one.

Finding that deliciously soft spot of fur behind a dog’s ears.

 

Twenty two.

Toasting marshmallows over a campfire so that they blister and crisp perfectly on the outside while remaining gooey through the centre.

 

Twenty three.

Fresh tomatoes that carry an earthy scent. Rosy-red cheeked and sweet to eat.

 

Twenty four.

Kisses that almost stop time. Making you forget where and who you are for a teensy tiny second.

 

Twenty five.

The fresh start of a new day, a new month and a new year. A blank page full of possibilities.

 

looking for beauty, life is beautiful, finding happiness, how to be happier, looking for the good, loving life, appreciating beauty, reasons for living, encouragement,

 

And on and on I go, counting my blessings and remembering the reasons for living. Remembering all the wonderful moments sprinkled throughout the mundane in my every day.

 

This world is vast.

 

It stretches on further than our minds can grasp.

There is so much to explore, so much to experience, so much to beauty we have yet to see.

 

I know that the bitter is very real. Burning our throats as it goes down. Pulling the curtains and blocking the sunlight. Turning our whole world upside down.

 

But let us not forget the sweet. Let us not become numb to its gentle caress. It is the sweet that makes life worth living.


 

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. So many promises to ourselves and to others.

But for me, there is only one resolution I will be making.

 

To search wholeheartedly for beauty in my everyday life.

 

To shut the door on anxiety and depression. To seek help when I need it and give myself grace in abundance.

To refuse to cling onto the bitter but instead, to remember the sweet.