Ways I’m Simplifying Right Now

On my phone:

  • I’ve deleted most of my “extra” apps that I don’t use regularly. There are a few that I’ve kept for now, but most have been cut. I still have a bunch of apps but all the extra photo, fitness, tarot, games, etc have all be axed.
  • I’ve gone into greyscale mode. Apparently this makes you feel that your phone is less interesting/distracting, thus you are less likely to pick it up. I’ll admit that at first I found it kind of off putting because it’s blah but after a few days, I find it more relaxing and less demanding of my attention. So for me, it works. Not drastically, but enough that I notice it.
  • I’ve deleted all but a couple of my widgets on my swipe screen (you know, the one that you get when you swipe left). Ryan and Joshua from the Minimalists made this suggestion (they also recommended greyscale mode a while back). I don’t even notice the difference so I can’t say that it’s a win but it’s also not a loss either.
  • I’ve disabled almost all of my notifications. Of all the things I’ve changed on my phone, this has been the biggest game changer for me. I highly recommend it. There are definitely ones that I turned off initially that I ended up turning back on (whatsapp notifications went back on because that’s how I chat with my husband… so if he needs to contact me quickly I see it… cause my phone is always on silent). I definitely notice a difference when I’m not constantly getting visual pings on my phone.
  • Deleting facebook. I should clarify that I shifted facebook. I created a work account and moved work people onto that account. Everyone else was unfriended (forewarned and told how they could contact me off facebook) before I deleted my personal account. Best thing I have EVER done. Hands down. I was wasting so much time scrolling through useless info. I still have the app on my phone because I use my work account while running kiosks and events for my job, but I no longer am always facebook. It’s fantastic! I feel way more present in my life and am interacting with my family way more.

Home

  • I’ve mentioned before that I purged my entire house in January. It was a huge process and even as I did it, I knew that it was only round one. I’ve recently opened a few closets that have reminded me that there is still work to be done! A lot of work to be done to be honest. Something about owning a home seems to foster the idea of accumulating all the things. From the kazillion little things for crafting to bulk buying lightbulbs.
  • Dividing my wardrobe into 2 seasons: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. I’m starting to look at my spring clothing as the weather shifts (yay) and see myself doing another purge soon. I’ve spent the winter living off about 30 pieces of clothing (6 jeans, 2 pants, 5 tank tops, 5 tops, 3 blouses, 2 dressier tops, 3 skirts, 4 cardigans/blazers, 2 sweaters… ish). Some days it has felt a little restrictive but honestly, for the most part, it’s been way more than enough and I could definitely do with less. There are 2 pairs of jeans that I will likely get rid of permanently at the end of the season. The area that I noticed it the most was in the tops. There were days I wanted something a bit flashier than my plain tshirts, which will be something I’ll think about for next winter.
  • Makeup. I purged SO much here and yet, I totally could purge even more. I told myself I’d give myself the season to try to use up what I had. I’ve done a pretty solid job overall with this but there are things that I see clearly now that I could do without. I still think I have so much makeup on my counter!
  • Bathroom. This has been massively overhauled. It was one of the places I was the most brutal in my purging and I haven’t missed a thing. Even in terms of bathroom cleaning supplies. Our cupboards are bare. Most of what is stored is toilet paper and tissue. I’ve taken exactly 1 bath since the purge, which means that all of the bath bombs I saved, just in case, are officially going to be donated to people who will use them.
  • Laundry. We shifted away from dryer sheets to rubber dryer balls. I’ve tried wool dryer balls before will mixed success. The rubber balls are a bit louder in the dryer but they work great!

Work

  • Every year I have to write these grant proposals and there’s always an unspoken pressure to get more money. But more money usually means more projects, which translates into more work for yours truly. This year I’ve done things differently. I wrote the proposals in partnership with people across the college, handing over the projects to others. This way I’ll still be associated with the projects and I’ll still have to “fund” them, but the bulk of the work will be someone else’s responsibility. It’s a win/win because it gives others access to funding they didn’t have before, ensures projects for students, fosters new creative ideas, AND reduces my workload. This is huge for me because March was a month of panic attacks for yours truly. I’ve never had panic attacks before, but in March I had 2 of them. And this is not how I want to live so I’m changing things to ensure that this isn’t the norm.
  • I’m outsourcing jobs by hiring people to do the work. This is different than the above because I’m actually hiring people to do the workshops or the work instead of taking it all on myself. In some ways I’m evolving into a more supervisory role, which isn’t what I expected when I took on this job, but is how things are evolving. I’m learning to let go and embrace it because if I don’t, my work life balance won’t work.

Friends

  • I’m “letting go” of surface friendships (see facebook delete) and making more time to see the people who matter. I’ve been trying to reach out to the people I feel nurture and support me more. The people who bring in positivity and inspiration. It’s been kind of awesome to shift away from people who were draining me towards the ones who fill me up. The people I’ve been moving away from aren’t exactly thrilled with me right now, but I feel the change. And I see the cycles of negativity far more quickly now having taken some time away from them. I don’t engage in the cyclic, draining conversations as quickly. I’m better able to step back from them and either change the conversation dynamic or just leave it be instead of engaging them out of a sense of obligation.

So many things. All of them little but adding up. It’s far from perfect and I’m still struggling with financial minimalism. I spent next to nothing in Jan, but every other month has been a struggle (I see how work stress can tend to foster my bad habits in this regard so there is some simplifying and cleaning up that I need to do in this area before I start up in the Fall again).

Phew… my small list just turned into a massive narrative!  Thanks for making it to the end if you’re still reading  🙂

 

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Has Spring Finally Come?

It’s finally feeling like spring today and despite my current sleep deprived haze, I’m happy to soak up the sun. It’s been a long winter and I’m ready for another change. This winter has been one of cutting things out of my life that no longer serve and I can feel the need to carve out something new. I’m looking forward to planting new seeds and watching things grow.

I’ve been watching my tulips slowly emerge from the frost and can’t wait to see the world come to life again. It looks like I might be sent to Victoria for work next weekend and I think the part that appeals to me the most is the idea of witnessing spring. I’m so desperate for freshness and warmth and the ability to walk outside and enjoy the fresh air.

 

 

In my spiritual practice, I’m  currently working on something that has me thinking on how I relate to others and it’s been an interesting process. Like my husband, as he clears away the debris of winter, I find myself being put into situations where I am cleaning away the debris of my life. I’m examining friendships, life patterns, workloads, activities and memberships and finding that there are a lot of things I need clear in the next little while.

 

When I embarked on a year of less, I never expected that less would come to mean so much in so many ways. I’m not just cleaning out the clutter, I’m cleaning out the emotional baggage. It’s a good thing but surprising at times to see how pervasive the spring cleaning cuts this season.

This is a thought process I’m currently mulling over. Listening to a podcast this morning I found myself wondering: what’s up with all these white people (myself included) turning to Indigenous, Shamanic, Eastern, etc traditions to find themselves? Why is it that we don’t find things within our own traditions to embrace?

Is it because we can turn to another tradition without the emotional baggage we carry with regards to western European traditions (not necessarily Christian). Is it because we can take on parts of another tradition while ignoring the bits that make us uncomfortable? That I can practice yoga and loving kindness without having to deal with the blatant violence of the caste system because I exist outside of it?

Dion Fortune, in the Mystical Qabala, writes that Qabala is a tool for the western mind because it starts where western consciousness is as opposed to eastern traditions that are less in the material. And yet, we gravitate to the East so often in New Age/Occult circles. Why is that?

Are we looking for a way to escape the muck in the world that we have created?

Conversely, as I spend an increasing amount of my time in my job trying to break down stereotypes touching our Indigenous students, I see the opposite also happening as we render Indigenous populations exotic in their connection with the land. As a society, we seem to need the myth of the “noble savage”* because at the other end of the spectrum we dream of escaping into the woods and becoming one with nature. *Yes, I know “noble savage” is an awful term and use it to exemplify an attitude I see in society, not a belief I hold personally.*

It strikes me that we have lost touch with balance and veer from one extreme to another, grasping at whatever we think might help us fill the void within. (I’m sure there are examples of similar things happening in other cultures but I can only really speak from my point of view as I don’t know what is happening in India or China or Peru.. etc). Is this what the future is as we discard all the tropes and narratives that no longer serve and piece together belief systems that fit us?

I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just wondering what we lose/gain in the process. I see a lot of harm happening to the Indigenous students I work with because of the romanticization of Indigenous culture without really understanding the realities/traditions informing and influencing the community. And that gets me thinking about how our western love of Yoga or Buddhism impacts other communities. And it also makes me wonder why we idolize Gandhi but not St Francis of Assisi. Probably we are so saturated with our narrative that we’re sick of ourselves?  😛  Or perhaps, because we know the flaws in the systems we’ve grown up with, we see the imperfections of the leaders and teachers in our traditions. We tend to turn a blind eye to some of Gandhi’s more questionable behaviours while dismissing St Francis because he’s linked to a church we reject.

I don’t know. I have no answers and don’t really think there are any authoritative answers because the reasoning for each person is different.

I just think it’s ironic that we have spent centuries building up our culture, believing we’re superior, and yet, we are constantly turning to others to complete us.

Leaving Facebook

I’ve been thinking about it for a couple years now, but this week I made it official. As a movement towards less social media, less screen time, less watching and consuming. I’d been struggling with the decision as many of my family members and friends are there and we’d made messenger our go to means of chatting.

Was it fair of me to ask them to alter their habits to accommodate me? Would I lose connections because of letting it go?

I did angst about it for quite a while honestly. But I realized that any friends who were really in my life would still be present outside of facebook because they already were. The friendships that were maintained on facebook were surface friendships with little connection. And I was tired of watching my old friends’ lives if we didn’t actually have conversations beyond a facebook comment here and there.

But I needed facebook for work. So I stayed. And stayed. Until I decided fuck it. I’ll make a work account only for work connections and students because it was definitely a must for work.

And I did it. And’s it’s been really freeing. And illuminating to see how many times I catch myself going to scroll because I’m bored only to remember, no facebook. How much of my time was I filling with mindless scrolling?

The answer is too much. Way too much. And honestly, aside from the boredom fix, I don’t miss it at all.

Aura photo reading

I’ve always been curious about aura/chakra photography so when I found out that a local new age, life coaching business near me could do them, I decided I would give it a try.

I’m not sure what I expected but I was kind of underwhelmed by the experience.

March 2018 Aura Photo

It wasn’t bad but just meh, so to speak. I guess I expected to be more wowed by seeing my aura on a screen but the way it’s done and the fact that I had someone hovering over me manipulating the computer made it hard to take the moment to appreciate the experience.

Apparently my root chakra dominates my aura, which I find pretty surprising. This apparently means that I like to be in control (which is somewhat true) and want things to move, decisions to be made (which is true but I’m not generally the best decision maker). I’ve typically been told that my throat chakra is blocked, which means that I should struggle with communication. I’m not entirely convinced of this, though perhaps there is truth in the statement because even the photograph indicated that I have lower levels there.

I was quite surprised to see that all of my “spiritual” centers are quite low comparatively. All these years of coven work and self development seem like they should be fostering more energy there. Mind you, I’ve been nursing a neck/shoulder issue since Nov (its March now) so maybe it’s not so shocking that I’m so fully in my body at the moment.

I think that what bothered me most about the experience is that I went in open, and potentially interested in doing some work on opening my centers. I went in potentially looking for another avenue of spiritual exploration. I’ve been craving something new in my practice, longing for something that feels more tangible.

I’ve talked about it from time to time here in the past year, this sense of wandering outside of the systems I have versus the need to just buckle down and work the systems I have to their fullest. I’ve long felt like 7 years of coven work should feel like I’ve made more tangible progress in my intuitive work. But I constantly hit roadblocks in my intuitive work because I don’t trust myself and I’m scared of what comes through when it does. No joke. Every time I open up and start to feel more connected, I quickly find myself overwhelmed and pull back into my safe zone. And yet, I meet people who haven’t been doing the work as long who “seem” more intuitive and in touch with the energies around them. This totally hits a nerve for me. I know it shouldn’t be competitive or comparative. Everyone has a different path.

I know this. But I’m primed and ready to do some of the work to help me open up so when the women taking the photo, someone who does this kind of work, didn’t really follow up or explain the photo, I felt blocked and frustrated by the experience. I didn’t have huge expectations per se, but I definitely thought she’d say more than just your aura is dominated by your base chakra and your higher chakras are really low.

Writing it now, I realize that I felt judged (in a kind way but judged nonetheless). I felt a bit like I’d been dismissed and rushed out the door because of my red aura. As if I was beyond her help and that I’d be too controlling to work with and my brain immediately got a bit defensive.

As in: “well of course it’s dominant red, I’m an Earth sign” or “well maybe it’s so red because of my body tensions/pains” or “maybe wicca, being such an earthy path, focused on manifesting…”  And I walked out feeling ashamed that my root chakra, my primitive nature, dominates my personality.

And the weird thing is, nothing she said necessarily conveyed that other than the “need to be in control” comment or the fact that she was packing up her coat as I was waiting for the email with the results to come through.

But there you have it, I went in open and hopeful and I walked out feeling rejected and ashamed in the most subtle of ways. And it’s only today, 6 days later, that I realized what had unsettled me so much about the experience.

The question I still have to unpack though, was it something she did or was all something my mind did? Was there something in her actions, other than wanting to close shop and rush me out, that implied that I should be ashamed? Or was it all my own reaction to where I thought I should be versus where I am?

I feel like it probably was a little of both because I was very unsettled by her lack of engagement towards me even though she felt very docile and kind energy wise (it was as if her indifference and desire to finish things quickly was at odds with the energy she was projecting). I suppose this is a moment when I need to remember that I have no idea what her day was like, what battles she was fighting in that moment. But I also need to remember that I carry a lot of my own baggage with regards to my insecurities as a practitioner and my “attainment” of my practices.

So yeah, I had my chakra/aura photo done and it was meh.

 

DIY dish tabs

It always amazes me how simple some things are to diy, yet we pay so much for the pre-made versions without ever realizing how much we are overpaying for things.

Dish tabs are one of the things that I’ve reclaimed as a homemade product. They literally take 3 ingredients: baking soda, citric acid and dish soap.

Even using expensive eco soap, I’m still paying substantially less than I would on premise tabs, filled with who knows what, wrapped in a melting plastic something.

Side note: I don’t know what the casing is so I have no idea what the enviro impact of them is.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1 Tbsp dish soap
  • Ice cube trays (hint: silicone are best for easy removal)

Mix. Keep in mind that this will foam and grow. See first video:

You can fill your trays right away but I usually let my powder dry out a bit to avoid having to push the powder done multiple times:

And then, once the powder is dry, pop the tabs out and store in an air tight container. I use a mason jar.

Super easy and something I can do with my son underfoot. He loves watching the paste grow 😉 (early STEM creds).

blog update

You may notice that there are suddenly a lot more files on this blog. This is because I’ve opted to transfer all my old blog information into this site. I don’t plan on going back and reformatting or dealing with lost images, so I apologize for any problems this might cause but that’s just how it is!