by guest contributor Sandra Seibert
For the first three days, I thought I was going to go crazy. Every night I went to sleep under the big sky of Egypt, looking up at the stars. It was so quiet in the desert that I could hear my own blood pulsing through my veins. During the day, as I rode along on my camel in a slow and steady rhythm, my eyes rested on a sparse landscape of sand dunes, rocks and small bushes. There was nothing but stillness.
With every day of that simple life in nature, I became calmer and more relaxed. Although the heat was exhausting and there was no iced drink, no cold water or shower to refresh myself, I found so much peace in just being there and letting go of all the stress and pressure from my life at home. There were no luxuries, no shopping malls, no computers, no electricity, no distractions—nothing but the simplicity of nature far away from the modern, technology-based world. Simple meals cooked over an open fire, bread baked under the coals in the sand, sleeping on a mat... Looking back, I call this experience "my journey to simplicity." Never have I felt more connected to my inner being. It was on this trip that I began really listening to that quiet voice within—my intuition and inner wisdom.
Despite the busyness of our daily lives, it is possible to capture the same stillness to reconnect with ourselves.
Saying no means setting priorities: What is really important NOW, today or over the coming weeks? As a mom I am a role model for my sons. When I am stressed out, exhausted and running low on energy, or I run around like crazy in order to get
everything done, I am not supporting my boys because I am too stressed out and tense to be fully present. By prioritizing and rethinking my schedule, my to-do list and my own expectations, I am able to free up time for us as a family: time to spend with the boys playing games together and doing fun activities, time to talk and listen, time to catch up and connect with my husband.
During the holidays it’s especially important to slow down, reflect on the past year and our experiences so that we can prepare for the New Year, and spend time with our loved ones without worrying about the decorations, table settings, meals, baking, gifts, etc. This year I chose simplicity: I decorated less but enough to create a nice atmosphere in our home, I bought a wonderful advent wreath at a local flower store instead of making my own, and I took time to play with the
kids instead of baking cookies myself. Letting go of the perfectionist in myself empowers me to slow down and take a break, to become aware of what is really important and what I want to let go of. When I choose simplicity in my life, I cease striving for more, faster, better and bigger and I find balance and peace.
Living simply also means SAYING YES to my own needs. As a mother I give and share my love all the time. In order to charge my batteries, I need to say yes to myself and practice self care. I say yes to slowing down and nourishing my soul with things I enjoy doing without feeling guilty or bad. I love to read fiction books and watch movies, to treat myself with facials and enjoy a cup of hot tea. By allowing myself to recharge, I connect with my intuition and my own essence, which is essential for balanced and mindful living and parenting.
As a mindful mom, I also say yes to what serves my family. I create healthy structures and routines based on simplicity. I schedule family time by having dinner together at home and arrange for times when we can talk without doing a thousand other things. I establish bedtime routines and morning routines. Young children and tweens especially need daily routines and structures. It creates a secure and safe foundation from which they can approach their daily challenges with a more balanced mindset.
Simplicity is a lifelong journey to ourselves. Cleaning out the mental clutter and focusing on the positive simplifies our state of mind and enables us to live consciously. Living in the present moment without worrying about the past or future, and simply being without attachment to "things," old beliefs or unhealthy structures, gives us the freedom to become our true selves. When we celebrate our imperfections we can live authentically and enjoy the simple things in life even more.
What does simplicity mean to you and how do you integrate it into your life? Feel free to share your thoughts.
You can learn more about Sandra Seibert at http://joyfulgrowthcoach.com/or join her community on facebook 'Sandra Seibert -The Joyful Growth Coach'.
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