swirling thoughts on minimalism, contentment and finding joy

2014-05-01_0001 What a week, you guys. Do you ever have one of those weeks...or days, even...when you're just bombarded by thoughts and inspirations and things you desperately want to carve out time to really dwell on, but you never make that time and so instead it's all just up there swirling around your brain? Whew. That's me this week.

I feel like I'm really being pulled in this direction of embracing minimalism, of cultivating contentment and doing the hard work to get there, of finding joy in the everyday, of focusing on what I really value and taking intentional steps to create a life that is in line with those values. I know, I know. High level wishy-washy feel-good stuff. But I'm telling you, big things are going on in my heart! It's just kind of exhausting trying to think about it all.

I'm reading an amazing book right now by Tsh Oxenreider, Notes From a Blue Bike. Tsh writes openly and candidly about her journey of trying to create a life for her family that focused on the values and joys she discovered while living abroad. So much of what she writes resonates with me, especially since I still feel like I'm in this stage of adjusting after my trip to Uganda. I always find myself dreading the return back home after these trips, but Uganda in particular. OF COURSE I missed my husband and my pup and my family like CRAZY, but it was the thought of going back to my status quo, my daily and weekly schedule, that made me want to scream. Sure, for the first week I was home, I thought I was unhappy because I was called to pack my bags and move to Uganda. Clearly, that is not actually the case, but the discontent continued. And as I'm devouring Tsh's book, I'm realizing the discontentment is stemming from the fact that what my life looks on the outside, the daily schedule, the weekly commitments, the constant, thoughtless quip of "oh, you know, just CRAZY busy," the closet full of clothes and apartment full of STUFF, does not match what I WANT life to look like in my heart. And sure, everyone has that. You want the nicer car, the bigger house, more vacation. But for me, I want less. Slower life. Slower food. A simpler wardrobe. Freedom from THINGS. Freedom to spend our money on experiences, on helping others. I reject this notion that I HAVE to work nights and weekends. I reject the notion that I CAN'T sleep with my phone in another room. I just do, I reject it. There. It's out. Like Tsh, I want a life that matches what I value. Family, and creating time to see them. Friendship, and creating time to savor quality time with friends instead of always rushing to the next thing. Community, opening our home to new people, making space for conversation and life around a table. Margin, what a weighted word. Space to let myself breathe, create, rest, dwell, be inspired. I value good food, and the time it takes to make and grow it, and the people who are making and growing it ethically and well. I value travel, and having the means to take off at a moment's notice to see, do, explore. The thing is, when you sit down and make a list of what you value, and think hard about actionable things you can do with your life, wherever it is in the moment, right now, it's kind of awesome. And, um, exhausting.

There are big things going on in my heart that I want to turn into big things manifesting in my life. Visible things. And I'm giving myself permission to listen to these heart stirrings instead of shutting down the yearning, as I tend to do. I feel myself yearning for a break, and quickly squash it with a "you're 23 years old. You HAVE to work like crazy now to be able to relax later. 4 hours of sleep is fine." And maybe that's true. Or, maybe, it's not. Because later is an unsure thing, and right now is a sure thing. Right now is the only thing guaranteed. And I don't want to miss right now because I'm too busy looking towards "later."

And that, my friends, is where my head + heart are at, right now. XO!