Ocean City Maryland - December 2006

Ocean City Maryland - December 2006

A day or so after my “epiphany,” I was reading one of my blogs (for the life of me I can’t remember which one) and she mentioned reading a book about living more simply. I knew immediately that this was exactly where I needed to focus my energy. I had done a lot of reading about voluntary simplicity years ago and while I attempted to be mindful about my life, I had not really thought about actively simplifying it for awhile. But simplification was definitely what I was craving.

I excitedly clicked over to see the book that she was talking about and found that it was The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living. Well, great! I already owned that one. So I went to look for it. I looked high and low but for the life of me, could not find it. The irony did not escape me. But luckily, instead of berating myself about my cluttered, messy house, I actually got a kick out of the whole thing. It just seemed like such a perfect metaphor for my life.

I still felt very strongly that this was a path I was supposed to pursue, so I decided to go to the library the next day. I knew that the book would show up at some point, but I did not want to wait. When we got to the library, I looked it up and found that a copy was not available at the branch where I was. I decided that I would put a hold on it, but then also decided that I would go check the shelves for other books with that call number, to see if anything else jumped out at me.

While I was looking, I found The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters by Sarah Susanka. I had read several of her Not So Big House books when Jeff and I had been thinking about building/remodeling years ago. I had really been drawn to her approach to creating a home…one that focused not on size or floor plan but on how to create a warm and loving place to live. So I decided to give it a try and checked it out.

All I can say is that I don’t think that there has been a time in my life when a book has so closely matched what I need. In the past, I have often tried to find answers in books — if I just read the right book, I could figure out what I was doing wrong and fix it. Problem solved. But it never worked out that way (surprise, surprise). Sure, I often would find some suggestions that might help in the short term. Or I might find a book that spoke to me, but I never found “the solution.”

I have slowly realized over the past few years that you can’t hear the message that you are meant to hear until you are ready to hear it. And all I can say, is that I am ready to hear it now. The difference this time is that I already know what is in the book. Deep down in my heart, I know it. I am not looking to the book for the answers, but rather as a help in focusing on and developing what I know. The book does not contain “the solution” but rather has ideas to chew on and suggestions and exercises which are helping me stay mindful and present. And above all it is helping me refocus my energy to figuring out where my passions are. 

I am sure that if I had read this book years ago, I would have loved it, but it would not have had the effect that it is having on me now. I am loving this convergence.

It is hard to realize that it has only been a little over two weeks. But what weeks they have been. Everything is as it is supposed to be. I have made some pretty significant changes which I have known that I needed to make for some time now, but previously could not bring myself to do. These decisions came remarkably easily, which tells me I was ready to make them. 

The funny thing is that on the outside, my life still looks pretty much the same. My house is not any cleaner and issues that I have been struggling to figure out have not disappeared. I still have most of the same problems that I had two weeks ago. But inside I can see the change. The way that I am looking at the problems is definitely changing. I am realizing that problems are part of life and the solutions will present themselves when I am ready.

There is part of me that worries that I am fooling myself. That this giddiness will wear off and I will be back to where I was. But I don’t think so. It feels too right to me. Going back would just feel…wrong. And I am now in a place where I am more in tune to what I am feeling, more mindful, more present. It is someplace that I want to stay and I am now willing to do the things that I am learning/have learned about that will allow me to continue on this path. Because I am ready and open to the possibilities.

I appreciate everyone bearing with me as I sort all this out. I do plan on posting more about homeschooling and kid lit and right-brained learning and photography and all the other things that interest me (and hopefully you.) But right now all this is so new to me and writing about it helps me process it. Part of my process right now is re-connecting with my passions and interests…and my blog definitely falls into that category. I actually have felt like I have been mostly “phoning it in” recently. I have a folder with all sorts of ideas for blog posts, but have not done anything with them because “I did not have the time” to really flesh them out. But I have a feeling that will (hopefully) change.

In the meantime, I will write what I need to and hope that folks can get something of value from it. At the very least, I know I will. I am excited by what 2010 might hold for me. It will be interesting to find out as it unfolds.

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