I seem to be looking for more of those moments - a more "zen" lifestyle. A little over a year ago, Dave and I moved to Green Acres - a two-acre patch of ground away from town, with a 2-bedroom house. We chose the place mostly for availability and price, but the move has had some added benefits. Moving to a smaller house, and one without children at home, necessitated major downsizing of possessions. (More on that topic in a future post.) The new location has offered unexpected opportunities to "zenitize" our life.
I recently discovered a website called ZenHabits and I'm working my way through years of information on how to declutter not only your house, but your time, your body and your mind. One article gave the following list called "A Brief Guide to Life" and I decided to rate myself against it and see how I'm doing and where I could improve.
less TV, more reading - DVR is the best invention for helping to break the couch potato habit. I deliberately choose almost everything I watch and record it so I can watch when it's convenient (and FF past commercials). Cuts down on mindless clicking and wasting time on shows I really don't care about. We're getting more mindful of our viewing choices and comfortable without the TV as constant background noise.
less shopping, more outdoors - I'm trying to avoid "recreational shopping", which means don't go into a store unless you specifically need something. Browsing is the No. 1 cause of all that clutter. I've also never been big on the outdoors. Green Acres has changed that - to an extent. I love spending time in the garden, or just sitting outside to read without hearing multiple a.c. units, lawn mowers, traffic etc. I can actually hear and identify the birds. Peaceful evenings with a fire are amazing!
less clutter, more space - We've made a good start, but we need to make further cuts in the "stuff" we own.
less rush, more slowness - Busy-ness has become a status symbol. As a mother, if you don't have every minute of your kids' lives, and consequently your own, booked to overflowing with classes, sports, clubs, or scheduled activities at home, you are considered negligent. With our kids grown, I no longer face that standard. Moving cut out my social and church obligations and I'm being very selective about replacing them.
less consuming, more creating - Fail! I need to look for areas where I could be making this trade-off.
less junk, more real food - Nutrisystem and my weight loss journey have made this a necessity. And raising our own garden has added to the pleasure of eating fresh food. I have a different attitude about the junk that used to comprise my diet.
less busywork, more impact - This one requires more thought. What constitutes "busywork"?
less driving, more walking - Living twelve miles from town doesn't make walking to work or on errands practical, but I've been logging miles and miles on the treadmill. I could make more effort to park and walk to all errands within an area.
less noise, more solitude - Noise isn't limited to the TV and car radio. There is the "noise" of technology. I can easily occupy hours with blogging, Twitter, Words With Friends, Pinterest, and a dozen other electronic activities - usually all at once. I need to do better at unplugging and focusing on reading, prayer, face-to-face time with Dave (and kids when they're around). There is also the "noise" of pointless drama. I hoped that we had waved goodbye to that noise with the last high school graduation, but it continues on. So many people are determined to make life strident. We recently attended a "nut fry" (if you don't know what that is, it involves frying the personal parts of a former bull) and spent the evening playing cards and visiting. But the arguments, cursing, and general "drama" over who was wearing what or going where and who with spoiled the evening. Solitude doesn't have to mean loneliness, but I seriously need some friends my own age who are beyond the racket of all that.
less focus on the future, more on the present - Guilty! I spend too much time on the future - both fretting and anticipating. Need greater focus on the joys of here and now.
less work, more play - For me, the key is in standards and focus. I like a neat house, and decluttering makes that easier, but I would rather have a little dust and more time for pleasurable pursuits. However, I need to be better at setting a block of time to focus on chores so I can focus on play when they're done. Trying to do chores between chapters or during commercials keeps from focusing on either. Multi-tasking is the hottest trend, but not always a good thing.
less worry, more smiles. - Progress on all of the above would make this one easier.
How do you "zenitize" your life?