A Simple Life!

I’ve been so lucky to have been travelling a lot more the past year and one thing wandering around a lot shows you is how little you need to live and be contented. I believe a simple life is a freer one. One where material possessions don’t tie us down into working just to have something new. One where we can be more present in our decisions and in our focus.

Being able to carry everything you need for weeks in one bag on your back certainly humbles you into realising most of the extras we surround ourselves with are not essential to our living a good life.

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Backpack Bexi!

Growing up, I was as materialistic as you could imagine. Constantly asking my Mum for something else. Always wanting to spend Saturdays shopping. I don’t regret this as it’s shown me how futile the pursuit of “stuff” is because I was only happy until the newness had worn off, then I was in desperate search for the next thing. I was lucky my parents did also encourage me to read a lot, and supported my singing and other creative pastimes which at least helped to balance out the consuming monster that lurked within my teenage self so I look back with no self-reproach and see that these experiences helped me understand the money orientated society we reside in today.

The last few years though I’ve found myself needing less and less to be happy. This has been both through choice and also necessity as I’ve chosen to work less to free up my time to travel but obviously this means less money to spend on disposable entertainment items that we’re all encouraged to buy. I find much more fun in the beauty of life and in connecting with other people than I ever did in new clothes and shoes.

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I’m certainly not at the end of this journey. I don’t currently live completely waste free, though that’s definitely my aim. I still find myself coveting certain things and have to keep reminding myself to ask whether I really need it or just desire it for some unknown reason. I’ll get there though, I know it and feel happier and more peaceful each day! Being self-aware and observing your actions as you go through them will help to make sure you are living consciously and not being swayed by advertising or your peers.

Here’s how I’m breaking free of the consuming cycle and living on my terms…

  1. Firstly have a clear out. Try and find homes for unwanted items that no longer serve you. They may stop someone else from buying new if they can repair your broken laptop or have been looking for a table you’re wanting rid of. Charity shops always want clothes and overseas refugee programmes also need bedding and such items. This has the added bonus of clearing your mind at the same time so in turn you feel lighter in yourself as well as your home.
  2. Find inspiration from others who are living with less.  Take tips from others who’ve tried things already and found great ways to help you too.
  3. Go back to basics with food. When I became vegan, a lot of things clicked into place for me. I realised how much food production is harming our planet and this coupled with waste made me want to live more simply. Eating home made food is more kind to our bodies as well as the environment.
  4.  Find free things to do! A lot of our money goes on keeping ourselves entertained. But this doesn’t have to be a complicated process either. Time in nature walking, swimming, meeting with friends for a chat, all simple ways to enjoy our free time but without the burden of a new games console!
  5. To be self-aware, start by trying to be a conscious observer of your actions. Don’t judge, just watch. So for example if you find yourself wandering into a shop and about to buy something “for fun” don’t feel bad for it, but do be active in the moment of buying it. You may decide you don’t truly want it after all, as so many of our purchases are quick and made under distraction.

 

I learnt a lot of these things whilst travelling, but they are all something we can practise whilst going about our lives, whatever we do!

You can’t buy your way to freedom, but maybe you can give things away to attain it. Living more simply will leave you feeling free and able to concentrate on the true things that matter in your life.

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Spring Clean Yourself!

My first blog post here was to tell you my thoughts on the New Year and how we are all too harsh on ourselves at a time when the natural world is being slow and nurturing. Now the evenings are brightening and the temperature rising, this is a far better time to begin all those goals that most discarded after a week or two in January.  I’ve made a some big changes and I feel great for it, a fresh start in line with the season change!

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Here are a few ways we can take inspiration from nature to align ourselves with the change of season and create goals in a more natural way than the New Year…

 

  • Get outside! You knew this would be one of my top tips as I’m a huge advocate of spending time in nature and being outside. Being out in nature is proven to boost mood, endorphin levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. This will make you more productive to achieve your goals but is so worth doing just to see the beauty of the world. See more health benefits here and get out there today!
  • Get your body going! If you don’t already, start shaking and waking your body up after the slower months of Winter. Start yoga, walking, dancing, swimming…whatever feels the best avenue for you. Just as the animals in hibernation are stirring from their nests, we too can break away from the slowness of winter and start to warm up for a more energetic time. Know that you don’t need  to join an expensive gym to get active though, all the suggestions above can be done at home or out in nature.
  • Create! Spring is a time of rebirth and new life and so a truer time for a new start than January. This is the best time to start new projects, dream up new plans, and flow with the energy of nature to guide you on your way! This is the time to create new works. My new creation for this time is to expand my music project into a full charity. I’m so glad I waited until now, instead of starting on the 1st January. I feel far more motivated and ready to do this now than two months ago. More info on the charity is here
  • Have a clearout! All the fallen leaves of winter are being recycled back into the earth ready to feed the growth of Spring and Summer and you can do the same in your home. Sort out old clothing that no longer suits and take it to a charity shop so someone else can find joy from it, cut up old towels to use as cleaning cloths,  start making more natural cleaning products by using things you already have (vinegar, bicarb, lemon, the peel from eaten oranges…) Wellnessmama Blog is great for tips on natural cleaning!
  • Connect with others! Spring is typically the main mating season in the natural world and whilst I’m not suggesting that you copy that precisely (unless you want to!!), it is a great time to reconnect with friends and family who you may have seen less of during the cold months and difficulty travelling due to storms and snow! Join community projects- garden and clean up work will be starting now and loads of sports activities will be getting going if that’s where your interests lie. Animal centres will be inundated now due to that mating season and will need foster homes, help with fundraising- anything you are most drawn to. Helping others will always benefit you as well and is the foundation for a beautiful world so get yourself involved!

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I hope you have a beautiful Springtime and that these tips helped on the way! I’m so excited for the changes I’m making and I know this was the right time to do them. Don’t take my word for it though, listen to your own instinct and follow the path that’s right for you. That may mean that January is a good time to get things started or that you may prefer to hold back until Summer when you feel fully rested. Whatever time you choose though, keep that Spring energy in mind, it is the time for revival so take that feeling and dance with it!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

What I Learned From a Moroccan Cat…!

Hello beautiful spirits, thank you for joining me here again!

Whilst I was away in Morocco, I spent the evenings reading on my Riad’s rooftop terrace. It was so beautiful, under the setting sun with a view of the bustling city below, but so peaceful up high. This post isn’t to share that particular experience with you though, it’s to tell a story of what I saw one evening as I was sat reading.

Picture the rooftop, three storeys high, with a narrow wall around the terrace. All of a sudden a little black cat jumped from a taller roof onto this thin ledge and walks across it as if it was the most simple leisurely stroll down the street. I thought for a moment, how brave that little girl is to climb so high and tread a wall so fine.

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Then I realised something. She wasn’t brave. She wasn’t being brave because she had no fear in the first place at that moment. And she had no fear because she was so confident in her ability to stride across that ledge, that the thought of falling and therefore being frightened didn’t really enter her mind.

This is how we must live. Unafraid of the challenges we face. Feeling no fear in the face of a new day that might seem different and unexplored to us. The language we use plays a large part in this. We tell ourselves upcoming situations are scary so in order to lose our fear of them, we have to alter the words we use relating to them. Focus on the benefits of a particular event that seems terrifying to you instead of the negatives. This seems obvious but so many of us keep our negative attachments due to the language we use. So by changing that, we change our thought pattern connected with it. Here are a few examples…

 

Situation                  Fear Based Thoughts               Fearless Thoughts!

Job interview    I’m not good enough       You ARE good enough for it or you                                                                                                                                                           wouldn’t have an interview!

Presentation     It will go wrong                  You’re prepared so you’ll be great! 

Family meal      No one understands me    Show everyone how lovely and unique you                                                                                                                                                                           truly are! 

Travel nerves    I’ll get lost                              You’re off to explore a new unseen                                                                                                                                                         world, you’ll find your way!

Obviously I know cats do feel fear at different times. I have two rescued cats, and both of them didn’t allow any human contact until they completely trusted us because they were so frightened due to past experiences. This is a different emotion though. The roof top kitty was probably wary of my presence too but she didn’t waiver in her own innate abilities. This is what I learned from her and what we all can learn, to be so sure of ourselves that the fear just melts away.

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Couldn’t leave my rescue kitties out of a post on cats could I?! Meet Hazel and Saffron!

Nature will always provide us with inspiration when we most need it. I loved watching that beautiful little being tread where others would be terrified to. She followed her instinct, as all animals do- something we must remember how to do. If we trust our inner feelings, we will have that same confidence to pursue our path. Even though the road may seem daunting, we will see that it isn’t really if we are sure of ourselves.

This is true freedom, feeling open to live our lives without fear!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Free Your Time, Find Your Life!

Hello!

This blog chapter, I’d like to share how important following your own way in life is, the way I freed up my time to be able to do this and how you can do the same if you feel you’re not where you want to be!

We are told that if we’re not busy, we’re not working hard enough. Our days must be packed with meetings, rushed travel, hurried emailing and feeling harassed as our inboxes expand. If we don’t work, or choose an alternative lifestyle that doesn’t fit within the 9-5 culture then we are told we are lazy and incompetent…so it seems that no one can win.

We must realise that the public figures set as inspirational for this lifestyle burn themselves out quickly- they have health problems, family connection issues and little time to enjoy the money they’ve created. Many who do have free time, through whatever reason, are made to feel so bad about themselves that they fill those extra hours with television, and maybe drink and drugs to cover that shame placed upon them by society.

Time here is a gift. It doesn’t need to be spent pursuing things you would rather not. If you would prefer to spend each afternoon reading, that can be so! Travel more, you can have that too! There is always a way around things. For example, if you would rather work part time, then examine your finances and see where you could do without something to free up extra cash that will allow you to work less.

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Before I became self employed, I worked in employment but slowly decreased my hours, over a time frame of a few months. I admit I was extremely lucky in that my employers were so supportive with my asking to lessen my days (Thanks Ann and Kerri of Mad Hatters, Chester!!) Even if right now you’re thinking your boss would never allow it, it’s still achievable!

You can do this and live the life you want! It’s only an impossible dream if you believe it to be. If you tell yourself it’s doable then you’ll find it easy. You may face obstacles. The shame of not fitting a particular culture I spoke of earlier? I’ve had that put on me, asked when I’ll get a “real job”. I choose not to accept those thoughts though as they come from years of conditioning that there’s only one way to live.

Our world is changing! We can truly live however we wish, if we set our minds to it. I’m not saying it will be without challenges, but these are to be overcome and make us stronger. There have been times when I’ve questioned my way, months when work has been slow but I always find ways to adapt so I don’t compromise how I want to live. I’ve picked up other small freelance jobs when money has been tight, I travel less when I want to see my family more. You can find your best way of living and to get started,  here are some tips I’ve learned…

  1. If you’re in employment speak with your boss and explain that you’d like to drop hours. You can cite health reasons or family if they ask and you don’t want to tell them it’s to work less or work on a side project. If they say no, perhaps take it as a sign it’s time to leave and start to look for another avenue with more flexible working hours.
  2. To supplement income in a more time efficient way if you do leave or drop hours, start a side enterprise such as an Ebay account or utilising a skill you may have such as the ability to teach piano or even good cleaning skills.
  3. Re-evaluate how much income you need to be happy and fulfilled. Often when in a salaried job, we’ll spend until our wage is gone as there is always the next month to count on. This leads us to believe we need the amount we are earning at the time and so keeps a cycle going that may not be needed. Examine what you spend on, are there areas you could cut back? This is old advice but I still see people spending an hours wage on their lunch so if that’s you, could you make yours at home instead?
  4.  To start using the time you already do have effectively, begin to focus on yourself instead of being so hurried throughout the day that you can’t switch that side off when you’re away from work. Start with ten minutes a day just sitting still. No television on, no phone near you to check emails, just you and your thoughts. At first your mind may stay scrambled and frantic, struggling to switch from active to quiet, but with practice you’ll be able to ease your thoughts.
  5. Find a pattern that works for you. We are all so different, which is why I disagree so strongly with a standard working schedule. A steady 9-5 suits some people wonderfully, whilst running someone else into the ground who would be more suited to creative work.

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We all want to follow our own goals in life and we all deserve the chance to do so. Give yourself the best chance by supporting your own dreams, not someone else’s- which you are doing if you over work yourself. Do not make yourself ill working for another’s goal. Don’t allow your path to be dictated, it is yours to tread not theirs so they can not possibly know the right way for you, only you can feel that. Trust those feelings, they will take you on beautiful adventures!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi