encouragement

The Closet Countdown: The Morning After

It’s over. My one hundred day adventure in minimalist-style clothing ended yesterday. I’m relieved and a bit overwhelmed. I doubt I will repeat The Closet Countdown any time soon. But I grew. I feel it. I see it in the pictures I posted.

I have my “lessons learned” post in the works but in the meantime, I thought I’d go ahead and post a few initial reactions while they are still very fresh in my mind.

Last night, I pulled down my two bins of “unchosen” clothing. First thing this morning, I opened them. Right after feeling joy at seeing some of my loved items, my heart sagged a bit. There were literally piles of clothes around me that needed to be sorted.

I felt buried.

So I put on the dress I’d missed the most: my Merrell Emery in Manganese Ikat. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. I felt like the color was “wrong” or the fit felt “off”. The dress was fine. I was just in a strange funk.

I thought about how I felt the last weekend of The Closet Countdown. Brave. Bold. Creative. Beautiful even. Immediately my posture changed. My face brightened. So I decided to wear the dress for the day and take a few pics (see for yourself at the end of this post ;)).

Flattering clothes – fit, color, style, hem length, etc. – matters very much. But the real style is inside. The moment we choose to see ourselves as someone worth looking at, we become more attractive. Our confidence and freedom from fear of what others think makes our smile brighter, our posture straighter. When I feel beautiful, the world around me is more beautiful. Brighter. And I feel connected to that beauty because I have found a tiny grain of it in myself.

That’s how I decided to feel this morning when I put on my “other” Merrell Emery Dress. That’s how I hope to feel every morning. 🙂

If you are reading this, know that you are beautiful. Maybe your hair isn’t “perfect”. Maybe your shape won’t ever be in a magazine. Maybe you’ve had a few bad days in a row that kept you from smiling. But inside you is beauty. You carry it with you wherever you go. I know because today I walked out into the world and I felt it. It’s all around us. Inside us. We just have to have the courage to show it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I’m honored to share your company here on My Simplicity Quest.

Shine On,

G

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Minimalism. Hard Work. Big Rewards.

Work is love made visible. – Kahlil Gibran

Though my outside circumstances are pretty rough, I’m in a great place internally. A big part of that is because I’m working very hard at being a better person. I honestly flinch to write that. Work hard? At being kind and caring and honest and sincere? Aren’t we supposed to just “be” those things naturally? If we are, I’m screwed.

Enter minimalism. As I began the action of reducing my things, I learned early that it is not an easy process. It’s taking a long time because I don’t want to just throw it all away. I’m a curious person. I want to explore why I hold on to things and why I feel the need to let go. Minimalism has become much more about the internal work than the external process of eliminating stuff.

I feel like I’m finding important pieces of myself buried beneath my collection of clothes and old beliefs. Pieces I told myself that were worthless because I had to “work” to make them shine.

The process fascinates me. I examine an old toy. Then I examine the belief that rich people are all assholes. Odds and ends I’ve collected on my journey so far. A lot of it is a bunch of crap. There are days when it’s not fun to decide what to do with a box of baby clothes or my scraps of religion.

But it is worth it. For the first time in my life, I’m learning to like myself. What a treasure to find on my quest for simplicity.

A few days ago, I remembered an interview with Kris Carr I’d seen years ago. She is a fabulous woman. Please check out her documentary titled Crazy Sexy Cancer. She is a survivor and an inspiration to many. She said something that stayed with me and as I grow into my new identity as a person with less baggage, I’m ready to embrace those words. Please watch the video below to hear her response when asked how she stays so positive (the answer is within the first twenty seconds of this clip).

I’m ready to work hard at being a better person. I’m ready to let go of my belief that the good stuff in life comes easy and without effort. So far, all the good stuff in my life has come because I’ve worked for it. All the miles under my feet. All the love in my life. All the joy in my heart. All the light in my soul. Yes, they are gifts but if I don’t nurture them and work to make them grow, then they are as worthless as I once believed I was…

Thank you dear reader. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. As you read these words, know that I wish great things for you, my fellow traveler along my simplicity quest. I’m honored that you would walk with me.

Shine on,

G

Blog Shine Sunday {Sept 15}

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As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.
Marianne Williamson

Hello and welcome to another Blog Shine Sunday! I’m in the process of creating a Super Blog Shine Sunday for next week to get caught up on some sweet awards I’ve been given (and oh too slow to accept). So this week’s Blog Shine Sunday features just one blog. Just one post. But since I read it, it has stained my heart with many thoughts. Big picture stuff. Life. Death. Life in light of death. So please check it out. Read it. Read it again. You might find a tear in your eye when finished but read it anyway.

This is from a blog I mentioned last week.

Enjoy…

The Adventures of Fanny P
” …because life is just one big adventure…”
From this Blog: “Fanny P is a 30 something year old girl married to The Husband, a 40 year old boy. They have two children, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Two years ago they swapped London Living for Lombardy Living and are now enjoying the highs and lows of life in the Bel Paese.”

Check out this post: Thank You Cancer

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
G

  • To read last week’s list please click here.
  • If you’d like to start posting your version of Blog Shine Sunday, please feel free to copy the image I created to go with this. It’s my photo with my edits. So it’s royalty free to you! Cheers! 🙂
  • My original inspiration for this is from Lois at Living Simply Free. Because of this, I’m going to include a link to her site with every Blog Shine Sunday.

Keep Writing

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It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
― Confucius

I got another one of those “nudges” again. Like that night at the bar when I felt like I needed to tell that woman she was beautiful… This time it hit me while running. While letting my mind wander in the beauty of the hard work of a good run, it filled my mind and heart. When this happens, I know I have to do it. Whatever it is. Even if I don’t feel qualified or “good enough”. Just gotta shine or I will shrivel up.

Life is too short. So, I here I go…

If you are reading this, there is a very good chance that you are a writer. Almost certainly you are a blogger. For whatever reason, you chose to put your thoughts out there in the wide, wide world. Kudos to you. I’ve only been blogging for a short time. I’m no expert but I know my heart and I’m learning how to be transparent and honest with my work. Sometimes, my honesty is all I have to offer in a post. It’s working so far.

So in all honesty, I encourage you to write. Keep writing. Until your soul feels empty. Until you can’t think another thought. Just don’t fucking give up. Not on writing. If you let it, it can be a constant in your life that helps you find balance. It can help you find a bit of peace in this world of chaos.

In my short existence as a blogger, I’ve already seen others flame out. Don’t let that be you. Write when you don’t feel like it. Write when your heart is breaking. Write when the sun is shining. Just write, dammit. Don’t. Give. Up.

You don’t have to publish all of it. And you don’t have to look up “rules for a successful blog.” Fuck the rules. This is about you and your writing. Your blog. Forget about making money or being famous. Just reach into your life, find that light that burns to put your thoughts into words, and shine. That’s all. It’s that simple.

You might doubt yourself. You might be a little frightened to put yourself out there. Keep writing anyway. Find your courage in the beautiful process of creating and polishing your paragraphs.

If you need someone to tell you to hang in there. I’m right here. Leave me a note here in the comments. I might not respond right away but I will respond.

So dear reader, my fellow traveler along my simplicity quest, thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading my words and listening to my heart. You are a beautiful part of my life. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Shine on and KEEP WRITING!

Cheers,
G

Blog Shine Sunday {Sept 8}

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Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Hello and welcome to another Blog Shine Sunday! I hope that last week was wonderful and that your week ahead is even better. Here are a few blogs to check out – all wonderful works of inspiration and insight. They certainly brighten my days. I hope they do the same for you. 🙂

~1~
Missus Smarty Pants Style Blog
“Enjoy the Little Things”
From this Blog: “Improve your personal style. Gain style confidence. Stay current on the latest trends”

~2~
I Want Less
A Guide to The Simple Life
From this Blog: “This is your life, it’s short and it’s precious. Do you really want to spend it making money for somebody else? I don’t. I want to get out of the hamster wheel. And this is what this blog is about. ”
A Post I Love: Psychological Cost of Your Stuff

~3~
Everyday In A Dress
From this blog: “Dresses, and nothing but dresses everyday! Here you can see how I do it.”
A post I love: Is Summer Over?

~4~
The Adventures of Fanny P
” …because life is just one big adventure…”
From this Blog: “Fanny P is a 30 something year old girl married to The Husband, a 40 year old boy. They have two children, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Two years ago they swapped London Living for Lombardy Living and are now enjoying the highs and lows of life in the Bel Paese.”
A post I love: Women’s Problems

~5~
A Nine Pound Hammer….or a woman like you, either one of these will do
From this Blog: “Sparks from the anvil while exploring life and America’s treasures-South of the Mason Dixon line.”
A post I Love: All that I need…

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
G

  • To read last week’s list please click here.
  • If you’d like to start posting your version of Blog Shine Sunday, please feel free to copy the image I created to go with this. It’s my photo with my edits. So it’s royalty free to you! Cheers! 🙂
  • My original inspiration for this is from Lois at Living Simply Free. Because of this, I’m going to include a link to her site with every Blog Shine Sunday.

Blog Shine Sunday {Sept 1}

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I’m very much about letting other people shine, because it makes us all shine brighter.
Chelsea Handler

~1~
Everyday Spiritual Wisdom (http://everydayspiritualwisdom.com/)
Spiritual Wisdom. Spiritual Growth.
From this Blog: “Everyday Spiritual Wisdom’ is about the wisdom we find in our everyday life.There is wisdom all around us, just waiting in our day to day experiences ready to inspire and encourage us. Be sure to share your thoughts by commenting at the end of each post, it’s lovely to hear from you. Fiona,x
Fiona Lundy is a professional healer and intuitive. Living in Berkshire, UK.”

~2~
This Felicitous Life (http://thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com/)
From this Blog: “Hi! I’m Laura. I am a Catholic Christian, a mother, a part-time lawyer, and a recovering overthinker. On this blog you’ll find mainly light and fluffy thoughts on food, books, clothes, parenting, and assorted other topics. Thanks for stopping by. I would love to read your comments.”

~3~
Living Minimalist (http://living-minimalist.com/)
From this Blog: “Welcome to Living Minimalist, I started this blog in April 2013 as a way to discover what was really important life and perhaps even redefine happiness along the way.”

~4~
Free But Fun (http://freebutfun.wordpress.com/)
From this Blog: “Ideas for how to have a full and fun life without spending too much. Activities, events, crafts and travel.”

~5~
Hiking to Healthy (http://hikingtohealthy.com/)
From this Blog: My hiking adventures in Colorado and how my love of hiking is helping me get healthy again.”

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
G

  • To read last week’s list please click here.
  • If you’d like to start posting your version of Blog Shine Sunday, please feel free to copy the image I created to go with this. It’s my photo with my edits. So it’s royalty free to you! Cheers! 🙂
  • My original inspiration for this is from Lois at Living Simply Free. Because of this, I’m going to include a link to her site with every Blog Shine Sunday.

Blog Shine Sunday {Aug 25}

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I’m very much about letting other people shine, because it makes us all shine brighter.
Chelsea Handler

My first Blog Shine Sunday was a huge success. I know it feels good to give but holy cow! I had no idea. It’s totally worth the work involved. It’s a simple process, really. And I get to stand here in blog land and point the way to beauty. What a rewarding way to spend an hour.

Please explore the following links. Find a treasure in their writing. Be inspired. Own it. Then go out, live it, and shine on…

~1~
Caffeinated Yogi (http://caffeinatedyogi.com)
“Thriving on Coffee and Yoga, and Blogging about it.”

~2~
Testimony and Truth (http://testimonyandtruth.wordpress.com/)
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” — Flannery O’Connor”

~3~
Wellness (http://wellnessblogging.wordpress.com/)
“Wellness Enthusiast. Runner. Explorer. Blogger. Dreamer.”

~4~
Becoming a Minimalist (http://becomingaminimalist.wordpress.com/)

~5~
Being Black and Minimalist (http://justlynne.wordpress.com/)
“This chicks way of getting rid of the stuff and start to live.”

~6~
A Conversation Over Coffee (http://aconversationovercoffee.com/)
“Don’t we all just want that?”

~7~
Lauren Sapala (http://laurensapala.com/)
How to write your novel, find your readers, and stay sane while doing it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
G

  • To read last week’s list please click here.
  • If you’d like to start posting your version of Blog Shine Sunday, please feel free to copy the image I created to go with this. It’s my photo with my edits. So it’s royalty free to you! Cheers! 🙂
  • My original inspiration for this is from Lois at Living Simply Free. Because of this, I’m going to include a link to her site with every Blog Shine Sunday.

Little Heart. Beautiful Courage.

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. – Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon’s Character) in We Bought a Zoo

My favorite man on the planet has many talents, and he gets to include “versatile, gifted musician” on his life’s repertoire of skills. A bar in a nearby town has become a pretty popular spot on Thursday nights because they host an open mic night. It’s not your usual gaggle of solo singers and wannabe guitar players. The guys and gals who show up to perform have some serious chops. On a whim, I decided to release my deep attachment to going to bed super early and go with him.

I don’t know how things are for you. But I have these weird days when my perception of myself is all wonky. No matter what I do, I feel like my hair and skin look like crap and my clothes look boring, old, and show off every flaw in my figure. That’s how I felt while getting ready that day. I finally settled on my tried and true Lily, no accessories except for my dry, summer locks, and a little extra eyeliner.

I’m a bit of an oddball. I bring a notebook with me and write my thoughts when I don’t know what else to do with myself. I use writing to help me push through my strange insecurities. Oh, and beer. Beer helps too. While I sat with my little notebook, I watched people and listened to the music. I noticed the beauty in all of it. A light began to grow in my heart. Here are some snippets of what I wrote:

  • I’m fucking in love with all of it. This place. The dirty hardwood floor. The smoke. The lanky cowboy dancing with his granddaughter. The chick with the super bright orange toenails.

  • It’s a gritty good time at its finest and I’m so in love with all of it.

  • None of these people give a shit about minimalism or running or travel clothing. But we are here, connected to the music and the beautiful noise of a good time.

  • I’m not a smoker but I inhale deeply. Let the air and the music of voices fill me.

  • I stand at the edge of the universe in complete awe of it all.

Then my eyes wandered to a rather overweight woman across the room. She was sitting with friends and seemed happy. There was a lovely glow about her. Then a familiar “knowing” came over me. It doesn’t happen very often. It requires a lot of courage on my part. Mostly because I’m still growing out of my insecurities. But I also know that I must do it or I will regret it forever.

I knew I had to go tell her I thought she was beautiful.

So here I am, bad hair day, running low on confidence, and I feel the nudge to walk across a crowded room, in front of the band, approach a stranger, and like a total kook, tell her I think she’s beautiful. Great. Just great.

At first, I really balked. No way was I going to do this. No effing way.

So I drank another beer and thought about it. My heart felt so full love for the moment. So in a break between songs, I gathered my courage and went for it. I walked across the room without tripping. I made it to her and here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi. I know this is really random and you might think I’m crazy but I just want to tell you that I think you are beautiful.
Her: Me? Oh thank you. What a sweet thing to say! Bless you.
(She touched my arm.)
This is my first time to go out in years.
Me: Well you look great. There is just something about you that I noticed from across the room that glows and I knew I needed to tell you that.
Her: Oh thank you (with tears in her eyes). I was just telling my friend that I thought you were beautiful had such pretty hair.
(Then she hugged me.)
(I smiled.)
(Her friends were giving me some pretty strange looks.)
(I didn’t care.)
Me: That’s all I had to say really.
(I smiled and shrugged. Unsure of what to say next.)
(She hugged me again.)
Her: Thank you again.

Tears filled my eyes as I went back to my seat.

I pulled out my notebook and wrote about our conversation. Then I wrote this:

Now I’m the nerdy girl in her Lily dress writing in a journal. In a bar. Shit yes. This is who I am.

The memory of the last time I felt the urge to tell a stranger I thought they were beautiful came back to me. I’ll skip the details but the bottom line is that she hugged me too and told that her husband had been fading into Altzheimer’s and that she had been having a really rough time. She said it made her day to have someone tell her she is beautiful.

For the rest of the night, I didn’t care about my hair, or my dress, or just about anything else. I was alive and full of light. Completely on fire with life.

My favorite man on the planet played like a boss and on the way home patiently listened to me as I told him about what happened and how this moment made me feel so beautiful. It wasn’t about the damned dress or the hair or my nerdy little notebook. It was about being connected to the light inside and pushing past my personal barriers and feeling myself shine. He smiled and agreed. He already knows I’m a total kook. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this, friend. I really appreciate your time and I hope that in some small way, it encourages you to listen to your heart, step outside of your comfort zone, and shine…

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This is me and my adorable friend Nikki on Thursday.

It’s not my fault. I swear.

I’m experimenting with my blog and I’m curious about what happens when I choose to “reblog” something. This is a post that really grabbed my heart. Nancy has such a colorful way with words. She is a true kindred companion in my quest for simplicity. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did/do. Cheers!!!!

Bittersweet – This is Me…

20130819-133342.jpgThis image is from Story People. Short clusters of words (sometimes with images) that reach right in, grab my heart, and make me glad to be alive. I’ve read many that resonate with me over the years (I have three prints and a small stack of Brian Andreas books in my home) but this is my favorite for 2013 and possibly forever. Please go to their site and read a few. Then come back here and tell me what you think in the comments section. 🙂

Cheers!!!