Less

Consumerism (noun) The preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

This Christmas, I’m falling in love with less.

Less clutter. Less distractions. Less tidying up the same things over and over again. Less piles of clothes or books or bags that aren’t truly loved. Less clothes that don’t feel amazing, less makeup that spends its time in drawers. Less kids stories that don’t make them cry “Again!”. Less toys scattered over the floor like booby traps.

Less wasted time.

I will always love things. I don’t apologise for it. But I’ve realised that the key is in keeping the things I love and letting go of the rest, because ultimately I deserve more.

More writing, more art, more laughter, more music. More board games, more hide and seek. More time spent in inspiration. More adventures outside. More ball games and dancing in the kitchen. More spaces in my home that feel like comfort. More romance, more jokes, more movies watched without my mind on the laundry. More quality.

More ideas and inspiration. More rest.

This year I want to be more of me. So I want less stuff.

It’s not just about removing things that aren’t functional; usefulness is important but beauty is important too. Inspiring is more important still. Minimalism doesn’t mean minimizing that. Ask yourself if you use it, but also ask yourself if it makes you happy. It’s about removing things that take from your life rather than give.

It’s not wasteful to get rid of something you don’t need. It’s not ungrateful to pass something on that still has life in it. That t shirt that you might wear? You don’t. That’s ok.

That book, dress, bag, toy; it’s someone else treasure. Keeping what doesn’t add value to our lives perpetuates a feeling of scarcity even as we drown in stuff. We’re worth more than that.

I think for a lot of us the idea of minimalism still feels like loss rather than gain, and too many of us decide that we’ll never be minimalist because we still have clutter. We still have that back room, that walk in robe, those boxes we never got to; not to mention the drawers in the garage. But what I’m learning is that it’s not about immediately having that perfect space, it’s about the conscious editing of our lives.

It’s about what we own but also what we commit our time to, it’s about honestly assessing the value in everything and what our intention is for keeping it.  Even hobbies, habits and friendships. It’s about doing this without guilt.

Minimalism and honesty are tied, because you can’t declutter without really taking a look at your own bullshit.

I’m not quite there yet. I don’t expect to be. I expect that I will always have a cupboard or two to be sorted, and piles of paper that could make a grand squadron of paper planes.

The meditation of constantly looking at my life honestly will take care of that. There will be ebb and flow. I will declutter. I will be kind to myself as I do. I will not aim for perfection.

I will remind myself, as many times as it takes, that less is more.

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Yours to carry

But darling, what if you trusted?

This thing you’re carrying, this weight that’s crushing the breath from your lungs, what if it isn’t yours to carry?

What if there are different kinds of strong?

What if the strength taken to hold onto this thing that is breaking you, is far less than the strength it would take to let it go?

You have convinced yourself that if you try hard enough you can carry not just your own reality, fears and hopes, but lighten the load on your loved ones. You are carrying the problem, how you perceive the problem and how you fear society perceives the problem. You are carrying not just what is heavy, but the weight of everyone.

Your love ends up denying them their own strength. They can do this.

And society? Can go fuck itself.

You’ve been carrying all this so long you’ve convinced yourself that this heaviness is normal. Lightness feels stolen. It feels temporary. It often is. But so is fear and struggle.

Don’t hold on so tight.

There will always be struggle. There will always be joy. Walk lightly with both.

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Today

Welcome to today. Where will you take it?

We are prone to starting the morning with distractions. A screen, a to do list, a scramble to complete perpetual chores. We start it with our mind in yesterday, at that appointment, that meeting, in next week, on Christmas morning making sure all presents are under the tree. It is ferociously hard some days just to open your eyes and breathe.

But today has something for you, and it’s worthy of filling your lungs with the breath of it.

When we feel the calling of something we often switch off. The world seems to validate what we do far more than who we are.

We try to quiet it, because growth feels uncomfortable and we have been taught for so long that discomfort is to be avoided rather than explored. It takes courage to openly wonder. It takes courage to sit in this feeling as it stretches us. To remember that this feeling that feels too big for our chest is happening for us, not to us.

Today life is calling you to growth in some way. It has plans to make you laugh, give you pleasure, fill you with music… and leave you different than the day before.

This day is not an accident; a random flip of the calendar as it moves from one to another. This day has purpose.

You are not an accident; your quirks, desires and dreams that feel too silly to say out loud. This day has a purpose for you.

Ask questions of yourself today. Big questions. Hard questions. Delicious questions.

You have the answers, they’re woven into the fibres of your being.

Listen to them.

What do you want to create in this world? In this life? In your health? In this family or work of yours?

Welcome to today. This is day one.

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Take what you need

Earlier in the week I felt the kind of sadness that feels like it’s crushing you from the inside out.

Nothing was particularly wrong; everything was ok except me.

I felt flat, like I’d let out a breath and couldn’t get it back again. Like everything was too hard. I was trying, I was trying so much and it just wasn’t working. I felt like I could break.

I’ll tell you how it turned out in a minute, but first I want to tell you a story about a woman making a fruit salad…. without having any fruit.

She wanted it. She tried. She read books about fruit salads. She meditated about the fruit salad. She was cheerful. She tried harder. She set goals. She knew she should be able to make this fruit salad happen – other people did every day. She tried even more to make it work. It didn’t work, and anyone can see why.

It seems obvious to say that you need the ingredients for what you’re trying to create.

It’s obvious about the fruit salad, not so much in our own lives. Every day intelligent people are walking around trying to make something happen without giving themselves what they need.

So back to me feeling like crap.

I tried everything. I was eating well, meditating, moving, reading great books, getting outside… but I wasn’t getting enough rest. It was only when I stopped all the trying that I realised I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t down, I was *exhausted*.

When something’s off in our bodies, other things feel off in our lives, and if we look hard enough we can always blame it on something outside of ourselves. Nothing works, and the more we try the more discouraged we become because we can’t make it happen, and it gets harder and harder to see why.

If you’re trying to make a fruit salad you need fruit. If you’re trying to make a healthy, happy life you need nourishing food, good people around you, things you care about, sunshine, movement, and rest – you need to give yourself permission to stop if you’re ever going to get anywhere.

Like thirst can disguise itself as hunger, exhaustion can disguise itself as anger, worry, anxiety, sadness, stress and little problems suddenly feeling too heavy to carry.

When I gave myself permission to really truly rest, do you know what got easier? Everything. The battles i’d been fighting weren’t won – they didn’t need to be – they weren’t even there anymore.

Maybe you’re tired too, or maybe there’s another ingredient missing in what you’re trying to create right now. Openly and honestly look for it – then go get it. You’d never kid yourself into believing you can make a fruit salad without ingredients, don’t think you can get what you want without giving yourself what you need.

fruitsaladCopyright Nirvana Dawson 2018

The List

Tonight, when the house is quiet, I want you to give yourself a gift. I want you to give yourself the day you just lived – differently.

Take the time to make a warm drink, light a scented candle if you have one, put on those pyjamas you’d never be seen it but that are the most comfortable thing you own. Now sit down with a piece of paper…. and tell me about your day.

Tell me about how much you had to spend on yard work when you couldn’t really afford it… and how good it felt to help your mower man build his own business.

Tell me how sore your muscles are from your workout… and how incredible it is to have a body that is healthy and can move, and how happy with yourself you are to have moved it.

Tell me how much your partner pissed you off today… and how wonderful they smell. How much you love the sound of their laugh and the private jokes the two of you share.

Tell me about the mess in your house right now, no matter how much you clean… and tell me about your hot running water to wash those dishes, your washing machine to clean you clothes, and how soft your bed feels with the fresh sheets you wrestled on this morning.

Tell me how anxious you felt doing that thing today… and how you did it anyway, because no anxiety was going to hold you back.

Tell me that you’re tired… and how much life you fit into today.

I want you to think of every single thing that was hard about today. Now I want you to find something beautiful in it. I want you to find as much beauty as you can… then find more. Why? Because you can. Because it’s there. Because it’s yours.

I have had the best and worst days, but they were mine. I had power over those days. When I look back most of the days that broke me were ones where I forgot just how much power I had to rewrite my own script.

It is never to late to rewrite the script.

As you make your list tonight, I want you to take a minute to realise how GOOD you are at this. How easily it flows. The true you, the you that gets hushed when you’re too busy washing the floor or getting to that meeting on time, is naturally happy. She naturally sees the good, the fun, the positive. She naturally manifests good things because she SEES all the good things you have.

So go write this list with her, and give yourself a day lived joyfully.

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When you need to catch them

To all parents, but especially special needs parents, ASD parents, parents of the kids who don’t quite fit the mould, the anxious ones, the quirky ones, the beautifully challenging ones, the ADHD ones; this is for you.

In the moments when you are tired to your bones, when your eyes close as you take that deep breath, trying to steady your response to what has just been said or done, as though you can maybe just breathe deeply enough to undo it, remember;

Your child is not angry at you – they’re angry because in this moment, it is hard. All of it. Life. They’re directing their anger at you because you are their safety. That anger is hurt wrapped in overwhelm and they’re throwing it at you because they know that despite any of this you will catch them when they feel like they’re falling.

Often enough it will pass in a heartbeat, and you have all these years to practice bouncing back as quick as they can.

One day you might feel like you’re moving forward, the next you might feel like you’re going backwards – this is just your dance for right now. Sometimes the music is a little crazy but there are so many memories to be made on this dance floor and one day you’re going to look back on them and only see joy.

Worry about the future if you must, but pause long enough to blow bubbles, to play in the waves, to knock down sand castles, to drink hot chocolate and talk about nonsense. Your job isn’t to raise a perfect person, it’s to find the perfection right here, right now. It’s to make them laugh. It’s to find the beauty in their drawings or finger-paint messes and love them for their quirks not despite them.

Your child is not anxious at you – and sometimes there is nothing you can do in that moment to help. Listen anyway. Tell them you love them anyway. Get them outside. Build them a fort. Do whatever you need to do, because before you know it a day will come when that anxiety is a little less, and they wont remember those moments of stress, irritation or frustration – they’ll remember playing outside with you, or those amazing forts.

Don’t listen to that relative, that friend, that person on the street who tells you how it should be. Do what works for you and your child. Be unashamed of rocking the path that is just right for your child. Listen to them. Listen to them a thousand times over.

Your child’s joy does not need to look like anyone else’s. Don’t compare. If they are lost in the magnificence of pouring sand through their fingers for an hour then just keep the sand coming. Provide all the opportunities, but with the ease that they may not be taken, and thats ok.

Your child is not having a hard day at you – even though it impacts you, your family, the people you pass in the street. Your child is having a hard day, and you’re doing them the kindness of bearing witness. You’re listening, even in the moments you’d rather not be. You’re walking beside them as they feel all the things.

There is an enormity in being there with your child, when the emotions and challenges feel too big to hold, and just holding them. You’re doing it, and you’re doing fine.

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To the girl dancing by the Christmas tree

I don’t know the kind of world you’re growing into baby, but I know it’s going to be good. I know that you’re going to find the best of it wherever you look.

I trust that people will want good things for you little one, because thats what you deserve. You wont have to fight for them, because people will see the strength in your smile, the fortitude in your stance, the wisdom in your words.

You wont have to worry about getting your share baby, because whats yours can never be taken away. There’s enough. Never doubt that there’s enough.

I don’t know what the world will look like when you grow up, but I know there will be beauty in it. I know there will be blue skies and fresh air and birds that sing just for you. There may be turmoil, there could be storms, there will definitely be imperfections, but they will just make the colours more vibrant. Always look for the beauty. It will find you right back.

I don’t know what you’re going to do when you grow up baby, but I’m excited that you get to choose. Don’t ever choose for me or anyone else. Follow your heart song. Surprise the hell out of me.

I don’t know who you’re going to be when you grow up, but I trust that you’re going to be *you*. Don’t ever think that you need to be wilder, richer, thinner, smarter or more powerful. The only thing you need to be is happy. Your power lies in your peace. Your future lies in your joy.

I hope you have big ideas baby, but follow the little ones too. I hope you don’t stop noticing the ladybirds or laughing over the silly jokes.

Never stop being curious little one; all the answers you could ever want lie in that curiosity. Sometimes the best answers lead to more questions. Follow your wonderings, they’ll take you where you need to go.

Never stop exploring, be it a back street in Rome or a different way home. Life hides wonderful things for you to find and every day is a treasure hunt. How exciting that the treasure never looks the same.

Sometimes the world will scare you baby. Sometimes people will seem cruel. Sometimes people will make choices that hurt others. Don’t ever let this dim your light. Look for the helpers, the kind ones, the givers, the compassionate hearts. Listen to them. Take faith in them. Be one yourself.

This is your adventure little one and I’m so blessed to hold your hand while you grow into it. If it ever doesn’t fit you – change it. Change suits you. Change is hard, change is beautiful. Don’t fear it.

Never forget the power of your choices. What you buy, what you eat, the people you smile at, the thoughts you spend so much time with. They not only help shape little pieces of your life, but the lives of others. You may never truly know the impact of buying locally made, smiling at someone having a hard day or doing a meditation in the morning, but you can’t not impact this beautiful world, so you might as well do it well.

Today you are three, and you’re laughing as you dance around the living room to Christmas music, your hair a glorious halo of mess with a little avocado on the side. You are so utterly present in this moment.

I hope you always will be baby, even as the moment changes, even as you grow, even as the world grows with you. I hope you always dance little one, because no one does it quite like you.

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The Fire

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. A gift to stir your soul.

Here is a gift too hot to keep, not meant to be held, to wake you up in this moment.

Maybe you hold it strongly, or maybe it shakes you to your bones. Maybe you are rooted to the spot or your feet itch to run away.

It’s ok. You’re ok.

This fire is yours right now. Yours to burn away the weight of sadness, or the stagnation of doubt, yours to remind you how incredibly alive you are as the world turns around you.

It takes strength to feel anger like this, some people avoid it their whole lives, but there you are standing with your world ablaze and your heart trusting even as you feel so much.

Anger doesn’t own your words, anger doesn’t own your actions, anger doesn’t own you. When you’re ready just let it wash over you, it’s a gift too hot to keep for long and you don’t need to keep anything that doesn’t serve you.

And it goes. Maybe because everything is alright, or maybe because you realised that everything doesn’t have to be. Maybe you found peace – maybe it burned away all the stuff that kept you from finding the peace you already had.

Trust it, when it comes, this fire in you is a powerful teacher. But know you are bigger than this anger, than these clenched fists or racing heart. You are big enough to find kind words, even when they seem lost in the heat of this moment, you are big enough to find forgiveness, even when you are hurt, and you are big enough to find calm in the heat of this storm.

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. It’s ok to need it from time to time. May it bring you peace.

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To the woman with the broken heart

I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. I’m sorry he left, but if he wasn’t going to love you with every fibre of his being I’m so glad he set you free.

You see you weren’t put on this earth by accident. Your heart isn’t one of the kindest, most genuine and loving hearts by chance. You weren’t put here to hurt, or feel alone. You are here to love and be loved, to laugh so hard you forget everything else, to help people, to discover things you didn’t even know you were looking for, to adventure. You were put here to have a life of stories, and one day you’ll tell the one you’re living right now… and it will have a happy ending.

There are so many things waiting for you. Friends who you haven’t laid eyes on yet, books you will get lost in, cats to purr on your lap, foods that wake up every single taste bud, and somewhere someone who’s heart beats in time with yours, who has spent his whole life looking for you.

Someone you can’t even imagine yet, but one day wont be able to imagine your life without.

Maybe you’ll meet him in the supermarket or a far off land, maybe you’ll bump into him in the rain, maybe you’ll find you share friends and recognise each other with a lightness that shows you that your souls lined everything in your lives up to bring you to that moment. And you’ll think “Wow. So this is what I was missing?”

He’s not the point though, you know that? The point is you. And in losing someone else you get to find yourself even more. You’ve known hurt before and you shouldn’t have to know more, but there are treasures in this pain right now.

Don’t regret one single tear you shed, because every damn one of them is a poem about how hard you love.

Don’t regret not seeing it coming because thats a testament to how beautifully you trust. Never stop.

Don’t think you’re weak for grieving this loss – it takes guts to feel so deeply.

Don’t think you’ve lost the love of your life because there is SO much life left for you yet, and there’s no way the best parts are over. You were put here for joy. It’s coming. It’s yours.

Know that it’s ok to love someone and still let them go. You’ll get there. There’s no rush.

It’s ok to feel broken, but know that you can’t be. You are strong, you are smart, and you got this. You really, really do.

Pour yourself a cup of tea tonight and sip it slowly. Feel the warmth as it fills you. Know that it’s going to be alright. That feeling might only stay for a moment today, and thats fine, don’t force it, because tomorrow it will stay for a little longer, the next day a little longer than that. One day the moment will come when you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried. When you know that not only are you going to be alright, but you are, you’re better than alright, in fact you’re better than you ever thought you could be.

This is your story beautiful friend, and I’m on the edge of my seat about what comes next as much as you are. Know that seat’s a long one. You have lots of us on your team. At the moment you probably feel anxious about what comes next, but sooner or later things are going to get better. That anxiety will melt away to excitement. The day will come, before you know it, when you can’t wait to see the next twist in your story.

Love to you always x

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What happens next?

I want to tell you a story about a girl, a girl who does something wonderful. I don’t know exactly what she does yet, and besides thats not really the point, the point is that she does it.

She’s short of time and big of ideas, and she finds it easy to get… comfortable. She finds it easy to dig her toes in to where she is and think it’s perfectly ok. But inside she’s burning a bit too brightly for ok.

She doesn’t ask for much, but she should. She should demand it, because it’s all there for her and it suits her.

She has spent a lot of time accepting things that weren’t what she really wanted and talking about tomorrow…. but she’s beginning to realise that tomorrow feels an awful lot like today, and that she doesn’t want to wait anymore. She’s realizing that this is her time and she’s starting to look at things a little more closely.

She’s examining her dreams, the ones she’s carried around neatly for years and looking at them with grown up eyes. She’s deciding if they are what she really wants and if they’re going to feel as good lived as imagined. She’s asking herself what she *wants*, allowing herself to be selfish because she deserves to from time to time, and asking what she wants to give others too.

She realises when unpacking those dreams that her something wonderful can be all of them or none of them. Her something wonderful doesn’t have to be doing anything grand, it can simply be joy. Here, now.

She is done with brushing her shortcomings under the rug and even more done with feeling guilty about them. She knows that a sprinkling of flaws make a character more believable, and she is a very, very believable woman. But she’s taking one of those short comings from time to time and making a project out of it. She’s breaking habits that have been there for years because she CAN. She’s doing it because it’s hard, and because it feels so good to peel off a layer of herself that was just making her feel heavy.

She listens. To the people she cares about, to the things she may not want to hear, and to her own inner voice that had grown silent from not being really listened to. She trusts it. It’s smart. She’s smart, and she knows what to do to get there, or even just to really be here.

She is not going to glorify busy or slow anymore. She doesn’t have to follow the books or magazines. She has her own pace, her own rhythm and she’s going to embrace it.

She is going to fall in love again, every day. She’s going to fall in love with the things her husband (or friend or children) does that make her feel light. The things that make her laugh or that feel like home. She’s going to be driven mad, as always, by the difficult things they do too, and be grateful for that – because the opposite of love is indifference, and those things remind her she’s not indifferent at all. She’s going to say I love you even when she’s angry, and she’s going to reach out when she’s sad. She will let go of relationships that don’t serve her, maybe not today, but when she’s ready, because she can and the empowerment of that choice makes her feel light all over again.

For all the talk of examples for her kids she knows that the best one is being happy. It’s doing this very thing that she’s starting today; this something wonderful.

This is a story about a girl… what happens next?

 

believable woman Copyright 2015 Nirvana Dawson