Friday, December 11, 2015

Seeking simplicity?

When I think about what my core values are, a word I keep coming back to is simplicity. It’s not that I want to live my life in an empty room with nothing and nobody around me, but when things get too busy, whether it’s the contents of my home, my schedule or the thoughts in my mind; it doesn’t feel good to me. What feels much better is having space in all senses of the word. Space to move around, space to breathe, space to think and space in time.

I think the most important thing for us to consider is just when that feeling of discomfort kicks in, when our internal compass is telling us ‘it’s getting crowded’. If you ignore that voice it’s easy to start acting out by being snappy with people, eating when you’re not hungry and deciding to go shopping because a new something will make you feel better. I identify with all these things.

Knowing now that I have a core value of simplicity means that I can take action much sooner, and one day I’d love to be able to simply ‘be’ in simplicity all the time. I know that it’s not something outside of me though and that I can have simplicity any time I like, even right now. Making the decision to have a life of simplicity marks a point where everything else flows on from.

For me, a life of simplicity would contain plenty of time to get all my jobs done and still have time to read, noodle, potter and play. It would also mean that food is enjoyable nourishment and not my main source of pleasure (because I have other things for that).

There are many ways I can bring these ideas into being. The discipline of being organised is not pushed aside, because it feels good when I have things under control. Taking actions on small and big things as they arise, with no procrastination is key. Every piece of paper I don’t action whether it’s to file, throw out or make a phone call for, represents a leak of energy. You know that slightly heavy feeling of little things undone?

Not trying to pack too much into a day is another way I can cultivate the feeling of simplicity. And then doing those few things so that I feel proud at the end of the day.

Simplicity in food means there is a feeling of peace. I’m not trying to avoid certain foods to be skinny, rather, I’m choosing not to buy and eat certain foods because I don’t feel well afterwards. That feels far more empowering to me.

Simplicity of the mind means not overthinking things (which I am a master at). When my brain is whirring like a runaway train, how blissful it feels to stop and think ‘all is well, I am enough, life is good, I am safe today and always’. I can then think ‘what is the next step, what do I want to do next’.

That might be what the feeling of simplicity boils down to – taking things one step at a time, doing a job as it needs to be done with no multi-tasking; finishing something I have started and feeling satisfied with a task completed.

It’s especially important at this time of the year when we have more to do and less time to do it in. List everything out, pick the first thing to do and just start with that.


  1. I love what you wrote about simplicity of the mind. I think that is where it starts for me...mainly needless confusion and ruminating on decisions rather than just deciding or doing the one task at hand. It's so much nicer that way.

  2. Oh my goodness Fiona! I was just writing about this in my journal this morning and then I received your email. I have always been a procrastinator and I am so tired of the mental anguish it causes. I do maintain simplicity in my home and belongings but my list of 'not-dones' is always on my mind and I then comfort eat to dull the unease. Your post today has really touched me. Thank you.

  3. Great post Fiona! You really hit the nail on the head when you identified the "leak of energy" and "slightly heavy feeling of things undone." Yes, that's exactly what it feels like. I'm sure you're right too that we need actively to choose simplicity if we're to enjoy that feeling of peace and space we crave.

  4. Beautifully said, Fiona. I totally understand what you mean about how just taking a minute to calm your mind can reap enormous benefits. I've always been a worrywart and the way it can steal your sense of peace is exhausting. As I've gotten older, I've realized the best way to counteract this is to chose simplicity and organization in all areas of my life. Stress will always be there, but I feel more centered when taking things head on

  5. Your post today is very timely, and beautifully stated. Thank you! Mary

  6. Hi Fiona. I am a regular reader of your blog and love it! I read other similar lifestyle blogs but yours is truly "not to be missed". I was contemplating what it is and decided that you really know who you are. It seems like we all should know that (since we have been living with ourselves our whole life) but it is something I'm still working on. I also admire that you actually "live it" and not just talk about it and write about it. (The life you want) I'm also working on that too. Can't wait for your new book.-Carla.

  7. I've come to realise that my 'inbox' will never be empty. Ever.
    - The best thing I can do is not to dwell on what needs to be done.
    - Just do things when I can, and when I feel like it
    - And enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when things get done.
    - Savour the feeling of crossing something off my mental list, rather than scolding myself for not doing it sooner.

    On another note, last night, Friday night, I was on the verge of a junk food binge. The desire and feelings were overwhelmingly powerful, and while cleaning up after dinner I just knew that I'd flop on the couch and demolish a big pack of potato chips, plus other junky sides. And even though I hated what I was about to do, I felt I couldn't beat it. But beat it I did, and I woke this morning so happy and light, with my digestive system and body so healthy and cared for and loved. I still can't believe it though. It felt like it was a done deal. My trick: thinking of everything I've learned on How to be Chic, and Fiona's inspiration to try to be the best me I can be; and before leaving the kitchen I brushed my teeth (I keep a spare toothbrush in my kitchen, unchic but works for me) and flossed my teeth. Once I've flossed, that's it , shop's closed.

  8. I have been too busy the past couple days, with not enough time to be still. So instead of cooking everything from scratch for a brunch this weekend, I'm going to cook half and pick up the rest at a local gourmet shop. I wouldn't have allowed myself to do that in the past. But it will preserve my sanity, and give me a little, much-needed breathing room.

  9. Bravo to you Mara, that's a definite win, and who cares if you keep a toothbrush in your kitchen. I'd say that's not unchic at all. Like you say, it works for you.

    Deborah, good for you. It's great to find out you can change your mind about things (like buying in part of your brunch), don't you think?

    Carla, Mary and other commentors, thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them all.

  10. This is superb, so insightful! Particularly that leak of energy you describe from letting one small thing go undone. Thank you so much.

  11. Simplicity of the mind is brilliant Fiona... Those words alone has helped me this morning. Thank you.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...