At around this time every year I go through a phase of reflection; thinking about what has happened and how I've changed. It's like I need to evaluate before I move into the season of celebrations and resolutions.
For a number of reasons, 2013 has been a tough one for me. Nothing particularly shocking or sad, just busy, busy life and its challenges. And I don't think I'm alone in my struggle. Perhaps it's mothers the world over who are confronted by lack of time, growing children and pressing situations. In retrospect, this year has been so hard because it's been overwhelming; I've taken a lot on and sometimes it's been too much. There's been moments of regret and sometimes, shame; those not-so-nice things that stem from busyness and rushing and stress.
But in the midst of it all, I've also had the opportunity to stop and realise that it's not how I want to live and it's not how I want to raise my children. So, I'm prioritising myself and choosing to simplify life. That word, simplicity, has been a constant for me this year and I embrace it because it's good for me. It's good for my mind, for my body, for my home and for my family. It's what I come back to when things are getting out of hand. So what does it mean? For me, it's:
- making boiled eggs and soldiers for dinner even if the kids have had the exact same meal for breakfast
- leaving the mess of the house and going to the beach for an hour, even if a deadline is looming
- saying 'no' more often and not feeling guilty about it
- accepting that we live in a family home that is both messy and beautiful (and will always be messy and beautiful)
- admitting that the internet is a major distraction and I need to be mindful of how it seeps my time, energy and patience
- going to bed early, regardless of how much work needs to be done
...and the list goes on.
Overall, being mindful of the present moment is perhaps the biggest factor in simplifying my life. It is the very essence of yoga; not getting caught up in what has been or what's to come, but being in the here and now, aware of how I'm breathing, what I'm thinking and the words I'm using. I don't do it all the time and yes, it's hard to maintain but I wholeheartedly believe it is good for me and subsequently, good for my family.
So: stop, take a deep breath, come to here and now and focus all of your energy and awareness on what you need to do right now. Simplifying is doing one thing with awareness instead of 10 things mindlessly.