Friday, October 30, 2009

A rant....

Yes, this is a rant. I'm not sure what came over me aside from feeling sick and tired of being overwhelmed. This post is actually a reprint of a comment I left on Marjorie’s blog at To Marjorie I apologize for getting carried away. I'm not quite sure what happened, but I suspect it an act of decompression.

First, let me thank you for raising this issue, as it is very timely for me and is something I am struggling with. I'm in the process of implementing some changes in my life, one such change is utilizing Mareille Guiliano's advice from her books to change my eating habits. I'm a working single parent who rarely takes a lunch break, scarfs down breakfast, scarfs down lunch in the office sometimes while standing up and by evening is frequently too tired to do much more than snack....all. evening. long. I'm working towards cooking more (which I used to love) and taking time to just eat. My daughter even commented to me that she'd like us to have dinner at the table more.

I can't speak to other cultures or countries, but in my small Midwestern city, we are so busy to the point it interferes with community. We frequently don't know our neighbors, much less dine with them, because they too are so terribly busy going here, there and everywhere. My boss and I were lamenting the other week that both of our workloads are beyond reasonable, everyone wanting something done impossibly fast, so tasks get done quickly but frequently only to find out that they significantly lack quality because we are not allowed the luxury of time to do it right.

How did we lose our common sense? Why is it that we are so willing to throw away our personal desires, commitment to a job well-done in order to be viewed as a Team Player (the proverbial Yes Man or Woman)? It is all linked together...all links in a chain that may eventually be our undoing. It certainly has been my undoing in that it has stressed my body, my mental health and most certainly my emotional health. I think the difference with the US is that this sort of lifestyle is frequently glamorized and respected in a very odd and seductive way. Friends passing each other on the street saying, "Hi, how are you? Keeping busy?" as if being busy makes us worthwhile. Honestly, I am much more worthwhile when I'm not busy. I've experienced both and I say with the strongest conviction when I'm not busy, or at least in charge enough over my schedule to say no appropriately, I am physically healthier, far less stressed, happier, and much more pleasant to be around. Just ask my daughter, she'll tell ya!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why Luxury? Why Less?

I suppose it’s time to explain this blog’s title/purpose. Although I don’t expect this blog will ever be read by anyone, this is a place for me to focus on how I live life and my desire to live a balanced life that is authentic to my heart and soul. Over the past few years I have been overwhelmed by so much that life has thrown at me. It’s so easy to just allow oneself to be controlled by the circumstances and goings on of life, to react to schedules, appointments, meetings, to-do lists and allow our desires to receive attention only in the event all else is accomplished, which it rarely ever is. Hence my heart and soul have become starved for the fulfillment they (I) crave.

Five years ago I was doing quite well, living my life in a fulfilling way, managing challenges as they came along. Then a few years ago began a period of incredible stress due to a move, work challenges, and most stressful of all, a custody battle for my daughter who, because of adjustment difficulties to her father’s remarriage and moving into her stepmother’s home, was experiencing extreme stress, depression and plummeting self-esteem while living with her father and step-mother, who in addition to the stressors above, did their best to undermine my role as mother.
My first blog I began a couple years ago because I was focused on achieving balance in my life. I was successful neither with the blog nor with achieving balance. Part was due to the circumstances of life; part due to a lack of commitment on my own behalf. Now that some of those major upheavals have resolved in my life, I feel better equipped to make healthful changes towards living a soul-fulfilling life. Or perhaps I should say that it has come to my attention that it is no longer something I can put off until tomorrow.

So, why luxury? Why the heck not!?! I deserve it. Oh I don’t mean spend oodles of moolah and the best of everything. I do mean filling my life with that which I truly love whether it be foods, furnishings, past-times, etc.

Why less? Because I have little moolah to go around. Because my home is cluttered with items that I either can’t wear, don’t use, don’t like, etc. Because too much of my life is spent on meaningless time drains like tv (got rid of cable earlier this year); excessive checking of email, both work and personal; errands for things I don’t need or certainly don’t need right then, wasting time in cyberspace at places that no longer fulfill me; and because I have allowed myself to gain a substantial amount of weight (30lbs or so) due to stress, thoughtless eating, emotional eating, and increased sedentary lifestyle. So, less will be more for me.

Now comes the "how". Well you didn't think I'd give up all my plans in one post, did you? The "how" is what this blog is about, that, and the motivation to keep me moving in the direction of liberation from old less than happy ways. However I will say that I believe to be successful, simplicity will be key. Starting small and keeping it simple will, hopefully, beckon progress.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Entranced by the Beauty of the Season

While walking my poochie today I found myself entranced by autumn. It had rained last night and the streets are still wet. Ever notice how the rain increases the fragrances outside? It enhances them and gives an almost cleaner, clearer quality to the sweet pungent scent of this season. Leaves are everywhere. Gold, yellow, garnet, orange, everywhere you look. Those leaves affect the quality of the light, making it bright where it would otherwise be dim due to the cloudiness.

I’m in no way ready for the cold of winter. I’m not sure that I’m even quite ready for fall, but there is something about this time of year that comforts me. Maybe it’s the familiarity, the ability to wear some of my favorite warmer clothes or merely the fact that it’s over all too soon that makes this season so special.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Confidence - Is it the Foundation of Luxury?

Well is it? I'm not really sure. But isn't luxury just what makes us feel good? I would argue that confidence makes people feel good about themselves. In these times, I think that alone may well be a luxury. So many of us lack self-confidence. Some of us lack it in certain areas of our lives while others lack it entirely. I think confidence is the backbone of a life of luxury. And since I want a luxurious life, I need to get me some confidence! I'm a person who has abundant confidence in some areas of my life, but it's absent in others. Regardless of whether one needs to fill a minor vacancy or a deep abyss, how does one generate this elusive state of being????

Recently some friends of mine posted a quote from their 14 year-old daughter who answered that question ever so wisely. Emma said, "People wonder how I'm so self-confident. It's because I lie to myself all the time." Brava!!!!! Dear Emma, Brava!!!!! Yes indeed it's true. When it comes to self confidence, fake it 'til you make it is the only way to go. Baby steps are required, to be sure, but once we get used to playing with confidence, taking it out for a spin now and again, the more frequently we will bring it out to play again. Before we know it, we find that we're no longer faking it; we're living it.