4 June 2008

18 Ways to Live Simple Now | Christine Kane


What does it mean to Live Simple?

It doesn’t mean that you forsake all of your belongings and head to the woods to live deliberately. (Though you could do worse!)

It doesn’t mean that you adopt a self-righteous attitude about money (which is often a convenient way to ignore your own money issues).

To Live Simple is to be empowered and to be present. To Live Simple is to make authentic choices and to create a life you love - free from clutter of all kinds.

Here are 18 ways to Live Simple Now…

1 - eat simple

Get local organic produce at tailgate markets now that it’s summer. A tray of sliced raw vegetables dipped in hummus or vinaigrette is a great dinner. Or lightly steamed greens with rice. These are easy to prepare and easy to digest. The less kinds of food you combine in a single meal, the easier it is for your body to use the energy.

2 - shop simple

My favorite thing to carry with me when I shop for clothing or household items is Cheryl Richardson’s mantra: “If it’s not an Absolute Yes, it’s a No.”

3 - heal simple

The Western approach to medicine is often about adding more stuff to fix symptoms of imbalance. This typically involves more pills which cause more side effects, thereby making the issue even worse.

The Eastern approach is to allow the body to heal itself. This typically involves removing the excess - excess toxins, excess fats, excess sugar, excess meds. Healing - while it can be painful and challenging - can be a simple, loving process when we let our bodies express their inner wisdom.

4 - drive simple

Turn off the radio. Drive in silence. Be present. Make Just This your mantra.

Goofy thing to do: Smile like an idiot for at least 20 seconds every time you drive somewhere.

5 - revisit simple

News Flash: Clearing out clutter isn’t a one-time event. If you’re like me, then you need to revisit places in your home, car, or office that need a little re-de-clutter.

6 - carry simple

Do you hoist around one of those giant purses crammed full of stuff? Is your wallet like George Costanza’s?

Travel light. Bring only the basics. I often go out with just a Burt’s Bees Lipstick (the skinny kind that slips into the back pocket of your jeans) and a credit card. It’s a great feeling to ditch the purse!

Try this idea: A friend told me that she took all of her membership numbers (AAA, Priority Club, etc) and typed them onto a small piece of paper that she laminated. She took that with her instead of all the assorted cards. I followed her advice and cut my wallet-size in half.

7 - store simple

Just because you have storage space doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Commit to spending time on each storage area of your home or office. See it as a metaphor for your life and your body. Clear out the old stuff that you don’t use. Let go of any item that makes you say, “Oh! But I might need that one day!” Trust the universe to provide what you need when you need it.

8 - feel simple

Honor your emotions, and learn how to talk about them simply. Emotions aren’t as complicated as we make them. It’s the stories we attach to them that make them feel so complicated.

When emotions come up, sit down on the floor, and breathe. Then allow the emotion to be there. Notice all the stories that are hooked into that emotion. The stories are like heavy icicles weighing down the branches of a pine tree. Pull them off one at a time until you can just feel the emotion itself. When you let that happen, you might find that there’s actually freedom to the emotion. It moves. And it moves through. The stories keep it weighted down and immobile.

9 - nurture simple

In my e-Seminar, as the participants get more clear about what they want and what they love, they learn that they don’t really love sugar, junk food, or hours of television. It’s that they use these things as substitutes to compensate for the fact that they aren’t giving themselves what they really want and need for nurturing. The junk food and the television — these are fake comforts. The authentic comfort is usually laughter, sleep, or a great healthy meal. How can you deeply and simply nurture yourself?

10 - grab simple

Do you grab stuff just because it’s free? Never mind that you don’t need that free tube of “acne cleansing lavender toner” the mall employee is handing out. Or that the hotel shampoo is yet one more bottle in your suitcase. You just reach for it because, Hey, It’s free!

Start looking at your space and your energy as more valuable than the dollar. (A radical approach, I know.) You’ll realize that our culture has it all wrong when it sees money at the top of the value chain. Money doesn’t come close to the value of your time and your space. Free stuff isn’t free. Most likely, you don’t even want what’s being given out. Take your power back and don’t grab for it! (And reduce your zippy bag clutter!)

11 - drink simple

Drinks are a huge industry these days. Get a Sigg Bottle and make filtered water your drink of choice.

12 - primp simple

The cosmetic industry is just one confusing lot of colors and textures. Pick your favorites and revisit them occasionally to see if they’re still working.

13 - join simple

Remove yourself from membership programs, catalog subscription lists, churches, clubs and/or associations about which you don’t feel passionate.

14 - dress simple

I have less clothing than anyone I know. I love what I own and I wear it. And I have a simple enough life that I need very few clothes and accessories. Most people don’t choose to live like this. Nor do they want to. However, if you have racks of clothing you don’t wear because you always pull down your trusty favorite items, then you and I aren’t that much different. Find a style that works for you and go with it. Let go of those regrettable clothing items that never worked.

15 - intend simple

There are thousands of intentions we can have. I sometimes catch myself obsessing because I’m not, say, doing yoga right now. I’m working with a trainer and going to the gym, but ohmigod, I’m not doing yoga! If I can let myself recognize that perhaps yoga is simply not one of my intentions or desires now, I can let it go.

When we have too many things tapping on the windows of our minds then we can become distracted. Honor your deepest intentions right now, and let the hundreds of other possibilities go. You can always revisit them later.

16 - work simple

When I left my first (and only) real job to begin my music career, I moved to a small town and began waitressing. During this time, friends and relatives constantly predicted my financial demise. So, I was stunned when I became more financially secure. In retrospect, I believe that this was because I was happier - so I didn’t require a lot of extra stuff to ease the burden of doing work I hated. My extra time was spent doing what I loved - playing and learning music. The paradigm of my life shifted.

I was willing (and frightened!) to take the leap and do something I loved doing. It made other things naturally fall into place. This is how I define working simple. It’s not to say you won’t have overwhelming days and challenges. It’s to say when you do what you love to do, you say yes to your passion and set “yes” in motion in your whole life.

17 - speak simple

Listen more. Talk less. Give up the complaining habit. Cease all gossip. Take a moment to breathe before you answer a question. Recognize that listening doesn’t mean waiting for your turn to talk.

18 - love simple

I’ve learned that how I love someone best is to really be with them when we’re together. To watch their facial expressions and to truly listen to them without trying to fix or critique their choices. In other words, to delight in them. For me, this is love at its most simple. It has nothing to do with greeting cards, gifts, or “proving my love.” Loving simple is the easiest of all of these things. That’s why I saved it for last.

18 Ways to Live Simple Now | Christine Kane

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