It’s time to think about pie. How do you feel about letting go? How do you manage change in your life? Is your day divided up into pieces so small you can’t enjoy the time you have? These are questions I’m asking myself. Want to play along? Comments are welcome below.
I love eating pie. I don’t love dividing up my day and sharing it. Pie that is made with strawberries and rhubarb and baked sweetly with care, I appreciate that pie. I savour it. Pie that divides my time and is two-dimensional, that lacks depth, literally, that kind of pie can help me look at how everything in my day fits. I understand the purpose in that pie, but I don’t savour it. I don’t like seeing how little time I have to enjoy creating what’s most important to me.
One sweet piece of dessert equals more activity. I don’t want that pie sitting thickly around my middle. There’s got to be movement. Maybe I cut activities that I’m doing simultaneously. Instead of trying to feed my mind and my mouth at the same time, I discover a quicker way to nourish myself. I was distracted at meal times with books and devices. Now, I close my eyes and taste each bite. I’m done at the table sooner and move to the next part of my day.
Being more present actually saves me time. I get more out of my pie. I’m not giving away parts of my day to worry and frustration. I'm bursting with ideas and feeding my creative life. These are hours I can savour!
Care to share your pie recipe?
The exercise today is to introduce the minimalist in me. It’s hard to describe what that looks like. My internal critic focuses on the chaos. Inside, the decisions are complicated and confusing and there is nothing beautiful and simple or let go of inside me. On the outside, the decisions appear more minimalistic. I choose experiences over things, and I find peace in living with less. I have a love/hate relationship with the idea that my creativity fits into minimalism. There are layers to my creative life that hold me, restrict my choices, and repeat in the same pattern regardless of what I let go of. That control of the internal over the external is a complicated mess.
Starting with the idea that I have much to learn, and I can't start off as an expert, I’m spending time looking at what I’m capable of. The wreckage I’ve stored away gets examined daily. Memories, thoughts, and a wardrobe of identities I’ve kept around "just in case”. No wonder it’s hard to recognize who I am. A lot of what I’m looking at doesn’t fit, and isn’t a true reflection of what I can be. There’s got to be an open window I can hang my head out, a door I can walk through. Maybe there’s a match I can strike and set fire to all of it.
Wait. Those ashes won’t eliminate the forest I’m lost in. More trees will grow. I need to think about what I value so that those seedlings flourish. When I understand how I deserve the life I want, and how to love the world around me, the art of minimalism will be abundantly clear. Seeking less, getting more, recognizing each beautiful feather that can lift me.
Curiosity is a gift. Investigative focus and intention, accountability, these can be creative goals shaping my simple life. I can find direction with the moral compass at my center. I know every root I've laid down and every branch I’ve reached out with. Creativity doesn’t have to complicate my life.
Trying to live without my internal life in the space of a small mind is chaotic. Allowing that fixed mindset to push me into the same corners, to use up all of my energy fighting the same barriers isn’t what a minimalist does. My bare bones move me through each room and define the design. Now that I can see the foundation and the style, I can appreciate the art of what I’m creating.
You’ve probably heard the term, "living intentionally". Does living intentionally mean that we should know what we're doing? Can we try things out, make mistakes, but still live intentionally? Can I do something on purpose and not fully understand what I’m doing? Because as I set out to live intentionally, I’m realizing that the simple life I’m trying to create is not the same as having a purpose to the way I live. My deliberate actions aren’t meaningful.
I want to be responsible, be in charge of my life, and committed to an idea. For many years I’ve been interested in minimalism. I got to a point in my adult life where I was burdened with things I had carried with me since childhood, and I was going in a direction that was not my own. This was manifesting itself in the chaos in my house, in the clutter and the “just in case" thinking that had me save every little thing. I am a collector and I’ve come to accept that I always will be. I love containers. I have pretty wooden boxes that hold my treasures. I have repurposed jars that contain snacks in the pantry. I have a collection of rocks from every beach I’ve travelled to. Jars hold my beads and bits to craft with. The fridge and spice cabinet are full with jars of every colour.
I have an appreciation of the beautiful things in this world. I collect pine cones and cedar boughs that come down in the storms. I collect ideas because I love learning. I look for kindness in the world, and I look for fairness in the hope that all can be treated equal. Above all, I look for honest and true and genuine people. I look for creative ways to express what I value. I try to see the world from all sides, to see how different perspectives are the foundations of our communities, and how love in its many colours strengthens us all.
Minimalism, however, is the art of removing those things that distract us from an intentional life. Minimalism is the freedom we find in living with less. Little by little I have been downsizing my life. Still, the collector in me has been creating more and more stuff.
I’m spending the next few months taking a closer look at what I own, who I have relationships with, and how I spend my time. I will be engaged in making decisions to find a meaningful life, and looking at what I don’t need or love and letting it go. This won’t be a perfect journey, or a simple choice. My actions? Intentional and done with purpose.
Words are my currency, my business. I pocket words and collect ideas. I love the word essayist. More traditional sounding than blogger, essayist guides me like a clean sheet of paper going through the roller of a typewriter. Will my words read differently because they’re organized into an essay and not a blog post? Will you question what the gimmick is? Read on, let me share the Value Shift with you.
It’s New Year’s Day, and I woke at 4 AM. There's a dusting of snow covering the garden and the forest beyond. Early mornings are typical for me, snow on the southern part of Vancouver Island is not. There's an idea floating through my thoughts, fresh like the white flakes outside. I’ve read something in the past few weeks about becoming an essayist, but the elusive passage has vanished like the last parts of my dream. Most likely, having just finished Everything That Remains, a memoir by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, I've been influenced by their work as The Minimalists. There is a freedom in minimalism that allows me to pursue what I’m passionate about. When I wake on the first day of 2017, I play with my idea, I see pieces of a puzzle forming, and focus on my website where there is room for weekly essays.
A name clearly forms in my mind for the page. A value shift is a change, or more specifically in a story, a movement in the scene. I listen every Friday to the Story Grid Podcast to learn the art of storytelling. Scenes must move from one value state to another or the story isn’t going to work. Do you feel that in your own life? That without movement, without a value shift, you can’t change or expand or even experience the life you want? The Value Shift will help us. My words, your feedback, each week new perspectives.
I joined two accountability groups in 2016. I began wrapping my head around being an author, becoming a better storyteller, and biggest shift of all, an entrepreneur. Sharing my ideas with peers allowed me to explore new possibilities. One thing you hear everywhere in business is give value first. That is foremost in my mind. As an author, I want to make sure I’m offering you, the reader, an experience. As an entrepreneur, I want to create light where there is shadow. Do you feel unsure, alone, and want to connect to share your experiences? I’m stepping out of my shadow to meet you, to take action, to get inspired, and to inspire you.
Every Monday I will share a new essay with you. There is a microphone in front of me for these weekly journeys, and Evernote is open to capture the words I dictate. I learned from Harry DeWulf, Literary Editor and Story Expert, “You need your tongue to tell a story". No self-censoring is done when the words are laid down. I listen to my thoughts, allow them to fill the page hoping that together, when I share them with you, we are transformed by the Value Shift. This month I'll write about living intentionally. I want to explore the act of giving. Drop in again, won't you?