Recently I was privileged to run a workshop with some parents on ‘Kids and Anxiety’.  I always feel humbled by these parents who attend and who want to know more for their families.  As I researched material and was thinking about the increase of anxiety in both adults and kids lives, I was thinking about the way we are continually bombarded with images and stories of amazing people doing amazing things and the way it is so easy to feel like we are missing out and then anxiety slips in.

We are living in world where we actually have to fight to stay content as there is always bigger and better, but to be aware of that fact actually helps in the pursuit of contentment and simple living . As we pursue this, it helps our families to be able to appreciate the simple things in life and as this happens, anxiety can be reduced.

img_6976“The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.”   Josh Becker

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It can be tough

I read this yesterday and wanted to copy and paste it so my readers can just read it! In this world of sleek advertising and media telling us what we should do, look like and achieve I loved reading this about the ‘normal’ people, those of us living each day as it is.  May you be encouraged and inspired.

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It is from Joshua Beckers Blog   http://www.becomingminimalist.com/bad-situation/

Here’s to All of You Trying to Make the Most of a Bad Situation

I have a beautiful friend. She is the single-parent of two equally beautiful daughters. Her husband left when the second was born with special needs.

Coincidentally, my neighbor is a single father of two. His wife left him, choosing a life of drugs over a life of responsibility.

My guess is you will never hear the names of these two amazing individuals. You’ll probably never read their blogs or follow them on Facebook. And their faces will probably never be on the cover of a magazine. But I can tell you, without a doubt in my mind, they both work harder at life than I do.

This past Saturday, I got up early to do some work on a new book. In the early morning hours while the sun was still rising, I drove to a quiet location to write. Enroute, I passed a young man, significantly overweight, out jogging. He was sweating profusely. And I was inspired because of it.

His body-shape isn’t the type you’ll see on posters in the local fitness center. But here was a guy, up early on a Saturday morning, working hard to change his life while most of my neighbors were still sleeping.

One more story.

Last week, a colleague of mine led a funeral for a friend who had recently died of a drug overdose. The deceased was a young man who had been born addicted to heroin.

Through no fault of his own but because of the actions of his mother, he waged war against addiction every day of his life. Some days, he won. Some days, he lost. In the end, it took his life.

As my colleague shared his story, he summed it up this way:

Our lost friend will, unfortunately, be remembered by most as a drug addict. But that’s not the man I knew. Quite the opposite in fact. I will remember forever my friend as the man who fought endlessly against an addiction unfairly passed onto him. I will remember him as a man who worked hard to make the most of a bad situation.

Our world loves to glorify beautiful people. We look up to and praise those who have seemingly accomplished much in visible measures. We lift up as role models and examples those who excel in sports, write books, own the stage, or excel in business and politics. And I don’t want to look down on those accomplishments and those examples, there is much we can learn from them.

But let’s face it: Life can also be messy. And not everybody gets to live in the limelight as one of the beautiful people. Some people find themselves struggling to just tread water through very difficult circumstances.

Sometimes, the trials we face in life are a result of our own doing. Sometimes they are a result of a wrong committed against us. But there is little doubt we are surrounded by people facing unfair circumstances in every direction we look.

And many of them, those fighting to make the most of it, deserve our respect and our praise. But they are often overlooked by a society that often praises all the wrong measures of success.

So allow me today… in my own small little way… to recognize those of you who are working hard to make the best of a bad situation. We see you and we applaud you.

Here’s to those of you raising kids without the support of a responsible partner.

Here’s to those of you striving to overcome the cycle of poverty or addiction in your family.

Here’s to those of you working two jobs to provide your children with more opportunity than you had growing up.

Here’s to those of you working to change the unhealthy habits that have defined your life for too long.

Here’s to those of you who have been treated unfairly in the workplace and are working hard to start again.

Here’s to those of you battling a disease that seeks to destroy your body.

Here’s to those of you caring faithfully for a loved one who is nearing the end.

Here’s to those of you who have been knocked down by life, but are staggering to get back up.

We see you and we applaud you.

Not only that, we also thank you. Thank you for inspiring us. And thank you for working hard to make life better—not just for yourself, but for those closest to you. We need more people like you in our world.

Joy

The idea of joy has been buzzing around in my head a lot lately. In a conversation with my sister, together we realised we had ‘lost’ the joy of the everyday things amongst the business. We realised how easy it is to lose ‘joy’ but also it can be restored.

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Photo Credit: letthefunbegin.co.uk

I have piles of papers that are to do with my children’s school books, paintings, love notes etc etc…what is to be done with them? As a result I found myself reading an article about decluttering.  Marie Condo has become a Japanse celebrity due to her way of  helping people declutter. It was with some surprise that I discovered her system is based on joy!

“Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.”

The whole article is worth a look ….
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/garden/home-organization-advice-from-marie-kondo.html

 

Photo Credit: winsomeaunt.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: winsomeaunt.blogspot.com

This was then followed up by looking at the blog of Joshua Becker who is writing about the joy of minimalism. In a nutshell, more and more research is showing that belongings do not bring lasting joy, in fact they often do the opposite. Some people are now starting to experiment and see what happens when they ‘down size’ and simplify life. Their personal stories tesify to the joy they find in their new lifestyles. Have a look at this link for an example.
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/4-statements/

Photo Credit: wallspaperwide.com

Photo Credit: wallspaperwide.com

Before all this I had read the following in Psychology News

“David Pollay, one of the early leaders in applying the findings from positive psychology, asks us to make 3 simple promises to ourselves every day:

  1. Find joy.
  2. Do what you love.
  3. Make a difference.

One consequence of modern American life is busyness. We are brought up to believe that we can be anything, have anything, do anything if we only work hard enough. Technology and gadgets make everything so much easier and more convenient, so we can squeeze in more and more and more. But between work, taking care of kids, pursuing our passions and dreams, what so often gets squeezed out is our view of what makes life worth living. Time and time again, I have found that following Pollay’s structure brings me back again to the things that matter in life. These are the things that lead to the type of life you want to live.”

Photo Credit: Davidpollay.com

Photo Credit: Davidpollay.com

 

Joy makes such a difference in life. Joy is  an idea that is found in many religions.
As a Christian I find joy is a topic that I cannot blog about without reference to my faith. Joy is a gift, joy is something that is deeper than happiness. Joy can still be there during the hard times, it is knowing that hope is not lost, that there is a ‘bigger’ being than oneself, it is trusting that when things seem out of control there is still control, it is knowing when one messes up, there is forgiveness!

I believe it is this knowledge that then allows one to find joy, do what you love and make a difference.

Photo Credit: epjp.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: epjp.wordpress.com