Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

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Discover Your Personal Values

Photo by Lisa Devlin of Gala Darling
Editor’s Note

When Cat introduced me to Leah earlier this year, she said "Leah is one of the most mindful people I've ever spoken with". After experiencing her work—both written and drawn—I agreed. Take the time to read the story below. It's worth it. One of the most conscious piece of writing I've read. Enjoy!

“At the end of your life” a friend once asked, “What do you hope to have happened?”

I thought it was a great question and decided to give him a thoughtful answer, so I pocketed it for later and bought myself a month for the assignment.

For a while my mind flooded with questions of plot. Will I fall in love? Will I have kids? Will I know passion in my work? Will I touch lives? Will I change the world for the better? What will my regrets be? Where will I have traveled? Where will I have lived?

Will I have really traveled? Will I have really lived?

How to Set Goals – To Create the Best Year

Photo by Kevin Russ

For New Year’s Eve 2011, Jeremy and I sat down and made our goals for the year. We made sure the goals were measurable, challenging, and lead us in the direction we wanted to go. After all, the experts say to set SMART goals. As diligent students, we complied.

Well, I accidentally opened up this document last week, for the first time since we created it (more than a year ago). I had completely forgotten about it. Reading through every line of the document, I felt a surge of guilt and disappointment.

You know that feeling in your stomach, almost ashamed that nothing on the list—of supposedly important items—were achieved. I didn’t end the year with 30K facebook fans, I didn’t do yoga everyday (In fact, not even once for the whole year), I didn’t become an early riser, and my living & working space is still messy.

7 Lessons from a Broken Heart

Photo by Rosie Hardy
Editor’s Note

Even though this story contains life lessons from a broken heart (a painful break up), its lessons are applicable to many other life situations. I highly recommend reading this, even if you are not going through a broken heart.

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. ~Charles R. Swindoll

Nine months ago, as I carted my meager belongings into my parents house–a move that was supposed to be temporary–my world came crashing down. It was an apocalypse I was anything but prepared for.

After envisioning a walk down the aisle, my relationship of six years came to a screeching, and quite unexpected, halt. My heart was broken. I lost several freelance jobs I had come to count on, and my already shaky income became non-existent. Worst of all, I endured a blow to my self esteem that left me curled up on the couch unable to do anything more than sleep and sob.

The Power of Rituals

Photo by Valerio Boncompagni
The more I broaden my interpretation of what can be called a ritual, the more I find them, and find myself creating them in my life. ~Lisa Weiner

I was sitting with my therapist in the midst of college finals. It was one of our last sessions together before I would return home for the long summer vacation. It stunned me that my sophomore year at college was coming to an end. Where had the time gone?

“I feel like it’s too soon,” I told her, “Like I’ve worked through all these changes, and now it has to come to an end. It’s strange, but I almost don’t want to leave anymore.”

She looked me in the eye. We both knew I had gone through a hard semester, both academically and socially. That year, I met my biological parents for the first time, reconnected with family in a country 14 hours away, and lost myself in working too much and sleeping too little. I had contemplated not returning to school or taking off time the next year. It was surprising to both of us that I might actually be enjoying my time there—right when it was about to end.

How to Live

Photo by Vanessa Paxton
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

“Okay, let’s say life is a blank canvas. Anything you want. What would you paint, babe?” I asked my husband.

There was a brief pause. He grabbed a few Almond Rocas off the kitchen counter, made his way to the couch, and then sat there … like a happy, modern Buddha.

He responded, “I don’t think about what to paint, I think about how to paint.”

Irritation quickly spread throughout my entire body. Regardless of the Zen reading and Vipassana training I had been doing, that was not the response I’d anticipated.

How to Stop Negative Self Talk

Photo by aeschleah

Do you know what makes life difficult?

The answer is simple: it’s us. :)

It is us, and that large and complex brain of ours that seem to seek out drama, repeat negative self-talk, create false illusions of fear, and generally makes our life difficult in almost all situations. Seriously.

Every single struggle we experience on a daily basis; every complaint, every dissatisfaction, every problem can be drilled down into a single source of root cause: our brain and the stories it tell us.

Because our brain’s job is to keep us safe, it is constantly acting from a place of fear. Its job is to ensure our survival. As such, its job is not to ensure that we have a blissful experience while we are alive.

Coping with Stress: 5 Ways

Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong. ~Norman Vincent Peale

I am a self-employed freelance writer and if you have ever worked for yourself (or worked at a demanding job), you can probably related to the sentiment that stress from work is one of the biggest factors that can cripple your mind and body.

Since our goal at Think Simple Now is for all of us to live a happy life, in this post I will share a story of when stress broke me down and the 5 lessons I’ve learned while coping with stress.

Simplify Your Life

Photo by Shannon

We’ve been deep-cleaning around the house lately: donating old clothes and getting rid of any extras that have been unused for sometime. In order to create ease with our daily routine, we’ve been simplifying our home and life.

My husband and I have a lot of random items from previous moves that we’ve been unable to shake – mainly sentiment that has spared numerous boxes of trinkets from our childhood or souvenirs from our travels.

But we honestly have no use for any of this stuff. They’re space-takers – they’re extras.

In an effort to simplify our life, we often turn to our material possessions: de-cluttering, donating, and organizing our space to create a sense of calm.

Blessing in Disguise – Finding the Light

Photo by Federico Erra

About two weeks ago, I uttered a sentence that I never thought I would hear myself say. I was talking to my husband and the following words came out of my mouth:

“You know, I have reached the conclusion that I am really happy I had a horrible childhood.”

As soon as I said that, there was silence.

My husband was surprised because for years he has only heard me complain that my childhood was “bad” and I was even more surprised because for years I viewed my childhood through a negative lens.

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Photo by Simon Pais

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of life and the impermanent nature of it all. Observing how we do what we do, the struggles we put ourselves through, the drama, the pain and the suffering.

While thoughts about life, death and purpose drift in and out of my consciousness on a regular basis, the seed of this post was planted, when Pooja sent me a link to “The Last Post” by Derek Miller.

I was just getting on a flight when I opened that link on my phone, and by the time I had finished reading it, tears were streaming down. I spent the rest of that flight, and weekend reflecting on the meaning of life.

What is the point of life, when we come to the end?” I wondered.

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