I do like lists.
To-do lists, tah-dah! lists, shopping lists, the Absolute No list (of more later) and now there is the Kon Mari list -SO helpful!
Google Kon Mari lists for various options (thanks Julia).
And just to be controversial....Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist which I liked, has just brought out this...Tee Hee
It's true that my studio is very tidy but I'm not actually painting...
But the Kondoing is giving me such clarity and so much energy and headspace that I know it is opening up possibilities for my creative side and I'm seeing it through.
Plan to be done by Christmas (including the dreaded shed!).
I've begun to use a book called A Year To Clear by Stephanie Bennet Vogt and am enjoying the few minutes a day it takes to read and jot down a few thoughts. I've done a lot of clearing out of stuff as many of you know, and there is more to go, but am thinking also in terms of being clear-sighted and clear-thinking. Taking it gently. I don't like the website but I'm liking the book so far...
I have found my word for 2017, which is supposing, to be really helpful on lots of occasions. Over the last few days it has given me headspace which I really needed.
I can get a bit anxious about financial matters at times but with a lot of filing to do I told myself Supposing I just filed it without engaging with each piece of paper? (eg thinking I need to query this/re-negotiate this/get a better deal on that/shouldn't have left this for so long/wish I hadn't gone for that....) I also said Supposing I just did 15 minutes at a time? My supposing question is usually followed by Whyever not? and I've now spent several hours quite contentedly dealing with a lot of piles of paperwork and thinned down the bulging filing cabinet considerably without getting stressed!
Decluttering my brain before Christmas is upon it!
Can you give yourself some headspace in preparation? And has your word for the year been helpful?
PS A last word on wills from Viv in her comment on this post is worth reading!
..with rosy light..
I choose to get up earlier so that I can start my day with ginger tea and some writing.
I love looking out on the forest and opening the window to feel the morning air and hear the birds.
How do you start your day?
Can you create a little morning corner? If you don't (yet) have the view you want you might put a picture of one beside you as you enjoy a quiet cuppa and read or write for ten minutes before the family stirs or the alarm goes off and the demands of the day begin.
Happy Easter Sunday!
I grew dozens of pink campion from seed to plant in Coronation Wood - a little bit of woodland in the village that some of us look after, and was about to Google to see just what conditions suit them best.
But something made me stop.
Instead I made up a tray of coffee and biscuits, went into the study, lit the lamp and took down a few lovely books on wildflowers of Britain. (There are some gorgeous books of this type in bargain book shops.) I had a leisurely, peaceful browse for half an hour. No ads, no distracting links; when I went away and came back the book was still open at the same page and the text and photographs were on the same position on the page.
It was so enjoyable! I had quite forgotten how nice it could be.
There are photographs but....I've not had time to figure out how to post them yet.
Windows 10? It hasn't solved the problems I hoped it would....
I am pondering Cristiana's interesting post (here).
I think all bloggers probably ask themselves at times Why Blog?
One of the things that keeps me web-logging is that I know I am in touch with like minds. Many people may read the blog, but like minds tend to stay. I am not interested in how many - I would still do it if there was only one! (I would maybe still do it if it was only me!) And I don't mind how many or few comments. I do like, when I can, to reply to them all so a big increase would be a problem. The comments, thoughtful, often insightful and always kind have helped me grow and learn.
At its best It's a two-way process, an exchange, a conversation.
The blog is where I process my thoughts about living simply. I do of course do this in my head, and could do it on paper, but I enjoy the discipline of having to think more clearly - of trying to distill my thoughts into a readable form and out of respect for my readers, hopefully an interesting/entertaining form. It's about communication ultimately.
As with my painting, I do it to express and to share my joys and sorrows and responses to the complex, difficult, miraculous and mysterious world we live in.
Also, it's fun!
Thank you so much for reading.
Sunshine, snow and birdsong. Beautiful.
Quite the philosopher, I know!
Barry is in hospital and we wait for test results, and I am trying not to indulge in 'if only' and 'what if' kind of thinking.
Byron Katie says Reality is kinder than our stories about it.
The reality is that he is in excellent hands, and with the help of a whole team of skilled and caring people has improved hugely since last Monday, I am visiting every day, family and friends are being wonderful, and no amount of thinking will change the past or the future. Nor will it curb the gales which are likely to cancel the ferries today!
Stating the obvious I know, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated and said out loud I find.
Another cup of tea anyone?
Since Kondoing my home last year I would say that the difference is that it is more spacious and peaceful, and, more importantly so is the inside of my head, so I was happy to buy the new book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.
She prompted me to look for photographs of my ideal/dream lifestyle and I took a fresh look at my two favourite books on interior design, which motivated me to go that bit further. For me, this was worth the price of the book, which I will now gift to my sister...
I picked up a few little tips about storage, admired that she touched upon the difficult topic of other people's stuff (learn to ignore basically) and that she acknowledged that some people are quite happily untidy, and I was interested in a few small insights into Shinto and Japan - about which I will probably read more elsewhere now.
I would say this is a gentler version of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying with more stories, anecdotes, detail etc. It's also a very attractive book to look at and hold. I would say it is the gift version - but I prefer the more rigorous, punchy, straight-to-the-point and, to me at least, funny first version which I still LOVE!
The sweet peas are doing well -
The weather has been wonderful for a while, though in the last few days there have been some useful showers. I say useful because they have been watering the sweet peas, and each time it rained I have come inside and done more financial paper sorting and have got through a mountain of it.
Space in the filing drawer and space in my head! Now I feel up to doing some of the things I've been meaning to do for ages - changing bank, switching energy supplier, getting a better deal on broadband, and more.....but, baby steps and one thing at a time for me!
Wow! Harris,Outer Hebrides. Loved it.
For a flavour of where we stayed on the island here is a little video....
Lists, to-do lists, (ta-dah! lists, suggested Lynne, and want-to-do lists, thanks Cath) journals, and morning pages..
Last on my list of ways of creating headspace by writing things down is blogging.
Unlike the others, blogs are public, and once a post is out there, there is no getting it back! The other major distinction is that blogs usually invite comments.
Do they work for the writer as a means of gaining headspace? I'd love to hear from other bloggers about this!
I never managed to keep a diary for more than a month or two, unlike Chris who has kept a daily diary since she was 11, and I only feel the need to write morning pages If I'm a bit stressed out, so no one is more surprised than I am that I have written this daily blog for more than two and a half years. I'm also surprised that I still seem to have plenty to say!
It really works to clarify my thinking like nothing else has ever worked, and like Chris with her diaries I would miss it terribly.
Whether or not you are a writer of a blog, do tell me what you think about blogging and clearing your head....
Wednesday is anti-procrastination day over at www.flylady.net so it's a busy day here!
I start it out thinking Oh no, all the boring things I've been putting off, but it's amazing how I cheer up as the day goes on and I tick them off, clearing my head as I go.
My 98 year old student (yes, you read that rightly) and I have agreed to do a simple drawing a day to get us back into the drawing habit. A little pocket size sketch book and 10 - 15 minutes a day.
Don't know where to start? Draw your breakfast!
Don't forget to comment on 9th Nov post for the chance to win Getting Things Done book...
Keeping a journal, at its simplest, is about recording things that have happened. I believe many people write it at night before going to bed - a neat way of clearing your mind before sleep? Perhaps extra useful if you have difficulty getting to sleep.
Do any of you write this kind of journal and find it helpful?
Morning Pages devised by Julia Cameron and described in her book The Artists' Way is a kind of stream of consciousness approach to starting your day. I don't expect she was the first person to do it, but perhaps she was the first to give it this name.
It involves writing in longhand three pages of your unedited thoughts when you wake in the morning. Some years ago a friend and I worked through this interesting book together over twelve weeks, meeting once a week to discuss our progress. It was a very productive time.
I used Morning Pages regularly for some time. Now I find I use them only if I'm feeling a bit stressed.
I don't keep the pages. More clutter? No thanks! (Julia Cameron has twelve years' worth of them on her shelves!)
For me the value is in the doing of them....
(The background is Gudrun Sjoden's latest catalogue - for no other reason than the photographs are wonderful.)
In recent posts i've been looking at different ways of writing things down to clear your head. Lists and to-do lists are good, but I find checklists even more useful. These are customised and standardised lists, made by you, for you, which you use over and over again.
I have two checklists that I use regularly. My 'onceover' is a checklist I use every day. (See 26 Oct 2010.) It is based on how little housework I can get away with and not be embarassed if anyone calls! It is firmly inside my head, though taking up little space as it is a very short list..
The second is a travel checklist, which I further refined recently (see posts 19 Sept to 24 Sept 2012).
Do you have any other type of checklist? Do share. It does save having to think everything up from scratch every time, 'reinventing the wheel every Monday morning' as my sister puts it, and I find it leaves space in my head for other, more interesting things.
Next: journals and morning pages....
The international best selling book Getting Things Done. How to Achieve Stress Free Productivity by David Allen recommends a very thorough to-do list. I made it once and it still sits there looking at me asking How many lifetimes do you think you have?
It is a business oriented book and I did learn a lot from it. Two things I still use from it are to ask What is the next action? if I am at all stuck with anything, and the other very useful thing for me is the chart on processing stuff on page 32 which I photocopied and stuck on the side of the box file I keep current paper work in. Very helpful.
However I find I don't use the book now (will put it in the give away pile for someone else to use).
Or I'll send it to you - so many blogs are doing give-aways aren't they? Send me a comment about getting things done and I'll pick one at random in a week's time to receive the book.
If you are interested in drawing do look at the Drawing for Non Artists course website - I have just posted some more 'before and after tuition' drawings.... www.drawingfornonartists.weebly.com I've also mentioned that on this course students don't have to show their drawings to anyone but me! Although the 5 day course is not till next summer, I mention it now so that people can plan holidays round it if they wish.. as ever I'd be most grateful if you would forward this to anyone you think might be interested.
Many of my students have found that learning to draw gives them headspace! Someone described the evening class as 'a relief from the wordiness of the day' and said he always felt completely refreshed by it.
Another lovely way of clearing your head is to go somewhere different. It can take you out of yourself. I've just had such a trip to the north of Scotland. The drive through the Scottish Highlands was glorious. Bright skies, rich autumn colours and snow on the mountains - all lit by sudden shafts of sunlight. November can be beautiful too: please click on any photo to enlarge....
..and onto paper!
One of the simplest and quickest ways I can clear my head is to get the thoughts out of my head and on to paper (or the computer). Once they are written down they are no longer rattling round noisily in my headspace, disturbing my inner peace and calm.
The writing can be a simple list, a to-do list, a checklist, a journal, morning pages, or a blog!
At one time I kept paper and pen beside the bed to jot down any ideas which were keeping me from sleep. I don't seem to need that now, but it was very helpful once.
I'm not good at holding too many things in my head. A simple list on a scrap of paper works wonders for me.
It's easy to lose a scrap of paper though, so now I have a nice spiral bound pad of squared paper (love squared paper!). I like the format of it and it's quite chunky so not easy to lose. It's evolved into a kind of catch all document for me. I number the pages as I go - one page, one subject - and put an index at the front so I can find things quickly.
It's not, though, about using the right book or format - any old jotter or ring binder will do. It's just fun and a treat to have one I really like.
Does this work for you?
While I take a blog break, I leave you with a photograph of a pretty (as yet very small) crab apple tree we planted two years ago. It's malus Golden Hornet.
In it's first year the apples were all pitted and I wondered if it would fare well here - it's not an area known for growing fruit - but this year it's perfectly delightful....we are watching to see if the birds find it delightful!
A new category for the blog.
With a clear head you feel you can do anything. Would you agree?
Head full/brain full/information overload/visual onslaught/decision fatigue/no time/multitasking/head in a spin/thoughts tumbling like lottery balls (an apt image from writer Eleanor Stewart). You can't face any new ideas or see a way out of a stressful situation....with a head like this.
I want to take a look at ways of creating headspace.
Ways of creating peace inside.
Calm, and ease.
Room to think and make sane, considered decisions.
Tomorrow - out of your head and....
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)