A few weeks ago, I began reading Leo Babauta's Zen Habits blog. Although at first I was a little put off by the zen name, as I read a few of Leo's posts I found that a lot of what he said resonated with what I was already thinking and feeling. I was constantly accosted by tweets, emails, phonecalls, bills, colleagues, teenage children, advertising, etc, and was feeling overwhelmed and immobilised by all of the demands and distractions. All of this made me feel unable to produce- to write blog posts for instance, or to come up with creative solutions for work problems. It's incredible when I think about it, but it may even have contributed to my poor eating and exercise habits. (Overwhelmed leads to Immobilised leads to Apathetic leads to Pathetic! :)
Now I've begun to make a few changes in my world. First to go was some clutter. There's plenty more where that came from, but it's a beginning! I culled half of the books from my bookshelf, gave away a bunch of clothes to charity, and threw away a few things. Heck, I even de-cluttered the appearance of this blog! Then I started unsubscribing from emails. It's surprising how many you unwittingly subscribe to- I believe I've now unsubscribed from more than 20 email lists, and I'm already noticing the difference. My inbox is down to about 4 unfiled emails, and my work one contains about 8 current ones. My head's feeling clearer already!
This week I've taken a further step- I've clarified the really important things in my life, and have given myself permission to really focus on those things and to say no to the things that don't fit in the description. I've identified my "main things" are God, my family, health improvement and marriage ministry. By health improvement, I mean the work God has called me into- both the work I currently do: improving health & clinical outcomes through the general medical practice where I work, and also my studies in health promotion. I know God has called me to this, but I've been double minded and unfocused, leading to sporadic results.
As far as marriage ministry goes, there has also been some trimming there! My husband and I facilitate a marriage course, but for a while I've also been imagining having a marriage retreat which runs annually in several states of Australia. I started up a separate Twitter account that focused on marriage, which of course added to the amount of chatter I had to keep up with! But today I've surrendered that too. It's a dream from God, so He'll raise it up in His time. I've written the dream down and sent it to the appropriate leaders. Now I release it to wait for His timing, and in the mean-time I am free to be more fruitful in the other areas that really matter.
So what's with my post title, I hear you wonder... Well aside from the rather disappointing Julia Roberts movie I watched the other night, I've decided it's a good beginning to a simpler life. I'm not going to focus on losing weight anymore, but I am going to eat healthily and get some exercise every day. I'm not going to focus on serving God in clever ways, but I am going to live prayerfully each day. I'm not going to continue making plans and strategies so I can achieve more, instead I want to live a simpler life, where there's space to stop and love the people in my world- not just feeling love towards them, but giving them the gift of time, attention, really SEEING them.
Eat. Pray. Love. And Focus only on what really matters.