So we’ve all come to crossroads in our lifetime and had to make decisions about what to do, whether it’s about taking a new job, moving on from a relationship or making a new start on life… but how do we choose what to do? …
Today’s blog post is an extra special one – today is the 30th birthday of the amazing Sally, my Re-Root partner, and fabulous friend. So for this post only, I am going to break away from the usual blog post style of discussing intentional living …
As soon as we have children we are inundated with stuff! Not just the practical, everyday stuff that is part and parcel of being a parent, but all the sentimental stuff too (birth announcements, new baby cards, baby books, first Babygro, teddies, money boxes, photographs …
I read more now I have fewer books.
I used to own a bookcase full of books and textbooks and only used to read one book every 5 months. Now, I only own about 20 books (plus 30 reference books) but read a book every two weeks. After de-cluttering, the books left on my bookshelf were a big clue about where my passions really lay, not where I thought they should be.
Maybe you’re already an avid reader but swamped by books or maybe you’re more like me and want to get better at reading, build your knowledge and create your horizons, and know where your heart really lies?
Why ‘should’ I?
I always knew reading was something I ‘should’ do more of but the only time I read a book was when I needed a distraction from life or when the book was something I thought I ‘should’ read. You know the type, the ones you have to drag yourself through and re-read every other sentence. While passive reading to escape has its purposes, I knew this wasn’t going to give me what I wanted; knowledge and horizons! So I made a decision, I was going to get better at reading.
What sparked my interest?
About 2 years ago I made the decision that I wanted to read more and broaden my reading habits. It was through a discussion with a fellow life coach friend that I wrote a list of some of things I wanted to do more of. Reading was high up on my priority list. I was lacking in the general knowledge department having been really good at just passing exams at school and uni but I was also lacking in the ability to apply this knowledge and most importantly apply it directly to my life and making it more intentional.
I noticed that the people who were doing more of what I wanted to do (being creative with their time, following through with ideas like setting up start-up businesses) all had one thing in common and that was reading. They were not just reading one type of book, but biographies, ‘how to’ books, fiction and non-fiction, blogs, listening to podcasts and not just one topic either.
So how does having fewer books, mean I read more?
During my de-cluttering phase number one, two or five, I can’t quite remember during which one I tackled my bookcase. There were textbooks, borrowed books, old school books, and recipe books, basically a whole heap of unread books. So why wasn’t I reading them?
Marie Kondo says that we often hold onto things that keep us stuck in the past or in the future. For example, we might keep something that reminds us of someone or it was something that we loved doing but no longer do. Or we might keep a book with all good intentions of reading it someday in the future. For example, getting good at the guitar having never really picked up that dusty thing in the corner or the room.
Marie Kondo advises that we only keep the books that ‘spark joy’ and store them like awards on a shelf. So I kept my favourite 20ish books and gave them pride of place on the top shelf. The rest of the books I donated to charity or put them on Fat Brain or WeBuyBooks (I’m sure there are lots of other sites out there. Just be careful to read T and C’s as they only want non-annotated books). I kept about 5 books that although I didn’t know whether they would bring joy, I really wanted to find out if they did or not, and so my reading journey began with reading what I wanted to read rather than what I thought I ‘should’ read.
I also kept one shelf for reference books including recipe books, travel guides and my uni textbooks but actually I’m sure I could reduce these further. Helen and I went to the local library last week to get some travel guides for Helen’s next adventures and I was amazed at the range- so I will be borrowing these from now on.
My passions were revealed to me on a shelf
Passion is a big buzz word these days and I don’t necessarily think its a great word as it assumes we are born with a passion that we have to uncover, but actually I think everyday we are growing our passions by what sparks our interests.
I bought the books on my shelf for a reason at that particular moment in my life. Some of these reasons are still valid to me now and fit with my values so I kept these books. Getting rid of the other books that no longer had a reason to be in my life, allowed me to see what I was truly interested in. In a bigger picture sense, my passions that I’ve been creating over time were revealed to me on a bookcase.
Steps to get better at reading
First only keep books that ‘spark joy’.
Read what you WANT to read
- Only read what you really want to read and don’t waste time reading something you feel you ‘should’ read. By reading what you want to, you build up your joy for reading and what it can do for you.
Read what will add value to your life RIGHT NOW
- If I’m choosing my next book, I really think about what it is that will add value to my life, right now. For example, at the moment, I’m questioning how I can live in a smaller house (possibly a tiny house), spending less with more time to do what I want to do so I have been wondering what it would be like to live off-grid. So you guessed it, I’m reading ‘How to Live off-grid’ by Nick Rosen.
Make time for it
- Set a period in your day for reading. I tend to read before bed because I have no other distractions in the room. You might get up an hour earlier and spend half an hour indulging in your latest passion!
- If you read something and you begin to question something or you make connections with something else you’re interested in, use this to figure out what ‘your next favourite book’ is going to be. The Good Reads App is a fab way to track what you have read and it suggests related books that may appeal. This helps you to create your passion even further.
Avoid ‘I will read this later’ piles
- If you’ve not read it by now, chances are you’re not likely to unless it happens to be in the couple of books you want to read in the next few weeks.
Find a friend who has similar interests and swap books
- Helen is basically my library and I know she’ll always have a book to recommend that I know I’ll love.
Pass it on or sell it
- Most books we don’t re-read so unless this book makes it onto your ‘awards’ shelf then pass it onto a friend you know would get some value from it too, send it to a charity shop or sell it on a website like Fatbrain (remember to check if they only want non-annotated books etc).
Re-root yourself through Re-ading, Re-search and Re-defining what it is to live intentionally. What doors will it or does it already open for you?
Like the vast majority of people my weight fluctuates. In the past I have been overweight and unhealthy (& 2 dress sizes bigger than I am now), I have also been super-fit and healthy (& 2 dress sizes smaller than I am now). Some …
(*For the purposes of the feature we are assessing the cost of an average pair of trainers as £60) Experience: Tree Trekking Cost: £31.00 A few weeks ago we blogged about our plan to test out all sorts of experiences that cost less than …
Invest in yourself, not stuff
We often ‘treat ourselves’ with food, a new top or a knick-knack but how about we REALLY treat ourselves and others? What if, instead of frivolously spending cash, we purposefully invest in ourselves?
Always fancied trying that local yoga class, got a really bad back and keep putting off a massage? Do you keep saying to a friend I’d love to be really good at…? Find yourself saying, I don’t have the time for that?
What if you made a conscious decision to really spend some time and money on yourself and RE-ach out to new things, RE-evaluate your time, RE-energise, RE-place with things that add more value to your life?
I have recently taken steps towards making more conscious decisions about how I spend my money and time. In the past I would have felt guilty about spending money on a massage but now I see it as investing in myself and why wouldn’t I want to do that?
How I now invest in myself each week/month?
I now have a massage once a month with Jacqui Foster, go to one to one yoga sessions every two weeks with the amazing Keri Lincoln (read down if you’re looking for a great yoga teacher), go to a great local friendly circuits class run by Tom Fitness, attend a meditation/design your life course once a month, go for evening walks, schedule a café trip with Helen once a week and read each evening before bed.
Helen and I want to support local people (Burscough/Ormskirk area/West Lancs) doing great stuff so I have added links at the bottom of the post if you’re looking for recommendations.
Is it really worth it?
Choosing to do ‘one to one’ yoga has been one of the best decisions I have made and not for obvious reasons either. I started yoga as logically I knew it is good for mind, body and spirit but I didn’t quite realise how much an impact it would have.
I didn’t think I was going to get any good, I just thought it would be a nice thing to do but I have quickly realised with practice and knowledge about my own body, through one to one direction I have achieved things I didn’t know I could. It is early days but I can already see the possibilities of what I could achieve. This has had a knock on effect on the rest of my life; it’s like a ripple effect. I started to think, well if I can do that, why can’t I do something else?
I now have more energy; I’m focused, calm and open to new knowledge. I have developed my eagerness for precision. I have a bounce in my step and have oodles more confidence. I feel RE-connected and have a LOT more fun and giggles.
While one to one sessions might cost more, I get infinitely more feedback about how I can PERSONALLY improve and get a tailored MOT.
The Minimalists talk about 5 values we should pay particular attention to:
Invest in your personal growth; get wiser, more knowledgeable and aware,
Invest in your health and get more energy,
Invest in your relationships and get more connected with others and nature,
Invest in others (contribute to the community) and feel re-connected,
Invest in your passions and get more joy.
How did I do it?
When I first started this journey I was off sick from work and felt like I couldn’t justify spending money but I knew I needed to change something so one morning I decided to follow a yoga video on YouTube for 15 minutes and made a pact with myself to follow it everyday from now on. I’m still doing it now 6 months later.
Start small and choose one thing to focus on and you’ll soon start to see it naturally impacting other areas of your life. Make time each day or each week for whatever you want more of in your life.
Some ideas of how you could invest in yourself
- Massage to re-lax (£30)
- Physio to sort out dodgy arms, legs, limbs to re-align (£40)
- One to one classes in yoga, art, fitness (£10-£30)
- An evening course or local workshop to re-think (£10+)
- A dating website subscription fee to get out there re-connecting (£30)
- See a counsellor/get a mentor to re-flect and re-discover (£30)
- Get your gut in gear and see a Nutritionist – re-balance (£40)
What if I don’t have that much spare cash? Free things to do!
If you don’t have much disposable income, the one thing that everyone has is time and even if you don’t have much, how about 10 minutes a day? You might find you want to increase your ‘me time’ when you feel the benefits. We can all get rushed along by thinking ‘I should be doing x or y’, ‘I need to do x before I can do y’. Make time for you.
Some things you might want to do to invest in yourself that are free/cheap:
- Take a walk
- Get up an hour earlier and enjoy that extra ‘you time’
- Guided meditation video on YouTube
- Café with a friend for tea and toast
- Read a book at the library- go get wiser
- Set intentions each morning
- Massage swop with a friend- get intimate!
- Ring a friend
- Turn off all techy stuff for an hour of peace
What if an item would give long-term benefits?
While I’m advocating less material spending, it may be that an item will bring you more long-term health benefits, for example it could be a new mattress to give you better sleep.
Local ways to invest in yourself (Burscough & Ormskirk)
Keri Lincoln Yoga http://kerilincolnyoga.co.uk/
Keri runs regular classes in Burscough and Standish and one to one classes. I can’t rate Keri highly enough, she knows her stuff and has taught me loads in just a short amount of time. She has a lovely welcoming nature, making classes suitable for beginners and those who are more advanced. If you want to have a giggle and begin to reconnect to mind, body and spirit, Keri is your lady.
One to One £25
Tom Lincoln Personal Trainer http://tomfitness.co.uk/tom-fitness-testimonials/
Tom runs a local friendly circuits class, running club and personal training service, which my friend highly recommends. If you’re like me and can get a bit intimidated by big classes or sporty types you might want to try Tom’s classes. He mixes it up each week making classes unique, has fab playlists, gives you alternative exercises if you’re having any trouble, and at the end of it you feel like you’ve worked really hard and can take on the world!
Tom Fitness Circuit: Tuesday 7-8pm
McKinstry Martial Arts Studio
Burscough Industrial Estate
(£25 for 5 weeks)
Burscough Running Club : Wednesday 7-8pm
Richmond Park Burscough
(£10 till the end of Aug 2016)
Jacqui Foster Massage http://www.burscoughneurophysio.co.uk/herbal-complementary-therapies/
Jacqui Foster has what can only be described as ‘magic hands’. I’ve had my fair share of massages but Jacqui wins ‘hands down’, no pun intended. She offers deep tissue massages working on areas that need more work to ease out any knots. Jacqui has a lovely bubbly nature, which makes you feel instantly relaxed. You can reach Jacqui by calling 07876472217.
Aromatherapy full body massage £40 – (approx 60 mins)
Aromatherapy full upper body massage £35 – (approx 45 mins)
Aromatherapy back, neck and shoulder massage £30- (approx 30 mins)
Indian Head Massage £35 – (approx 45 mins)
How are you going to invest in yourself? Helen and I would love to hear your stories!