some good advice

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There’s a passage in a beautiful book called Bloom that has stuck with me long after I finished reading. The author, Kelle Hampton, had just given birth to her second daughter, a sweet little baby with an unexpected extra chromosome. In the first few days of dealing with the Down Syndrome diagnosis, Kelle’s sister flew in from out of town and delivers an inspiring speech on just how exactly she will go forward. The line that stood out to me most:

“I want you to picture some hypothetical person in your mind – someone who handled Down Syndrome exactly like you wish you could.

Now go and be that person.”

I keep coming back to that idea. Isn’t it so applicable to so much of life?

When I’m facing any kind of challenge and confused about how to move forward, the act of imagining someone else handling the situation brings clarity. And perspective. How do I want to handle it? How will I choose to move forward?

When I’m feeling powerless, I can decide to respond and not react, to let it be an opportunity to be the kind of person I want to be.

I always have that power.

P.S. – Speaking of advice, I mentioned Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed a few posts ago. It is such a beautiful book of beautiful advice. Cheryl wrote an anonymous advice column for awhile, and the book is a compilation of some hard and heartwarming questions and her honest response to them all. It’s definitely on my recommended reading list.

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the view from upside down

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I did a headstand for the first time at my Monday night yoga class. I completely surprised myself – and in the shock of the moment I almost topped over. Thankfully my teacher was right beside me and kept me from falling hard.

It had been months since I’d even given one a try, so sure was I that I didn’t yet have the core strength, balance and general spunk one needs to turn oneself upside down.

So when I found myself suddenly there, legs stretched high, I couldn’t help but wonder – have I been able to do this all along?

More importantly, and perhaps completely unrelated to yoga, what else can I do that I haven’t yet realised? That I’ve been too afraid to try?

simplicity and obscurity

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“So for now I’ll continue to reduce and simplify, fight and engage until I know what else to do. What I know now is this: less. I don’t need to have the most, be the best, or reach the top. It is okay to pursue a life marked by obscurity and simplicity. It doesn’t matter what I own or how I’m perceived. Whether I succeed in the market or land hopelessly in the middle is irrelevant, although this used to keep me up at night.

I’m just beginning to embrace the liberation that only exists at the bottom, where I have nothing to defend, nothing to protect. Where it doesn’t matter if I’m right or esteemed or positioned well. I wonder if that’s the freedom Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3). In order for Jesus’ Kingdom to come, my kingdom will have to go, and for the first time I think I’m okay with that.”

Jen Hatmaker, in 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

I keep coming back to this passage. I read it a couple of months ago and, given my focus this year on simplicity, that one line ‘it’s okay to pursue a life marked by obscurity and simplicity‘ really caught my attention.

What kind of life am I pursuing?

More often that not, it’s marked by busyness and striving and trying to keep up with some unrealistic standard of who I should be, what I should be doing, where I should be heading. It felt like a long exhale, a cool summer breeze, a heavy load lifted, to realise it. is. okay. to pursue a life marked by different standards and measured by different parameters.

It is okay to pursue a life marked by ___________. How would you fill in the blank?

I started this year with simplicity, but I like the idea of obscurity too. (In fact, my little blog hiatus has been, in part, a practice in melting into the background for awhile, digging deep into a hidden life lived wholly and happily offline.)

I’d also like to add meaning and joy to that list, oh and service, and grace.

How about you? What do you want to pursue?

I’m gingerly testing the waters as to how I’d like to continue this blog. I blogged very regularly for the last few months because I was very unemployed. And very bored. Now I am very busy interning and very unsure if keeping a blog will add to my quest for simplicity, or detract from it. But I love the outlet that this space can be, so let’s just see how this goes!

the social media sabbatical

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And I’m back!

Two weeks off social media has been so refreshing. Everything seemed to slow down a bit, in a good way, and I felt like the background noise really cleared up. The silence is a little surprising at first, but then I really liked it (:

And I found time for all the things that often get squeezed out of the schedule. I baked cookies and took Rum for some long walks and read five books (five!) and did some little art projects. I loved it! And I highly recommend a little sabbatical for any facebook-wearied soul.

Do I want to give up my social media forever?

Well, I definitely don’t want to go back to daily mindless use. And while we’re living overseas, I’ve realised how easy it is to just stalk friends back home rather than send a proper email or, goodness, even organise a Skype chat.

On the other hand, I use it to organise the yoga class I host, to catch sweet photos of my friends’ babies and to share blog posts. It can be a fantastic tool.

So I’m going to try for more limited use. Let’s see how it goes! I have certainly realised that when my life is drawing to an end, and I’m lying on my death bed, I will not be lamenting that I wish I spent more time on social media.

How about you? Have you tried a social media fast?

P.S. – How to quit facebook for good.

a little break up

Do you ever get the urge to delete all your online accounts and get rid of your phone/computer/tablet forever?

I ditched all my social media accounts over the weekend while we were exploring Amboseli and it was glorious! So much so, that I’ve decided to extend the break and spend the next few weeks decidedly disconnected from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. I’ll be back blogging sometime after that and if you need to get in touch, I will still be using email / skype / whatsapp / phone etc (:

I’m fascinated to see how much/if I miss it… and what I end up spending all my extra time on!

my birthday wishlist

It’s my birthday next weekend – yay! I’m sitting my DELF A1 exam on Saturday, so there’s another reason to celebrate come Sunday. We’ll probably do a Sunday lunch or dinner out with friends and I’d love to be really luxurious and have a hot bath. Oh the dreams of one living on tank water.

And here’s the rest of my little birthday wish-list:

1. A Mersey Valley cheese platter

Do you ever dream about cheese? I do. We get the most amazing homemade onion jam here in Nairobi and whenever I eat it I can’t help but think about how great it would be with some Mersey Valley. Oh my goodness me. On one hand, I’m pretty easy to please – just give me cheese. On the other hand – give me cheese that’s sold some 13,000km away!

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2. A yoga map

My cheap Kenyan supermarket one has lasted a year but it’s super slippery and has got a little torn up by our dear downward-facing dog Rum. Any recommendations? I want something durable but lightweight.

jade_harmony_travel3. Cuyana Leather Tote

I shared this beautiful tote in a Friday round up post a couple of months back. The leather looks so lovely and I feel like this bag would last forever. And those are the kind of pieces I really want in my wardrobe.cuyana leather tote

4. Kindle credit

To feed my crazy Kindle habit. My current wishlist includes The Honest Toddler, Americanah, Soul Keeping, We Need New Names, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.

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