Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who are THEY? (Choosing an Authentic, Abundant Life)

Who says I can't walk around with bed head all day?  I mean, come on, doesn't this look kind of suit me?

I find myself in a difficult, weird place - like major shifts and big transitions are just around the corner.  And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm being forced to change.  The changes I am experiencing are forcing me to take a good look at the messages I've adopted from the world, and the self-imposed, limiting thoughts I think.

Hmm, how do I say this?  Well, first off, I'm tired of rules.  I'm tired of worrying about what other people think of my choices.  I'm tired of people, society, they, telling me how to live.  Conformity, fitting in, being like everyone else - I'm so done with that.  Seriously, who are they to tell me when it's appropriate to stop nursing my child, or that my socks should match, and that I can't wear navy with black or white after labor day, or that I should keep my mouth shut and not speak my truth, or that I should own two cars, or that I should color within the lines, and seek out the best preschools, and wear the best clothes, and buy the newest cosmetics, or that the more money or credentials I have will add value to my self-worth, or if I discover a gray hair I better find a chemical to cover it up, or that I should brush my bed head and be like everyone else?  Let's conform, shall we?  Let's hide our true selves so that the people around us won't think we're strange.  Let's keep up with the Joneses because they sure know how to live the perfect life.  Who the hell are the Joneses anyway?  And heck, I kinda like my bed head.

Where is this all coming from? Well, although my last blog post was entitled Summer Time and the Living is Easy, I have to say that living isn't always easy.  Some days are fantastic, and other days are hard and challenging. That's the nature of life, the yin and yang, the night and day...  My challenge lately has to do with old feelings of lack and new feelings of abundance and gratitude.  My old way of being -focusing on lack - is what's feeling forced to change, because old habits like to have their way.  They are stubborn and when faced with change they kick and scream, "No, you can't change me!  I like feeling miserable and sorry for myself!"  However, my new abundant self is rejoicing, "Yes, you are so close.  The struggle you experience now will change you forever.  And you have such gratitude for all the little things around you.  You're blessed in so many ways!  Let go of lack and celebrate the changes you are experiencing.  Life is so good."

My husband and I are in a place where we've made some major decisions about how we want to live and raise our family.  With our second baby on the way and our desire to be fully present parents, we have decided to simplify our working schedules to provide more hands-on love, learning and experiences for our family.  This means that I will be working less to focus on staying home, and my husband will balance his work schedule to be home more in the evenings and weekends.  This also means a cut in monthly salary - and it's this shift in the amount of money coming in that is triggering old thought patterns and deep behavior changes.

We've decided to say good-bye to our TV.  What?!  Now I know some of you probably don't have TV's.  I've never experienced this luxury before.  And I'm serious when I say luxury.  Although my old, lack-self wants to scream and say, "How will I survive not seeing every episode of Project Runway?!" My new abundant-self is secretly excited at what this change will bring.  I see the stack of books I want to read, I hear my deep desire to paint more, and I love our quality family time of walks, playing at the park and caring for our community garden.  So letting go of TV is actually creating space for the things I want more time for.  And, it's going to save us money.  All good things, right?

Other changes we need to make include cutting our grocery budget, reducing the personal money we pay ourselves for clothes, yoga classes and little splurges, and reducing our entertainment budget.  Again, my old lack-self says, "Guess we'll be eating mush every meal and I'll be wearing the same clothes everyday and if it's not a free activity then forget about it.  Sounds like we'll be hermits the rest of the summer."  But my new abundant-self is rejoicing, "Wow, here's an opportunity to get creative with buying bulk and playing with recipes (like finding a gluten-free pizza crust that's only $2.50 per bag).  I can now clear out my closet for just the essential (maternity) clothes and getting dressed each morning will be much easier!  And, there are many free things to do in my area - it's going to be really fun to seek them out!"

I never knew when I started the Reduce Clutter; Create Space challenge for 2010 that it would lead to reducing the amount of money coming in.  I always thought that the more money we had, the more abundance we would experience.  Now I'm learning that it's not about the amount of money, but rather the ability to live more fully, boldly, freely and presently, despite the dollar amount.  Happiness truly does come from within, and the more I embrace the abundance around me, the more joy I can experience along the way.

So returning to my original question - who are they to tell me how to live?  The more aware I become, the more I realize that they is really me.  Sure, we are raised with societal norms and we have the media pressuring us on how to live and conform - but I have the freedom to choose.  I can choose to not let they become my thoughts.  I can change what I think about myself and the world around me.  I can stay curious and ask questions.  I can face my fears and take risks.  I can choose to be confident and clear about me and how I choose to live.  I can be different.  I can embrace authentic living.  I can practice living from a spirit-driven place, rather than letting my ego guide the way.  I can know deep down in my heart that no amount of money or things will define who I am or bring me happiness.  I can choose to be happy from the inside out and I can love being ME.

So today, and every day, I am letting go of my old feelings, thoughts and behaviors around lack and I'm not listening to them anymore.  I may not know where this will lead, but my new way of being is to TRUST that everything is unfolding as it should and I'm right where I need to be in this moment.  I am on the right path, because the right path for me is MY path, just as the right path for you is YOUR path.

Change isn't easy, that's for sure.  But the alternative - repeating the same pattern over and over and wasting energy trying to fit in - just ain't for me anymore.  I say stop.  And I'm truly excited about what this new space and simplicity will bring. 
Now, I better run. Kestan's taking a nap and here's my last chance to watch TV before it's turned off tonight!

Your Personal Reflection:  How have you allowed they to define how you live?  Do your thoughts create self-imposed limitations in your life?  Can you choose, today, to let go of lack in your life, and celebrate abundance and gratitude?  

Grab a piece of paper and write down three things that you are grateful for in this moment.  Try this practice daily and you'll start to notice some shifts in the way you think, the way you see yourself, and the way you see the world around you.

Abundance is not something we acquire.  It is something we tune into." -Wayne Dyer


  1. Shannon - I love love love your posts! You are very inspirational and I admire your authentic and abundant life. I know there are so many people out there that would love to do the same but might not know where to start...your blog is a good place! I was enrolled in your January session of inside out, which I enjoyed. Unfortunately I didn't give myself the time to really delve into it and haven't finished it yet. I am hoping to enroll again and follow along as well as post to start feeling more comfortable with my 'creative side'. Thanks again for your inspiration. Trisha

  2. love your photos & holding up a heart & good food & your dear family & love your leaps you're making to keep creating the life you deeply cherish & sweetest thoughts your way to your baby inside you!

  3. I loved this post, very inspiring. I admire your courage to live life exactly the way you want it and it is wonderful that you have the perfect partner to share it with. Enjoy! BTW you look like a cute 10 yr old in the picture.. the more groomed a person is the more 'grown up' they look. :)

  4. I truly commend you for the adventure you are brave enough to embark on next. You are constantly thinking like a revolutionary and pursue with reckless abandon (in the best way possible) that I long for. In fact, you & your class have inspired me to not give up on myself...and have inspired me in general. I have started a 2nd little piece of me that is just to remind me of who I am and why.
    Thank you for that.
    Great, great, GREAT post. Thank you again!

  5. This is such a fabulous, inspiring post, and exactly what I needed to read today - thank you so much! My husband and I recently made the same decision - to cut back on our work schedules, live on less and yet live more richly, and be more present parents. I decided not to return to my full-time job after maternity leave, and instead to take a part-time teaching job to spend more time with our son. It'll be hard financially, but so, so worth it. Love the bedhead, by the way.

  6. AWESOME post Shannon!!! I have been wanting to get dread locks for about 10 years (it is on my list of 25 things)..but have been so worried about what people will think...it's time to stop and go for it!!!
    We have also been thinking of canceling tv for a good 6 months but are so scared...this post is the inspiration I need to revisit this!
    Thanks so much Shannon!!

  7. Oh dear Shannon, I'm so right there with you! And I say go, go, go! You'll never regret the decision to commit to your family. And I go hand in hand with you on the journey of letting go what THEY think of what we do and how we do. Let's be happy. Simply, with authenticity. Thanks a million for this such inspiring post!


  8. Hi Shannon, I just found your blog and was thrilled to read your post as I am implementing almost the same journey as you are. We moved to a 1.5acre block 5 months ago so we could start the country/simplistic part of our journey and when we did we decided not to connect the lead for our TV (In Australia we just turn the TV on for the basic channels). The process of letting go of what "They" think can be challenging at the best of times but I feel so fulfilled, whole and fantastic when I do. I don't write about it much on my blog but you have given me the inspiration to put it out there. Thankyou.

  9. Well...this must be give up tv week, because we're putting ours away tomorrow!!! I think it will be hard for the first few days, and then we'll start to enjoy our quiet, tv free evenings! We may even (*gasp) talk to each other!!!!
    When we had baby 2, I went to working only weekends...we live on ALOT less money, but it's totally worth it! We wouldn't trade our life now for anything!!! While we can't just go out and get whatever we want, our lives are FULL!!! What matters most is spending time with our little ones and each other...not filling our lives and homes with more "junk"!! Good luck on your new journey!!
    xo mauren

  10. Oh boy, I hear you on this one. We have had to cut down drastically on a lot of things. But we've learned to become creative and have found other windows to fling open. It's all for family, and that is always a good thing.

    Besides, there's always Netflix and Hulu on the net!

  11. I love each of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you...

  12. I love your post!! I had to and still deal with a lot of the challenges of living on one salary. Most of them related to how I think. My addiction to the consumer society and how things should be done.
    Even though I know that being home and there to nurture my children is a higher achievement than any money I can make. Some days find me dreaming and frustrating about "things" I think I need.
    Please keep on sharing as you are helping me grow!!

  13. Well said! I do believe that we are starting to see a shift and that people are no longer happy being clones. More of us are rebelling against a conformist society and starting to ring our own bells, blow our own trumpets and speak our own truths. Hard work, I agree. I admire what you and your husband are doing and wish you much happiness with your new way of living.

  14. I have not really posted a lot about our Journey with Reduce Clutter Create Space, but it has been a gut wrenching utterly blissful process as we not only strip ourselves down to the bare minimum needed, but also allow ourselves to look deeply at the needs of why we purchased and kept so many of the items we are now letting go of. One thing that I love about you Shannon is that you not only provide a source of inspiration to get rid of all forms of clutter in our lives, but you also offer space to fill ourselves back up emotionally. Thanks for all that you do.

  15. I love your very open and honest post. I have struggled and still struggle with the "they" in the world. I worry too much about what others may think. It is so hard, at times, to do your own thing, live your own life, when it is outside what "they" think is normal. Especially when you don't have support. But alas Shannon, we are all here with you to support you. We must all find our own way as I have recently discovered in the third session of your course and it is so true. Our own way is what is right for us. And living more present and more fully with your children and your family is such a wonderful way to spend time.

    And you won't miss your TV! We only do DVDs from the library or Netflix and it is so so so much better. You choose quality and how you spend your time, not "they" of the TV world! Have a great time living your life of abundance and to heck with the "they" of the world!


  16. Hallelujah!!!
    We are in the process of buying (our first!) house at the moment (one of MY 25 things...), and just this morning I realised what's holding me back most in committing to the place our search has brought us down to: neighbours! While the house is pretty much perfect, I'm infinitely scared about fitting in with the Joneses! I'm not entirely ready to say: 'what the heck!', but your post has inspired me to really think about whether I want this FEAR to hold me back from moving on (literally!).
    Thank you :) You're such an inspiring soul! I understand where you're coming from and the challenges you're facing right now, but I think you're choosing right, for all the right reasons! Love!

  17. ah, you all make me feel very blessed. xoxo

  18. gorgeous post!! i am working on bringing more thankfulness to my awareness. thanks for the reminder! ;)

    we gave our tv away a while ago. it is freeing! unfortunately, mommy has figured out that she can watch many shows online so i still have to reason with myself, but the kids are fine without. dad is too, for the most part, with the exception of the world cup!

  19. mmm, i really liked this post to and am glad i read it this evening. i always start feeling a little bit of the "they" creep up on my now and then. i like how you put it all in proper perspective here. your thoughts come out so clearly. well done! enjoy being t.v. free! you truly won't miss it.

  20. ah, this is powerful Shannon. I get this too at times. For me it is my issues around having a really unconventional family set up and I think I 'should' be doing it properly and then I guess I check in with what I have with my family and think about how fortunate I am. I have a TV in my house, but I honestly don't watch it as I have far too many other things to do :) . . . . . And I love this. I still don't have as much time to read as I would like though!

    I wish you loads of luck.


  21. My goodness! I think you are my new favorite blogger. I'm definitely bookmarking your site and coming back to visit. I actually just posted a similar vein of post on my blog. :)


Thanks for sharing!