Over and over I’ve felt called to write about space these last few days. I’ve observed, so many times this year, that when I give myself the space to just be and not demand that I fill it somehow, that eventually the right (for me) thing happens.
This happens in a ‘Gestalt‘ kind of way. Its like walking through a fog or mist and you see a shadow ahead but you can’t really see what form it’s taking. You follow it slowly, because if you rush forward to find out what it is it dissipates back into the fog, you wait and tread carefully so as to not disturb the ‘jumpy woodland deer’ that will spring a the click of a twig… and you see yourself.
Must sound mystical to you out there but to me, this year, that’s been how I’ve been living week to week and its been a phenomenal journey that has identified the best and most rewarding paths for me to walk down. So how do you have this ‘misty/mystical’ experience? Well that’s not mystical at all, is simple. Create space in your life and then just be in it as opposed to trying to fill it with something. Resist the urge to do something and just be ok with doing, nothing.
Once you can do this easily you’ll really start to enjoy it and might find yourself creating a helluva lot more space and I say just go for it! Go wildly spacious and enjoy.
What to watch out for then is what you begin to think about what you’d like to do, these thoughts will come naturally and if you’ve given yourself enough time (like I said go wildly spacious) then these things will just feel ‘different’ they’ll be fun and exciting and important in a way that swinging higher on a swing is important to a kid. Then do THAT and see how it feels!
That is what space can mean for you…
Well I’ve had to end my month-long below the poverty line experience. I have unfortunately been swept up in a whirlwind of crisis, bad news, sickness and stress over this last week that totally cracked me. So I have failed miserably. I have completely blown the budget which at the halfway point was looking possible (but tough) but then that’s when every thing was going fine.
I’m glad I have the luxury of being able to spend my way out of a crisis (so to speak) it really was better mentally, emotionally and physically having that option available. Totally terrifying to not have it actually. So the next time you’re having a complete meltdown week and are emotionally supporting yourself through spending or luxuries. Stop. Spare a thought for those who can’t and then continue. I think one day I’ll be strong enough to be like those Spartan warriors in ‘300’ but till then I’m really glad I live above the poverty line.
I do think that I’ll give the self-imposed poverty month another go (in the future). I can see how much food I’ll need now and also how much it’ll cost. considering my Low Carb High Fat diet options are limited but this is how I see it going next time.
Start and end with a 48 hour fast, leaving 26 days, one meal a day, 26 meals…
- coconut Oil – 350g – R32 (I use this as cooking oil and put it in and on everything to get more fat and calories)
- Chicken Frozen – 2kg – R30 x 4 (approx 32 pieces of chicken)
- Pork chops – 1kg – R35 x 2 (This gives 8 very tasty meals)
- Chicken livers – 250g – R6 x 3 (This meal turned out to be rich satisfying and the cheapest ‘treat’ meal of the whole experience)
- Vegetables – R60 – (Green and leafy, mainly for fibre…)
This gives easily 26 big meals with mixtures of chicken, pork and livers with sides of veggies and dripping in coconut oil, yum.
Free coffee at work (with added coconut oil) and any donations as charity… It can be done.
I feel like after the last 4 days I’m swimming through rapids with no float. This self-imposed poverty is really hard. Even in this watered down version that I’m undertaking I feel it has crippled my liberty and lifestyle to a large degree.
It is one thing to live a simple life and it is other thing altogether to live in poverty. I have at this halfway point learnt not just how to live with much less but also the implications. Eliminate most of your social interactions (they almost always require a purchase), rely on charity to keep you afloat, be hungry often, be mentally self-sufficient, be… tough.
Not all the learning has been bad, just hard. Now I realise just how wealthy I am because of what I’ve given up and that is a good thing. I still have independence, health, freedom and life. I have become more grateful for what I have and have recognised which elements in my life are pure luxuries. I’d become so accustomed to whim purchases, just going out and doing something fun, living, not the high life but a life nevertheless. I am beginning to see the light, and after the next two weeks, I feel like that life will be better lived, more appreciated and focused on the things in life that are truly rewarding.
I always knew this venture would be extreme in a way, never did I realise just how much I’d learn about myself and about the world. If you are stuck in your life, if you are disconnected, if you really want to change something, this will do it. I’m sticking to it. There is more to know, more to learn, more to understand. Although the rapids remain and will remain, one month for a life time of lessons is worth it.
This is just a simple appreciation message to all those who have taken the time to read my articles! I’m amazed at the 17 countries in which I’ve got an audience. It boggles my mind!
A good example of this is my newest follower who is Vietnamese and has a cute blog at windywanderer.tumbler.com although I don’t understand Vietnamese somehow simpleandslow.com is going global with visits from all continents!
To all those who follow my blog and enjoy my articles, I thank you! I love writing and to have such a diverse readership is truly a privilege.
This last weekend has be rough, I seem to be increasingly drawn to wanting to buy anything and everything. It is as if I’m swirling towards the centre of a whirlpool the further in I go the faster I spin.
There is a fight going on inside me one between my Will and all the advertisers out there. After a week I’m beginning to feel increasingly vulnerable towards these advertising messages. I have a mysterious feeling that camping chairs (on sale) and changing insurance companies will solve all of my life’s problems…
I’m believe that I could very well be coming close to a breakthrough. I’ve noticed a quality about breakthrough’s that’s a giveaway: reversal. Just before I discover a new insight into either the world or myself, whatever internal pattern I’m following has a dramatic and strong reversal of direction. I guess this is like an inbuilt test of your Will, checking whether you’re serious about what you’re on about.
So dismayed by the increasing temptation but encouraged by the sign of a future breakthrough I push on to see what I will find through my self-imposed poverty.
I was treated today to meeting some new people and sitting and conversing as a group (that’s all we did, no food, BBQ/Braai, drinking, music or TV). As a writer I find all people and human behaviour fascinating and this experience in particular was rich in one particular aspect that can be quite rare to find for many people, good conversation.
Good conversation involves a complex mixture of sharing, contributing and linking subjects together. It requires giving and taking, listening and talking, passivity and participation. When done well it allows us to enjoy and be fulfilled by that human drive to socialise and connect. If you can be mindful it is easy to see the commonality of this desire in all people. Today’s experience was, for me, insightful in that although the people were different from me in many ways the conversation was thoroughly entertaining because the themes were universal with each individual sharing their own personal stories of that theme. This allowed everyone to participate and link the conversation to themselves and to the others in the group, thereby experiencing our commonality instead of our differences.
This was a completely different type of experience to what I’m used to, which could be fairly described as more a debate than a conversation. Opposing elements are contrasted against each other and explored that way. This type of discussion is great for gaining a better understanding of a topic (I am happily play ‘Devil’s Advocate’) but today showed me that although understanding and learning are great pursuits, it doesn’t connect people in the way social conversation can.
When I slowly began to realise that I’d been talking with people that I didn’t know for over three hours non-stop I began to see the enormous depth of the situation. The subjects we talked about were not where the importance lay. The depth was to be found in the connection that the act of conversing brought about.
I don’t know when or if the situation will arise where I might see all of these people again but I’m very grateful for what I learnt happily immersed in the ebb and flow of the conversation I enjoyed with them in their home.
I clearly don’t know the first thing about living in poverty. Today is day 6 of 30 and I’ve already spent R93 almost a third of my budget for the month. I still have all the apples and chicken livers…
• Bag of 13 Granny smith Apples@ R16 ($2.00)
• 3 Pork Shoulder Chops (850g)@ R30 ($3.75)
• Chicken Livers (250g)@ R6 ($0.75)
• Head of Broccoli@ R16 ($2.00)
• Meal of the day at work deli@ R25 ($3.13)
I’ve noticed a distinct conflict between eating cheap and the Low Carb High Fat diet which is predominantly meat. Meat is expensive however the fattiest meat which I choose is luckily also the cheapest. Another piece of luck is the recent generosity of gifts I’ve been fortunate enough to get.
• A coffee with cream from a work colleague
• A work team build of Movies, large popcorn, Coke Light and Smarties
• A head of broccoli, bunch of asparagus and a bag of brussel sprouts from a neighbour going away on vacation (they don’t know about the self-imposed poverty bit)
• Birthday cake and coffee for my birthday
I guess these gifts could be seen as charity and even though it’s not a sustainable form of charity it certainly has given a brief window where I don’t have to worry as much.
I have figured out though that I need to be much, much smarter about the food I buy and especially where I buy it. Even though I shop at Pick n Pay (large national supermarket chain) the same stuff I eat will be cheaper at Fruit and Veg City.
I’m a little behind on the budget despite starting off on a 3 day fast but I’ve learnt now and hope I can make corrections fast enough before I end up on a longer unintentional ‘fast’ at the end of the month!