Monday, 16 March 2015

Simple Living Challenge - Day 7, and the Giveaway winner

Firstly, the giveaway winner. The number out of the random number generating digital hat was the number 6. The sixth commenter on the Simple Living Handbook giveaway blog post was

Kathi in Florida! 

Kathi, if you email me your address via, I will send the book to you.

Getting back to the Simple Living Challenge, Day 7's task to eat a meal mindfully.

I sort of cheated by checking that challenge off on a meditation retreat I attended in January that happened to fall just at the end of the first week of the Kindspring challenge. There was a period of silence from one evening to the next morning that incorporated breakfast. Mindful porridge and toast eating? Check!

Mindful eating has many aspects. Going more slowly can make flavours appear more flavoursome and you might reflect on where your food has come from, the sun's role, and all those who contributed to the food arriving on your plate, from the farmer through to the shopkeeper. Maybe there's the possibility of becoming more aware of yourself as the caretaker of your body (and the planet), and any tendencies towards over or under-eating, and the chance for greater appreciation of any companions who are sharing food alongside you, or those people who may not have the good fortune of a ready supply of food or family and friends with whom to eat. 

This mindfulness can extend to the preparation of the meal and the clearing up of the meal afterwards; shopping, food waste...the list goes on. No wonder that mindful eating should feature on the list of Kindspring simple living challenges.

And, like the other tasks of the challenge, not just something to be checked off once.

When not on a meditation retreat, breakfast tends to be my least mindful meal. Today, for example, everyone ate breakfast at a different time, and whilst they were doing that I was a wild, pyjama-clad woman, ironing school uniform, proofreading Daughter's due-in-today geography project, making packed lunches, gulping down a cup of tea and signing school organisers, all at the same time. Way to go on the mindful breakfast front at home.

In the evening we try and eat together, at the table, in a less hurried fashion. We don't always think about who grew the durum wheat from which our pasta's made or acknowledge Brother Sun, but it's a time where we slow down and listen to the exploits of each others' days. That's a start.

Mindful ice cream eating...

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Simple Living Challenge - Day 6 - And a simple giveaway!

I haven't updated on the Simple Living Challenge that I joined in. It was all the way back in January and it was supposed to be a 21 day challenge. Simple living is all about the slow, so I think it's allowed that I took somewhat longer. In fact I'm so slow I haven't even made it to the end of the challenge yet...I've never been a sprinter.

Day 6 was harder than the previous days (see here, here and here). You were supposed to reflect on the things that bring meaning to your life. I don't know, perhaps my life just isn't simple enough yet; or maybe I'm too shallow, or too old, or too busy, but on a day to day basis I don't spend an awful lot of time reflecting. 

For Day 6, I did though. My most meaningful things:

Family and friends - the love from and for. And cats. And chickens.
Community - from neighbours to all you likeminded guys
Reading and learning
Writing, helps make sense of stuff
Walking and nature
My work, paid and unpaid
Trying to live a life that doesn't cause harm to people or planet.

In case you'd like to do some reflecting, and to thank you for hanging in with me along my very slow, simple living journey and my eternally sporadic, sketchy, blogging pattern,  here's a book giveaway. From a charity shop naturally.

It's a quick read (two sittings for me, and I usually take ages to finish a book) in a very colloquial style (Lorilee was a blogger at LovingSimpleLiving and most of us bloggers are not professional writers). Although it's not the most comprehensive simple living book, it covers many aspects, not just the decluttering of 'stuff'. The author's approach to life is clearly informed by her strong faith and that may not be everyone's cup of tea.

I sometimes think I've had enough of reading about frugality and simple living, but in a world where it is still something of a counter-cultural choice, I want to be kept inspired and affirmed. A different perspective on things can be motivating.

If you'd like to be in with a chance of reading this book, just comment on this blog post by 7pm (GMT) on Sunday, and I'll stick all the names in a hat. Open to all readers worldwide. If you do comment, don't forget to come back afterwards to see if you've won! Good luck!