Tag Archives: Enough

E is for Enough

06 Nov 15
Megan
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5 comments

Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at E… Enough.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

E is for Enough

Acknowledging and accepting that you have enough is central to simplifying your life.

The word, enough, has been my focus word for 2015. I’ve been working on accepting that the good things in my life make the negatives not so big a deal. I’ve also been trying to reduce the number of items and activities I bring into my life as a way of simplifying and focusing on what is meaningful.

Decluttering is an activity that seems to be very popular at the moment. People wanting to reduce the amount of stuff they have in their lives so that they can do more and be more.

You can declutter many different aspects of your life including your home (of physical items), your calendar (of tasks and activities), and your mind (of negative thoughts), but if you don’t acknowledge that you have enough you are likely to keep replacing all the things you are removing.

By recognising what is enough for you, you can leave open space available for spontaneous things that are important to you.

Over the last few months I’ve acknowledged that I have:

  • All the clothes I need (if not too many)
  • The love and support I need in my life in the form of my family and friends and my wider community.
  • Enough money to cover my needs and many of my wants
  • The health to be able to do at least some of the things that are important to me.

I’m able to help others in their life, minimise any negative impacts my actions have on the world around me, and spend time with those I love and care about.

I am enough as I am. Yes, I may not be able to do everything I used to or that I want to do, but I am able to do what I need to in order to show those around me I still care. I am still able to make an impact.

Your homework today is to think about what ‘Enough’ means for you. Identify aspects of your life where you have (or are) enough. If you feel up to it share some of these with us below.


turning thirty

Turning Thirty: Reflections, Visions, Plans

11 Jun 15
Megan
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I turned 30 last weekend.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter would be aware that my husband’s 30th was only a few weeks earlier. We decided to do a joint party on my birthday (it was Saturday) and invited friends and family to join us. We had an amazing day with close to 50 people joining us to celebrate.

I put a lot of effort into planning the party so that it would be aligned with my values and life goals.  By that I mean that I attempted to plan the party to be as close to zero waste as possible, and to be focused mainly on spending time with family and friends.

I created a large stack of cloth napkins which did get used, however when the cake was cut paper napkins were still used to distribute it.
cloth napkinsThe napkins I made were from leftover material in my sewing collection, mainly the scrappy bits too small for anything else.

Most of the food was homemade finger food with cocktail pies, pasties and sausage rolls purchased from the local bakery to supplement the food supply.

Reusable and compostable We used as many reusable items as possible and what wasn’t reusable I aimed to make compostable (cornstarch cups, bamboo plates, paper straws).

Although I did my best to pace myself in the days leading up to and the day of the party, it was still a much busier week than I would normally have and I have spent the last few days recovering. I’m starting to feel better now (Wednesday – 4 days after the party) but pain levels and fatigue levels have both been rather high the last few days.

Before I go further with this post, I just want to apologise for the large gap between posts lately. Both Janelle and I have been very busy working to put together the Back to Basics Workshop which will be starting in the next few weeks (You can still join if you’re interested).

Turning Thirty: Reflections

Large life changes are always times to reflect on where you have come from and consider where you want to go moving forward. Turning 30 is one of those times.

Looking back over my life I have always had pretty clear ideas of where I though I would be by the time I turned 30. Although some of these things have come true, my life is nothing like what I had imagined (as you’d expect).

My childhood and teens were spent making friends, spending time outside and getting to know the world around me. As I moved into my 20’s it became more about getting to know myself and becoming clearer about where I wanted to head.

During my 20’s I married my long term boyfriend, we bought our first house together and moved in, and got our own pets.

Early 20’s were focused on finishing study and starting my career as well as focusing on my health by exercising regularly at the gym.

Late 20’s my vision of myself, my career, and my health all changed when chronic pain and fatigue became a part of my life. My goals had to change to fit into my new reality. I could no longer be the ‘gym junkie’, the active outdoors person I was before…

Turning Thirty: Visions

Although part of my vision has stayed the same, I still want a family and to work in community engagement and sustainability,  most of it has now been modified.

How do I see my 30’s going?

I will have a family (biological or adopted) and will be working in community engagement and sustainability field by consulting and providing services through this site.

I will find balance between work, social, and me time. This will include time for meditation and rest and some form of exercise (at this point walking and very basic yoga).

By finding balance and pacing well, I will recover to a point where I can enjoy travelling with my husband and family.

Our life will be as simple, sustainable and meaningful as possible.

Turning Thirty: The Plan

To make my vision come true I will need a plan. The plan is to answer the following questions:

What would make my/our life meaningful?

I’ve already begun answering this question by completing the 100 Goal Challenge last year, but through participating in our Back to Basics Workshop I’m going to review those goals and reassess what is meaningful to me.

I will also have discussions with my husband about what is meaningful to him so that we can make our future plans together.

How can I simplify my life?

A simple lifestyle is key to living well especially with chronic illness. By identifying areas in my life that I can simplify I should create more room to do the things that I meaningful.

Steps I’m already taking towards this are:

  • Hiring a cleaner. Over the past few months I had been doing the cleaning myself again. To begin with I managed to keep up and do a good job, but I’ve found that as I’ve begun adding other meaningful activities into my life (like work), I no longer have the energy to do the cleaning as well. For the cost of $75 a fortnight it is worth having someone come in and clean for us.
  • Simplifying my wardrobe. I’m finally getting to a point where I’m happy with my wardrobe. Through my decluttering efforts I’ve removed over half the items in my wardrobe that were not comfortable, didn’t suit my lifestyle, or were worn out and stained. My next post I’m going to share in detail what is left in my wardrobe.

How can we be more sustainable?

Because sustainability is one of my key values, this is a question that I’m constantly asking myself. I’m attempting to move us from single use and disposable items towards ones that can be reused over and over. Buying quality items that last (instead of large quantities of items) is also key to aiming for a more sustainable house.

This area is one that causes a bit of tension in our house though as my husband doesn’t necessarily understand my strong focus on this value. I’m not saying he doesn’t believe we should do our part to help the environment, it’s just that he thinks I take things too far a lot of the time. For example, he rolls his eyes each week when I take out my keep cup to use when we get takeaway drinks, and he doesn’t feel comfortable using my cloth bags for vegetables or asking the butcher and baker to use my containers (instead of plastic bags).

Another part of being sustainable is to be financially secure/independent/whatever term you’d like to use. This is something that I’m spending a lot of time researching at the moment. Security is one of my husband’s biggest values and so making sure we have enough money to live the lifestyle we want to and achieve our goals is very important to us.

Financially speaking we want to make sure we have enough saved for retirement (so we don’t have to rely on a pension that may not be around), we want to be able to travel and buy nice things when we want to (we have a large lego collection, good quality camera and camping gear, and my husband maintains his bikes), and we want to be debt free.

In general we are doing well in this area (our mortgage is our only debt) but, given I’m pretty much not working at the moment (I don’t bring in any regular salary), I’m not having money put into Super for me and we basically have to live off my husband’s salary. To me setting ourselves a financial plan for the next 2-5 years and belong is a key step to achieving our goal to live a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Next week I’ll be sharing my simple, sustainable, and (almost) minimal wardrobe with you.

Do you have a clear vision for the future and a plan to get there?

Have you got a financial plan in place to help you achieve your goals?

 

#May12BlogBomb

#May12BlogBomb A Vision for the Future: Living with ME and Fibromyalgia

12 May 15
Megan
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Today is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) Awareness Day.

#May12BlogBomb

Last year, to help raise awareness, I wrote a letter to my illness over on My Chronic Life Journey as part of a blogging campaign begun by Sally Burch over at Just ME (#May12BlogBomb).

This year I’m participating again. The theme for 2015 is ‘A Vision for the Future’.

Like Sally, I feel that May 12 Awareness Day is about helping others who don’t live with these conditions to better understand what life is like for those of us who do. (Not that awareness raising should only occur on one day of the year.)

What I’m hoping to get across today is that, although we may have many challenges in our day to day life that ‘healthy’ people don’t need to consider, we still have the same hopes and dreams for the future.

So, now that I’ve provided some background information let’s get on to my response to the theme…

Visions, hopes and dreams

Although bad health may limit my ability to undertake many activities people consider to be ‘normal’ for someone my age, I haven’t let this steal my hopes and dreams for the future.

Turning 30 this year has led to me thinking more and more about where my life is heading and what I have achieved so far.

I have achieved so much with my life so far that I am proud of, including:

  • Completed my Arts and Science degrees with honours in the science.
  • Worked with individuals, communities and businesses to create a more sustainable future.
  • Raised funds to publish a picture book for raising awareness of invisible illnesses (due to be published later this year)
  • Married the man of my dreams
  • Travelled interstate and overseas for work and holidays (before getting ill)

Although I’ve achieved so much, there is one dream that always seems to be just out of reach for me… Having a child and starting a family.

This is an ongoing issue for me, and something that my husband and I have been discussing quite a lot lately both with each other and with my doctors and specialists.

Although my dream was always that my family would at least be started before I was 30, that is not going to happen. If everything goes well, I may have my first child while I’m 30 but even that seems unlikely.

There are so many additional concerns to consider when thinking about starting a family when you live with a chronic illness.

  • What impact will my conditions have on my ability to conceive and carry a child to term?
  • What impact will pregnancy have on my symptoms? increased pain/fatigue/nausea?
  • How will I cope when the child is born?
  • Will any of the medications I’m on affect my pregnancy/child?

All of these questions are ones I’ve been asking myself, my family, and my doctors and specialists.

We’ve been unable to get a clear answer from any of the doctors or specialists which makes it hard when trying to make an informed decision.

My husband, rightly, has concerns about my health and my ability to cope with pregnancy, birth and child rearing. I’m also concerned about how my body will cope with it all but to me it’s worth it if I’m able to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a mother.

The closest we’ve had as a response from the doctors is that the pelvic pain, currently thought to be caused by Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, should not get worse with pregnancy given that I’m having success in reducing it with the pelvic physio’s advice and guidance. In regards to my ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, none of my doctors or specialists have had enough experience with pregnancy and these conditions to be able to say what may happen.

So, as you can probably tell from all of this, my biggest vision for the future is to be a mother.

My vision does include other things, such as increasing awareness of invisible illnesses and helping others live their own simple, sustainable and meaningful lives, but being a mother is definitely at the top of my list.

What is your vision for the future?

Don’t forget about the opportunity available to you at the moment to join us for our first ever online workshop to help you take the first step towards your own simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Read about it here.

Health

HEALTH – a simple, sustainable, meaningful lifestyle

27 Apr 15
Megan
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HEALTH – an acronym and guide for living your own simple, sustainable and meaningful life

Hopes and Dreams – Just because you’re not as healthy as you once were, doesn’t mean you need to roll over and forget about everything you ever wanted to do in you life. You are still you, and with a bit of support and modification it’s still possible to live a meaningful life in which you can fulfill your hopes and dreams.

Exploration – You have passions and values that feed into your hopes and dreams. By exploring what your values are and what you’re passionate about you can discover ways to create your own simple, sustainable and meaningful life. One of the best ways I’ve found to identify your passions and values is to participate in the 100 Goal Challenge. Through this process I was able to identify that family, making a difference, and living sustainably are the highest things that I value in my life. This fits well with my dreams to start a family and run my own business helping others live simple, sustainable and meaningful lives.

Action – Once you’ve identified your hopes and dreams, and explored your passions and values the next step is to take action. Decide on one small step you can take today to move yourself one step closer to the life you want to live. My first steps included setting up this blog, fundraising through Kickstarter to publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book (happening later this year), and networking to find opportunities to help others.

Listen – Your body knows what it is capable of. Make sure you pay attention to changes in symptoms and pace yourself accordingly. Although I’d love to do everything I want as soon as I want, my health dictates that I can’t. By making sure I rest when I need to I’m able to do more in the long run as I’m less likely to crash.

Talk to others – Having a network to support you is important if you actually want to live your own simple, sustainable and meaningful life. The best way to create that network is to talk to others. Share your ideas, form partnerships and build a community around you. I do this through social media and this blog, talking with neighbours, friends and family, and identifying relevant workshops and conferences to attend when I’m well enough.

Highlights and Reflections – As we move through the process, it’s important to take time to identify the highlights, reflect on where you have come from and where you are going. People do change over time so it’s important to make sure that the path you’ve set yourself on is still the right one for you. By doing this regularly you can make changes as you need to so that you can maintain a simple, sustainable and meaningful (to you) lifestyle.

I’ve been following this guide for the last 12 months and I believe it has put me on a path to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life despite the problems living with chronic illness throws at me. This is not a be all and end all guide but a broad overview of things that need to be considered.

Have you focused on your H.E.A.L.T.H.?

What steps have you taken towards your own simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle?

I must apologise for falling off the band wagon with the HAWMC posts. I’m still working out how to pace myself with the new casual work.

 

I feel best

I feel best when… My Manifesto

14 Apr 15
Megan
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No Comments

When you live every day with chronic pain and fatigue it can sometimes be difficult to remember what it’s like to feel good, to feel ‘normal’. It’s important though to not focus just on your symptoms but to find at least something each and every day to be grateful for. Something that will make you feel as good as you possibly can given everything you’re living with.

I feel best when…

I feel best when I’m making a difference. When I’m able to find a way in which I can contribute something of meaning to the community. I currently do this by sharing my stories here on the blog and through other social media outlets. By sharing I hope to help others to live simple, sustainable and meaningful lives of their own.

I feel best when I’m able to pace myself well. At the moment that means:

  • only working 1-2 hours a day, up to 4 days a week
  • finding time each day to do some stretches and yoga
  • maintaining a step count of around 5,000 steps a day
  • ensuring I get adequate rest throughout the day

I feel best when I’m adequately hydrated. Remembering to drink enough water can be difficult when I’m at my most foggy, but I try hard to remember.

I feel best when I eat a balanced diet. Eating enough nutritious fruit, veg, nuts and meat, mainly eating home cooked meals with fresh produce and avoiding alcohol, dairy and gluten all help to keep me healthy.

I feel best when I have a project to work on that I’m passionate about. At the moment, my passion project is to try and build the sense of community on my street. Although I feel connected to my wider community online, I feel like I don’t really know my neighbours that well.

I feel best when I’m part of a connected community that supports one another and works together towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

I feel best when I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family.

Happiness

Happiness – Enough and random acts of kindness

03 Apr 15
Megan
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2 comments

As those of you who follow us on social media would be aware, I’m participating in WEGO Health‘s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

Here at LiveKen we are on a journey to discover what a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is for us.  On this journey we have discovered that recognising that we are enough and we have enough is one of the key steps towards being happy with your life.

Yesterday’s prompt for the challenge was to answer the question

What is the key to happiness?

My key to happiness is to be grateful for what I have. To recognise that Enough is all that is needed to be happy with life. I may have several chronic illnesses which impact on my ability to live what is considered a normal life, but I have enough health to do the things which matter the most to me. I have enough health to spend time with my family and friends, to read a good book, write this blog, and make a contribution to the world. I am enough just the way I am.

Today’s prompt for the challenge is

Random Acts of Kindness

To me, these two prompts are linked. The random acts of kindness I observe and participate day to day are the things that remind me of the fact that I am, and have, enough.

When I do a random act of kindness, whether that is to make a meal for someone I love or give someone a big hug, I feel that I am making someone else’s life better. I am enough as I am to make a difference.

When I am the recipient of a random act of kindness, I am reminded that I have enough people who love and care for me to make my life special.

For example, the other week we were at a friends house for drinks. The host had made lasagna for dinner. 2 large ones full of dairy and gluten. We had only RSVP’d that day, as I’m usually unable to be sure of whether I can commit until the last moment, and I can’t eat dairy or gluten. Even though we RSVP’d so late, they went to a lot of effort making me a separate, smaller heart shaped lasagna with gluten free pasta sheets and a potato topping instead of the cheese sauce.

I am so grateful that they had made such a special effort to make sure I had enough to eat. In fact, the special heart shaped lasagna was so big I could only eat half, and shared the rest with others around the table.

To me, the key to happiness is being grateful for what you do have. It is recognising that you are, and you have, enough and celebrating every achievement no matter how small.

Random Acts of Kindness act as a reminder of how important it is to be a part of a community and to contribute to that community to help everyone find their key to happiness.

What is your key to happiness?

Have you been a recipient of a random act of kindness?

Simplifying Your Life: Decluttering Your Wardrobe

22 Jan 15
Janelle
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2 comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post has been in our backlog for several months. We apologise for the delay in sharing this part of our journey.

Last year (28 August 2014) Megan talked about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we hope you have taken some of our ideas and been inspired.

This week I’ll be talking to you about decluttering your house and especially your wardrobe, which I have recently undertaken. I’m fully aware not that many people enjoy the idea of cleaning out their wardrobe and I can tell you honestly I have never been the biggest fan myself.

However when you can no longer easily fit anything back into your wardrobe without waging a battle with your clothes and are contemplating buying more storage space I think everyone would say it’s probably time.

Now my partner and myself had decided to clean out and simplify our wardrobe a little while ago and being much better than me – he had more than finished doing his stuff before I even started mine. But I make myself feel better by saying that I helped him do his side first – even if my help was minimal.

I find if you are ever dragging your feet to do anything – like I was – I find some music helps you get into the groove- so I suggest putting on anything that makes you want to dance! Two of my favourites at the moment are; “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Ready” by AJR and while I know that many people would think my choices are a little lame I can’t help but want to dance and sing along to them like an idiot.

But enough about avoiding. As Megan said last week through decluttering your physical environment you’ll feel calmer, more organised and have made your life simpler. So after convincing myself I had a huge task ahead of me and should wait for a free afternoon or morning to begin – thus putting off staring for longer – I randomly walked into my wardrobe one evening and just started.

And while I thought I would need come back when I had more time, I said to myself why not move out some of the items of clothing I knew I didn’t want to keep while I had a few minutes. Half an hour later I had stormed through more than half my wardrobe and had a significant pile of empty coat hangers and a large pile of clothing that I no longer needed.

I decided to start at one side of my wardrobe and work my way along as I went, meaning I could stop and come back at any stage. However, many people think taking everything out onto your bed is a better way to start. This way you have to go through everything before you put it back into your wardrobe and nothing can be missed or left to another day.

But it doesn’t really matter what way you start just that you’ve started, find a way that works for you. If its everything out at once or different sections at a time.

For us, once we had separated into keeping or not keeping we then further separated into another two different piles for the clothes we no longer needed. One for the bin and one to donate and recycle. Anything that was not really recyclable, broken or about to fall apart ended up in the bin pile and anything that was still good quality but either didn’t fit or was something that would be rarely or never worn again went into the recycling pile.

I think it is also important at this stage to mention that you don’t necessarily need to give away your unwanted clothes. They could be used for other things round the house, you could take them to a clothes swap and potentially pick up some new items yourself, or see if any of your friends or family members would appreciate them – this is especially true for growing children. I remember many times getting hand-me-downs from my cousins that were a few years older than me and it is a good way to save money, recycle and re-use clothes.

At the end of our wardrobe spring clean-up we ended up with four full garbage bags of clothes to donate to our local Salvos store. This is a reasonably large amount but I decided to be brutal with my selection, getting rid of anything that I couldn’t remember wearing recently. You don’t have to do this. Instead, if you are unsure about something pack it away for 3-6 months and see if you need it – if you do use it keep, it if not it might be time to find it a new home.

Another popular way of sorting out what you use and not use is to put all of your coat hangers around backwards and as you use what is hanging on them put them back in your wardrobe the other way round. In six months or so you will find out what you no longer wear and once again it might be time to let some else use and appreciate it.

Another good suggestion to try out is Project 333. This is essentially the idea that you have 33 items of clothing for 3 months of the year and is all about keeping things simple. Even if you don’t give it a full go it’s definitely worth a read.

Decluttering your wardrobe is a great place to start and I am very glad I have finally finished mine, it is very nice to have clothes in your wardrobe that you want and like. Donating clothes also makes you feel like you haven’t wasted anything and your once loved items of clothes can find a new home and help someone else out.

I am now going to move onto other areas of my house and start to declutter them also. Starting with my bathroom cupboard, but not just decluttering the cupboard I want to simplify and cut back on the number of products and chemicals I use on my face and skin and I look forward to sharing it with you all on this journey.

Have you decluttered your wardrobe or any other rooms in your house?

Let us know how you went and if there is anything you suggest we try.

Enough: 2015 year of gratitude and contentment

13 Jan 15
Megan
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one comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditor’s Note: This post was first published on My Chronic Life Journey. As part of making life more sustainable, I will be slowly encouraging followers over at My Chronic Life Journey to join us here at LiveKen and consolidating the two sites.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Let me begin this post of with an apology for being missing in action for the past few months. For those of you who like our Facebook page you’d be aware that I’ve had to take some time off to focus on myself and trying to get things in a way that I can sustain and maintain my lifestyle.

In 2014, I focused my efforts on being the Best ME I could be. I focused on working out what my limits are and (more importantly) what I’m still capable of physically, mentally and spiritually.

It was a busy year and with your help and support I was able to raise the funds necessary to publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book (to happen this year). I also identified my physical boundaries and worked on pacing myself to maintain and even slightly improve my health throughout the year.

In the last few months, while I’ve been missing in action I’ve been focused on simplifying my home and my lifestyle so that I can focus on what is important to me.

This year, 2015, I will be continuing my journey on simplifying and creating a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t impact negatively on my health. I will be sharing this journey with you through this site and our sister site My Chronic Life Journey. I’d love to have all of you join me on this journey.

I have realised that in my home and in my life I have enough, if not too much, of many things. I have enough people around me who love and support me. I have enough health to appreciate what happens around me in my life and can do enough to keep me happy. I have enough physical items and would actually like to reduce the amount dramatically as less clutter means more time and energy to focus on what is important. Most importantly, I am enough! I would like my health to improve (I’d love a complete recovery) but realistically I am enough and I don’t need to try and change who I am to make others happy.

My focus this year is on being grateful for what I have and doing what I can to help others have enough and be enough to be happy with their lives.

Do you have a focus for 2015?

Are you ready to join me on a journey of gratitude and reflection?