being present

Are we afraid of the present moment?

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A little while ago as I was working away daily on clearing my home of extra clutter, I went through several “memory boxes” I had of old letters, journals and other mementos. It was a very interesting process because it had been so, so long since I last looked at these items. Most of them were from the 1990’s when I was an exchange student in Mexico or later on in college. A quick look at most of these items made me realize that by keeping so many of these although I didn’t look at them, symbolically I was living a lot in the past. I began to wonder- Are we afraid of the present moment?

I posted a photo of my memory boxes and journals on social media and so many people said that it would be so very difficult for them to get rid of those items. It made me ponder my own attachments to these letters, journals and documents. Yes, it is important to have a record of where you have been, and maybe my son or future generations would like to look at these items to get to know more of who I was or what I did in life and my relationships. On the other hand, by keeping so, so much of this old stuff, I felt a bit stuck in the past and part of me felt held back by even having so many boxes and bags of the past hanging around. It felt like a strange old security blanket telling me to hold on, but not to look at my present moment and live here.

Here’s what I did with those old memories that I feel at peace with here in my present moment. I can tell you that I had to take 2 passes at my old papers in order to be at peace with what I kept and what I recycled. I didn’t look at every single letter, but I did save sections of letters from people that still matter to me now in my present moment. The limit I put on myself was that I could keep 1 notebook full of old cards and letters and one box of memories of journals/mementos. The last go-round of looking through those things and making the notebook took over two hours. However, I really feel so very much lighter and able to live right now in this beautiful moment with the rain falling outside my window. Right now I am content with who I am and who I am becoming and some memories along the way that I did choose to keep brought me to this moment here today.

This process made me realize that I was really afraid of the present moment. I was hanging on to a large amount of the past in the physical form of these items. A lot of times physical and also mental clutter from the past can hold us back from living our true potential right now. Having fewer of these items means that i can begin to live in the now.

Beginning with paring down the past by de-cluttering my old papers and journals was a great foundation for me to build upon to start being less afraid of the present moment in other ways as well. I began to get curious about why I kept checking email and social media multiple times a day. It can falsely feel like we are living in the present moment by checking up on “what’s going on.” but really we are still not in the present when on our phones so much. Things people post have already happened and you won’t get an important e-mail every 5 minutes. I noticed that every day starting in the morning I would be continually distracted by checking way too many apps. I was shocked to see that I was spending sometimes more than 5 hours a day on my phone!

Determined to get that time back and be more present with myself, my family, my friends and activities that matter to me, I experimented beginning with last weekend. I decided I would spend very little time on my phone, especially in the mornings. Mornings are my creative time, a time when my brain works best on things like writing and creating. I made sure to start my day out with meditation, tea and breakfast instead of the usual round-robin of checking email and social media. It felt so relaxing. It reminded me of the few letters that I did keep. I remember a time that we couldn’t instantly share what was going on in our lives every single second. We would save up our news and write it into letters for those living far away. We took extra care and time with those letters. We could live our lives in the present moment more, and just take a bit of time to write letters when we wanted to communicate with someone out of town.

My weekend experiment worked very well. I only checked email a couple of times and didn’t check social media at all. I was amazed at how much time I had to read, study my Japanese, do a bit of writing in my notebook and just relax a bit with my family. I really did reclaim those several hours a day and my brain didn’t feel as scrambled as it did when I was on my phone so much. It felt like real rest, real connection to the present moment and real connection to myself and others.

My question to you is: Are you afraid of the present moment? Can you get curious about what is going on there? How can you change your connection with the present moment and be there more each day? Leave a comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Appreciating Time

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Now that I have been baking and cooking at Murray's Coffee Bar 6 days a week for more than a month now I have so many lessons learned about time and energy in any given day. Now my daily schedule is much different than it was a bit more than a month ago. 6 days a week I wake up at 4am, get ready for the day and I arrive at the coffee shop around 5:45am to start work for the day. I leave most days between 1:30 and 2:20 so that I can be back at the bus stop to pick up my son from school. Now I find myself treasuring and appreciating time at home more than ever. 

The first week at the shop I think that I overextended myself, trying to do too many projects at home after I came home from work. I ended up a bit burned out that week, so now when I come home I allow myself some time to have a snack, a cup of tea and relax before seeing what's on my "at home" to do list. I allow myself quite a bit of time for the "scatterbrain" to wear off before I am able to tackle dinner or other after work tasks. Some days I'm able to do a few more things than others, but I have learned to let things go as I know I can do them tomorrow if they are not urgent. 

I am extremely grateful that I decluttered my home so much right before starting up at the coffee shop. It has helped me clean and maintain my home in much less time every day as there isn't as much stuff to deal with and I know where everything goes. Everything has a home and a resting place. I love that! 

For quite some time, my son and I have had a "special snack" on Wednesdays. We go out to a restaurant to eat, chat and "do stories" as he likes to say. He loves to come up with stories where we both have roles and we imagine we are in a different world. This is such a fantastic and precious day to us both. I treasure each Wednesday that we set aside to connect and be in an imaginary world. 

I have noticed the joys of my garden again this spring and have started to create a manageable plan for having a few flowers out front that are easy to water and just a few things in the back yard to take care of as well. I absolutely love gardening, but I can get carried away, then not have the time or energy to take care of it. Also, I am delegating summer garden watering to my son now. :) 

I am learning about working to keep in touch with others, make plans and be mindful of the things that matter most. My friends and family are very important to me, so even though I am working a lot of hours I have learned how blessed I am and to not take those times with them for granted either. 

Each early morning as I leave for the coffee shop I am able to look at my pretty little flower garden of a few pots that I planted on the deck and in our front yard planter and smile, knowing that I took some time to do that and it brought me and others joy. 

I may not do as many projects now, but I am able to choose them with joy and know in my heart that they are right for me in this moment. I am doing my life's work with food at the coffee shop and I am learning to balance that with being blessed with such a lovely home and family. I truly could not ask for more! 

I'd love to hear your blessings of time! 

The Moment

This spring break we took a few days to spend at the beach with a few other families here on the Oregon coast. We were given one glorious day of amazing sunshine and warmth, something not typical of the Oregon coast. The winds were no more than a slight breeze and we enjoyed a long time with the kids on the beach and took walks as well as wandered into town for an ice cream cone and to look around the shops a bit. This day was truly a gift and I found myself getting outside to enjoy it every possible moment that I could. Each moment of sunshine was very precious and I knew that was something I really wanted to soak in.   Time spent with loved ones soaking in the moments is something I really cherish and hold onto. I do have a very strong work ethic and produce a lot of things in my work life and at home, however I feel that its very important to be aware of each moment of the day that we possibly can and to stop an acknowledge how amazing that moment is.   I feel so fortunate that I can create hours in which I spend with my son and my family and I can be in those moments with them. I can get caught up in "getting things done." so many times, but on this beach trip and during specific moments of my day I am ALL IN. I am just in that moment, in that activity and taking it all in. It's like creating a beautiful "mind movie" that I can look back on. I'll remember that sunny day at the beach in March of 2018 and have something beautiful to hold on to.   As next week is my soft opening week and I'll be working full time hours at the coffee shop (6am-2pm) I'll cherish the moment even more. I made it a priority to have afternoons still with my son so that we can still have our Wednesday "special snack" out together and more. These years are comprised of many small daily moments and I want to capture as many of those as I can.   What are the moments that you treasure, create and hold onto? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or email me at:   info@thecheerychef.com

This spring break we took a few days to spend at the beach with a few other families here on the Oregon coast. We were given one glorious day of amazing sunshine and warmth, something not typical of the Oregon coast. The winds were no more than a slight breeze and we enjoyed a long time with the kids on the beach and took walks as well as wandered into town for an ice cream cone and to look around the shops a bit. This day was truly a gift and I found myself getting outside to enjoy it every possible moment that I could. Each moment of sunshine was very precious and I knew that was something I really wanted to soak in. 

Time spent with loved ones soaking in the moments is something I really cherish and hold onto. I do have a very strong work ethic and produce a lot of things in my work life and at home, however I feel that its very important to be aware of each moment of the day that we possibly can and to stop an acknowledge how amazing that moment is. 

I feel so fortunate that I can create hours in which I spend with my son and my family and I can be in those moments with them. I can get caught up in "getting things done." so many times, but on this beach trip and during specific moments of my day I am ALL IN. I am just in that moment, in that activity and taking it all in. It's like creating a beautiful "mind movie" that I can look back on. I'll remember that sunny day at the beach in March of 2018 and have something beautiful to hold on to. 

As next week is my soft opening week and I'll be working full time hours at the coffee shop (6am-2pm) I'll cherish the moment even more. I made it a priority to have afternoons still with my son so that we can still have our Wednesday "special snack" out together and more. These years are comprised of many small daily moments and I want to capture as many of those as I can. 

What are the moments that you treasure, create and hold onto? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or email me at: 

info@thecheerychef.com