The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style

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The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose. Inspired by her lifestyle blog The Simply Luxurious Life, Shannon Ables (the original Simple Sophisticate) shares with listeners tips on how to live a refined life on an everyday income. From achieving your goals, preparing a memorable meal, creating a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles tune in as Paris is a favorite destination), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, living well is really quite simple.

Shannon Ables

    • Jul 4, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • every other week NEW EPISODES
    • 33m AVG DURATION
    • 356 EPISODES

    Listeners of The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style that love the show mention: luxurious, shannon s podcast, shannon's podcast, francophile, simple pleasures, listening to shannon's, shannon shares, thank you shannon, work shannon, love listening to shannon, living simply, thanks shannon, tips for living, petite, find myself looking forward, tss, plaisir, wardrobe, elegant, enjoy life.

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    Latest episodes from The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style

    333: What I Do to Lessen Jet Lag (flying from the West Coast to Western Europe)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2022 43:29

    "When it comes to jet lag, there ain't — I report from the window seat of a bustling café in Montreal, hence this paraphrasing of Leonard Cohen — no cure." —Mark VanHoenacker, a Boeing 787 pilot for British Airways and the author of Imagine A City: A Pilot's Journey Across the Urban World  The first time I flew abroad from Oregon to Europe (in my case France), concerns about jet lag were far from my mind; in fact, because I had so many other questions to answer and unknowns dancing in my mind, I didn't think about. I was 20 and planning to study abroad during my junior summer of college in Angers, France. I saved up for the $800 round-trip economy-class ticket (2000) by working three part-time jobs, took the necessary prerequisite courses, conferenced with my professor de Français, and along with not knowing I would need an adapter and converter to at the very least blow-out my hair and curled it, I also didn't think to investigate what jet lag was. Being the first member of my immediate family to travel abroad to Europe, I was figuring it all out for the first time on my own, and jet lag was never a word that popped up in conversations. Fast forward to 2012 and my second trip to France that included England as well. Thankfully I had a close friend who having lived in England for a time and thus traveled back and forth from the west coast to England often, had a few suggestions for combatting jet lag. Nothing worked superbly, but none of the advice hindered my thorough enjoyment of visiting London for the first time, and then returning to Paris. Jet lag persisted, but if it meant I would be able to be in the two countries I loved, it didn't matter a bit. Each trip following the two shared above, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, I have gradually tried to tweak, adjust and determine what works best to mitigate jet lag's effects, and while I have come to the same conclusion as the British Airways pilot above, as he too shares in his recent article in The Financial Times, there are ways to lessen the discomfort and the prolonged effects. But first, it is important to note what jet lag is — any time you travel quickly across two or more time zones and is caused when rapid travel throws off our circadian rhythm - the biological clock that helps control when we wake and fall asleep (source)  The more readers I hear from and fellow travelers I meet, the more I realize that where you are traveling from (home departure city), thus the amount of time difference you are undergoing, makes a difference, and so I decided to write specifically from my experience as a traveler from the west coast of the United States venturing to Western Europe where most of my excursions take me. With that said, as many readers/listeners of TSLL blog/The Simple Sophisticate podcast are Francophiles and/or Anglophiles and our destinations are the same even if our departure city is different, it is my hope that some of the tips shared today may be applicable when tailored to your flying itinerary. ~Note to readers: More details are discussed in the audio version of this episode than are shared below, so be sure to tune in. 1.Depart in the early afternoon When scheduling past trips, excluding my most recent trip in 2022, I selected early morning flights to give myself more time at my desired destination. As well, often earlier flights in the day were a bit less expensive (I have not noticed this to be the case as of late, but in the past). However, when taking the most direct flight possible, leaving in the afternoon on the west coast has the arrival time in France or England in the early evening the following day which lends itself well to having a nice meal before exhaustedly going to sleep in a comfortable bed. As well, leaving in the afternoon gives you time to gradually begin the day, go through your regular routines, partake in a healthy 30-minute or hour-long exercise routine, and generally, prepare to sit for a very long time. When I am able to exercise and not feel rushed, the rest of the day and any unknowns that pop up are easier to navigate, and I can more easily relax since my body has had the opportunity to fully move, stretch and receive what it needs. 2. Arrive in the late evening in Europe If leaving in the early afternoon is not an option, at least try to schedule your arrival time in Europe in the early evening for the reasons shared above. Whether you were able to catch some sleep on the plane or not, your mind as well as your body is tired and after being fed well in your destination city, wants to stretch out and relax. Rather than fight trying to stay awake until night arrives should you arrive in the morning or early afternoon, when you arrive in the evening, you don't have to fight your body and just let it do what it yearns for. 3. The fewer connecting flights the better If at all possible, scheduling-wise and/or budget-wise, choose a direct flight, or the closest thing to it (I have to take a short hop from Redmond to an international airport, typically Seattle, Portland or San Fran, and then my international flight departs to Europe from there). Not only do you save time, but it is less stressful, thus it doesn't exhaust your mind unnecessarily which is already going to be confused when you arrive due to the time change. Mind exhaustion on top of jet lag prolongs your ability to adjust, and the shorter the hop, the less stress incurred. The many farms seen in the countryside in Normandy. 4. Try to sleep on the flight Even if for only a few hours, do your best to find a way to experience real sleep. Real sleep where the hours invisibly whisk by and you wake up feeling somewhat, if not quite a bit, rested and energized. In my experience, the fewer hours I am able to sleep on the trip, the harder/longer jet lag is to recover from on that particular end of the trip. 5. Invest in Business Class if/when possible In episode #329 I shared my experience flying Business Class on British Airways during my recent trip in April 2022 to Britain and France. Needless to say, even if it takes a bit longer to save up for each subsequent trip abroad in order to fly in such comfort, I will do it. It is worth it, largely because of the reduction of stress and my ability to sleep well. And as I shared in #4 above, when you sleep well during the flight, you reduce (not eliminate) jet lag. My flight to Europe in Business Class provided more than 4 hours of sleep, and while I did feel the effects of jet lagged for about two days upon arrival, this was far better than it has been in the past. No doubt my excitement being back in Paris helped to overcome some of the feeling, but as I assessed what else may have contributed to an easing of this expected feeling of exhaustion, confusion, malaise and inability to sleep naturally, the one primary variable that was different was the flight I chose and the amount of sleep and quality of sleep I received. My seat in Business Class on British Airways, bedding products from The White Company 6. Hydrate as much as possible while flying While toasting with sparkling wine as the journey begins is tempting and certainly something I enjoy doing as well, refrain from too much alcohol as it dehydrates you. Instead, seek out as much water as you can, and even the multiple bathroom-runs are good for you as it gets you up and out of your seat which is an activity that sets your circadian rhythm. The more you can do to set your circadian rhythm to knowing when it needs to be awake and when it needs to rest (the reason why airlines dim the cabin light uniformly for everyone and set the meals as they do), the more quickly your mind will be able to settle into the new sleep schedule. 7. Take a hot bath before bed Whether at your travel destination or when you arrive home, just before you want to go to bed, take a hot bath as this helps to relax the body and interestingly enough, drop the body temperature which helps you fall asleep. A deep soak of a bath at The Savoy while staying in London. Take the tour of our stay in this detailed post. 8. Begin to simulate, ever so slightly and gradually, the new time zone before you leave While a subtle shift at home may not seem beneficial, for me, this is actually quite possible as I like to go to bed early, and an excuse to go to bed one hour sooner, wake up one hour earlier is not a detriment. Of course, this will depend on your work and home schedule, but if you can, it may reduce jet lag a bit so it won't last as long when you arrive. 9. Be gentle and patient with yourself, gradually shift into the new time schedule Our brains are wonderful tools, but it takes time to change them, and that includes its sleep schedule. When our sleep schedule becomes disrupted, our mind is confused as to what it is supposed to do, so be gentle and patient with it. When I returned home this past April, it took about 7-10 days to get over my jet lag. Finding myself falling asleep on the sofa at 5pm with eyelids I could not bribe to stay open at any cost, I let myself fall asleep, and pushed myself to stay awake an hour later each night until I was finally back to my regular bedtime routine. With all of that said . . . 10. Understand there are many jet lag remedies, but honor what works for you I won't list the suggestions I have received over the years I haven't found helpful for me, or the beliefs from other travelers about what is most difficult (direction of flight) because what is true for them is true for them. However, sharing what has worked and why I have discovered it does work, had I been able to understand these truths, is something I would have loved to have known earlier in my travels but likely could not have known. Knowing that I needed to, for want of a better phrase, 'feel my way' through jet lag to figure out what happens and how I respond to it gave me the tools to figure out how to reduce its effects that most negatively affected me. Self-awareness not only helps you live a life you love living in a general over-arching way; it also affords you helpful insights in how to work well with jet lag to best fit your needs to ensure the best trip and experience possible. For example, as an HSP, sleep is especially important, whereas for non-HSPs being able to function well on 5-7 hours of sleep may be no problem. Not so in my case, so now that I know the value of sleep for my well-being, I invest in ensuring I receive a good night of sleep when I travel as I want to enjoy my trip as much as possible, and that includes on the flight. When we have the fortunate opportunity to travel abroad and cross many time zones, the price of jet lag is a small price to expense, but being aware of how it affects our minds and physical well-being is helpful so that we don't blame our mental lag on the destination but rather our mind's gradual settling in to the new time zone we have taken it to. Wishing you many wonderful trips and stamps in your passport! Bon Voyage! Petit Plaisir ~Herbed Salmon ~click here for the full recipe. ~Top image: arriving in London, looking out over Kensington, Royal Albert Hall

    The French Way: How to Create a Luxurious Everyday Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 37:58

    "He who comes home with the most money doesn't win. He who comes home with the most experiences wins." - Steve Smith, contributor with Rick Steves in Rick Steves France 2015 The Simple Sophisticate, episode #23 One of the most exquisite pleasures in my experience has always been having time at home without a to-do list. To enjoy my sanctuary that comforts me, rejuvenates me and allows me to dream so that when I do step outside into the world I can do, seek and produce, is one of the things I most treasure about living simply luxuriously. And so it began when I was a child, no doubt, as my mother always cultivated a warm home, but as I grew up and became responsible for establishing my own abode, it took much exploration, dead-ins from time to time and investment to create a space that allowed the everyday to be just as stimulating as new experiences brought about by travel. And in so doing, paying attention to my home environment, I began to pay attention to how I spend my days. Was I exhausted and unfilled at the end or exhausted and feeling productive? Did I have time in my day to spend it with those I loved, converse with those who engaged in creative, uplifting and thought-provoking conversation or care for myself in such a way that respected my overall health? And depending upon my answer, I would tweak, eliminate, maximize or designate more or less time to those activities that improved the quality of living. "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much." -Bessie A. Stanley As the quote reminds us, living well is truly about prioritizing how we spend our days. Did we make time to enjoy the day, spend it with those we hold dear, take time to respect what our minds and bodies need or did we cram everything into our waking hours in order to fit a mold that we weren't asked for input regarding its creation? Everyone's path to living well will be different, but the key is to know what you want - more loosely rather than specifically. Because as we know, our lives intermingle with the rest of the world, but if we bring our best selves, have good intentions and are willing to be true selves, success is possible when it comes to living well. Recently, I was watching the travel guru Rick Steves discuss on PBS his explorations through the countryside of France. While staying at Chateau de Pray and dining on their outdoor terrace, his dining companion shared the quote listed at the beginning of today's post. And I couldn't agree more especially when it comes to travel, but why not bring a similar way of living into our everyday? Why not . . . live well each and every day? Why not use the nice china in the middle of the week? Why not treat ourselves regularly to dinner or lunch with a dear friend at a restaurant that piques our interest or tantalizes our taste buds? Why not sleep on silk pillowcases each night? Many may quickly scoff at such ideas as being too indulgent, thus deflating the exhilaration that is felt when they are only experiences from time to time, but what I hope to bring to your attention today is that with patience and careful planning, everyday life can indeed be lived luxuriously and can actually enhance the quality of our lives. Below are 20 ways to foster a simply luxurious way of living, but these are just a taste. If you would like the full list inspired by the French way of living, check out chapter 10 "Indulging Your Inner Francophile" in Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide. 1. Cook at home. Find simple, yet delicious recipes and discover the pleasures of cooking on your own schedule for your own dietary needs and preferences. (View TSLL recipes here.) 2. Indulge in café time. Once, twice or three times a week depending up on your schedule and enjoyment, select a favorite local café and stop in for some reading time, moseying through magazine time, or chats with friends. Indulge in one of the patisseries delicious sweet treats and lose track of time. ~Les Deux Garcons cafe in Aix-en-Provence, cours Mirabeau~ 3. Wear luxurious lingerie everyday. As I talk about in my book, lingerie is a necessity for the woman who wears it, not for those who might see her in it. Why? Because simply knowing we are wearing beautiful, comfortable, luxurious lingerie feels good. And everything begins with our thoughts. If we feel good, we smile more readily, we are more open to new experiences and our attitude is lifted. 4. Let go of busy. A powerful decision that will change your day-to-day living drastically for the better. Busy doesn't mean better or more productive, it simply reveals a life that perhaps could be managed better. After all, living well means living a life of quality. A life that focuses on what is necessary and lets go of the rest. And when you let go of busy, you have more time for moments of simple leisure and luxury that cultivate an everyday life to savor. (Click here to dive into this topic.) 5. Cultivate a capsule wardrobe for each season. Knowing you have in your closet clothes that will make you look and feel your best is a very powerful tool to possess as you begin your day. While this takes time and never really ends due to lives and bodies changing, it is worth our attention. (Click here to learn more about building a capsule wardrobe.) 6. Follow your own schedule. Perhaps it's Friday or even Saturday night, everyone must be out doing something, staying up late, right? Wrong. Your daily schedule is one that works for you and those you spend your time with. Perhaps you prefer Wednesday evenings out because Thursdays are lighter days at work and you enjoy spending your weekends waking up early and getting things done. Whatever schedule works for your goals, intentions, health, family, etc - adhere to it and don't apologize. After all, our lives, needs and desires change, listen to what is nudging you, calling your name and that is where you will find the unexpected beauty. 7. Discover a personal scent. Similar to knowing you are wearing luxurious lingerie is the choice of scent you layer upon your skin before stepping out the door for work or for play. A luxurious decision and investment, but one that will reveal your attention to detail. 8. Subscribe to daily/weekly/monthly periodicals. Running throughout the philosophy of living simply luxuriously is being well-read. Depending upon your lifestyle, curiosities, locale and interests, you will select reading material that interests you. Most importantly, gather knowledge, choose to learn something new each day, read a review of a new play or restaurant and be encouraged to give it a try. Become in the know of current events in order to strike up a conversation with anyone. Reading in truth, is a way of tickling your brain and refusing to live each day the same even if the events may be routine. 9. Save time and don't wash your hair everyday. Purchase a dry shampoo and have on hand for the days you don't lather up. Shampoo less often, thereby saving yourself more time in the morning, and believe it or not, improve the condition of your tresses. (Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk) 10. Invest in quality skincare products. In episode #13 of the podcast, specifics are shared on how to create glowing skin, and by investing in quality skincare products, your most beautiful skin will shine. The power of prevention is real, and while it takes time and a bit of investment, the pay-offs are tremendous. 11. Design a workout regimen to look forward to. Whether you enjoy exercising outdoors in Mother Nature or attending classes lead by instructors that inspire you and classmates that boost your mood, explore your interests and community to see what is available and what captures your needs and proclivities. Most people after having exercise will tell you that they feel better, energized and less stress, and if you can bring that into your everyday life, everything will be affected in a very positive way. (Revolver Yoga Studio, Walla Walla) 12. Find time to treasure hunt. Even if you are not necessarily going to buy, poke around in local consignment shops, yard sales, second-hand shops, antique boutiques and even boutiques that catch your eye. If nothing else, you will walk away with ideas on how to design, style and mix and match what you already have. 13. Be sincere, yet kind. While everyone has days that you are simply grumpy for any list of reasons, taking it out on others is something you will most likely regret. And even if you have to deliver news that isn't favorable, there is always a way to do so with kindness. Being conscious of how we treat people and our delivery will almost always be appreciated, and even if it is taken for granted, at least we can go home at night and feel good about the energy we put out into the world. 14. Shop at local vendors and boutiques. Perhaps you live in a town that you hand-selected for the community it offers, but what if you didn't? Either way, supporting local vendors when it comes to food or local boutiques when it comes to shopping for gifts, necessities and products not only builds good-will, but strengthens the economy of the local community. And additionally, when it comes to buying food locally, you benefit your overall health as most foods are free from pesticides and hold more nutritional value that your body craves. 15. Eat real food. Full of flavor that will satiate, real food is a choice your body will thank you for. Processed food may be more convenient and help you reduce the shopping trips to the grocery store, but in the long term, it is a bad investment. Returning home after a long day knowing the food you will be incorporating into your meal will be satisfying and nutritious will remove guilt and properly fuel your body for whatever it may be asked to do next. 16. Elevate the conversation. Easier said than done when we are exhausted, stressed and frustrated, but when you do your best to refrain from complaining and gossiping, you are less likely to go home in the evening regretting or feeling guilty about partaking. In fact, when conversations are full of curious information - books, local events, news, etc - you can walk away inspired, motivated and eager to do something new. Why not bring such a conversation to those in your world? 17. Create an evening routine to look forward to. At the end of the day, your body and mind may be entirely taxed which is why making time (even 15 minutes) for unwinding with a favorite pastime is crucial. Being able to look forward to this simple routine can be the silver lining no matter what your day has unearthed. 18. Schedule regular spa appointments for beauty and health maintenance. Much like exercise, caring for our bodies is a means to caring for our health, overall beauty and mind. So be sure to schedule your facial, massage, hair cut/color, waxing and any other must-dos before you walk out the door from your last appointment. They can often be the respite in a busy week and will no doubt leave you feeling rejuvenated. 19. Stock a bar cart for spur-of-the-moment entertaining. Whether you drink alcoholic beverages or not, stock a bar cart that has drinks and nibbles at the ready for last-minute guests. Even for one or two guests, having a bar with wine, beer or if it's morning - croissants and hot tea keeps the food with the conversation in the living room or sitting room. Luxurious and ready for any everyday occasion. (A glimpse of my 20. Fill your home with inspired music. For techies or retro audiophiles, have your turntable or playlists ready for any occasion. From leisurely jazz tunes when you return from work and wish to read the daily news to beautiful Bach in the morning as you get ready for work, set up your music station, turn off the television and forget about time, even if for a moment. Whatever inspires you in your travels or remains memorable to you from your past, why not bring it into your everyday life if at all possible? Cultivate an everyday life that perhaps no one would believe is possible, but rest assured it is. After all, as Annie Dillard reminds us, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Why not spend your life living well each and everyday? ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: ~Episode #32: The Francophile's Style Guide: The 14 Essentials ~10 Gifts of Mastering the French Mystique ~Why Not . . . Indulge Your Inner Francophile? ~Why Not . . . Find Your Je Ne Sais Quoi? ~10 Ways to Unearth Your Inner Francophile (episode #4) ~French-Inspired Living: Books to Enjoy Petit Plaisir: Befriend a local wine shop to ensure great wines no matter what the occasion. ~Liner & Elsen "One of America's six great main street wine shops." -Bon Appetit 2222 NW Quimby St. (off 22nd Ave.) Portland, OR 97210 They can ship the wine to you! Staff who've helped me in the past: Neil Thompson and Kevin Geller ~Chateau Du Grand Bos (2005) Bordeaux, France (wine enjoyed in the photo to the right). ~Images: (1) a cafe in Paris in Montmartre captured by TSLL

    332: The Power and Necessity of Regular and Frequent Reflection

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2022 46:16

      "Your soul needs time for solitude and self-reflection. In order to love, lead, heal, and create, you must nourish yourself first." —Louise Hay Whether you have ten minutes or an entire afternoon or day to give to quiet contemplation, otherwise known as reflection, when you choose to do so, you ground yourself, ensuring the next "step" in your life journey will be far more constructive and in alignment with a life of contentment.   Silence and the act of Reflecting go hand in hand, as we need to provide the space to recall, remember, examine and consider. As artist from the 16th and 17th century Francis Bacon states, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” In order to understand, we must slow down. In order to find peace with our direction, we must find the time to be still and ponder all that we have experienced during the day, the week, etc.. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #332 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    331: How to Notice the Awesomeness in Your Life and the World

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 6, 2022 48:57

    "Our life experience will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default." —William James To hold our attention on a singular point of focus exhibits a strength of being able to thwart the tugs of distraction. And to be able to thwart distraction takes conscious intention to notice, to choose to hold ourselves in the present and to be an observer. An observer, contrary to what many may at first liken it to being, is not a wallflower or someone who is shy or passive in how they engage in life. No, an observer demonstrates awareness of the world beyond their inner world, beyond their own thoughts, worries, past experiences and biases. An observer acknowledges that the moment in which they find themselves is far more awesome when we step away from the past and choose not to look past today into the future and instead hold ourselves and our attention in the present without expectation of what we 'must' see or find. There are many reasons for noticing of any sort - looking for the good, looking for the threat or simply observing - to become a honed, yet unconscious skill in our lives, and I will be addressing by the latter on this list of three can actually bring more awesomeness into your life. Depending upon our childhood or our relationship with any caretaker during our youth, or in a culture where and if we were perceived as inferior or the minority, if the day's events unfolded based on how we engaged, what we said or didn't say, did or didn't do, we may have become very skilled at noticing others' moods, behaviors and tone of voice. Such 'noticing' was for survival, for a 'better', less contentious environment. However, it wasn't a noticing of what all that surrounded us, but rather a noticing in order to avoid threats, pain or belittling most specifically and solely. If we were so fortunate to be raised and then as an adult live in an environment where joy was a regular and consistent feeling, good moments and peace-filled and happy feelings, even if different from those around us, were celebrated without judgment, then noticing the good is a muscle we have been toning and maybe didn't realize what a gift we were given. I recently read The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker, and his introduction shares that the environment in which many of us find ourselves, if we aren't exercising our 'noticing' muscles, can detract our attention and thus prevent us from living well or fulfilled. Walker includes a quote from philosopher Georg Simmel who in 1903 wrote, "The stimulation of modern life . . . wears down the senses, leaving us dull, indifferent, and unable to focus on what really matters." That was in 1903 which while I know many may say, well, it has only gotten worse, I would counter an understandable remark by saying, its a perennial issue, an issue of whether or not to choose to notice the awesomeness, to notice when we need to turn off the noise (if we perceive it to be noise) and live more presently rather than just let what comes and what happens happen. There is a reason stimulation of constant bombardment of noises - pings, quickly displayed images in movies, programming, advertisements and overlaying of music with films/shows/etc. - occur: to give you no space to think, and instead to tell you how to think. The only way such stimulation can work is if its creator knows where its audience is at the present moment. The advertiser, the media, the speaker has to meet the audience where it is, then they pull the audience (whose attention they now have) where they want them to go (or to think). If where they begin their messaging is too far removed from where we (the audience) are, their message or idea will not land and thus not be effective, so to this point, whether it is 1903 or 2023, the world around us will forever be trying to overstimulate us in order to wear us down to refrain from thinking and nudge us to just go along, letting us believe it was our idea. Our job is to be thinkers, critical thinkers, and choose to strengthen the skill of 'noticing' or as what is often described on TSLL blog, be fully present and thus mindful. So how exactly do we become better at noticing all that is around us and thus witness, observe and savor the awesomeness in our life and the world? How do we see all that is around us clearly without the veneer of societal biases and norms? I'd like to share with you a list ideas for doing just that - seeing clearly, seeing the awesomeness and thus discovering how quite sweet everyday life is exactly where you live, call home and make your life. 1.Slow down I can already see some readers/listeners' response to this first item on the list. The reasons for their inability to slow down are on the tip of their tongue.

    330: 25 Ideas for Enjoying British Culture in Your Everyday Life

    Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2022 40:13

    The British culture is varied and vast and while one person's affection for the culture may include punk rock along with their love for the Beatles, another's affinities may gravitate toward the gardening and afternoon tea. While my predilections lean more toward the latter, whenever a culture speaks to us that is not the one in which we grew up in or were raised entirely, we owe it to ourselves to continue to explore because our intuition is speaking. As many readers of TSLL and listeners of the podcast know, TSLL derives much of its content from two cultures, the French and the British, specifically the ways of life that invite us to slow down, savor and invest in quality moments and approaches rather than quantity and superficial living to gain approval. Instead the only approval we seek is from within. In episode #144 I shared 20 ways for welcoming the French culture into your everyday life, and so it is well overdue that I should share a similar list for welcoming the British culture into your everyday life. After having now visited London on three separate occasions and the English countryside on two separate occasions, I enjoyed compiling this list as my life in Bend is a marriage of both my love of the French and British culture, incorporating from both the everyday rituals I love, savoring approaches, tastes, décor and ways of life that reminds me of two cultures that tickle my curiosity and nurture my true self most sincerely. Inspired by my most recent visit, but also drawing upon all of my experiences and fortunate opportunities to explore Britain, let's take a look at how we can welcome different ideas into our everyday life the British culture. ~Note to readers: Be sure to listen to the episode as each item listed below is discussed in much more detail in the audio version. 1. Create a tea ritual in your everyday routine The feline host at The Rookery in London, Bagheera, joined us for our morning tea. 2. Know, use correctly with confidence and be able to explain the difference in conversation between saying England, Great Britain/Britain and the United Kingdom ~tune in to the audio version for this episode where the differences are explained Check out this detailed and easy to follow post about the clear differences. 3. Subscribe to either AcornTV or BritBox (or both), and enjoy multiple series, films and BBC programs, some within hours of their airing in Britain The Art of the British Cosy Mystery: 16 Cosy Mysteries to Enjoy 10 British Comedies and Dramedies I Have Enjoyed (and Recommend) 4. Grow a garden no matter how large or small your outdoor space or balcony Touring gardens was a primary focus on this most recent trip, and Sissinghurst Castle Gardens inspired many ideas as well as soothed the mind and being as I wandered the grounds for hours. 5. Invite others to 'tea' at your home or for a Cuppa 6. Celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year ~Have you entered the Grand Giveaway for your chance to win Fortnum & Mason's Jubilee Hamper? Click here to do so. 7. Welcome cozy upholstered furniture (reupholstered an old favorite) into your home décor ~Staying at The Pig at Bridge Place introduced many ideas for cozy upholstery inspiration. 8. Watch football (aka soccer), or not and instead watch tennis or cricket or rugby 9. Have biscuits (shortbread cookies) or something simple to nibble on when having tea with guests at your home 10. Tune in via television or radio to the BBC "The oldest national broadcasting organisation in the world with a global reach, covering world events 24/7 and producing world-class entertainment". 11. Watch Ted Lasso on AppleTV+ A new season will likely be released this late summer/early fall. The first two seasons can be streamed in entirety now. 12. Acquire a high quality umbrella (and use it when it rains) ~James Smith & Sons in London on New Oxford was a must-stop during my recent trip to London. 13. Layer with pillows, let go of matchy-matchy Instead keep in the same color tone, and mix large and small prints with the occasional solid. 14. Find time to spend time at the oceanside 15. Make and enjoy scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam 16. Watch Come Dine With Me (on Channel 4) Premiering in 2005 and running for 27 seasons, so far, this reality series is a hit across Britain. 17. Find your favorite color of a pair of wellies and have them on hand 18. Make and enjoy a traditional Cornish Pasty 19. Watch The Great British Bake-Off each late summer/early fall 20. Enjoy a proper English Breakfast What exactly is a traditional English Breakfast (we're not talking about the tea here)? Sausages, back bacon (not a crispy version, but rather more hearty as it consists of a little bit of the loin and is smoked), eggs, tomatoes - pan seared and seasoned with salt and pepper, mushrooms, fried bread, and beans. 21. Practice your French Did you know that the Queen looks over the weekly menu given to her by the chef who writes the menu in French, as has every chef dating back to Queen Victoria's reign? Yep, and just another lovely reason to incorporate both cultures in some way into your daily life. :) 22. Practice thoughtful manners Give personal space (an arm's length distance), use both a fork and knife when dining, don't ask nosey questions, please and thank you, respect the queue, refrain from superlatives (i.e. the best, greatest, worst, tallest, shortest, most exciting, etc.) 23. Make and enjoy Yorkshire pudding (and it isn't a 'pudding') 24. Welcome trays into your everyday for serving tea, meals, courses, etc. ~Be sure to enter this giveaway to win a high quality, handmade rectangular tray with glass top. 25. Enjoy daily walks with your pups and say hello to passing pups During this trip walking was done both in the heart of London (seen here with Big Ben in the background) and in the English countryside as we toured Sissinghurst Castle Garden. This photo was captured after just having departed from The Tube in the morning on our way to Westminster Abbey, followed by a visit to The National Gallery and then to Claridge's for Afternoon Tea. Needless to say, Norman was missed, and our reunion upon arriving back in Bend was quite sweet. Enjoy English tea at home in Bend, Oregon, with Norman as my companion. Bliss. SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY: 10 Things Anglophiles Can Do While Staying at Home 34 Ideas for Adding Cosy to Your Everyday You Might Be An Anglophile If . . . (30 Signs) Petit Plaisir ~Downton Abbey: A New Era -premiering in the states May 20, 2022 (in the UK April 29th) ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #330 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music ~Explore all of the posts shared during this year's Annual British Week. Today's episode wraps up all of the new posts that will be shared (16 in total), and be sure to enter to win all of the five giveaways by 4pm (Pacific) today. All winners will be announced in a detailed post tomorrow on the blog. Thank you to everyone who stopped by this week. What a fun week it was! To talk all things British's and reminisce and hear your stories of travel as well as future trips, I am excited for everyone as each of us welcomes the British culture in our own way of everyday life continues. Have a wonderful weekend.

    329: 20 Life Lessons Learned on My Recent Trip to England

    Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 71:36

        To feel intrinsically connected with a culture other than the one you were raised involves the feeling of a coming home. A 'coming home' in a way that seems impossible until you feel it first-hand, deep in the marrow of your bones. As I share in detail in the introduction of the month of May in my new book The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment, my first trip and time spent in the English countryside spoke to my inner most true self in a way I didn't expect, but completely understood. Returning to England this past April was life lifting. Noting not having visited since 2017, which I didn't realize consciously is nearly 5 years, ended a drought of British culture seen with my own eyes that I needed more than I realized. It was a figurative deep breath of fresh air that upon taking in, immediately brought a smile to my face and a calm to my being. While I didn't spend my time as I most enjoy for most of my days when I am in England, which is to rent a vacation rental out in the countryside and go about many days just savoring the everyday routines and visiting an occasional destination of interest, I was in Britain, and that was all that mattered. I saw places and spent time partaking in activities that further introduced a culture to me I had not done before, and for that I am grateful. In today's episode/post, I'd like to share with you 20 Life Lessons learned during these 3 1/2 days in Britain - both in London and in Kent as we took a train ride out to the southeast countryside of England and spent the night as we were intent to visit Sissinghurst Castle Garden, and oh what a treat that was. Let's take a look at the list: ~Note, if you tune in to the audio version, I share much more detail about each item on the list. Be sure to check out the podcast wherever you enjoy your favorite shows. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #329 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    328: 15 Ideas to Savor Paris

    Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2022 47:43

    Today I would like to share with you 16 ideas for savoring Paris fully no matter how short your stay may be. As I have written about in my first book and referred to in my third, the Paris Syndrome is real, but the magic of Paris is real as well. Admittedly, I thoroughly enjoy the French countryside and appreciate and utilize my time in Paris for punctuating my visits as my trips begin and then as I conclude them before making my way to the airport or heading to England via the Eurostar. While in Paris, I give myself a day or two to soak up opportunities to explore exhibits, try new and different restaurants, step inside places I am most curious about as there is always something I have yet to see with my own eyes or simply sit on a terrasse and watch the city go about its day. The energy, the city itself is like no other, and it does seem to breathe new life, excite new ideas and bring them to the forefront for my attention to cease. My recent trip found me traveling with my mother who I invited to join me as I wanted to get my feet back onto the terra firma of the two countries I adore and write about here on TSLL after the nearly three year hiatus. With this being my mother's first trip to either country (France and Britain), I decided against stepping outside of Paris and instead tried to give her a taste of what makes the City of Light so special. Seeing so much in the span of just under three days was a bit overwhelming, but each experience was quite special. However, with this being my seventh visit to Paris, it solidified even more concretely what I enjoy spending my time doing when I visit no matter how much time I have and what enables me to truly savor, appreciate and revel in any opportunity to be there in person. Let's take a look at the list. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #328  

    327: How to Change Your Brain So Your Mind (and thus you!) Can Thrive

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2022 57:09

        "Although your true nature may be hidden momentarily by stress and worry, anger and unfulfilled longings, it still continues to exist. Knowing this can be a great comfort."—Rick Hanson, PhD with Richard Mendius, MD, Buddha's Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom The mind's default is dialed to 'survive', not to thrive. However, the wonderful 'gift' that our brain has within it is the toolbox full of tools (i.e. capabilities) to learn the skills to change the dial to 'thrive'. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #327 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    326: A Life of Abundant Bliss: A Natural State of True Contentment

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2022 49:31

        "To attain wealth, the lasting kind, the kind that gives your life meaning, value and sustenance, base your daily existence on the generosity of spirit. Everything else you desire will follow of its own accord." —Deepak Chopra, Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth To experience great joy in our everydays is to experience bliss. If ever you find yourself smiling in the middle of your everydays just because, if you are me anyway, you are experiencing a bliss-filled moment. We may find it surprising or difficult at first to imagine the possibility to experience such a natural state going about a life routine that happens nearly everyday, but that is exactly the point to living consciously. This is exactly why choosing to understand what true contentment is makes all the difference. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #326 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    325: 10 Ideas for Reveling in the Spring Season

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 21, 2022 49:36

        Spring kicked off officially yesterday, March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere, and as I worked out in my garden, ever so gently, signs of spring were definitely emerging. Over the years here on the blog and podcast, there have been many posts celebrating the arrival of the spring season, and well, we all could be nourished by some brightness of spring, so I thought I would bring yet another such post/episode your way. Below are 10 more ideas for reveling in the start of a season that arrives with the buoyant determination to grow, restart and find the awesomeness that surrounds us. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #325 View the Show Notes - ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    324: 13 Ideas for Being Extraordinary at the Ordinary

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 7, 2022 56:47

    “Since most of us spend our lives doing ordinary tasks, the most important thing is to carry them out extraordinarily well.” —Henry David Thoreau It's morning, early in our house. Norman has finished his breakfast served in the mudroom which is adjacent to the kitchen, and I begin toasting my steel cut oats. The clanking of pans being chosen for the two egg omelette, the whisk of the eggs in the mixing bowl provide the soundtrack of our mornings, and Norman finds his way onto the rug in front of the stove to enjoy his daily dental chewy. An ordinary moment that happens every single morning and to me it is extraordinary. "Be extraordinary at the ordinary." —Andy Puddicombe, meditation teacher One of the common refrains I heard from TSLL readers over the past two years was while disheartened and pained by the reason for the slower pace of life, was that it was in fact a pace they appreciated. No longer did they have to fight back or expend energy to explain why indeed the slower pace suited them and nourished them. Now that lives and schedules and expectations are beginning to pick up steam and the ability to pursue, travel and experience those unique and intriguing occasions we longed for as we were unable to for some time return, the importance of choosing our pace in our everydays and how we hold ourselves in our everydays, having seen the difference in ourselves, a better time could not be had to continue to, or fine-tune so as to improve how we go about living in the ordinary moments. Often the word ordinary connotes a 'hum-drum' energy, an energy not desired or seen as inferior especially when we think of its relation to the word 'extraordinary'. However, all ordinary means is that it, whatever 'it' is, is commonplace. And for our purposes in today's episode/post, ordinary simply refers to the ability to have a day without strife, to tend to a job or a task to make money so that we can live our lives, to eat our daily meals and move about our home and community engaging with our family and coworkers and neighbors as they too move about a schedule similarly including the same elements. Why I gravitated to the quote I share above - be extraordinary at the ordinary - is because at its core we are choosing to focus on what is necessary, and so thereby we keep those necessities in our days, eliminate what weighs down or expends energy unnecessarily, and thus, we are choosing to focus on quality over quantity which is a core premise of living simply luxuriously. An example from Shannon's life of making ordinary extraordinary in our everyday lives As I type, it is early morning at Le Papillon. Norman is snuggled up next to me, softly snoring, and the house begins to warm up while the classical music plays softly providing a gentle easing into the day. The day, by objective definitions, is ordinary, but in this moment, it feels extraordinary. The companionship and good health of my pup, a home and thus a roof over my head to keep me warm and safe, the means (my computer) to do my work well, and the beauty of art (the music) to lift the day, yet keep it calm. How exactly do we elevate the ordinary to the status of extraordinary? Start with how you move through your everydays. While Henry David Thoreau's quote shared above is less known, it partners well with the quote that immediately springs to my mind, and more widely recognized, as is a mantra I display in my office as a way to ground me. I change the pronouns of course and do so as well here. "I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of [her] dreams, and endeavors to live the life which [she] has imagined, [she] will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." The awesomeness of life happens in the everydays, and guess what? The super majority of the days of our lives are everydays. Therefore we have so many opportunities to make them extraordinary. Let's break it down a bit further. Here is a list of concrete practices to incorporate into how you live in your everydays to welcome the extraordinary to be experienced: Understand the power of presence and then hold yourself in the present moment each day, each moment Learn the skill of savoring (doing so is one way to hold yourself in the present), listen to episode #323 Celebrate and appreciate all that is going well around you and don't hold it all inside - express it - say thank you, share what you enjoy (not what you dislike), be brave and vulnerable in sharing what makes you smile Slow down when you eat your meals - make them an opportunity to connect and refrain from watching the clock Grow and nurture a garden Take on the serious responsibility of caring for a pet and nurture them as you would yourself or a child (literally, clean their teeth, create healthy routines, regular exercise, build trust) Make and revel in daily, weekly or monthly rituals - make them special and important - and hold them firm as you would an appointment. Engage in one activity at a time Give yourself permission to not be engaged in any activity at all for a period of time each day - just be still, rest, relax Quality ingredients, seasonal fare for delicious everyday meals (fewer ingredients are necessary and appetites are satiated more quickly as the food is full of flavor and balanced for what the body needs Become a student of the mind, exercise (thereby strengthen) it regularly, put yourself in the driver seat so emotions that spring up due to events out of your control don't derail your day, your relationships, your life, as you know all emotions are evanescent. Fall in love with reading and have something to read that holds you in the pages - for pleasure or learning something new and deepening your knowledge. Thoughtfully and patiently curate a home, a wardrobe, a routine for your days that is an investment that will last and nurture your priorities. Each of the ideas suggested are merely a sampling of how we can elevate the 'ordinary' everyday to something extraordinary to experience each day. If you have been a long-time reader of the blog or listener of the podcast, you know that nearly all of the content you find shares inspiration, ideas and examples of how to do exactly this - live an extraordinary life in the ordinary moments. A key component, something we've tangentially talked about in a variety of ways is to understand why we/you place so much value on the extraordinary moments celebrated by outside sources - the awards, the status symbols, the life markers set by society one must achieve. While we are social creatures, and we want to feel included, we want to feel seen, appreciated, applauded and accepted, when we seek out healthy sources of each of the A's as David Richo describes as the 5 Key A's in a healthy adult relationship (ep. #287), we can find them and savor them in our everydays. So often we seek something that is already within each of us or capable of being nurtured with those in our everyday lives already. When we discover how rich we already are for living an extraordinary life in our everydays, the supposed 'grand' achievements become less tempting to pursue especially if doing so takes us away from what we know is quite special and we are quite fortunate to have - healthy, loving relationships, a career or calling that fulfills us, a home that gives us safety, shelter and security, a community that is at peace, small, yet significant opportunities to learn and grow. When we choose to embrace the choice of living extraordinarily in our everydays as Thoreau advises, it becomes easier to hold ourselves in the present moment, and because we are doing our best in those moments that each day offers, we go to bed each night more at peace and thus slumber is deeper, more nourishing which makes the new day that we awake to full of all the more potential to be extraordinary all over again. The cycle feeds itself, and we hold the key in how we hold ourselves, what we notice, what we engage in, how we engage, what we let go, etc. . Expend energy on the things that bring value, find strength to let go of unhelpful, unnecessary or detrimental tasks, habits or relationships, and your life will begin to feel quite extraordinary. Find inspiration for each day of the year, how to live well in your everydays in TSLL's new book - The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment (available now). ~Take a peek inside the book, listen to an excerpt and discover why the title - Le Papillon - was chosen in this 15 minute video with Norman and I. Petit Plaisir —Murder in Provence, BritBox (based on M.L. Longworth's Provençal mystery series) ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #324 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    323: The Art of Savoring: 6 Everyday Moments to Savor, Part Deux

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 21, 2022 59:38

    The clock neared midnight, the candles on the table still flickered just at a slightly lower height than when they were lit only six hours ago, the kitchen was full of dishes and the platters of food offered crumbs and hints at the menu that had just recently been shared and enjoyed amongst friends. The first dinner party at Le Papillon took place over this past weekend, and after being thoughtful about when to invite friends in a large gathering into my home, honoring each's comfort level and ensuring safety and health precautions were clearly communicated so all could relax and enjoy the evening (all friends were boosted, and tests were made available to ease everyone's mind), the date was set, and the menu began being planned as well as how to inaugurate Le Papillon as this would be the first dinner party ever held. My friends said yes. Each showed up with an enthusiasm and welcoming spirit that warmed my heart and reminded me of so much that I missed during these past two years. As each course was served, each glass poured - sipped and held up to toast, the volume of the playlist was turned up ever so slightly as the ease of stepping back into the conviviality of seeing each other, talking intimately, laughing heartedly and listening closely felt second-nature despite the delay of enjoying such a setting. As goodbyes were exchanged, fresh-from the oven cookies were given to each guest to enjoy on the car-ride home. I closed the door, turning around to look at my home and the visual reminder of all that just been shared and enjoyed. I sighed deeply and my smile grew widely. Gratitude washed over me, and I knew I wouldn't be going to bed soon. Not because there were dishes to be cleaned, but because I was energized in a way only such occasions can lift my spirits naturally. And so I reminded myself to savor. In episode #213 in 2018 I detailed in nine steps and ideas how to savor any given moment in which you find yourself wanting to remain in the present moment, taking all that you are experiencing in fully so as to hold it in your memory, but as well, to let it be what it is, not forcing it be what you want it to be. Today I would like to further the conversation on savoring and share with you 6 everyday moments to savor or moments in which we may forget to savor well, giving ourselves permission to take it in, slow down and revel in the awesome gifts received by the moment that we are delighting in. Studies have taught us that there are three different ways to savor life moments, and when we do consciously welcome the art of savoring into our lives, we improve our well-being. So while it may see indulgent, even selfish and at the very least unnecessary to engage in savoring, the truth is, to know how to savor, and incorporate doing so into our everyday life, is to increase the quality of our life. As detailed through extensive research by Dr. Jordi Quoidbach of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, the three types of savoring depend upon when and what you are savoring as it relates to time: Anticipatory Savoring: looking forward toward an event that will be occurring in your future the act of savoring in this definition would be reading books to prepare you for the event so you are well prepared, planning your wardrobe, watching films, preparing necessary information, anything that might enhance your experience when the event actually arrives Experiential Savoring: holding yourself in the present moment. using your senses to appreciate all that is taking place around you and not letting your mind wander ahead into your schedule or dilly-dally back into the past. Reminiscent Savoring: consciously savoring an event, moment, experience that while you know it would have an end, you hold space for the feelings that were created by the event in your memory. A concept introduced was Peak-Theory which is caused when we consciously plan a positive activity to experience at the end of the trip, occasion, moment that we had been long anticipated, greatly enjoyed when it arrived, but also knew it would last forever. The Peak-Theory concludes the moment with a grand positive note, so that we savor the experience all the more in our memories in Reminiscent Savoring. Much of what will be shared in the list below are moments that we have long anticipated and hoped would go well, and upon such an event going well, we consciously choose to create space for a Peak-Theory moment as a way to fully savor what has just concluded and deepen the much appreciated event even more. Following my first dinner party held in far too long, offered such such an opportunity to create a Peak-Theory experience. For me, when any of the moments listed below occurs, I give myself permission to just be still. I edit out most if not all plans or consciously choose to not make any new plans, and give myself an hour, a morning, afternoon, evening or, if I can, a full day, to just let the good memories wash over me one more time. Partly I do this so that I do not forget a moment. I will even sit down and put it all into my journal as I know I will forgot those small details that made the evening/event/experience so special. Usually I am home for this carved out time, so I will make sure I have a fridge with food for a good meal to be enjoyed, I will snuggle up in my cozy pajamas or leisure clothes, make a pot of tea, soak in a hot bath at some point during the day, maybe (most likely) take a nap at some point and if I am not at home, but perhaps traveling, I will let myself just wander about the city, town or countryside I am visiting, give myself permission to then lounge about in the accommodations and drink in the momentary state of appreciation, calm and giddiness I may be feeling. One of the key components and truths of savoring to remember is that savoring is all the more important because it will never be that all is going perfectly in our lives. We cannot wait to savor siting the need for there not to be any hiccups or stresses occurring - bills still need to be paid, jobs still need to be tended to, the world is still grappling with unrelenting pains. In fact, it is precisely because there will always be some kind of unwanted thing happening in our most intimate lives as well as the grander world that we must incorporate savoring into our lives. When we teach ourselves that savoring is not indulgent but necessary, when we acknowledge that such awesome moments, as the ones listed below, but there are undoubtedly many more, do not happen every day, we are living in the present, we are living consciously and we are elevating the quality of our lives. We are appreciating being alive, being human and are stress-levels gradually decrease, we become better able to navigate through unwanted moments and we find a deeper, steady, resting state of contentment. Simply put, savoring life doesn't require perfection, rather the art of living a life you love requires savoring. Let's take a look at ten moments in life to encourage you to savor by engaging in a Peak-Theory moment in which you linger a little longer after the much loved event/moment/experience in order to hold it in your memory and deepen your appreciation. 1.The moments as well as day after a long anticipated event - dinner party, celebration As shared above, whether you have just hosted a dinner party that went well, perhaps after a big event that required much coordination - a charity gala, a wedding, an anniversary party, a reunion, a birthday party, etc. - let yourself savor immediately after by doing whatever enables you to just take it all in again, reliving it, thinking about, letting yourself smile and doodle about, doing any task or no task at all that lets it all soak in even more. Take the next day, the next half day, whatever you need to let the awesome memories marinate so they won't soon be forgotten. 2. Upon seeing/reaching/holding in your hands the outcome you have longed worked so hard for Whether a work-related project or a personal goal being reached, once you have reached your mark - holding the published book in your hands, shaking hands with your new boss on the new job you just landed, finishing the home project you planned and saved for, arriving at the airport for the trip you saved up for - once you've reached where you've worked so hard to arrive, create a moment, hours, whatever time you need to drink in all that you have done to arrive where you long wished to be. Let yourself rewind and play back all that you overcame to be where you are so that you never forget and thus appreciate your arrival all the more. 3. Seasonal weather long missed - the first rain fall in weeks/months, the long anticipated snowfall, the break in the clouds after days of rain, clear skies after smokey, hazy, or foggy oppression Just yesterday, the snow finally came back to Bend. Even if for a few short hours, we have not seen snowfall in Bend since late December. I reveled in it. I stayed inside, let myself cozy in and just gazed outside and smiled, smiled and smiled a bit more. Mother Nature will bring what she brings, and each of us based our preferences and where we live have weather we most enjoy. When it has not happened in far too long, when it does arrive, let yourself savor. 4. Finishing a book that transported you, moved you, taught you something unexpected, deepened your understanding in a way you had never known before Upon finishing the book, reading the last word, last page, last chapter. You close it slowly, looking up at nothing in particular, and perhaps you smile as your thoughts seem to have been renewed and enlivened. Sit with this feeling of great expansion, and let yourself savor the gift you just gave yourself. You are changed, you are growing, you are living and that is an exciting place to find yourself and realize about yourself. 5. The first daffodil in the garden to bloom, the first of any perennial, tree blossom, favorite flower to return since the previous year Whether you sit outside and simply gaze in awe at the beauty that has revealed itself, let yourself delight in the awesomeness of Mother Nature. If the weather is warm, I will sit on my porch or somewhere nearby the bloom(s) and take more than a moment to be in that space with the natural beauty. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I will sit with a cuppa, and sometimes I will just close my eyes and feel the fresh air kiss my skin. Savor such arrivals because they won't arrive in their first form such as this for another twelve months. 6. Stepping foot on the terra firma of a beloved destination, country, town, or home after a long absence Perhaps you know you will be traveling soon or have just returned from traveling to a place you have longed to visit or return to after a much delayed absence. If so, think about how you will or can savor how it feels to see this place with your own eyes, feel the air of that place, the energy of that place, so you can hold it with you in your memory when you do have to eventually leave again. Is it visiting a favorite haunt and just sitting, taking all the going-ons around you? Is it taking part in a certain activity that you can only do at this locale? Or maybe it is a favorite food or drink you enjoy. Whatever it may be, let yourself savor the good fortune to have been able to return. Knowing how to savor and why it is important to do so not only strengthens our muscle of mindfulness as it involves the awareness of our mind and where we let it travel and where we hold our thoughts, it also shows us how awesome our one and only life is. When we pay attention to how certain moments that make us feel good in a natural way, we are honoring our most true selves. When we honor our true selves the quality of our days improves and thus the quality of our lives. The powerful truth of savoring is that it reminds us that whether the good moments in our lives are large or small, seemingly significant to the outside world or not seen at all, we become more in tune and aware as to how truly rich our lives are, and what we think we lack is actually far less than previously thought. In fact, we may have all that we need if we would only give ourselves permission to savor more regularly. The exciting truth is, everyday moments abound for us to savor if only we would have the courage to lose our inhibitions and revel in them and then hold them close so that we never forgot how great life truly is. ~Learn more about purchasing/pre-ordering a copy of TSLL's 3rd book - The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY The Art of Savoring: How to Invite the Skill of Savoring into Our Lives, part une, episode #213 Petit Plaisir The Oregon Chocolate Chip Cookie Happy Yoga: Simple Tools and Practices for Everyday Calm and Strength by Hannah Barrett Murder In . . . (French mystery series)

    322: Everyday Parisian Blogger, Rebecca Plotnick on Traveling to Paris during Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2022 43:45

        Photographer and Paris blogger, founder of Everyday Parisian, Rebecca Plotnick joins me on today's episode to talk about traveling to Paris during the time of Covid. Travelers are gradually beginning to make travel plans abroad, and as Rebecca traveled to Paris this past October, I invited her on the show to share her experience as well as assuage travelers who may wonder exactly how to meet the requirements for testing and proof of vaccination. This past August, Rebecca shared a detailed Q & A here on the blog during TSLL's Annual French Week; however, I purposely waited for her to join the podcast until after she returned from Paris as I wanted her to talk specifically about what travelers can expect and thus prepare for as they step back on plans to visit the City of Light. I recently read that Paris is the #4 destination American travelers have booked flights to for their summer 2022 travels, and as you will hear in our conversation, while visiting any time of year is wonderful, visiting in spring may be quite a special time to take in the natural beauty as well as the other sites and favorite tastes of a city so many TSLL readers love. ~NOTE: Since the recording of this episode, France as updated their requirement of a proof of vaccination (US Embassy for France) (French (French website - in English). You will need to secure a Vaccine Pass, but their online site is temporarily unusable. Currently what you can do, is as soon as you arrive in Paris, visit a local pharmacy, and for $40, show them your proof of vaccination (CDC card), as well as your passport, and you will be able to attain the necessary health pass to ensure access to all of the sites you came to Paris to see. ~Explore all French-Inspired episodes from the podcast here ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #322 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    9 Tips for Resetting into a Life Rhythm to Harmonize with Your Life's Desired Composition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2022 45:14

    December has the ability to take us out of our daily and weekly rhythms. With all of the joviality and celebration, we often excitedly step into the change and welcome the shift of energy and focus. Similarly, when we have chosen a temporary project to focus our attention, our life routine, where we place our energies, what is prioritized and how we go about our days voluntarily changes. However, what we realize, is the routine preceding December or the commencement of the project, if we intentionally cultivated it, was created for a helpful reason. As shared in episode #316, our lives need 'white space' as that is where we breathe, think, settle, found the ground and our balance before moving forward well into whatever is in front of us. To look at it another way, why is beautiful music so beautiful? Claude Debussy explains, 'Music is the space between the notes.' When our lives become too full, too jammed with demands, even if they lead us to supposed exciting results, our beings suffer, our peace of mind suffers and we ultimately end up exhausted gasping for space to catch our breath, unable to connect well or fully in a way that would actually foster the life we love living. Inspired by my own life at the moment, the week ahead is my first week stepping back into the weekly and daily routines I have longed desired to be a part of my everyday life. The contractors are done. I have one job to hold my focus during the workday hours and I have five days in front of me to reset. Resetting does not necessarily mean returning to what was. After all, the project has concluded bringing a result not previously part of your life, and if you are resetting after the winter holidays, you no doubt experienced either connections, conversations, or moments that deepened, awoken or informed you about something unknown prior to the month of December. You have the opportunity to apply what you are now aware of and enhance your way of dancing with your days and weeks. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #321 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    320: What If . . . This Was the Year It All Came Together? Are You Ready?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 51:25

      “You were brave and it paid off.” I am starting with where you will be at the end of 2022 because it is absolutely possible. Yes, it is. Today I have gathered up potential hoped for and desired scenarios you may hold in your heart as you stride into 2022 as Norman is striding onto the beach in the picture below. Paired with each I have included what each of us will need to do in our lives to ensure the best possibility for our hope to materialize. In other words, we cannot sit, cross our fingers and be passive. No, we must act, we must take part, we must engage and do so in constructive and secure ways to give the opportunity the best enticement to unfold before our very eyes. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #320 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    319: How to Trust, How to Be Trustworthy and How Understanding Both Will Transform Your Entire Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 65:08

    "As we practice unconditional trustworthiness, we notice a healing result: we are no longer devastated when others fail us. Our focus has shifted from ourselves as victims of others' betrayals of fidelity to our own commitment to trustworthiness. We still see that some people are not trustworthy, and we feel sad and injured. But as long as we do not follow suit, we are not so hurt as we once were—and we like ourselves more. This does not mean that we have become naive or gullible. It actually shows that we trust ourselves more. Then we become more discriminating in recognizing trustworthiness in others." —David Richo, author of Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love & Intimacy Often the word trust is expressed as a fundamental desire to find in other people, but what often is forgotten is how we play a role in both being fully trustworthy, but also trusting ourselves. Having self-trust, David Richo shares in his book Daring to Trust is one of the four types of trust we must possess in order to live a deeply enriching and fulfilling life. What are the other three types of trust you may be wondering? We will talk about those in today's post/episode. Over the course of this podcast, I have shared many discoveries from a vast range of books on how to improve the skills that will improve the quality of our lives (see the list of the most recent, the past two years, below). I found it especially poignant and timely that I read Daring to Trust as the year 2021 wound down. #318: How to Become a Secure Adult in Relationships, inspired by the book Attached #287: 5 Things to Do to Build Healthy Relationships and 4 Things Let Go (inspired by David Richo's first book - How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The 5 Keys to Mindful Loving) #307: How to Step into your Fullest True Self, inspired by Martha Beck's book The Way of Integrity #301: The Courage to Live Fully & Deeply, inspired by the book The Courage to Be Disliked #275: 34 Ways to Attain Emotional Freedom and Cultivate More Joy of Living, inspired by Judith Orloff's book Emotional Freedom #293: Choose a Life You Love Living Each Day (yes, it is possible), inspired by the book Nonviolent Communication: The Language of Life blog post: 9 Ways to Think Like a Monk, as taught by Jay Shetty Often we aren't certain or cannot pinpoint what exactly is preventing us from living a life of true contentment. Perhaps we have come quite close, have felt it from time to time, but not consistently. There are moments of deep fulfillment and peace, but it eludes us at other times, and we wonder what we have done wrong. For me, after reading the following books listed above (link to the episode each book inspired), I felt confident I had the ingredients to live a life of everyday contentment, and largely I did, but the said contentment would flit away when certain moments would present themselves, and so I kept searching. I told myself, there must be a missing ingredient I have overlooked. I must have missed a crucial skill for holding myself steadily in contentment each day. Turns out it was understanding what true trust is and how to be fully trustworthy all the while acknowledging that we (and others) are human. Both of these concepts are what will be discussed in today's episode/post. First, let's find common ground on what trust is. David Richo defines it simply as reliance on reliability. He underscores, "[Trust] is not dependency but rather an inner assurance, a confidence that gives us a sense of security." 1. Strengthen your trust IQ: Know when to walk away "We trust others when we feel safe and secure in their presence. Our insistence that we will spend time only with those with whom we feel safe increases our trust IQ. Over time, we become more adept at telling the difference between a con artist and a straight-up guy. When we feel unsafe with someone and still stay with them, we damage our ability to discern trustworthiness in those we will meet in the future." Understanding true trust in others and exercising trustworthiness in how we live our lives gives us the tools to know when to stay and when to leave. Richo's quote above brings to our attention the importance of how we hurt this skill of discernment each time we distrust what we know about trust. When we know we can trust, "we know longer have to protect ourselves" and the cultivation of true intimacy becomes possible. But first, what is adult trust? In other words, what is the trust we need to understand? 2. What is trust, adult trust? When I read the first chapter of David Richo's book I became immediately aware of how I had approached trust incorrectly throughout my adult life. I had placed the responsibility on the other to show trust or to be trustworthy, placing the power in someone else; however, I had it backwards and I disempowered myself in the process. Let me explain: Adult trust is "I trust myself with whatever you do" instead of "You will never hurt me." Sounds crazy to choose to let go of the latter statement, but again, you are taking back your power, taking responsibility for being trustworthy and being able to accurately determine if someone is available to be trusted. Richo points out that when we make this shift to adult trust, we remove the victim mentality and own our life, our choices and honor ourselves which improves our ability to observe those who are capable of being trusted as we move forward. By putting the trust in ourselves to discern if others are trustworthy, knowing we can walk away at the worst of it, speak up with assertiveness (not aggression) we exhibit security in ourselves. And when we demonstrate we are a secure individual, we attract healthier individuals to us as we are not seen as a burden to someone else, not seen as a victim in need of someone else's care. 3. True trust takes time As much as we desire to flat out trust the person who captures our eye, our libido, our hopes, to say we fully trust someone so quickly is foolhardy. In fact, we must count ourselves fortunate if we grew up in a family home where a healthy installation of trust as Richo calls it was part of our upbringing because we will know what true trust looks and feels like in others as we navigate into our adult lives. However, if such a childhood was not part of our life story, it is important to learn what true trust is so that we will begin to seek out those we can trust and let go of those we cannot. We forget that as a baby, our whole lives were placed in the responsibility and care of adults we didn't get to choose. Over the course of our childhood - 18 years or so - we either have a mountain of evidence that our parents were trustworthy to provide security and care or we don't, but it took time, and our parents were not perfect, so they made mistakes, but most likely, they are people you could trust. The imperfection is important to note, as is the time factor. Trust takes time. No matter how attracted you are to someone, no matter how hotly charged the chemistry that runs between you two, neither have anything to do with whether or not you can trust them. You may want to trust them, but you do not have enough experience with them, time with them or exploration of them to know whether you can or not. What does taking time to trust look like? We open a space to explore and let someone in, but gradually. We move forward when appropriate and accept when moving on is what will fit best based on the response or lack thereof from the other We keep our ego in check - we are not entitled to someone else's trust no matter how badly we want them to trust us. The building of trust is a two-way street, and each of us are in different vehicles having traveled different life journeys with trust. If someone hurts our trust as we have been open to them, we tell them - clearly but with courtesy - so they can know, and we can set a boundary and we observe if they learn from it (or visa versus - we listen we someone tells us we have hurt them and apply the lesson). Let self-disclosure happen in increments, not all at once. We are investigating with each interaction, listening closely, opening up gradually, and observing to see if the 5 A's (shared below) are present all the while exercising the 5 A's with each engagement. We engage with loving kindness, and also are loyal to an "unconditional yes to what is". We accept reality. We cannot control the other, only ourselves. We only have control over our own trustworthiness. "Our companion practice of the unconditional yes to what is directs us to be thankful for trustworthiness from others when it comes our way and be open to disappointment sometimes too." 4. Often sex is desired when it is trust we seek "Regarding touching, it is central to trusting." While there are the five languages of love as Gary Chapman talks about in his book which was the central focus of episode #87 - Romantic Love: What is it and How to Maintain It, touch is often something each of us is starved for. Healthy touch, loving touch, a safe touch. Richo brings to our attention that "in adulthood we may look to sex as a substitute for the touch and holding we need" when what we are actually seeking is a heart connection which can happen in many other ways of touching. However, because we know that other forms of touching prompt great emotional response, we are fearful of the emotion that will arise, so the sex gives us temporarily what we long for, but isn't fulfilling if it isn't with someone we trust. On the trustworthy side, which is something we have entire control over (we'll talk about what that is in the next point), when we trust ourselves (self-trust) we aren't afraid to express our emotions or let ourselves feel the emotions we have while with another, and so we are able to let go of our unnecessary inhibitions and extend touch - whether in an arm around the shoulder, a touch of the hand or a kiss. All of these actions again are exchanged with someone we trust and motivated by sincere exchange of feeling knowing the person with whom we are exchanging feels safe with us. 5. Be wholly trustworthy in your daily actions When we are trustworthy, David Richo explains, we are living with and engaging with the world with integrity and loving kindness. When we act with integrity, we may be rejected, we may even be laughed at, but because we are mature enough to understand how trust can be built with another, the opinions of those who reject or laugh or scoff matter less because we have strengthened our inner resources and know to walk away. We do not take revenge, retaliate or act in a way that is against our integrity, but instead engage with loving kindness. Richo shares this detailed list of the many ways you express loving kindness and integrity. Here is just a taste: do your best to keep your commitments, honor your word and follow through on tasks committed to take care of your body and your health (mental and physical) forgo taking advantage of others in a vulnerable situation simply because I have authority or the power to do so refrain from ingratiating myself to gain approval appreciate the love given, and have no expectations that I receive it ask for what I need with assertiveness, not aggression - ask for the love I long for otherwise how will someone know? accept, without judgment, the given of sudden unexplained absence, ghosting, or the silent treatment by others and do not use those styles myself 6. Build a full and healthy life: Rely on your partner for only 25% of your needs fulfillment It is not just a romantic partner we shouldn't rely on for more than 25% of our needs fulfillment but any one person. Why? If we remain in the child-parent trust model which is a survival approach, we are in a dependency-relationship which thwarts any attempt for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. Ironically, we are programmed to have our survival needs met - the child-parent model - but we must shift away from this comfort seeking and step into the challenge approach to living which requires that we become more comfortable with the unknown and cultivate more self-trust (we'll talk about this type of trust below). The shift occurs when we start seeking safety and security from within rather than outside of ourselves. When we make this shift, our world changes for the better. Our days and relationships more enriching and our contentment grounding. Richo shares a quote from Henry David Thoreau which I found quite succinct and accurate to describe what we seek in relationships, "I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse." So where does the rest of our need fulfillment come from if only 25% can come from any one person? It comes from the healthy social circle and self-care you have thoughtfully nurtured over time, and that doesn't just mean people. In this post, I share a list of different connections and relationships worth investing in and then in this post share the elements of a strong social well-being. Simply put, your friends, family, yes, even your pets, and of course your career, spiritual practice, Mother Nature and any other resource that strengthens your sense of safety and security make up the remaining 75% of your needs fulfillment. 7. Exercise, as well as be able to identify, the five A's In episode #287 - 5 Things to Do to Build Healthy Relationships, David Richo's first book How to Be An Adult in Relationships: The 5 Keys to Mindful Loving inspired the content. Detailing the five A's necessary to be exercised by both individuals in any mutually satisfying and fulfilling relationships, these 5 A's play a fundamental part in building trust. What are the A's? Attention Acceptance Appreciation Affection Allowing We are being trustworthy when we express each of these in relationships. We know someone is worthy of being trusted when they exercise them in return. (read this post to explore each of the A's in more detail). 8. When we have self-trust, there is no need, or desire, to control others "The yes of surrender to the limits in our relationship leads to serenity, the safety and security that happen from within us. Such surrender is our proof to ourselves that we really can trust ourselves. We begin to redirect our trust, an empowering venture." An intimate relationship takes time to build as both involved have taken the time to show they are trustworthy. When we trust the other, we gradually and then more largely surrender, and surrendering is possible because we hold fast and steadily to strong trust of ourselves. The surrendering has as much to do with being with another human being as it has to do with letting our feelings be what they will be in the midst of all the experiences that will arise. And letting ourselves fully feel these feelings without suppression. I speak largely of the awesome feelings that we may have thought were never possible. We are more comfortable with surrender because we trust ourselves to respond rather than react, to speak up with assertiveness not aggression when our needs are not being met as well as knowing what our needs are and why because we have done the homework of ourselves as well as acknowledged that we are still growing and learning and evolving. Richo writes about men in American culture and how often when men deny or step away from the potential of a relationship with a real, healthy and secure individual, stating the reason is because they fear losing their freedom, it is actually an inaccurate reason. Let me explain. If the person they are stepping towards is indeed real, secure and has self-trust, then what men actually fear is not the loss of their freedom, but rather the feelings that may arise when they surrender themselves to what the relationship, what the intimacy, may actually be and who they will become when they surrender to the truth of what they feel. In other words, two self-trusting adults who exchange all of the 5 A's create a space, a life of fulfillment without controlling the other. Why? Because we are not forcing the other to be engaged with us. They want to be with us because we each find comfort, affirmation, love and community with each other. It feels good because it is good to feel our best, and if we feel our best with them, even when we unintentionally make mistakes or life trips us up, so long as we are acting with integrity and loving kindness, the intimacy remains and actually strengthens. Such strength in a relationship takes time to build, just as trust does and that is why true intimacy, true fulfillment, true love, takes time and is never at first sight. 9. Strengthen your core trust and become curious about your own life journey Essentially our core trust is acceptance in the reality of the world. A letting go, a trusting in magic and truth of things beyond our control. It doesn't mean we do not engage or act passively, but we do not strangle life. We let it unfold while dancing with it. When we exercise our core trust we "generate a calm abiding, a serenity that energizes. The opposite of being in control is resting secure and being alert to what comes next." "To open to reality is to turn toward it and to trust that it makes room for us in that very same moment . . . all this happens as we let go of control and stay with whatever happens until it transforms." Understanding what core trust is and how it can open up our lives was an aha moment for me. In many ways over the past 12 years I have been exercising a core trust even though I was doing so unconsciously. When we take our life experiences and mine them for wisdom rather than wallow in them and lament about how things may have been different, we are choosing to embrace our journey and figure out what is our calling, how can we marry what we are passionate about with what the world needs - our dharma as Jay Shetty calls it and in so doing, our journey unfolds in ways we could never have imagined. We are open to possibility and brave enough to explore the unknown while staying grounded in our self-trust - our boundaries maintained, our values held once questioned and evaluated to truly be our own. "When I give up trying to direct the show and instead keep opening to how it unfolds, I unfold." Richo reminds that "without core trust, we can't relax our grasp and let reality unfold as it needs to . . . with core trust, we gain confidence that nothing can happen to us that does not offer a fulfillment of our ineradicable yearning for wholeness. Thus everything in our lives, whether from events or from people, is just what is needed for our unique story to be told." How exciting is that! How freeing is that to know that it is in the letting go, engaging, but not demanding or manipulating, that we actually infuse our life with awesome possibility. 10. As your trust strengthens, your wisdom grows "Wisdom requires us to open to what happens and be discriminating about what we let in." As we come to understand what constitutes trust in someone else, as we explore our own feelings to accurately access what our needs are and why we are feeling what we are feeling, as we communicate with assertiveness paired with courtesy our needs, as we experience the walking away and opening up to new people, as our self-trust grows, as our core trust grows, we are better able to know who to begin letting into our lives and who to walk past. 11. Understand where the need to control originates "Our need to control is actually not a need; it is a panic that our needs will not be met unless we take full charge." Richo's explanation of the truth he states above prompted many lightbulb moments to go off in my own head. I found myself shaking my head in agreement, acknowledging the truth of my own desire to control in a variety of different instances in my life, and I felt grateful to finally have found his insights as they helped me better understand myself. The truth is, when we demand to control, we let go of the core trust we must have in order to live a life of fulfillment. The ego wins when we require something go exactly our way, and when the ego wins, we are relinquishing the belief in our own powers. We are far more capable than we acknowledge in such moments, and letting the ego win keeps us in a state of dependency rather than trust in the world around us and in ourselves. 12. The four directions we give our trust In today's episode so far we have talked about self-trust (#8) and core trust (#9), and now I would like to talk about the other two because once we have all four types of trust being exercised in our lives, the quality of our relationships and our experience of life, thus a life of fulfillment, elevates. When we exercise self-trust we become better able to determine who is trustworthy and who to continue to get to know in a variety of types of relationships. Exercising self-trust in this way ushers in the third type of trust - interpersonal trust. Interpersonal trust - Richo defines it as "we believe that they have our best interests at heart. We trust that they will come through for us, stand by us, and be there for us when we need them. We believe they will not knowingly or purposely betray, disappoint, deceive or hurt us. If they do, we trust ourselves to handle those experiences by grieving and attempting to reconcile if that is appropriate to the situation." As we nurture a variety of interpersonal relationships of trust, we make sure not to place more than 25% of our needs in any one relationship. We do so because we trust ourselves, we have a core trust and, to introduce the fourth type of trust, we have trust in a higher power. Do not jump to conclusions. A "higher power" as defined by Richo "can mean belief in a personal God or in any force or spirit in nature or the universe that transcends ego and can be relied upon for grace and support. In many ways, our core trust and trust in a higher power are one. Richo is not saying our destiny has already been pre-ordained or even that there is intervention by something we don't understand. No. What he is saying is that we can have "confidence that no power on earth can hold us captive to hate or prohibit us from loving." This does not require us to have faith in a literal God, but rather to understand something we cannot fully understand but have the courage to believe in the 'friendliness of the universe'. Richo goes on to talk about Grace-full Coincidence in his epilogue, further encouragement to each of us to let go, act with integrity and loving kindness in each of our days, be engaged with the world, but not demanding, and trust in something magical. He poses this question: Does the universe position things so carefully that our hearts can open at just the right time? What mysterious power makes it all come together just like that? Is it that friendly? How can we ever doubt that we can dare to trust? My immediate response and annotation in my book was, I hope so. And so I am consciously daring to trust, to open my heart to that possibility and take control of what I can, which is only myself and how I engage. Remembering to exercise the 5 A's, remove the stories from my mind and walk with patience and self-trust along with all of the other trusts, grateful for the gift of being here on this earth. I dare you to do the same and am confident your life journey will delight and amaze you when you do. Explore the full book here. Petit Plaisir —John Coltrane's Giant Steps album ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #319 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    318: How to Become A Secure Adult in Relationships

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 51:13

    "If we feel secure, the world is at our feet. We can take risks, be creative, and pursue our dreams." —Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A., authors of Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love Until we know the priceless gift of peace security in relationships of any type bring into our everydays, it can seem unfathomable to trust such peace is possible. On the flip-side, if all that we have ever known due to the good fortunate of our upbringing with secure, loving parents and community is a life and way of being that enables us to try, explore, and soar, then it isn't until we meet someone or try to engage with someone who is insecure that we realize the awesomeness of being secure in a relationship. During the height of the pandemic lockdowns, a book that was published in 2010 hit record sales as those in relationships sought advice on how to strengthen their relationships, those desiring a relationship inquired how to be and find and build a secure relationship and wherever else readers may have fallen on the continuum of wondering about relationships picked up the book Attached.: The new sequence of adult attachment and how it can help you find—and keep—love by Dr. Amir Levin and Rachel S.F. Heller. Without the tools or knowledge to understand what feeling and behaving in a secure way might be, we do our best to navigate the emotions that naturally arise when we take the risk of meeting someone knew and intertwining two different people's lives into one, yet hoping to ensure contentment for both. However, if we don't know ourselves well, don't know how to communicate clearly, yet kindly and without harm, and our partner doesn't either know themselves well or doesn't communicate effectively, how are we know what works for the two individuals involved? The good news for all of us is that having a Secure attachment style can be learned. We are not born with or without it. We are taught or modeled different attachment styles during childhood and then through adulthood; the key is to be aware and knowledgeable of each, and to acquire and practice the skills of being Secure. And as for seeking out a partner, become a secure adult enables to understand what is shown from those we consider entering into a relationship with so that we choose wisely and engage in a healthy manner to put the odds in our favor of finding and keeping a healthy, loving relationship. "Time and again, research shows that the best predictor of happiness in a relationship is a secure attachment style." Benefits of being a secure individual in life and in relationships: high levels of relationship satisfaction high levels of commitment in relationships high levels of trust in relationships What are the characteristics of a secure individual? First, it is important to note that you cannot determine simply by looking at someone that they are secure. Simply because someone is friendly, likable and sociable does not mean they are secure. The author adamantly refutes the belief that a secure individual can be determined by their "charm, composure and/or self-confidence. As with other attachment styles, personality or physical traits won't give secures away. Secure people fit almost every description across the personality spectrum." But back to the question: what are the characteristics of a secure individual? "(1) They are programmed to expect their partners to be loving and responsive and (2) don't worry much about losing their partner's love. (3) They feel extremely comfortable with intimacy and closeness and (4) have an uncanny ability to communicate their needs and (5) respond to their partners' needs." I picked up the book early this fall after reading an article in The New York Times by Foster Kamer. While I had heard of the three, technically four different types of attachment styles, I had never deeply explored them to fully understand them. Of course, being, feeling and engaging with Secure attachment styles sounded to me to be a no-brainer, but I knew I didn't always fall into that category . . . and I wanted to. For the sake of my own well-being, but also for all relationships I was part of, especially an intimate, romantic relationship, I chose to pick up the book and become a student. Guessing how to be Secure didn't seem to me to be a recipe for success, so I chose to be a student, purchased the book, and have since read it three times, re-reading certain sections based on what I needed to more fully understand. Once I read the book I knew I wanted to bring it to listeners of the podcast and readers of TSLL blog, so today, I will be sharing 13 skills and insights for becoming a Secure adult in relationships. By no means is what I share with you today the full breadth and depth of what the book details, so I highly recommend, if this topic interests you, to pick up the book. Let's get started. ~Note to Readers: Be sure to tune in to the audio version as each point listed below is discussed in detail, content that is not included in the written post. 1. Understand the Dependency Paradox "Does [being programmed to connect with someone special] mean that in order to be happy in a relationship we need to be joined with our partner at the hip or give up other aspects of our life such as our careers or friends? Paradoxically, the opposite is true! It turns out that the ability to step into the world on our own often stems from the knowledge that there is someone beside us who we can count on—this is the "dependency paradox". (p. 29) "If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right person to depend on and travel down it with that person. Once you understand this, you've grasped the essence of attachment theory." 2. Understand your current attachment style (it can change, it is not permanent) "Attachment styles are stable but plastic. Knowing your specific attachment profile will help you understand yourself better and guide you in your interactions with others. Ideally this will result in more happiness in your relationships." Know thyself. A common refrain here on TSLL blog and podcast, but the truth is you need to know where you are now in order to acquire the correct instructions to arrive at your desired destination. 3. Learn how to effectively communicate your needs - be clear and kind "[Secure individuals] are able to sensitively and empathetically—and most importantly, coherently—discuss their emotions". Speaking at someone is different than speaking with someone, and how we speak with someone will determine the potential for our needs to be heard. To speak with kindness is to be inoffensive and to "not put your partner on the spot". Use "I feel" statements or "I need" statements to express why you wish to share what you are sharing. The practice of effective communication stretches across all types of relationships and it is never too early or too late to start. Often our goal in communicating is to gain what we desire, but the truth is, we may not immediately gain what we desire, but we will at least become clear about who can or cannot be what we need or give us what we need. Of course, immediate actions from our partner, friend, child or boss doesn't mean they cannot or won't be able to as sometimes it takes time to process, to work on logistics, etc., but if you don't effectively and kindly communicate your needs, no one will know them. "Effective communication is the quickest, most direct way to determine whether your prospective partner will be able to meet your needs." 4. Don't play games 5. Refrain from engaging in the 'relationship dance' Defined as 'one partner getting closer while the other steps back in order to maintain a certain distance in the relationship at all times', with a secure partner you don't step too closely too quickly, simply at a steady and reasonable pace that the two people involved feel comfortable moving. There is no rushing as there is a groundedness in one's self and a secure person is "comfortable with closeness" and isn't afraid to step forward once they know themselves and who they are stepping toward or someone they want to get to know better. This is not to say a secure person knows it will work out, but rather they have a sense of steady assurance in themselves and that what they give is real and worth exploring. ~Post to explore: 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Self-Worth 6. View "sex and emotional intimacy as one" Distance is created when the two are separated. Again, such a view speaks to the ability to be comfortable with closeness once both partners have been vulnerable beyond the bedroom as they get to know each other and are drawn to each other beyond the physical chemistry. 7. Responsive and expect it in return (remember, no games) Having communicated their needs and listening sincerely to their partner's needs, the reciprocity of responsiveness rather than dismissal strengths the trust and intimate connection. 8. Be available Physically and emotionally being present for your partner is the action of a secure individual. When we communicate our needs and tend to them as well as observe our partner is responsive to our needs, we in turn are also showing up and making ourselves available. 9. Support without interference "Provide behind-the-scenes-support for [your partner's] endeavors." Allowing your partner to pursue what they are passionate about, helping without over-taking or taking the credit so that their gifts shine is the support of a secure individual. As a secure individual you are helping because you want to support your partner, yet are securely tending to your own passions and need no spotlight, need not be in control, rather only present to help as needed without being recognized by anyone other than your partner. 10. Understand there are many potential partners 11. Don't feel a need to act defensively or punish In other words, secure individuals can see a situation more objectively. They can effectively diffuse the conflict, observe in their partner what really provoked their outburst or anger, and not add fuel to the fire. 12. More likely to step into a healthy relationship We must keep in mind that a secure individual tends to be savvy in their partner selection. It doesn't mean if you are secure, you will always select a secure partner, but through clear and effective communication as the getting to know you phase unfolds, you can observe red flags early-on and find the right partner more easily. I didn't say quickly, but does help you not step forward too far with someone who would not be the right person. 13. Expects to be treated with respect, dignity and love Dovetailing with #12, a secure person begins any relationship with effectively communicating their needs which is why knowing yourself highly benefits the ability to choose a partner to begin to get to know. The fundamental foundation piece for a healthy relationship is believing, yes, knowing, you are worthy of respect because you extend it in your everyday life. When you present yourself to a potential partner holding yourself in a space of self-respect, knowing you deserve to be treated with dignity and love, then you can quickly discern to whom to begin engaging with and whom to walk away from. Of course, even as this book points out, research findings change with hindsight, time and more examination, and it is never wise to take an entire book at face-value but rather to read with a critical mind and discerning objectivity. However, what I am confident you will find is that no matter what your relationship status when you apply the tools and skills explored and taught in this book, you will find a deeper peace and inner calm that you may not have had prior to including them in your life. After all, at the core of the definition of contentment is to find a peace within no matter what is swirling about outside of you. How we choose to engage, what we step forward toward and refrain from engaging in determines the quality of our lives, and if we apply the knowledge we have about ourselves and what we desire to cultivate in our everydays which absolutely, relationships play a significant role, we begin to realize the amazing gift we give ourselves when we become a secure adult. Petit Plaisir —Winter Flower Bouquet with Ornamental Cabbages Click on the link above to learn more about how to arrange your own bouquet - so simple and quite inexpensive (under $20). SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY 5 Things to Do to Build Healthy Relationships, episode #287 Grown-Ups vs. Adults: 15 Differences 34 Ways to Attain Emotional Freedom and Cultivate More Joy of Living, episode #275 ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #318 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    317: How to Handle Travel Plans that Go Awry

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 26:04

    The busy holiday travel season is upon us. After two years in which many people have not been able to gather with loved ones, the liklihood that even more people than usual will be hopping on the road, the plane or the train this time of year is to be expected. Even with unforeseen hiccups along the way, arriving at the doorstep of a loved one will often erase any stress caused and make for a story to chuckle about over a glass of mulled cider or while sipping brandy after a long anticipated delicious meal with hearty, heated, yet playful exchange. Having just shared one idea for handling well travel headaches (finding the hilarity in it all and sharing a moment with a loved one to savor), I'd like to share a few more to help assuage the stress and enable you to move past them quickly so you may enjoy your visit, stay, and the experience you have been eager to partake in after having planned, saved and waited. Each of the examples have been experienced first-hand. I feel fortunate to not have experienced others that are far worse, so can only speak to my own travels (thus far and fingers crossed for continued good fortune). With that said, let's take a look! 1.The accommodation's description was less than accurate in a disappointing way Just this past August, a vacation rental on the coast boasted their lovely accommodations (a place we had never stayed before); however, they neglected to share important information that would have steered me away as I was traveling with my two boys (lots of stairs and very little grassy areas for quick potty breaks). However, while only planning to stay one night, I did what I could to make it easier for my pups, and had I planned on staying more than one night, I would have found a different rental or changed my travel plans because enduring accommodations that make everyone uncomfortable is not something to spend money on. Waking early in the morning, be scooted down the coast for a beautiful early morning walk on a new-to-us beach. Had the accommodations been lovely, we may have lingered longer, but I looked for the "lemonade" in the situation and found a lovely outdoor excursion that I had not planned on. As well, I chose not to write a review as I find it unhelpful to leave negative feedback when my expectations may not be someone else's. I have in the past directly emailed the owner of rentals to provide feedback that may benefit future travelers, but preferring to only share positive reviews online while sharing specifics as to why I enjoyed my stay. This approach is a way to extend gratitude and also leaves me with peace of mind. Sometimes we travel with high expectations, and venting in the form of a negative review isn't as therapeutic as we may initially think it will be. The next time the accommodations you have arranged are not what you had hoped, don't be afraid to change your plans. The spontaneity may usher in an unexpected wonderfully memorable moment or experience. 2. You cannot find your vacation rental (or think you cannot) During the summer of 2018, I had finished a week of cooking with Patricia Wells and was now in my rental car (picked up in Avignon) to the Luberon area of Provence - the Golden Triangle as it is often called. Searching for a hamlet off one of the many less traveled roads that wind through vineyards, I had turned around and retraced the notes received from the owners multiple times. Having driven through Gourdes (gorgeous!) which I later learned was too far southwest, and then finally arriving at the home, I scratched my head: A very nondescript property with no similar vignettes as shown in the online posting and nobody to be seen. I had to be at the wrong house. I asked one of the neighbors who was out in their yard if they knew the owner (whose name I had from our correspondence). It turned out they were also a traveler, traveling with their family from Australia enjoying their yearly stay in the region. Unable to determine if indeed I was in the right place, I emailed the owners. It turned out I was at the correct location, and they were on their way to open the doors. Their home was hidden behind large barn doors that upon opening revealed a gorgeous Provence three-story refurbished house (view the tour here). While I waited to hear from them, I stayed put, stepped out of my car and began walking around the hamlet, capturing pictures of sunflowers, and the sublime Provençal blue sky. Turns out I could trust my directions and my sense of direction. Sometimes we become a bit more flustered and doubt our ability to read directions properly when we are in a new place, a new country and communicating with someone new. The best advice I have found is to yes, double-check and triple-check the directions by rereading them slowly. If you have someone else with you, have them read the directions as well. Follow the directions as best as you can and when you arrive, if nobody is about yet to let you in (should that be part of the accommodations), let yourself wander about and get to know the area. Chat with neighbors to ask for help or to ensure you are in the right spot. And absolutely reach out to the owner to alert them to your arrival. A Villa in the Golden Triangle of Provence: Villa Dæsch (tour the entire property here) 3. Lost luggage With more reliable tracking than ever before, most often if our luggage doesn't arrive when we do, it isn't lost. It simply hasn't arrived yet. The bags may have been put on a different plane leaving for the same city that hasn't landed at the airport. However, as your bags are not on the conveyer belt, be sure to check in with the information desk in the luggage area to let them check where your luggage actually is and where and approximately when you can pick it up. Upon arriving in France in 2018, one of my pieces of luggage was not on the same plane as I had been (one was and I saw and collected it per usual). I checked in with the luggage information desk, they scanned the bar code I had received when I checked my luggage, and they were able to tell me at which station to pick it up and when it should be available. They were right and within 30 minutes to an hour, I was reunited with my bag. 4. Miscommunication When traveling to a country where English is not the primary language spoken, making reservations can be difficult if not done online. When I chose a small boutique hotel for my accommodations in Paris a couple of years ago, the manager's English was about as strong as my French, actually his English was far better than my French but not by much. While I did successfully make my accommodations, the taxi pick-up at the airport didn't happen for some reason, and completing payment was delayed for three weeks (I began my trip in Paris at the same location I ended it three weeks later). However, all of this may sound avoidable or absurd to us Americans who expect everything to happen swiftly, but the manager of the hotel particulier was not worried in the least, especially about the latter snafu. "We'll finish payment when you return. Do not worry!" Often we bring our culture conditioning into situations - what causes us stress, our expectations while visiting - when what we need to do is take a breath, knowing we have what we need in order arrive, stay and enjoy, and then let go. Communicate as much as needed to confirm, say what you desire to know repeatedly, but then take a breath and enjoy your stay. What eventually helped me to relax was my knowing the credibility of the accommodation, so after a quick phone call with the manager after my first stay, I chose to relax and yep, indeed all was tended to and paid for when I returned. When we've done the necessary homework ahead of time, often the best thing to do is the reason we take vacations in the first place - relax. Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, take a tour here. 5. You don't get what you don't ask for I have quickly realized, especially in larger cities, if you don't confirm what floor, what type of view, etc. you want, you likely will not get the one you imagined. Case in point, for a one-night stay in London before my flight back home to the states in November 2017, I stayed at the Portobello Boutique Hotel in Notting Hill (see the street on which the hotel is located below in my IG post). A beautiful hotel and wonderfully located, my room was in the basement. The room itself lovely, but as someone who doesn't like basements as a general rule, I was surprised. Well, at least the price was nicer than a room on a higher floor, but still, it is always important to share your preferences. Even if they cannot accommodate them or only a few of them, at least you did your best to tailor your experience. 6. You forget to pack your necessary toiletries Last New Years' the boys and I headed to the coast to ring in the new year. I packed all of my necessities neatly in their containers, totes and bags, and set out for the four hour drive. Upon arrival at my accommodations, I unpacked my entire suitcase and situated everything as to make the home-away-from-home just that, as much of a home as possible. Well, I couldn't find my toiletries bag, and I remember vividly packing it . . . ahhh . . . I packed it, but I then left it on my bedroom chair where was neatly sitting when I arrived back home after our two days and nights away. What to do? Not wanting to incur too much expense but still needing necessary items such as moisturizer for my skin, floss for my teeth and contact solution, I made a quick trip to the local grocery store. I didn't purchase anything terribly expensive, but I did purchase items I would use again should this mistake occur. Those items now are left in my main piece of luggage and NEVER leave it as my toiletries bag that usually prefer to bring requires I add a handful of items I use at home on a daily basis (I do have travel sizes of most items that never leave my luggage, but again, the toiletry bag was removed to stock it and never made it back to the main luggage piece). I will acknowledge with great thanksgiving, if these are the worst of travels gone awry, all is going quite well. The truth is, very often most of our travel plans go very well, even unexpectedly amazing. To remember to celebrate when such is the case is a practice in gratitude and holding ourselves in the present to witness and savor fully. Travel of any kind requires us to be malleable, to stretch, to bend, and not to break and throw in the towel when all does not go precisely as we had hoped. Perhaps yet another lesson presents itself: set aside expectations and instead while plans may be in place, bring your preparation without rigid and narrow expectations of what must happen. Let it all unfold as it will and engage with your whole, true self so that you can drink up the beautiful surprises, connections and memories created along the way. Petit Plaisir —Bingley Brass Candlesticks (with and without handle), Rowen & Wren Through Wednesday November 24th, use promo code GIFTSAPLENTY to save 12% off your order. View all TSLL Petit Plaisirs here.  ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #317 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    316: How to Cultivate A Life Full of Vitality (and how it contributes to your overall well-being)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 49:34

      "Vitality involves intersection with and participation in the world around you. It is not predicated on taking a year off to find yourself. It doesn't require making a drastic change. You don't need to lose yourself in self-reflection. You don't need to overhaul your existence, or reinvent your life, or wait until the chaos [subsides]." —Dr. Samantha Boardman, author of Everyday Vitality What is Vitality? Vitality elevates the quality of each day, and it is something you cultivate with your actions, engagements and approach to living. "Health of spirit" is an oft definition of vitality, a "sense of feeling psychologically and physically up to the task". Most directly, "Vitality—the positive feeling of aliveness and energy that lies at the core of well-being." get the most out of each day created by deliberate actions associated with positive health outcomes such as (1) productivity; (2) better coping skills when stress and challenges arise; (3) greater mental health; (4) ability to manage negative emotions It is important to note what writer and psychologist Andrew Solomon shares. "The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality." Picking up Dr. Samantha Boardman's book Everyday Vitality: Turning Stress into Strength initially gave me pause. First of all, based on previous readings and research and my own experience, we shouldn't be managing stress, we should be assessing and eliminating it at the source when and where possible. So it was her subtitle that almost had me backing away from reading the book. However, as soon as I read the introduction it was clear, much of the stress that is in our lives is self-made and thus can be reduced and/or eliminated. Her book is full of specific approaches, backed by research and multiple studies to demonstrate the significant shift and beneficial shift our lives make when we approach our everydays - how we interact, that indeed we do interact with the outside world and how we hold ourselves as we navigate through our days - thoughtfully and intentionally. In other words, actively engaging rather than passively observing. Today I have ten approaches, tips and tools for improving the vitality in your everydays. There are far more than ten to be found in her book, so hopefully today's episode will be a nice taste of what you may want to explore more if you pick up her book. Visit the show notes -

    315: Being in Love, Being HSP and Being at Peace with Ourselves and the One We Love

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 59:41

      "We fall in love harder and fear it more because we are drawn to the depth and complexity of the emotions we are going to unleash, but we also know that the consequences of such deep love are unforeseeable, a situation we never relish."—Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You Being in a loving relationship, of the romantic persuasion, can seem evanescent or near impossible for HSPs (a Highly Sensitive Person). In episode #44 of this podcast (one of the most downloaded episodes of the show), I detail the many gifts of being an HSP (of which I self-identify). Sharing 26 awesome benefits of identifying as HSP after reading Dr. Elaine Aron's first book  The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You ushered in a breath of not only fresh air, but relief as I felt that finally I understood what for my entire life existed, but I could not understand or explain, let alone receive understanding from others who just didn't 'get me'. Enter into the world of trying to be one part of a healthy, loving, respectful, equally fulfilling romantic relationship, and my confusion did not dissipate however because even though I tried my best to communicate what I now better understood about myself, I was missing a better understanding of how to first meet people more likely to mesh well with me. I was looking in the wrong places, misreading the indicators of my own feelings I had relied on my default in my pre-HSP-aware years. Introduced to Elaine Aron's second book The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, I found a valuable resource that translated the once foreign language of my own self and feelings and also gave me tools to successfully and more confidently move forward. In today's episode I am going to share 10 aha moments I found while reading the book, but there are FAR more than 10. Consider this a taste of what you will find in the book which is now a highly annotated book in my library and one I am thankful to be able to return to as my life journey unfolds.   ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #315 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    314: Dive Deep into Life Instead of Paddling on the Surface

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 38:17

    "The missing element of oxygen, when brought home, gives us time in which we can record the tiny, visceral, magnificent details of living. The shower after a sweaty workout, a belly laugh with a friend, the warmth of fine whiskey, rain on the roof, or a tight and lasting hug . . . Busy can make you miss it all. Busy keeps you paddling along the surface of the water instead of diving down to see the parrot fish and the fan coral." —Juliet Funt, author of A Minute to Think: Reclaim creativity, conquer busyness and do your best work A thinking life is a happy life. But if you don't give yourself regular time to think well, living well is near impossible. Inspired by my own aha moments most recently as work shifted temporarily to being at home during the pandemic restrictions for in-person work environments, but also throughout my life when I would notice my productivity rise and fall based on the rigidity of my schedule, I witnessed which approach blatantly not only produced the best productivity, but the most joy as well. They were not mutually exclusive. In fact, each time I have had the opportunity to travel to France, I witness the daily routines of the French, the long lunches, the deliciously untempered dinners that stretch into nearly early morning, and I remind myself to value quality engagement over the quantity of doing more and fitting more into a day's work or even play schedule. A new book, A Minute to Think provides encouraging evidence predominantly from inside the corporate world of the benefit of shifting away from more and instead investing in less. Today I would like to share with you seven ideas to ponder when it comes to how to live a life, that includes work, but is not driven by work, but rather living a fulfilling life, that brings you deeper contentment, joy and satisfaction. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #314  

    313: The Importance of Finding Meaning in Life: 9 Lessons taught by Viktor E. Frankl

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 58:54

    "Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a 'secondary rationalization' of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning." —Viktor E. Frankl First published in Germany in 1946, Viktor Emil Frankl's seminal work Man's Search for Meaning and the desire to write his first book (to be titled The Doctor and the Soul: An Introduction to Logotherapy) that largely gave him the will to live while imprisoned at Auschwitz during WWII. Marrying psychology and philosophy, a primary focus of his work throughout his life, Frankl shares "Certainly, my deep desire to write this manuscript anew helped me to survive the rigors of the camps I was in." Now with more than 16 million copies sold worldwide, Man's Search for Meaning continues to be a book to read, understand and reread. While not having the opportunity to read it until now, I am grateful that at least I finally did read it, and I would like to share with you today nine lessons learned about the importance of finding meaning in our lives. Much of the premise of a simply luxurious life is centering our lives, our selves, or perhaps a better word is grounding ourselves in priorities that marry what we can uniquely give, but also what the world desperately needs to progress and cultivate a more civil, loving and peaceful place for not only ourselves, but future generations. At first, such a task given to each of us may sound ginormous and far too weighty a task, but when we drill down, ultimately, love, sincere love, being able to share our true selves and be accepted begins to create a harmony of contentment that cannot help but create a symphonic awareness grounded in a desire to live more peacefully and lovingly with each other. Too far reaching some may contest, but if my own life journey, which indeed is filled with good fortune and privilege beyond my choice or control, demonstrates, when we have not found our meaning, when we are discontent, building healthy relationships is incredibly difficult, and often fraught as while trying to make sense of our lack of purpose, we displace our pain, so I wholeheartedly find worthwhile value in exploring what Viktor Frankl teaches, and hope it will offer tools for you as well to tap into what gives you meaning and share it with not only the world but yourself so that your everydays may be full of contentment. Let's take a look at the nine lessons. 1.Choose to pursue the will to meaning Frankl defines the will to meaning as "the striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence". For when we find our individual will to meaning, the healing begins. Existential frustration subsides, neuroses find solutions, anxieties wane and contentment soars. 2. Find your meaning, find your way forward Frankl shares an anecdote of an American diplomat who came to his (Frankl's) in Vienna discontent with his current career. Following five unfruitful years with his former psychological analyst who claimed the discontent came from the need to reconcile himself with his father as the analyst made a parallel with the father and the U.S. being a superior figure, upon visiting Frankl, and following only a few visits, the patient realized with clarity that his "will to meaning was frustrated by his vocation, and he actually longed to be engaged in some other kind of work. As there was no reason for not giving up his profession and embarking on a different one, he did so, with most gratifying results." 3. Nothing is wrong with you if you feel existential distress; in fact, you are heading in the right direction Frankl points out, moreso for practicing therapists, to not equate existential distress with mental disease. Asserting, "it is [the task of the therapist], rather, to pilot the patient through [their] existential crises of growth and development." So often in my own life journey, the distress of frustration by my career, my relationships (or lack thereof), and what I was meant to do with my finite days on earth, felt as though it was a burden, not good fortune. Something was 'wrong' with me for not having figured out my life journey immediately, quickly and feeling at ease. Thankfully, the opposite is true, all was well. I was listening to myself, I was acknowledging something didn't 'fit', what I was giving, what I was spending my time doing either wasn't enough or it wasn't aligned with my talents and what the world potentially needed. In this post - 9 Ways to Think Like a Monk, as taught by Jay Shetty - Shetty's idea of Dharma is shared. Passion + Expertise + Usefulness = Dharma In many ways, finding our Dharma is to find our will to meaning. 4. The unexpected gift of tension "What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him." I chose to bold the phrase 'freely chosen' because I find it to be an essential element to finding true contentment. Even if your life is charmed, yet you still feel discontent and frustration, yet society applauds, your family applauds, your friends cheer for what you are doing with your life, most likely, you have unconsciously not chosen for yourself the life you are living, but rather have been steered by approval, expectation and mores to take the steps and make the choices you have without truly acknowledging what you long for. Which leads me to the next item on the list, but first . . . Welcoming tension in your life must be thoughtfully done. After all, unnecessary stress is harmful to our health. No, what Frankl means by stating tension is healthy has everything to do with pursuing what gives you meaning. If you derive meaning from advocating for a cause, then the path forward will undoubtedly be fraught as you are striving for progress, but you strive forward anyway because it is your will to meaning. If you derive meaning from raising a family, nurturing your children as to give them their own wings with which to fly, the journey together will be a mingle of emotions, but you strive forward because it is your will to meaning. If you derive meaning from contributing through your chosen career path to improve the lives of others, you navigate through the frustrations, setbacks and hurdles because it is your will to meaning and you know why you are pursuing it. When the path we are on does not fulfill our will to meaning, similar to the anecdote of the American diplomat mentioned above, then the tension becomes unhealthy. Then we must be frank with ourselves and find the courage to change course and bravely do so, not only for our own well being, but for those we love and the world at large. Why? Because the world needs what you uniquely have to give. Figure out what that is and then begin giving what you discover. Your tension will be reduced to a healthy amount and your contentment will soar. 5. Discover what you long for and find your contentment The term Logotherapy as defined by Viktor E. Frankl derives its meaning from the Greek root Logos which is defined as "meaning". Logotherapy "strives to find a meaning in one's life as the primary motivational force of man". Logotherapy opens itself up while including 'instinctual facts within the individual's unconscious [it] . . . also cares for existential realities, such as the potential meaning of his existence to be fulfilled as well as his will to meaning." In other words, Logotherapy assists the patient to become aware of "what he actually longs for in the depth of his being". Understanding the language of your true self can sometimes be difficult and take time especially if we have suppressed it for some time; however, we are each capable of learning our language when we choose to be a student of ourselves. As I share in my About page (I recently updated it to reflect more accurately and specifically what TSLL is all about, but the shared portion below remains the same as it did in 2009), while I valued and gave my all to teaching, in 2009 I finally acknowledged that something wasn't entirely being satiated by solely working in the classroom." (see the excerpt below) The Simply Luxurious Life came into fruition in 2009 when I realized the life I enjoy living—a life full of simplicity, yet punctuated with everyday luxuries found even in the most routine of days, was something I wanted to explore more fully due to the immense contentment it brought into my life. In fact, I needed to explore it more intentionally because while many people didn't understand how I could live well and contentedly on the everyday income as a public school teacher (I retired in 2021 after twenty years), I had a curiosity for the world, especially the French culture followed by my appreciation for the British countryside and their gardening wonderland, that wasn't entirely being satiated by working in the classroom. And this is an example of our lives speaking to us.  Thankfully I listened and decided to share my discoveries, passions, and ideas as a way to inspire others so that they too could find their passion as a way to living a life full of true contentment by clearing out the clutter (figurative and literal) and bringing in the luxurious necessities to enliven and inspire each day no matter what their income, age, location or relationships status. —TSLL's About page (Start Here) When we find meaning, even if nobody else understands why such a path speaks to us and brings us to life, we have found the motivation of infinite energy, creativity, tenacity and strength. 6. Find your meaning, eradicate boredom Frankl coins the term 'Sunday neurosis" as "that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest." He goes on while speaking about the existential vacuum to share that without the will of meaning, and with the improved automatization of our 21st century, "many will not know what to do with all of their newly acquired free time". Which is to say boredom, anxiety, distress and lack of direction cause more solvable problems that he argues can be largely solved when we find our will to meaning. This is not to say you have to be busy every moment, pack your schedule with appointments; in fact, I would argue, it is the opposite. Or perhaps, more accurately, it is a knowing what supports and nourishes your will to meaning and thereby finding comfort with your down-time that is a part of your self-care and confidently engaging in your productive time when on task. 7. Your next best step toward meaning is what is best for you "The meaning of life differs from [person] to [person], from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment." I found it helpful to note that Frankl directly advises not to search for an abstract meaning of life, but rather a concrete 'assignment which demands fulfillment'. In other words, don't commodify yourself, but rather what is it you bring that is helpful and that you find fulfillment in giving? "Thus, everyone's task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it." 8. Finding strength during times of suffering "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Just as Frankl's own life exemplifies harnessing his will to meaning to survive the unthinkable tragedies and struggles during WWII, he writes, "In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice." However, and this is crucially important to absorb, he continues on in the same section of the book to point out "But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary to find meaning. I only insist that meaning is possible even in spite of suffering—provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable." 9. Hold yourself in the present fully for all the days of your life Frankl writes that we must refrain from being pessimistic and instead be activistic when it comes to our human existence. That is to say, "The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest." He goes on to suggest there is no need to envy the young because we have lived fully each of our days, holding ourselves in the present, motivated by our will to meaning, and "instead of possibilities . . . have realities [from our past experiences] . . . not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered." Just as happiness cannot be experienced in every moment, suffering cannot be wholly avoided when we find our will to meaning and let it guide us forward. However, by holding ourselves in the present moment, while we cannot avoid experiencing the loss of loved ones, we can love fully, so that when we reflect, we are filled with joy and reminded of the riches of our lives, riches we, by bravely living well, engaging with our humanity, courageously stepping into what we discover is our will of meaning, helped to bring forth into our lives. Upon learning about Viktor E. Frankl's approach to therapy and perspective on the meaning of humans, I found an alignment that has unconsciously spoke to me to honor for decades. Although never making sense, and not having the opportunity, nor pursuing more intentionally philosophy courses in college, the ideas danced about in my mind, and while I, at the time, wanted them to leave me alone because they were so perplexing, they thankfully waited for me to make sense of them, to trust them. The world swirling around us via media, messaging, our community can be deafening and hold us off course if we let it. But when we understand that the feeling of frustration is actually a sign that we are hearing our inner voice, we can find peace. Because in that moment of aha, we can take a breath, and continue to pursue the questions that keep bouncing around in our mind, because, if my own journey is any indication it is a path that will lead you to everyday contentment. I do hope you enjoy this week's episode of the podcast. Thank you for stopping by and tuning in. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: How to Live a Life with Less Stress and Why It's Vital for Good Health, episode #299 How to Step into Your Fullest True Self —The Way of Integrity, as taught by Martha Beck, episode #307 Petit Plaisirs —Ted Lasso, Apple TV+ (click here to learn more about the recommendation, watch the trailers of both seasons and the original ad which began the idea for the show) —Sautéed Oyster Mushroom Appetizer (view the recipe here) View more Petit Plaisirs here. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #313 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    312: The New Hello, my conversation with The Confidence Project founder Tracy Hooper

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 55:09

    The workplace has shifted in a short amount of time, largely due to the pandemic, but also prompted by many other social and civil and environmental awakenings. Communication, civil communication, remains at the epicenter of a civil society, however, currently, a significant learning curve has taken place, and we need to keep up in order to strengthen connections, build trust and foster a workspace of inclusion. My guest on today's podcast, Tracy Hooper, the founder of The Confidence Project, released a new book The New Hello: What to Say, What to Do, in the New World of Work this past year to share with us all the how and the why to practicing and learning the skills of clear communication paired with acute awareness of others to create a workplace of mutual, positive benefit and exchange. Having known Ms. Hooper for ten years (she was a guest on the show during its first season), we had a wonderful video chat for today's episode (audio only). Listeners will learn specific examples of skills to utilize not only in their work life, but their personal life as well to strengthen relationships and honor our own boundaries and voice. Items of Discussion in today's episode: The fundamental component and importance of strengthening our own confidence (how it benefits us and those we connect with at work and in our personal lives) Tangible tools for effective, confident communication on video calls and in person will be exemplified in our conversation. Shifting from the default of saying "I'm sorry" to saying "Thank You" - why we need to make the shift and how to do it. What is our personal currency and how it makes a tremendous difference in our lives. Much more I highly recommend The New Hello for not only our current times, but all times, as Tracy shares years of research and experience with a vast variety of workers and individuals, teaching the importance of self-awareness (how we speak - the words we use and what is conveyed, whether we mean to or not; as well as our body language) and awareness of our surroundings and those we work with ensuring all parties feel comfortable, welcome and heard. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #312 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    311: How Accepting Your Mortality Sets You Free to Live More Deeply

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2021 58:20

      "The world is already broken. And what's true of the state of civilization is equally true of your life: it was always already the case that you would never experience a life of perfect accomplishment or security. And your four thousand weeks have always been running out. It's a revelation, though: when you begin to internalize all this even just a bit, the result is not despair, but an energizing surge of motivation . . . You realize that you never really needed the feeling of complete security you'd previously felt so desperate to attain. This is liberation." —Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time management for mortals Admittedly, the length of a human life is short when we take the long view of civilization, so it is understandable for us to make the most of our time. However, in so doing, we often go about 'making the most of it' in unhelpful, counter-intuitive ways. Oliver Burkeman wrote a long-running and award-winning weekly column for The Guardian up until last year. He is also the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, and so after reading his final column for The Guardian, and the synopsis for his first book, I had an idea of his frank, yet considered and sincere approach to what he shares with his readers. Four Thousand Weeks is not your typical time management book. Thank goodness. It is a book to open our eyes to the reality of our mortality, no matter how much we may profess we accept that we will die, we demonstrate through our actions, how we live, we may not have fully absorb this life truth. But don't worry, Burkeman shares in his introduction, his objective is to write a book that helps each of us "redress the balance [of our finite time on this planet and engage productively with fellow citizens, current events and the fate of the environment]—to see if we can't discover, or recover, some ways of thinking about time that do justice to our real situation: to the outrageous brevity and shimmering possibilities of our four thousand weeks." I have pulled ten tips he shares about how to live more deeply, and thus more contentedly in our everydays and thus our entire life; however, there is much more in the book and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. Let's take a look at the list. Visit the full Show Notes on The Simply Luxurious Life —

    Season 8 Schedule of the Podcast Announced

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2021 12:25

    In just one week's time, a new season, Season 8, of The Simple Sophisticate podcast will begin. Already, my bookstand is full of titles that have piqued my interest to compile into podcast episodes to inspire, inform and motivate you to cultivate your own unique simply luxurious life. Below is a visual of the entire season running from September of this year through August of 2022. You may also download a pdf of the schedule here. With more than 20 episodes, sharing two new episodes every month on the first and third Monday of each month (even April and May which were previously removed from the schedule in previous seasons due to my teaching schedule), the only month off will be July which gives me time to produce my cooking show's latest season which debuts each September. In November, you'll notice, there are three new episodes as many listeners are traveling during this time of year, and I thought what better time to provide more listening material? The podcast currently has more than 300 episodes in its archives, and this past July, I compiled four different bundles organized around a particular theme. I will be exploring more topics for these bundles to be shared in 2022, but if you haven't already explored the first bundles, have a look by clicking the link to each below: Bundle #1 — How to Begin Cultivating Your Very Own Simply Luxurious Life Bundle #2 — How to Live A French-Inspired Life Bundle #3 — Savoring A Life on Your Own: Single Living IS Simply Luxurious Living Bundle #4 — The Simple Life is a Great Life: Explore How In early 2022, the new blog design for TSLL will include on the Podcast page, each of the bundles as well as all of the podcast episodes, so you will be able to continue explore the topics you love, new episodes as well as favorites you wish to return to and listen to again. Follow this podcast on Instagram at @thesimplesophisticatepodcast Now to the schedule for the new season! Look for episode #311 next Monday September 6th! Remember! Any Monday there is not an episode of the podcast, there is always (today for example) a new Monday Motivational post on the blog to kick off the new week in a good direction. View today's Monday Motivational post - La Rentrée of 2021: A Start to a New You Like Never Before. Explore all of the episodes of the podcast here. ~The Simple Sophisticate, Season 8 Schedule ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

    310: Murder in Provence, M.L. Longworth Talks about Her Series Coming to BritBox

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 27:17

    Provencal mystery writer M.L. Longworth joins me on the podcast for this year's French Week to share some exciting news about her series. I invited Mary Lou back to the show (see our previous conversations here - ep. #268 - and here - ep. #203) as I recently learned her novels had been optioned for a television series to air on BritBox. Longworth shares many details about the cast, when it will premiere, which books will be included in season one and much more. Be sure to take the tour of Aix-en-Provence she gave me in this post to enjoy a taste of the world of Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet, and tune in to today's episode as she talks about food, shares a delicious recipe AND shares the synopsis for her upcoming 10th mystery and when to expect it to be released. Links mentioned during our conversation: 1st book in her Provençal series - Death at the Chateau Bremont Most recent book in the series (9th) - The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral My most recent Q & A w/M.L. Longworth: Aix en Provence, Art and a Mystery to Solve: her new mystery, spring in Provence and what she's cooking in her kitchen (May 5, 2021) BritBox Series Murder in Provence Begins Filming ML Longworth on Instagram @mllongworth ML Longworth's website the French play - Cigalon Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook Walnut Oil Find the recipe for the Lentil and Duck Breast Salad below M.L. Longworth's Lentil & Duck Breast Salad As shared during episode #310 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast, Provençal mystery writer M.L. Longworth shared a recipe during our conversation that offers a quintessential taste of summer in Provence. 1/2 cup French lentils (cooked) (follow the directions on the package or simply boil in water for about 10-15 minutes, then drain. ) 6 Tbsp walnut oil or vinagriette 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard freshly ground pepper 1-2 cups mache (lamb's tongue lettuce) or watercress (washed and roughly chopped) 1-2 ounces thin slices of cooked duck breast (substitute - prosciutto) Prepare the lentils: add the lentils to water and bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes until to desired tenderness. Drain out excess water. Prepare the vinegriette: in a small bowl add the vinegar, dijon and then slowly add and whisk in the walnut oil. Finish with freshly ground pepper to taste. If you are unable to find duck and cook yourself (often you can find cooked duck breast in the markets in France), a great substitute is ham or prosciutto - thinly sliced. Divide the vinegriette. Dress the salad with half and then add the lentils to the salad and add gradually the remaining vinegriette to dress the rest of the salad (you may not need to use all of the vinegriette or you may need to make more - just keep the proportions the same). Plate the lentils and lettuce and top with the duck breast. Enjoy with a glass of rosé - bien sûr! ~Sign up for TSLL's Free Weekly Newsletter ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #310 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify EXPLORE MORE POSTS FROM FRENCH WEEK 2021 4th Giveaway: A Set of Prints from Everyday Parisian's Rebecca Plotnick Q & A with Everyday Parisian's Rebecca Plotnick 3rd Giveaway: A Cozy Francophile Gift Package Why Not . . . Add a Traversin (aka Bolster) to Your Bedroom? Let's Travel to Paris! My Conversation with Paris Perfect Vacation Rentals' Founder Madelyn Byrne, episode #309 ~View more TSLL French-Inspired posts in the Archives

    309: Let's Travel to Paris! My Discussion with Paris Perfect Vacation Rentals' Founder Madelyn Byrne

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2021 41:34

    One day in the not too distant future, the dream will be realized for each one of us who longs to hop on a plane and slip away to Paris. Frequently during my daydreams I envision just this scenario happening, and when I do, I will find peace of mind knowing my accommodations with Paris Perfect await my arrival. On today's episode discover just exactly makes each rental perfect for travelers looking to savor all that Paris has to offer - from the thoughtful attention to every detail down to how many outlets are in each apartment to carefully considered mattresses made in France and sofas made in Italy. Everything from the moment you arrive at the airport to any question you might have while you are in the city of light has been addressed. And who wouldn't want to wake up to a view of the Eiffel Tower? As so many Paris Perfect rentals offer, explore and find the ideal home-away-from-home for your next trip. I am incredibly tickled to welcome to today's episode of the podcast the founder of Paris Perfect and London Perfect Madelyn Byrne (seen right). Her sister, Lisa Byrne is the General Manager of Paris Perfect, London Perfect, Italy Perfect as well as the Founder of Italy Perfect, and kindly arranged for this opportunity. What Madelyn shares will, I have a feeling, entice you to want to purchase that ticket to France sooner rather than later. ❤️

    308: 15 Ideas for Welcoming Provence Style into Your Home & Garden

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2021 44:59

    Ten years of visiting, followed by three years of construction and refurbishing, and now Shauna Varvel's family Provençal mas situated just outside of Avignon, France, is an exquisite Provençal destination to see both inside and out. Feasting first on the thoughtfully designed and decorated property through Instagram beginning in 2018, I continued to follow her as the property named Le Mas des Poiriers as well as serving as a family home for her and her husband, their adult children and the growing grandchildren, is also now available for rent (although, likely for the most elite due to the price point - which it is worth based on the expansive grounds and thoughtful decor). Featured in Veranda's April 2019 issue, inspiration abounds whether or not we will be able to visit and see with our own eyes, as Varvel's new book Provence Style: Decorating with French Country Flair (published by Vendome, photography Luke White) was just released earlier this month. With today being the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere, I thought what better way to celebrate the ideal season during which to visit Provence than by dedicating this week's podcast episode entirely to welcoming the Provençal decor and garden ideas into our home and lives wherever we may call home. Having had the opportunity to receive and read Shauna's book, if you are looking for visual inspiration as well as a historical exploration of the design styles associated with Provence, Provence Style is a book you will appreciate and find incredibly resourceful. Below I have gathered 15 ideas adding a touch or a wealth of Provençal decor inspiration to our sanctuaries. Let's take a look. 1. Welcome in the natural light in abundance Open the curtains, pull the shades, if you are in the middle of designing a space or choosing a home or apartment to live in, choose one with oodles of windows and preferrably south-facing (northern hemisphere) or north-facing (Southern Hemisphere) along with east, west and north as well of course. Why? Natural light works magic on the beauty of a space and Provence is all about the sun and the mistral-clear blue skies painted and appreciated by artists. In other words, treat your windows with curtains or shutters or shades, but never forget to open them when the sun is out. 2. Add earthenware to your decor and dining experiences "Established in Marseille in the late seventeenth century, the earthenware industry in Provence gave rise to names such as Saint-Jean-du-Désert and Fauchier, known for their exceptional blue and white faience glazes." From large jugs and handmade pieces of pottery to plates for dining or plates for wall décor, earthenware is quintessential Provence. Begin gathering a collection, use the jugs as vases, use for functional purposes in the kitchen at the dining table, find them at flea markets, brocantes, online or a second-hand stores, and when you do, a touch of Provence will be seen and felt. 3. Mind the door and window hardware, custom millwork details and ironwork The details matter in any home, and when it comes to Provençal style, swap out the modern for the traditional. From knobs to closures, staircase handrails, and drawer pulls, seemingly small, yet certainly significant. 4. Provide direct and easy access (inviting and encouraging as well) to outdoor spaces, the garden Provence is about the outdoors, eating seasonally, working with the weather (yes, the mistrals are a real thing and while clearing the sky to keep that pristine blue as well as cooling you down during the summer season, they can be fiercely aggressive in the fall and winter), so provide access to the outdoors with ease. Keep your kitchen garden close to the door closest to the kitchen, create inviting sitting areas outside under the vines and the trees, and perhaps invest in a door or screen door which lets the outdoors in reminding you to step outside and enjoy the warmth. 5. Ah, the traditional hexagonal terracotta flooring tiles "A distinctively Provençal floor material that is characteristic of most houses in south-west France, known as tomettes de Salernes, these quintessentially local tiles have historically been made in the villages of Salernes from the red, iron-filled clay of that area. During the nineteenth century, terracotta tile production was prolific, with tomettes exported throughout Europe and Africa." I remember seeing my first terracotta hexagon floor in the vacation rental I enjoyed staying in while traveling in the Luberon. A two story villa in a little hamlet near Gourdes (tour it here), the hexagon tile covered the bathroom floor and dazzled me primarily because of its history and being in the region of France where such tile was originally made. No matter what the color scheme, this style, this color is a neutral, it is timeless, it is classic Provence. 6. Strike a balance "Carefully judged contrasts between rusticity and gentility, modesty and opulence, the democratic and the aristocratic, are the signature of the contemporary Provençal home." Here is where time and travel and exploration create the expertise of knowing what that balance is. Knowing how to strike the balance of opulence and rustic is not initially simple to do, but with intention and time, you will find it eventually becomes instinctive. Provençal homes no more adhere to entirely one aesthetic - everything 'country chic' than France is a country of singular flavors. No, no, no. While staying in my first vacation rental in Provence in 2018, this four story home in the medieval Ville of Vaison-la-Romaine included centuries-worn stone steps, iron-railings, classic artwork inspired by the time of the Renaissance as well as simple, floral bed linens, linen curtains and a modern bathroom. Mixing and matching - function and beauty, a touch of the present with fond inclusion of the past. 7. Know the objective of furniture selection and placement Varvel writes the guiding principle "is to generate an impression of artlessness, though this requires thoughtful consideration of scale, comfort, design detail and choice of upholstery." Look for vintage furniture, yet reupholster with preferred fabric and restructure the pieces to create the desired comfort. Layers work as well, soft and hard, some, but not too much. Don't clutter, but don't be a minimalist. Creating seating areas to sit, relax and be. Design with the eye of the guests in mind - what will they be drawn to? Let one item sing and the others complement. Include upholstered items in every room, but not every piece need be upholstered. The foundational design elements hold true, but now you let the other items on today's list guide you to what type of items to include. 8. Plaster-finish for the walls Provence is quite hot in the summer, but very much a geography which beckons you to be outside nearly the entire year even though they do have all four seasons. "Plaster-finished walls are a common trait of the mas. When overlaid with lime wash, the lime sinks into the plaster, giving it a luminance and patina distinct from that of a conventionally painted wall." Varvel goes on to share, she chose a custom mix of lime wash and chose a flat finish to match the tone of the limestone floors in order to create a sense of 'unity and openness'. 9. Restrained elegance While yes, a rural locale, Provence has a rich and lengthy history stretching back to the Romans who "conquered the Greek colonists who had introduced grapevines and olives and also built the port of Massilia, later known as Marseille. This city would be instrumental in infusing Provençal living with a sense of opulence." "A culture of contrasts, merging bucolic bliss with bourgeois aspirations; rural tradition with refinement; rustic crafts with luxury." What does restrained elegance look like in a Provençal mas or home? opulent chandeliers over a table covered in a linen tablecloth with fresh flowers from the garden lined up in a row down the middle ornate gold-framed mirrors set in front of a vintage upholstered armchair carefully laid table settings, silverware, multiple glasses and plates with an open window framed with modern fabric for the curtains which stretch to the floor. Bare floors of limestone, covered only occasionally with an antique wool rug 10. Sunflowers Brilliant in late June and through July, the sunflowers as you drive about the countryside in Provence will, if you are like me, successfully tempt you to stop the car and take pictures. Never mind, they are ubiquitous in this region, and likely you will find more around the next bend in the road, but still, their beauty draws a breath of awe each time. Plant them yourself in your own garden. I planted my first sunflowers last year at Le Papillon and found direct sowing worked best. They don't need much water and by August I had giants standing guard around my property. This year, I direct sowed all of my three different pouches of seeds and even have some self-planting sunflowers along my front path to my porch. My neighbors have been planting sunflower seeds since I moved to the neighborhood, and they sow them well before the last frost. Currently, they have an alley of sunflowers about four feet tall and doing fantastically. 11. Copper In last Friday's This & That, I shared a link to this article from Homes & Gardens UK containing 30+ ideas for styling your own French country inspired kitchen. One of the many recommendations I have welcomed into my own home is a rack full of copper pans that are actually used, but also provide a stunning rustic, yet sophisticated focal point in the kitchen. (become a TOP Tier subscriber and tour my kitchen here) The Kitchen Reveal: Before & After and How I Customized My Small Space 12. Baskets From rustic to new, large, medium or small, in all different styles, baskets about the home are a functional touch that also looks wonderful from a decorating perspective. I recently picked up a few baskets for my home during Rabbit Hill's French Lifestyle online pop-up shop, and highly recommend checking out her monthly offerings. As well, market baskets are wonderful treasures as well as highly functional. I have displayed my own in my mudroom, and wrote a post about how to Find Your Perfect Provençal (or simply French) Market Tote The English-Inspired Mudroom: TSLL's Home Tour 13. The love of cloth Specifically Indiennes, originally imported colorful Indian chintzes which had small repeating motifs of flora and fauna. Serving as bed hanging, bed curtains, drapes and bedspreads as well as clothing, Indiennes is especially well associated with Provence. Other cottons depicting scenes from nature as well as stripes and ginghams have come to epitomize the Provençal decor. 14. Gardens full of herbs for cooking, medicinal purposes and exquisite fragrance for the home Beginning with lavender as the most immediate herb that comes to mind when Provence is mentioned, did you know it also while scenting the air repeals flies and mosquitos? Yep! As well as many other herbs, be sure to welcome an abundance of basil as Varvel shares, 'it is also a natural insect repellant and has been an essential in the Provençal kitchen garden for more than a thousand years". Place in the ground or in pots just outside your kitchen for easy access while you are cooking and welcome oodles of fresh flavors to your meals. ~Have you checked out The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show? Seasonal Fare to Elevate the Everyday Meal. The fourth season will debut on Saturday September 11th, and be sure to catch up on the previous three seasons here, YouTube or Apple Podcasts. ~View TSLL's Garden posts here. 15. Create natural shade in the garden and outdoors "The Provençal garden gives shade, with plantings of plane, chestnut, pines, cypress, evergreen oak, drought-resistant blackberry, and fruit trees, especially olive, fig, apricot, peach and plum." Varvel shares the many artists who would work en plein air in Provence and which trees appeared in their paintings along with the sunflowers which captured Van Gogh and Cézanne's admiration. Needless to say, Provençal style cannot be what it is without the outdoors or the honoring of the outdoors with the welcoming in of fresh flowers, floral and fauna prints and the opening of windows to let the fresh air dance about the home. If you have an outdoor living space, no matter how small - balcony, a porch, create a space which beckons you to sit, relax and take many deep breaths of appreciation. In other words, to be present. 10 Life Lessons from Provence: Slow Down and Savor the Everyday More than anything, to echo what Shauna Varvel's shares in her introduction of her book, the lifestyle of Provence rejuvenates, gently, yet assuredly nudges us to slow down and be present and never rushes us to hurry to the next thing. Taking in the sights, taking in the tastes and savoring the seasonal beauty, Provencal living is peaceful living. The markets run year-round, the attire need only be comfortable as you need your skin to breathe and your body to move as you walk about and around the many medieval towns and villages. Life in Provence is living well and savoring the everyday. When we create a home to encourage us to embody these qualities, no matter where we call home, our lives changes for the better. ~Be sure to check out an interview with the author Shauna Varvel by Jamie Beck who lives in Provence. ~Learn more about becoming a TOP Tier Subscriber to enjoy unlimited content ad-free. Petit Plaisir ~The Truffle Hunters Italian (English subtitles) In theaters now Click here to learn more about the film's selection as this week's Petit Plaisir. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #308 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    307: How to Step into your Fullest True Self — The Way of Integrity, as taught by Martha Beck

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2021 61:23

    "Your life will tell you the truth." —Martha Beck, author of The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self Divided. Compartmentalized. Unable to give what is needed, not by choice, but by pure, sincere inability due to time and energy. Signs of living a life off the track of the way of integrity. Martha Beck explains in her new book, The Way of Integrity, the word integrity originates from the Latin integer meaning "in tact" and therefore cementing the definition of integrity as "to be one thing, whole and undivided". When we are not living a life of integrity, we are not being true to ourselves, nor the world. Now you might be thinking about the general and more commonly understood definition of integrity - living by your 'values' or abiding by the morals society applauds, but this is not what Beck writes about in her book. Instead, Beck looks at the true meaning of the word and applies it to each of us individually, daring to step away from any culture's expectations - a life of integrity is one when you have aligned your body, mind, heart and soul - your actions, your mental strength, your true self - you set yourself free. In the introduction she uses a phrase commonly known on this blog/podcast - you achieve a sustainable joie de vivre. "You may not believe that such a fulfilling life is possible. It is," Beck states with calm, assured confidence and goes on throughout the rest of the book, speaking from her own incredibly challenging and terrifying and finally liberating life journey, indeed what she shares is true. "No matter how far you think you've strayed from your true path, the moment you say I'm going to trust myself, I'm going to follow my truth, the healing begins." Beck's book crossed my path just after I had officially and publicly announced a resolve to live my own life of integrity as I had turned in my resignation papers concluding a 20-year career in teaching public education at the secondary level. I arrived at my decision after more than a few years of hemming and hawing about such a choice being necessary for me to live fully in alignment with what I knew to be true in my heart of hearts. And, as I shared in my May episode of the video series A Cuppa Moments (learn more about becoming a TOP Tier subscriber and discover more intimately why I made this decision here), it wasn't about running away; it was about running toward something I loved even more. Another way of looking at the way of integrity is much like putting together a puzzle. It can be especially hard to rationalize why we should leave something when on paper and to onlookers everything hums along beautifully, but if the puzzle doesn't allow your true nature to be nurtured, as Beck describes, when you are "rushing to conform . . . often ignoring or overruling [y]our genuine feelings—even intense one, like longing or anguish—to please your culture . . . you've divided yourself. [You] aren't in integrity (one thing) but in duplicity (two things)." In other words, the puzzle isn't your puzzle to be a part of. Having the courage to step away from something that works, even if we languish while others shine is not living a life of integrity. "When you pursue a career that pulls you away from your true self, your talent and enthusiasm will quit on you like a bored intern." The question we each need to ask ourselves is, “Does the culture nurture your nature?" Pause for a second before answering because I would have answered yes a couple of years ago as the quality of my overall life improved immensely having moved to Bend, Oregon. And what enabled me to move to this dream-of-a-town in my eyes? A teaching job; however, upon reflection, with more truths revealed, and after reading her book, my answer whilst trying to teach and write, is most certainly no. How do you know if you are out of your integrity? 1."Your life goes pear-shaped" Beck reveals how our inability to communicate civilly, snapping at people we love, letting ourselves be distracted regularly by rabbit holes on the internet, and on the health side - your "immune system and muscles becomes weaken . . . emotionally feeling grumpy, sad or numb." Focus and clarity — difficult to maintain, sickness is more frequent and energy is depleted. All of these 'symptons' are red flags your life is out of integrity. Let's end this point on some good news: "Integrity is the cure to unhappiness. Period." 2. Living a life governed by the 'should's and 'supposed to' expectations Living simply luxuriously, at its core is built upon questioning society, putting into practice critical thinking skills and thereby thinking well. When we think well, removing our biases and acknowledging the short-sightedness as well as true motivations of the culture we live in, we can think clearly and free ourselves from the pressures and guilt placed upon us to live a certain way. Even if 'your way' seems simple compared to significant societal differences such as announcing you are an atheist in a family full of devout believers of any one religious institutional faith, acknowledging your truth regarding your gender even if your family or friends cannot understand your truth, or standing up for a political issue which forces your family to confront their own long-held unconscious biases. Your way of integrity needs to be honored to set yourself free. Beck writes in detail about her own breaking free from the 'should's when she speaks about her stepping away from Mormonism (receiving death threats for doing so), sharing with the world and her husband that she is gay, and choosing to keep her child who she knew to have Downs Syndrome (even though at the time, people she respected urged her to not to). In great emotional, yet step-by-step detail, she shares how she made it to the other side and because each decision was her truth, her choice, she set herself free. She stopped living the life she was 'supposed to' and stepped courageously into a life of integrity. 3. Emotional Struggles "Whenever you lose your integrity, you'll feel your own unique brew of bad moods, depending on your personality . . . anxiety and depression [or] . . . free-floating hostility, itching to punch everyone in your office, familiy, zip code [or] . . . full-on panic attacks, especially during special occasions." For me, leaving teaching felt culturally 'wrong'. What I mean by that is, teaching and being a teacher is held in high regard, as, in my bias, yet as much as I can remain objective, it should be. So leaving a profession which society holds in deservedly high esteem felt to already be making the 'wrong' decision. However, as Beck calls them, my 'wild beasts' of bad moods would arise in the weirdest of times. I knew something was not in alignment, but nearly all of my acquaintances, friends and even my mother, were or are teachers. So how do you have a conversation with them about leaving a profession they are already in and most of whom sincerely love and have found their calling? In my case, you keep teaching. 4. Bad habits — can't break them The bad habits could be an onslaught of a variety of behaviors ranging from less harmful to incredibly life destructive, but anything which does not constructively add to your life and the quality of your days is a bad habit. Whether excessive financial expenditures, harmful drinking or eating habits, relationship failure after failure because you refuse to have the ability to either see or change what needs to be addressed, such habits stay with us because "when [you're] feeling fundamentally lost, afflicted by purposelessness, foul moods, and bad jobs, anything that stimulates the brain's pleasure centers can become an addiction." I can thankfully say, I had a positive outlet for my lack of finding complete fulfilling purpose in teaching: blogging, which turned into podcasting, which turned into cooking, which became my pleasure and purpose and I am incredibly grateful I honored my curiosity to explore what this 'blogging thing' was all about way back in 2009. I don't think we all have to have horrible habits so much so it becomes painfully obvious to outsiders we are not on the right life path for true integrity, but what I appreciate about Beck's book is bringing to our attention habits which if we are being honest with ourselves, aren't helpful to living a life we sincerely love living, but we keep engaging in said habit because we need the pleasure; we need something to 'feel' good because so much doesn't, and we don't know or don't have the courage yet to step off the path that isn't ours to walk. How to return or begin to live a life of integrity? 1.Stop lying "Here's the rub: if you stop lying, you'll eventually, inevitably violate the rules of a culture that matters to you." Stop lying when responding casually to the question, "How are you doing?" Be comfortable with expressing your exuberance or exhaustion about the day. The passive or a default way of living is not living, and it's not the way of integrity. How we connect with others, truly connect, is to be honest. I find that our culture is more comfortable with complaining even though America strives to be happy at all times. It is as though we must not be 'too happy' lest someone either question what makes us happy or want our happiness, when the truth is, there is not a limited supply. However, most Americans are too exhausted to figure out their own unique path to happiness. But the supposed secret as Beck reveals is simple: finding and living your integrity will lead you to peace, which will lead to the desired outcome of happiness. Again, this is a push-back on culture, not the people living within the culture. Admittedly, yes, a culture is made up by people, but when we recognize we are complicit in any culture which doesn't wish for its people to find peace and contentment, we must question it. Doing so is an exercise in critical thinking. And how we do that is by finding our own way of integrity and living it. 2. Knuckle down for the first step of changing your life - it will be hard Be prepared, the first step, the first shift you make will be the most difficult and will feel impossible on your way to fully being your true self. But the good news is, it is 'steepest at the start'. And in even better news, because you are stepping into your integrity, let that energy be your fuel. Just as it did for Dante (Beck's entire book parallels the journey of Dante through the levels of Hell in Dante's Inferno, Part I of The Divine Comedy) who because he wanted to be set free "so damn much" used that "intense wanting" to "propel him forward over terrain he doesn't believe he can cover." 3. Acknowledging and walking away from 'bad or disordered' love "'Bad' or 'disordered' love emerges when people are well-meaning but mistaken—for example, when we feel loyal to people and ideas that don't match our inner truth." So many of Beck's anecdotes are specific and clearly teach what she is introducing to readers. On this point she shares, "You might stop laughing at your coworker's crude jokes. You may come out as gay or trans. You may start posting things on social media that shock your loved ones. You may turn into some version of Rosa Parks, refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person." In sharing these examples, she reveals how quickly our lives will change when we step away from 'bad' love. And it happens quickly because while you've known for quite some time your truth, you haven't shared it with those who you've let keep 'loving' you in a way that serves their needs, but neglects yours. 4. Be prepared to contemplate returning to old ways (even if they weren't true to you) Prior to deciding to leave teaching, I chose to regularly see my counselor, and I am grateful I did. On this point, she reminded me, after always checking in with me about how I was feeling about my decision (once I had decided I would write my resignation letter) that there will be mourning for the 'old misery'. In other words, the life you know and are leaving, you will at times - whether in your dreams or in different states where you are emotionally weak or exhausted (these times especially were when my doubts would arise) - seriously doubt the decision you are about to make. What is happening is natural, and it does subside in time as I can share now after having felt those moments of mourning for the known misery early on after having made my decision. "Studies in psychoneuroimmunology show that if we plunge too quickly into any major change, even a good one, our bodies and minds can't absorb the shock. We must give our psycholoigcal and physiological systems time to adjust." How we give ourselves this time is where the phrase "mourning the known misery" comes from. And it is knowing that such a temporary state exists that we are able to better navigate through this time and into a life in which we are fully embracing our true nature. A few words from Beck on this subject, "If you start honoring your true nature and find yourself missing your old culture, don't panic. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself time and space to grieve. Confide in loved ones. If they don't understand, find a coach or therapist. But don't think that missing your old life means you should go back to it." 5. A life transformed for the better "Whatever you do to heal the world, it will replace [bad health, habits, moods, etc. - what Beck refers to as 'dark wood of error symptoms'] with purpose, happiness, vitality, love, abundance, and fascination that specifically match your true nature." Perhaps this all sounds too good to be true, but simply the fact that you are thinking that is the hope you have unconsciously, that you hope it can be true. That it can be possible. Benefits of finding your way to integrity and living it daily 1. A life full of "meaning, enchantment and fascination" The world needs what you uniquely can give to it. When we each find the courage to honor our nature especially when the culture doesn't nurture it, we step forward toward a life full of meaning, and we as well become uplifted and enthralled with the awesome life we have the good fortune to live. Beck points out that thankfully, 'nature doesn't give up without a fight', so if you are doubting that it is too late, that you've waited too long, no, it's not and no, you haven't. The mere fact that you are still contemplating, wishing, hoping, wondering is nature's strength of hanging on until you finally take action to courageously find your way of integrity. 2. Breath-taking moments are experienced beyond what the culture tells you is possible "Obviously, no one will have taught you how to navigate such wonders. No worries. You'll learn fast. You were born for it." If happiness, and based on having read Beck's book, I think more deeply it fits the definition of contentment, if contentment is something you could buy in the store and be promised a life of awe, wonder, peace, would you buy it? What if I told you it was free? I have a feeling some would question it must be too good to be true, but that is our conditioning when it comes to believing in how possible living well is. We have been conditioned to believe happiness can only be pursued, not attained, AND that only so many people are capable of attaining it so we must hurry up and chase it down, ignoring the present and constantly live in the future. But that is errant thinking. The ability to attain contentment for free is possible because it exists within us each already. Our answer resides in each of us. Our true nature, our true selves, has always been with us. We now just need to let it speak. In other words, let ourselves speak honestly, truthfully, and the world begins to change for the better. Not only for each one of us who courageously takes this step, but for all of us, as we begin to see who each of us actually is, how diverse and awesome we actually are and how to think well without unconscious manipulation. 3. A stronger you both physically and emotionally As you begin to step off the wrong path and onto your way of integrity, there will be push-back, but wonderfully, you will be more capable than you might have ever imagined because, "Even if the people around [you] raise merry hell, [you] find yourself coping—more than that, thriving—more easily than [you'd] imagined." 4. A more peaceful you The truth about feeling drained, emotionally exhausted, is not necessarily the environment's fault, but rather that we shouldn't be in that environment. We are needed some place else. Find that place and find your peace. 5. A life of inner harmony True contentment, as shared on TSLL many times previously, is capable of being experienced even during the most difficult of moments and heartbreaking days and events. Why? When you've found and know what inner harmony is, an alignment of your true self - body, mind, heart and soul - you acknowledge and tend to what you have control over and clearly recognize and let go of what you don't. You are living a life of truth in your actions, words and thoughts, and you are strengthened knowing how to navigate forward well, modeling and, when applicable, and you are capable, nurturing those around you forward as well with kindness and compassion. 6. Find your people who 'get' you "If you don't walk your true path, you don't find your true people." Ah, while I have met so many amazing people during my years as a teacher whether the staff and colleagues I have been incredibly fortunate and privileged to work alongside, the many, many parents who's love and tireless efforts to raise children in a world that is ever-changing, and especially the awesome students who through their natural strengths and honed skills, learning from struggles and finding truths along the way, my connection has been professional as I kept, for the most part, my writing life compartmentalized from my teaching life. Once I finally began talking about what I love about blogging, which was only this spring (except to one, maybe two people over the years), a burden on my shoulders was lifted and I felt free. Some don't understand what I am stepping fully into, and consequently, our relationships, even though respectfully collegial, have lessened, but to others, we've had far more honest conversations than we have ever had. And this is just the beginning of a positive shift. "We simply can't chart a course to happiness by linking up with others who are as lost as we are. The path to true love—true anything—is the way of integrity." In order to fully and deeply connect with others, we must be our true selves - no holding back, no editing, no 'hoping they like us'. When we are our true selves, it doesn't matter if everyone ‘gets' us so long as we let ourselves be set free, and that is what draws others of similar understanding and those who can see our honest and raw expression and who appreciate such strength into our lives. These are the people you want to connect with. These are the people with whom healthy, loving relationships grow. 7. Balance Yes, balance is possible (although our culture would have us believe otherwise, believing the skill to master is not balance but rather being constantly thrown from side to side, stressor to next stressor. Don't buy into this myth!). In The Divine Comedy, Virgil writes something that 'stuns Dante. All these 'sins' are actually based in love. Sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust are simply unbalanced relationships with rest, abundance, nourishment and sex. We can err by either compulsively indulging or rigidly repressing our natural relationship with these things. This lack of balance doesn't come when we allow union with our true nature, but when we split ourselves away from it. It's misguided thinking, not natural behavior, that causes us to stray from our innocence." Our innocence is our true selves. Our true self is found and experienced when we step into the way of integrity. Bravely doing so, courageously striding, becoming ever stronger and exhilarated with each step. 8. Fulfill your long-term heart's desires For this last point in today's post/episode, I'll leave you with Beck's words as she reflects on her own life journey and teaches us one of the grandest benefits of finding your own way of integrity, embracing your true self: "As this internal shift occurred, life seemed to deliver more and more of the things I'd longed for during my life. I began to imagine that the universe works like this: whenever we humans long for something, the Powers That Be immediately send it. But everything we've ordered is always delivered to our real home address: peace. This is why we struggle for things in a state of desperation, they don't come to us—nothing works when it's misaligned. But when we return to a state of peace, the things we've 'ordered' can finally reach us." — Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self (2021) The way of integrity is a path through and with life that makes you excited simply to envision it for a moment during your day. You may breathe a sigh of relief and a smile may even creep upon your face spontaneously each time you dare to think what you imagine could be your real life. I have been so incredibly excited to share today's episode with you because while my last day of teaching doesn't occur for another two weeks, the announcement has been made, the reality has been put into place, and a peace not-yet-known-until-now is already being felt (yes, moments of mourning the known misery creep up, but they are fewer and fewer, and now I know immediately where they stem from and how to navigate respectfully through these feelings). Living simply luxuriously doesn't just happen, and it indeed takes time. When we learn the skills necessary for living a life of true contentment, we can then begin to build what will be unique to each of us. The foundation of a fulfilling, joy-filled life, is to realign yourself with your true self. To conclude with more sagacity from Martha Beck on making our way to integrity, "Not because this path is virtuous, but because it aligns you with reality, with truth. Your life will work for the same reason a well-built plane will fly. Not a reward for good behavior. Just physics." Logical and simultaneously honoring the full humanity of each and every one of us. SHOP Martha Beck's book The Way of Integrity | Amazon | PETIT PLAISIR ~Lupin, on Netflix ~Learn more about this episode's Petit Plaisir on this specially dedicated post. PART ONE, Trailer (season 1) PART ONE, Trailer (season 1) ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #307 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    306: 25 British Petit Plaisirs (and a new category for all of TSLL's Simple Pleasures)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2021 36:39

    The French define le Petit Plaisir as a simple indulgence that brings great pleasure and enjoyment. In English, the translation is easy to note - small pleasures, yet significant in their ability to elevate the everyday. This week on the blog is TSLL's 3rd Annual British Week, and while yes, the term Petit Plaisirs is notably French, my affinity for the British culture is grounded in so many of the Brits' daily rituals, appreciation for nature which surrounds each waking day, and the dogged determination to keep calm and carry on coined and released to the public in 1939 in an effort to steel the nerves and assuage the fears of the impeding war.

    305: 36 Bedtime Daily Rituals and Essential Details to Ensure A Restful Slumber

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2021 40:53

    ”Discover the great ideas that lie inside you by discovering the power of sleep.” – Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution Awaking without an alarm clock. Letting the body and mind in tandem wake up after having receiving the necessary amounts of sleep, my goal as I move forward in life is to have more mornings awoken only by the morning murmurs of the fresh air, the birdsong, the quiet of the house as the sun begins to gently start the day. If you have ever experienced jet lag, you know what it feels like, what it sounds like when your body and mind to speak, asking, "Why aren't we sleeping right now?". Whether you are traveling across multiple time zones or not, your body and mind need deep consistent rest, and when we listen to and honor what we hear, we begin to live a life of healthy harmony. We are better able to manage our emotions, stay present, be patient, think clearing and so much more. Sharing the nine benefits of a good night's sleep a couple of years ago, I have no doubt you know the importance and value of a good night's sleep, but knowing and creating a space in our sanctuaries to offer a nightly restful slumber can be two different things. Today, inspired by the completion of my primary bedroom's restyling (stop by next week on the blog for a tour - before and after photos included along with all of the details, links and decisions behind the choices), I wanted to introduce next week's post with a post sharing 36 Bedtime Daily Rituals and Essential Details for a restful slumber. To know what we need is one thing. To know how to cultivate it can be a bit more difficult to ascertain, but what I have learned over the years having never used an alarm clock during my teenage years, the daily necessary ingredient for an everyday of contentment is a good night's sleep. Forward thinking as well as remaining in the present are advisable for living a life of contentment as well; however, reflecting upon times in our life when we felt contentment can be incredibly helpful. And so it was my reflection on my teenage years, reminding me of how I lived which enabled me to live without an alarm clock and still live a full life, rise early enough to begin the day without rush and reduce or eliminate my worries. While taking time, two decades in fact, my bedroom decor as well as my daily rituals surrounding sleep cultivate a necessary portion of daily life I deeply savor, look foward to and find incredibly life lifting when I consciously prioritize my sleep which has been essential to enjoying my days. First the concrete essential details present in the bedroom to assist in cultivating an inviting and restful bedroom: ~Be sure to tune in to the audio version as much more detail is shared on each item in the lists below. Essential Details 1.Easily accessible and easy to utilize dimmable bedside table lamps or wall sconces 2. Tranquil wall covering - paint or wallpaper 3. Small trays on the bedside table(s) 4. A full glass of water and carafe 5. Linen sheets and pillowcases - year round -Santorini Linen sheets (choose linen, not cotton as they have both available in the same name from The White Company), I sleep in these as well as alternate with French vintage linen sheets I found in France. -Parachute also makes high quality linen sheets in many different colors. -Learn more about linen - French Linen: The Fields, The History and Why it is a Truly Luxurious Fabric 6. A top blanket for napping during the day 7. Lavender (or one's favorite scent for calm) hand lotion 8. Lip balm 9. Candles and match striker 10. Writing utensil 11. Journal 12. Books for reading which calm the mind 13. Window treatment enabling you to open your window and provide privacy when needed 14. A bolster (or traversin in French) 15. Natural light 16. A mix of prints and solids, textures and fabrics 17. Include the three pillars of tangible decor details - (1) natural fabrics, (2) metals and (3) natural material (i.e. (1) linen, cotton, wool; (2) brass or silver, etc. - stick to the same hue, finish may vary; (3) wood, bamboo, seagrass, etc. 18. For a calm aesthetic - Select three colors and vary the hues ”Sleep helps you win at life.” – Amy Poehler Limit or remove: access to the internet (phone, tablet, computer) excessive photos and décor (cluttered walls, table tops, shelves, etc.) bright overhead lighting or fluorescent lighting television décor items holding reminders of pain, loss, or hurt dust and dirt and laundry or tossed about clothing (clean the bedroom regularly as a way to be mindful of the importance of the time you spend in the space, of course for basic cleanliness as well) Bedtime Daily Rituals AM 0. Gently turn on bedside light (why dimmable lamps are a necessity) 1.Finish drinking the glass of water by the bed which had been poured prior to going to bed the night before 2.Before rising, thoughtfully contemplate one or two things you are grateful for (journal or write down if you prefer) 3. Read or listen to a page or a chapter of something inspiring (sans internet) such as a book or turn on calm music I prefer classical in the morning, but choose something to lift you well into the day 4. Let the natural daylight in when possible 5. Open the windows (if they aren't already open) to hear the birdsong during the spring 6. Rise and put on your slippers and dressing gown/robe PM 1. Set room/house temperature to desired levels 2. Prepare the pups for bed - final bathroom outing, blanket or dog bed preparation 3. Draw window treatments as preferred and open window (if preferred) 4. Turn on sleep timer for any music or listening element you enjoy before falling asleep 5. Situate the pillows Bolster goes behind the sleeping pillow and large decorative Euros are removed 6. Use hand and foot lotion, lip balm (as desired) 7. Pour a full glass of water and place in the tray bedside 8. Light a candle (if preferred) or spritz the bed linens with a favorite scent 9. Remove slippers and dressing gown/robe, placing nearby for easy access in the morning 10. Journal any thoughts, putting the day to bed 11. Read a book that does not add drama or worry, but rather brings a smile or tickles the mind 12. Lights out (if I cannot sleep, deep breathing practice - 6-count inhale, 6-count exhale - and before I realize it, I have fallen asleep as it stops my mind from thinking and lets it relax) ”Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama While decorating our sleeping space in a way to personalize is incredibly helpful, what I have discovered over the years is I am more often removing items rather than adding them to my bedroom. In so doing, the room's restfulness improves, my sleep deepens and there are fewer items to preoccupy my mind (or trip over). Keeping it simple, keeping it thoughtful with our intentionality and choices, investing in quality, yep, cultivating a simply luxuriously sleep space, is to live well and more specifically sleep well. Because when we sleep well, our waking hours are far more positive and fruitful and simply, incredibly enjoyable. :) An Essential Skill for the Most Peace-filled and Resilient Life ~Learn more about becoming a TOP Tier subscriber to enjoy exclusive content including all TSLL's Home Tours. SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY 9 Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep 4 Core Components to Create a Home for a Healthy Well-Being 10 Décor Tips for Create a Private Sanctuary for Rest & Repose - TSLL's Restyling Process of the Primary Bedroom Petit Plaisir ~La Rochere water glass, tumbler or stemmed glass Wayfair (many options, individual glasses available for purchase) ~Long Live the Queen! 23 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch by Bryan Kozlowski (copyright Nov. 2020) Find the A Cuppa Ideas notepads here. ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #305 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    304: Artists in Residence writer and illustrator Melissa Wyse and Kate Lewis

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 5, 2021 38:49

    Today on the podcast, the creators of the new book Artists in Residence join me to talk about not only their collaboration, but also how readers can find inspiration to look at their own sanctuaries as a haven, decorating it in such a way as to nurture presence and the unique creativity each inhabitant would like to share with the world. Melissa Wyse is the writer and through her research, so many details largely unknown to the wider public are shared about each of the 17 artists' residences and their life stories. Kate Lewis brings to vivid imagery each of the intimate spaces with her illustrations. yYou will find yourself looking at all of the detail, going back and forth between the written word and the painted peek to gain a sense of how the artist lived. Not only a book to feast upon with the eyes, but inspire you to honor your own gifts, find time to explore and share them and motivate others to do the same just as Kate and Melissa have done. Purchase the book Artists in Residence: Seventeen Artists and Their Living Spaces from Giverny to Casa Azul here, and explore more about each of the women below: Melissa Wyse (writer): website; Instagram Kate Lewis (illustrator): website; Instagram (see below a pic of her new art offerings) ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #304 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify ~Sponsor for today’s episode: Graf Lantz Receive 15% off your first order with promo code SIMPLY through April 30th

    303: 33 Ways to Live Your Fullest Life, as taught by Norma Kamali

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 15, 2021 51:30

    "Living your purpose will make it possible to do all the things you need to do to reach the goals you need to reach in order to fulfill your dreams, which are as big as the world and as optimistic as your mind can imagine." —Norma Kamali, author of I Am Invincible Change is inevitable, in the world, our bodies and our lives. How we navigate life's endless changes determines the quality of our lives, especially during our everydays and how we experience each 24-hours, but from the longview of life, it will determine the legacy we create, the connections and relationships we make and build and how or if we contribute positively to a better world tomorrow. Fashion designer Norma Kamali's new book, part memoir, part lifestyle/self-esteem builder I Am Invincible is aptly described by Cynthia Rowley as "personal power with a side of popcorn". Upon the book's arrival, I read it in one day. Highlighting constantly, stopping and rereading, taking closer notes so as not to forget and apply immediately her wisdom to my life, I couldn't wait to share with podcast listeners and blog readers (where does the 'side of popcorn come in you may be wondering? she shares a simple, yet delicious recipe for homemade popcorn - I tried it the next day - yep, loved it). What good fortune we all have to live now with so much to learn, apply, explore and tickle our curiosity, and with such good fortune, we can easily become overwhelmed. However, Kamali reminds and models in her own life of more than 70 years that this good fortune need not betwixt us but rather spark excitement within us to figure out how to make it work for each and every one of us so we can live with purpose. The book transpired out of a gift she gave to a friend who was celebrating her 50th birthday. She gave as a Moleskine journal filled with 50 Tips on Turning 50! and the reaction led to asking her to make her book available, and now we have quite the book of inspiration and lessons applied and learned. As someone who chose herself when she founded her own business in her early 20s after ending a marriage and the business she and her then husband began together and continues to hold the reins and someone who found whom she describes as her soulmate at 65, Kamali is a living example of intentionally building one's self-esteem, recognizing and celebrating your authentic self and living with purpose in your business and personal life. Her book begins with the driving question: If you can control the quality of your life, why not do it? And while she definitely had me at Why Not . . . ? I couldn't agree more that indeed we should invest and apply in all the areas we can to elevate the quality of our lives. Today's episode/post shares 33 of which there are many more lessons discovered as I read her book. I hope you enjoy. ~be sure to tune in and listen to the audio version of today's episode for further discussion on each of the points shared below. LIFE & MIND 1.Be brave "Be willing to surrend who you are for what you can become. Change is very hard for many people, but change is inevitable in all of our lives. It is oftentimes what propels us forward. If you initiate change, you will have proactive management over it." The courage to be brave is not for the faint of heart. The moment of transition lasts more than a moment, and during this time of transition from where you were to where you are going with your choice is full of emotions challenging your decision, then buoying your excitement, then challenging your decision again. The only way to overcome the doubt is to continue to strive forward as such feelings are only the mind's lizard brain wanting you to continue what it knows not necessarily because it is best for you. ~read this post - How to Be Brave: Follow Your 'This' to Live the Life You Have Dreamt About 2. Understand your hormonal levels "Throughout puberty, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause, women ride a hormonal roller coaster. Diet and exercise are the first lines of defense for balancing hormones." On a practical level, since I mentioned emotions in #1, not only do we need to strengthen our emotional intelligence (EQ), but as women, we need to understand the hormonal changes each of us will go through at some time. Kamali recommends speaking to your wellness doctor or an expert in the medical field to best understand how to navigate and understand what your body is moving through. 3. Learn to love yourself first, so you can love others well "Positive self-esteem based on how we feel about our mind, body and soul is needed for self-love. If we haven't done work in the self-love area, there is a chance we are not as discriminating as we need to be, especially in relationships." Kamali's own life exemplifies the need to walk away for our own well-being,"Walking away begins with a belief system you have in your head about your own value." And it is in the self-love, we become clear about how to love others well and know what love actually looks like. 4. Professional teeth cleanings - multiple times a year Back to the practical. Of course, brushing our teeth daily, multiple times a day is a must along with flossing, etc., but our smiles are powerful. They not only enhance our beauty, they boost our own confidence and endorphin levels when we smile, and a healthy smile can be maintained for an extraordinary long time if only we take preventative measures regularly throughout our entire lives. Two times a year tends to be the recommendation by dentists, but opt for more if you can and let your smile shine. 5. Embrace a meditation practice A meditation practice need not be elaborate. It can be as simple and momentary as intentional time slipping away to the restroom while at work for 5 to 10 minutes to breathe deeply and settle ourselves, but yes (I know I have recommended this practice many times here on the blog), meditation is a worthwhile practice for so many lifelong health benefits - the mind most especially. 6. Be proactive to navigate well through fear/anxiety/worry When it comes to eliminating or handling well unwanted worry, undesirable situations, Kamali advises developing routines to engage in everyday whenever worry, fear or anxiety arises. For example, she shares how meditation breaks when taken "temper anything stressful that might throw off [her] routine". 7. Embrace regular, rigorous exercise to improve sleep "In addition to helping naturally reduce stress and anxiety levels, regular exercise has been shown to boost the amount of time the body spends in deep sleep. This is the most physically rejuvenating phase, important for memory and cognitive function. When energy is restored, cells regenerate, and the immune system is strengthened." Upon reflection on any night in which I woke up prematurely and was not woken up, it followed a day I did not exercise. On days I do not exercise due to exhaustion - mental and emotional fatigue, I actually cause more stress because my sleep is not deep and sometimes interrupted of my own accord. All of these ahas I have seen and learned in my own life reiterate the vital importance of making time in my day for an exercise routine. 8. Make your bedroom a sacred space in your sanctuary Currently, as many readers know, I am nearing the end of a much anticipated bedroom restyling and when it is complete I look forward to sharing with you my decisions for the space and how they help me create a sacred space. Each of us will make unique choices for the decor, the sheets, the ambiance which work best for us, but one thing Kamali reiterates is to leave the bedroom for sleeping, resting and connecting intimately with your partner only. In other words, leave the technology outside of the bedroom. ~10 Décor Tips for Creating a Private Sanctuary for Rest & Repose: TSLL's Restyling Process (mid-way through) of the Primary Bedroom (for TOP Tier exclusively) ~Why Not . . . Create a Sanctuary for your Senses? ~14 Ways to Create a Happy Home, episode #278 FOOD 9. Make what you eat a lifestyle choice "What you eat should be a lifestyle choice, not a fad diet, just like your workouts should be part of your daily routine, and not sporadic." TSLL lives by the principle of eating well and with the seasons. The food we eat need not be fancy and it absolutely doesn't need to lack flavor as it is the flavor which will satiate us, telling our bodies we are full and satisfied. However, learning how to cook and eat this way is a skill we are taught as children or need to teach ourselves as adults. It is well worth it and once we understand the fundamentals, easy than might be expected. "The simple secret I've learned is that if we eat quality food we will feel fulfilled and less controlled by our cravings. The amount of food we need is much less than you might imagine." ~Enjoy Stepping into Your Kitchen with 6 Simple (and effortless) flavor tips ~explore TSLL's cooking show - The Simply Luxurious Kitchen - to begin to enjoy stepping into your kitchen 10. No more sugar "[Sugar] doesn't do your complexion any favors, either. A doctor once described sugar's oxidizing effect on cells to me as akin to 'rust'. The rust starts to decay and age the cell. This accelerated cellular aging also harms the building blocks of collagen and elastin, causing skin to sag prematurely." The natural sugars found in fruits and some vegetables - keep on devouring them! However, by becoming aware of how sugar infilrates our diet without either realizing it or recognizing how much we are actually consuming, we do our health and our skin no favors. 11. Add ginger and/or lemon to your hot water to debloat Water, water, water all the time, water. Adding fresh lemon juice also is a healthy choice, one many of us know about, but did you know about adding ginger? (I have a feeling many of you did and I am late to this health tip :), but I want to share with you all.) Ginger is a carminative along with many other herbs, and carminatives help to soothe the digestive tract and relieve gas, cramps and bloating. 12. Stock your épicerie with foods to care for your inner and outer health. In episode #109 and in even more detail in chapter 12 of TSLL's second book Living The Simply Luxurious Life, I share a list of 34 essential items to have in your Épicerie (grocery or pantry). TSLL's 2nd Book (learn more here) STYLE "Style survives fashion and personal style is developed with time." 13. Courageously get to know yourself and your personal style will reveal itself "The more you know who you are as you move through your life, the more you develop your personal style." As I step forward into a new chapter in my own life (more to come on that this summer), I am excited to further fine-tune my personal style. My goal is so that "Every piece of clothing", when you have cultivated your own personal style, "will have a purpose in your wardrobe." It's possible and far easier when we know ourselves and how we enjoy living. 14. Understand the value of timeless style "Women who understand the value of timeless style look amazing all of the time." ~further exploration, listen to/read episode #103: Effortless Style: The Truth (explore further in TSLL's 2nd Book, chapter 11) 15. Don't follow trends Style remains and fashion fades. While we can be inspired or piqued by a new fashion walking down the runway, responding rather than reacting applies just as much to our decisions for our wardrobe as it does to our interactions throughout life with others. Explore this post - Why Not . . . Create Your Own Style Commandments? to strengthen your approach to building your personal style. 16. Sustainable clothing shopping requires wise shopping choices timeless clothes multiple purposes seasonless (when possible) Investing in high quality clothing, paying high price for well-made items made of quality fabric is shopping sustainably. You shop less and you wear the items longer. 17. Your personal brand is introduced through your clothing Branding is communicated by many other factors - our energy, posture, congeniality - but before we even speak, our clothing talks for us. Our sartorial choices are powerful, and as Kamali encourages, "let yours be uniquely you". 18. Organize your closet to excite and focus your attention and save time Kamali suggests organizing your closet to help you edit what you really want to wear and in fact organizes her personal and office closets by color, then by fabric, and then by category: dresses, jumpsuits, tops, jackets, skirts, pants. 19. Purchase multiple items you love and fit well From undergarments to blazers, layering pieces, anything that is timeless, Kamali recommends investing in duplicates. 20. A strong confidence requires less artifice as protection "But with her new book, she hopes to drive home the limits of fashion. 'A dress can only do so much,' she says. 'When you feel good in your body and your mind, you’ll probably spend less on clothes.'" Upon reading the profile of Kamali's book in the WSJ, it was the above quote which resonated with me quite strongly. Yes, we need clothing, I am not one to advocate for sans-clothing living although I know some do and that is perfectly fine for them. Clothing is powerful, but when we rely on our clothing to do the work we need to be doing for ourselves for our mental well-being, we place too much importance on what we are wearing causing unnecessary stress on our mental health and strain on our budget. I wholeheartedly, as readers and listeners know, advocate for investment pieces rather than cheap, clothing (referencing #16), and as we find peace within ourselves, strengthen ourselves with soft skills to improve how we engage with the world, our clothing, while it may introduce us before our words and actions begin, becomes secondary. Meaning, we can wear the same outfit more often without worry, we can stick to our personal uniform with confidence knowing it works with our lifestyle, and we can feel good in the clothing we have chosen further supporting us as we live how we had hoped in our dreams we could one day experience in real life: with great purpose, with deep joy and true contentment. WORK "Be independent; learn how to earn your own way. Then you can choose someone you love versus someone to take care of you." 21. Explore your dreams for your life journey "The wonderful thing about a dream is that it is limitless and it is free, and it can become the path to your purpose." Let persistent curiosity be your guide to where your purpose will be discovered. Kamali writes, "invest in your future now" even if you don't know what it will lead to or the potential it will present down the road. Simply invest because you are genuinely curious and let tomorrow reveal what it will. 22. Empower other women, don't compete "Girls compete, women empower." Citing insecurity and a lack of self-esteem as the cause of fear which then leads to a scarcity mindset prompting competition, when we step forward instead as women with strong self-esteem paired with generosity, there is no need to compete because we are secure in our ability, excited to learn more and willing to help as we can those who look to us with inquiry. 23. Do something that scares you In so doing, you keep your mind sharp. Stretch your mind, learn something new, attempt something you've never thought of yourself doing, yet when presented with the opportunity, your curiosity is piqued. Try it, give it a go and who knows what doors or windows or ahas will open. 24. Respect in your field will take time "Respect is like money, you have to earn it." Your reason for pursuing your chosen career will determine your longevity. If your purpose comes from within, you will have the perseverance to ride the waves of questioning and/or doubt others in the field may have of your ideas. Stay true to your core purpose, be open to learning, flexible with the journey forward and how it unfolds, and in time, and in a moment most unexpected, you will realize you have garnered the respect of the field you so devoted yourself to. 25. Deal with your 'failures' well and your future will be bright "Allow yourself a limited amount of time to recount the events that led to failure and to assess the damage. Take responsibility, look at the options for your next steps, get advice, then get on you feet and know you are not alone in failure." 26. "Do it for joy and you can do it forever" As shared in #24, what motivates you to pursue the career or caling you find yourself and have chosen to remain or step into anew from another career that didn't quite fit will determine your longevity. When I sit down to write, it fuels me. When I am tasked with other jobs I have done for pay, I am drained. Listen to this for your own energy sources to determine whether or not you are pursuing what is best for you. BEAUTY "Authenticity Enhanced is my beauty preference, since being me is definitely easier than trying to look like someone else." Enhance who you are and only use makeup (after caring for your skin well) for definition, "not to hide or disguise or hide the real you". 27. Take care of your skin The French have taught me many lessons, and this is one of them: tend to your skin and your makeup need only be minimal and secondary. I have written quite a bit on this topic, so I will list the post to explore for more detail (and list of recommended skincare brands and products) below: 13 French Beauty Products I Love and Recommend 22 French Beauty Secrets worth the Investment in either time or money, episode #258 15 of My Favorite Skincare Products Let's Talk About Beauty, episode #102 28. Take pride in your individuality "Being the author of your own life is far more interesting than imitating another's life." ~7 Components for Building a Signature Style 29. Exercise for beautiful skin "Sweat for glowing skin and to release toxins." ~Why Not . . . Treat Your Body Like a Temple? 30. Leave the nails unpainted "Natural, unpainted manicures are healthy and maintain a timeless look." I have been leaving my own fingernails unpainted for, well, for all of my adult life and prior to actually as well. However, I just recently began going sans color when I give myself a pedicure. I am loving it. Less to purchase, but it forces me to care well for my overall health and directly, my nails. While I sit down every two weeks for my at-home pedicure and tend to my fingernails every week, my choice surprised me as I wear sandals frequently in the summer, but it simply means, I will know my nails are healthy and that all is well. 31. Drink green tea for your skin An antioxidant for the skin, Kamali shares she drinks one or two cups of green tea every day. With multiple benefits, green tea can calm redness and inflammation and protect the skin from free radical damage, and even the small amount of caffeine in green tea can help reduce puffiness around the eyes. There are so many wonderful green teas. Currently in my tea cupboard are Vert Provence from Mariage Fréres and a variety of green teas from Palais des Thés. Kamali's green tea mask recipe (use in #32 for your at-home facial): (1) place a paper towel on a dinner plate; (2) pour a small amount of freshly brewed cool or room-temperature green tea on the paper towel; (3) drain any excess liquid; (4) lie back with your head on a towel and place the paper towel over your face; (5) relax and breathe in a meditative manner; (6) remove when you are ready and pat dry your face. 32. Give yourself at-home facials in-between your seasonal or bi-monthly facials at the spa Begin with a cleansing your face well (I use Caudalie's makeup removing facial cleanser which is 100% natural and vegan) Use a simple natural scrub using olive oil and sugar or sea salt, provide a steam treatment by sitting near a steamer (if you have one) or draping a towel over your head above a bowl of hot water - keep your face about 6-12 inches above the water). Then apply a facial masque best suited for your skin - I highly recommend any masques (or products) from Eminence Organic Skincare. My facial cleanser MAKE IT HAPPEN 33. Commit "The minute you reflect upon what your purpose is in this lifetime, you can commit to it, and the esaier it will be to maintain focus and stay on course." Committing occurs when we take action beyond ourselves. The conversation steps outside of our minds, we hand in the job application, turn in the resignation letter, purchase the lease, apply for the loan, say yes, say no. Following any one of these decisions, we are in it. Sure we could back out, but we've already made one of the most difficult decisions and aren't you curious to see how it can unfold if only you would put your whole heart into it? I just made a commitment last week which put a long-held dream into motion (I will share more concretely what it is later this summer), and yes, there is fear and trepidiation, but I do my best not to hang out with these emotions for too long because I have much more excitement I now have the opportunity to full embody and explore. Live your life on purpose for a purpose which will make you come to life and you will be, as Norma Kamali states from the beginning, invincible. ~Read Norma Kamali's highly inspiring and motivating book I Am Invincible Petit Plaisir —Italian Furlane Slippers from ~functional luxury footwear ~handmade with velvet and slip-resistant rubber soles just as the gondolieri have worn on their Venetian boats. Sizing up is highly recommended, but I have did purchase my true size for one pair and while snug, it fit well and became even more perfect for my foot with a handful of wearings. I also have one that is one size larger which I wear everyday and love. For more sizes and color optinos (if you cannot find what you want on the home site, shop below) here (Verishop) ~Sponsor for today’s episode: Jenni Kayne Receive 15% off your first order with promo code SIMPLE ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #303 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    302: 21 Lessons Learned in my 42nd Year

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 1, 2021 26:55

    Over the weekend I quietly celebrated my 42nd birthday. It was lovely. It was full of much contemplation. It included delicious food and wine and the last day of the year brought the sunshine which found me out in my garden preparing for spring. Over the past 12 months all of our lives experienced unexpected moments, ahas, wonderings, fears, break-throughs and endless other unplanned daily routine shifts and lifestyle adjustments. Perhaps some of the lessons I share today won't come as a surprise to you if you follow TSLL blog and podcast and for every lesson I share, if there is a post or episode which explores the idea further, I will be sure to link it for further reader. All in all, much has been learned, much unexpected, and much I am incredibly thankful presented itself and equally am I thankful I chose to try to understand why it said hello in my life. 1.Fresh flowers in the home immediately boost the peace and comfort in the daily routine ~12 Simple Ideas for Beautiful Flowers in the Home 2. Beneficial reassurance can only come from within 3. Gardening is a way of life which elevates life Why Not . . . Try Gardening? Part Une - 10 Whole Life Benefits 4. Quality investments made before they are necessary allow for a life of more ease and a stronger foundation when times become rough 5. Reading is one of the best ways to spend time in lockdown: growth never ceases. 6. Quality lamps provide more comfort, better ambiance and a true sense of welcome and warmth. 7. Thinking well is a choice. 8. Thinking well enables you to live well. 9. Quality chocolate and quality butter create a delectable, satiating dessert. 10. Match strikers - style mets function The Decor Detail You Didn't Know You Needed: The Match Striker 11. Mental strength is fundamental for a life of true contentment 10 Ways to Cultivate a Mental Diet that Elevates the Quality of Your Life 12. Shedding the layers of 'should's from the outside world, identifying them and liberating yourself will simplify your life choices and fundamentally change your life journey for the better. Unbecoming Who You Are Not in order to Remember Who You Are 13. Slowing down as a regular way of life is a better way to live Slowing Down to Live Well 14. Creating a cosy home, creating a welcoming home is my driving focus. ~34 Ideas for Adding Cosy to Your Everyday 15. Moments of temporary discomfort along the journey as you intentionally change your life are a sign of your old life wanting to draw you back to what it 'knows'. This is normal, and it will gradually subside. Strive forward toward your new way of life. Life will reward you with deeper contentment. 16. Trust yourself when it comes to your décor. Have patience, seek out expertise and then proceed confidently without seeking approval from the masses. Style over trends. 17. I love crêpes ~Brown-Butter-Lemon-Sugar Crêpe~ ~Buckwheat Crêpes (Galettes) with Prosciutto, Gruyére & Egg~ 18. A good cuppa is an everyday necessity 18 Ways to Enjoy A Good Cuppa 19. Tending to our tasks only and letting go of tending to others is to set yourself free. The Courage to Live Fully & Deeply: 7 Ideas to Put into Practice for a Life of True Contentment 20. Being present, engaging with the world as it presents itself to you creates amazing magic. 21. Trust your intuition and be motivated to follow your hopes, not remain where you are because of fear. ~read How Fear Can Be an Opportunity for Amazing Life Changes Each birthday is the celebration of the year and lessons and gifts from the past, and it is also a gift to have another year commence full of auspicious possibility. Thank you for all of the birthday wishes shared in the comment section on Friday's This & That post. And may your birthday, wherever it falls on the calendar be as bright and as hope-filled as you dare to allow it. :) SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES: 15 Life Lessons Learned during my First Year into my 40s, episode #279 Let the 40s Begin! (and 3 Valuable Life Lessons Realized in my 30s) 15 Lessons I Am Carrying into My 39th Year Petit Plaisir ~The Dig ~read a review by The New York Times ~learn more about the writer of the adapted screenplay of The Dig - Moira Buiffini.

    301: The Courage to Live Fully & Deeply: 7 Ideas to Put into Practice for a Life of True Contentment

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 15, 2021 49:46

    "People can change and be happy from this moment onward . . . the problem is not one of ability, but of courage." —from the book The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga "As long as one keeps searching, the answers come." American folk singer Joan Baez certainly narrows down succinctly and accurately the practice of finding our way; however, along the way toward the revelation of the answers, we must be courageous enough to feel uncomfortable for portions of the journey as well as capable of homing in on the gems of wisdom and letting go of needing to be agile when trying something new in our lives. The answers come to those who accept moments of clumsiness, frequent stumbles, nights and days of ambiquity and confusion because embracing anything new, trying anything new which speaks to what we are seeking and trying to understanding will require a beginner's mind. Learning to walk required of each of us even though we don't remember (but I truly think it would help if we could) numerous stumbles, falls forward and backward, sometimes temporarily causing pain to our face, knees and bottoms. But we don't remember this because we needed to learn how to walk to participate fully in the life we had no clue awaited us. Keep such an analogy in mind as you choose to continue to search for your answers. I too have to remind myself of the toddler parallel, and as I grow older and hopefully not only in age, but in wisdom, I become more and more grateful for each challenge. One of the most valuable development skills the book argues a parent can teach their child is how to overcome challenges, and that can only happen by letting them navigate through tasks which appear difficult to them, but easy for us - tying shoes for example. While appearing easy to the adult, the child must start with such challenges in order to be confident enough to navigate through more difficult challenges as their life unfolds. Again another axiom comes to mind, "Life doesn't get easier, we just become better equipped to handle well the challenges when presented." However, the caveat is we must keep stepping through the challenges and not settling and unconsciously ignoring them. Life will always present dilemmas, quandaries and moments of difficulty; it is our choice to try to understand how to navigate through such situations. We are the director of our lives, and it is up to us to direct ourselves to the wisdom necessary, learn said wisdom and apply it. Today, I am excited to share with you a handful of insights the book The Courage to Be Disliked taught me (there are soooooo many more - I highly recommend reading the book). On the surface, each is easy to comprehend, but the first time we put the practice into use, it may be difficult. With time and consistent effort however, the practice will become habituated and before we realize it, our lives, our everyday lives and the longview of our lives, will change for the better. Let's take a look at the list. 1.Let go of competing with the world Seeking to be superior in comparison with other people is a denial of our own journey and our true selves. As I will share in #5 below, we each have a unique something to contribute positively to the larger world, but when we consume ourselves with 'proving' ourselves in competition of any sort, we step away from self-growth and discovery of our unique talents and gifts. The only healthy form of competition "comes from one's comparison with one's ideal self". Refrain from 'gaining status or honor', in other words, approval from the outside world. Instead, invest in being yourself. Invest in self-growth and discovery and let go of competition - anything preoccupied with winning and losing as "it will invitably get in the way". 2. The meaning we give the events in our life journey determines its quality "We determine our own lives according to the meaning we give to those past experiences. Your life is not something that someone gives you, but something you choose yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live." The life truth I have seen again and again and more vividly as I grasped its true meaning is if we argue enough for our limitations, we get to keep them and they become our reality. Not because the limitations are truth, but because we made them true by accepting them. 3. Know your tasks and let others tend to theirs Described as Separation of Tasks, knowing what is our individual responsibility and what are the responsibilities of others not only will alleviate and remove much stress and worry, it will also improve our interpersonal relationships. In The Courage to Be Disliked, they use the example of a romantic partnership: "You believe in your partner; that is your task. But how that person acts with regard to your expectations and trust is other people's tasks . . . intervening in other people's tasks and taking on other people's tasks turns one's life into something heavy and full of hardship." In other words, knowing the boundaries of what is your task and what is the task of others will eliminate unnecessary worry and suffering, and it will also make life, as the book describes, far more simple and enjoyable to live. 4. Let go of the outcome The Alderian psychology way is to not cure the symptoms regarding when one exhibits a lack of self-confidence - what happened in the past, not dwelling on what brought you to this point - but rather accept yourself as you are now and find the courage to step forward letting go of the outcome which is what causes the fear. We are fearful because we don't know how it will all work out. 5. Find what you can positively contribute to the greater world and the need to be 'accepted' or 'liked' subsides "If you change your lifestyle—the way of giving meaning to the world and yourself—then both your way of interacting with the world and your behavior will have to change as well. Do not forget this point: One will have to change. You, just as you are, have to choose your lifestyle. It might seem hard, but it is really quite simple." "A way of living in which one is constantly troubled by how one is seen by others is a self-centered lifestyle in which one's sole concern is with the 'I'." The paradoxical truth reveals the freedom we can each attain when we let go of worrying about others liking us and instead focus on how to contribute well to the world. True contentment is found not by applause and approval from the outside world, but when we begin to look within and discover what we can uniquely give to the world which is a positive contribution. A positive contribution can be as simple as being a civil citizen of the world - obliging the city ordinance to shovel your sidewalk when it snows or stopping for pedestrians to cross the road. More grandly, it could be to dedicate your expertise and knowledge to develop a vaccine to curb the rise of a deadly virus. All along the spectrum, each of us hold gifts in which we can contribute positively to the community outside of us which leads us away from being solely concerned with the "I". 6. Reflect on your comments and/or judgments of others to discover your own truth "An adult, who has chosen an unfree way to live [i.e. living for the approval of the outside world], on seeing a young person [or any person for that matter] living freely here and now in this moment, criticizes the young as being hedonistic. Of course, this is a life-lie that comes out so that the adult can accept his own unfree life. An adult who has chosen real freedom himself will not make such comments and will instead cheer on the will to be free." A quick refresher, if we are judging, we are taking on someone else's task, so to begin with, let go of the judging; however, for the sake of this lesson which the book includes to further the need to separate tasks, I find it helpful to remind us when others' words or opinions sting or wound us, what they are sharing has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with their life journey. I recently had a neighbor make a snide and negative comment about my enthusiasm over the growth of my lettuce. Instinctively, it hurt my feelings, but then I realized, their inability to be able to celebrate with someone else in their joy reflected their own pain in their life at the moment in which life wasn't going so well and feels out of their control to solve it. When we tend to our tasks and let go of others, we set ourselves free in more ways than we can initially imagine possible. As we continue to put the practice of separation of tasks into our lives, we eliminate so many instances of pain and hurt we will never have to know, and that is part of living truly free. 7. Don't be afraid of being disliked "I am not telling you to go so far as to live in such a way that you will be disliked, and I am not saying engage in wrongdoing. Please do not misunderstand . . . One just separates tasks. There may be a person who does not think well of you, but that is not your task . . . one moves forward without fearing the possibility of being disliked . . . before being concerned with what others think of me, I want to follow through with my own being. That is to say, I want to live in freedom." While it takes more than a couple of chapters for the separation of tasks to be fully explained in terms the young man understand, ultimately, being able to separate properly leads to the ability to let go of what others think of us, leading us to be free to be our true selves. Again, being free does not mean causing others pain or directly doing something to be disliked - such choices would not be tapping into what you can uniquely give to the world to contribute positively. The hard work, the courageous work, is to fully explore your own inner being, become resistant to those who try to pull you back to following what the masses and crowds are doing and instead continue to unearth the gifts you have always had within you. The world needs you to find those gifts even though you and the world may not know exactly what you will find, but so long as it contributes positively to society, you must keep searching. Some readers may challenge the definition of 'positive' as it is a subjective term, an abstract concept. True, however, I take the perspective that we desire to live in a world that honors humanity, celebrates kindness and wishes to uphold a civil society. When we acknowledge what is possible through understanding of the mind through the social sciences of sociology and psychology as well as neurology, we discover amazing truths about the motivations of human beings. All of this is to say, it takes time and intentional living to learn and apply, explore and observe, and then to be courageous in its application in our individual lives because our only task is to journey within and let others do the same. We must let go of the outside world and take responsibility for what our unique contribution can be in not only our larger life journey but in our everyday lives. Reading and then understanding the contents of The Courage to Be Disliked requires close reading and rereading. Philosophy, literally composed of the words love "phil" and wisdom "soph" means to love wisdom, and a deep understanding of wisdom requires more than concrete surface simplicities. Any philosophical reading requires we go deeper, not only in the reading itself, but into our own mind. Growth is hard and it can be uncomfortable temporarily as we stretch ourselves, but the more we grow, the more we regularly stretch ourselves, our reach, in other words our understanding deepens as well and our ability to apply what we have learned to our lives more likely to stick and change our lives moving forward. ~Learn more about the book which inspired today's episode - The Courage to be Disliked ~Learn more about becoming a TSLL TOP Tier Subscriber for exclusive content and unlimited access. SIMILAR POST/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Your Fear is Speaking How Fear Can Be an Opportunity for Amazing Life Changes ~As shared during today's episode: Petit Plaisir —Miss Scarlett & The Duke PBS Masterpiece (can be streamed through Amazon Prime as well with a subscription to PBS Masterpiece) ~Sponsor for today's episode: Jenni Kayne Receive 15% off your first order with promo code SIMPLE ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #301 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    300: Plat du Jour - French Dinners Made Easy w/Susan Herrmann Loomis

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 1, 2021 36:43

    France, food, seasonally fresh produce. American expat cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis has just released a new cookbook and it is good. Deliciously good. Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy was just released on January 12th, and I excitedly welcomed it into my cookbook library. Today, Susan returned to join me on the podcast to talk about her new cookbook. Sharing the inspiration for the book, the history of the phrase Plat du Jour, recipes to enjoy during the middle of winter, much more along with another Petit Plaisir that will remind us all how powerfully delicious waiting for something delicious can be. Be sure to tune in to the audio version wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts, and below you will find links mentioned during our conversation. A tremendous thank you to Susan for joining me from Paris and whetting our appetites for delicious French food. Learn more about her new cookbook: Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy Check out Susan's new YouTube channel - Dancing Tomatoes here. Check out her new website for Dancing Tomatoes View my previous conversations with Susan: episode #192: Susan Herrmann Loomis Talks France, Food and Julia Child (this is the episode in which she shares her Petit Plaisir - the blue hour) Learn more (and see many pictures) of my two opportunities to join her cooking classes: Cooking with Susan in Portland (2018) Attending Susan's Cooking Class in Louviers (2019) The first recipe tried and enjoyed from Susan's cookbook - Curly Endive Salad with Hot Bacon and Goat Cheese (I substituted escarole for the endive). So good! ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #300 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

    299: How to Live a Life with Less Stress & Why It's Vital for Good Health

    Play Episode