I am now into the second month of the challenge -.http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Simply-Living-Challenge/123095097809075 . And I am so excited because my friend Ellen has joined me. We have amazing conversations behind the scenes (she in the city of San Diego, USA and me in a little wheatbelt town in Australia). Her practical knowledge gets me excited and her passion for simple living is giving the challenge a balance that I hope will make the difference between contemplating simple living and actually putting these thoughts into practice. I can't believe it is only February. I have learnt so much and I am loving every moment of it.
In January I focused on my appearance. I haven't touched make-up in weeks now and I feel much less insecure about facing the world 'naked' and my skin feels wonderful. I wore only 7 complete outfits for 3 weeks and though I haven't stuck to that since January I did learn that no one actually notices that you are wearing the same clothes. I gave away a lot of my jewellery, which means I have less choice when I am getting dressed and that saves me time. Less choice seems to equate with less stress. I thought a lot about what makes a person beautiful - and it is much more than clothes and make-up.
It was in January that I reflected on my love of making things from scratch and so the second challenge was birthed. February has been the month of 'making things from scratch'. My personal products are now from the kitchen. Bicarb (Baking Soda) is utterly amazing. It can be used for so much. So far I have used it for: a face scrub, to wash my hair (followed by a vinegar wash), to brush my teeth, shave, and as deodorant. Of course I also use it to clean the house! I am putting fair trade, organic coconut oil in my dog's dinner (and his coat is looking sleek). I take one teaspoon a day myself now. I run a small amount through my hair and use it to moisturise my face and body. It is wonderful. I also love olive oil. I have made my own re-usable sanitary pads. I drew a cartoon with the title 'How I met your father' as a Valentine's gift. A friend was going to shout me at a coffee shop - and I suggested we do something simple instead. We were at the church alone so we made ourselves a cuppa and sat outside, under the trees, and enjoyed the warm breeze and the privacy. More and more I am discovering that the simple things in life are indeed the best.
Now Ellen is setting a challenge for me each week. When I saw her first challenge I really wondered why I had suggested this to her. This is what she wrote:
This week Ellen challenges Asta to find a friend who does not have time to do or make something she is very good at and consider a trade or cash equivalent.
It is true that initially I panicked, and it didn't help that my daughter could only think of things I can't do well or airy fairy things that I can do but we couldn't think of a practical application. But then I had a brain wave. A widow friend, who has been having some back and feet problems lately, called into the library where I work casually. I asked her if she had trouble getting rid of spiders and their webs. Her answer was yes and so I suggested we strike up a deal as I am an excellent and humane spider catcher. So we have a date this Friday. I will be 'Spiderwoman' as my husband now jokingly calls me, and will re-home them for her and she in turn will make us something to eat. It is a win win situation. I'm not all that fond of everyday cooking but she is. I was ridiculously happy about this deal. I have a feeling it might be the beginning of more things to come. There have been few times that I have been able to barter successfully. I did have a wonderful experience with a babysitting club once. I have always wanted to trade skills like this but for some reason it has seldom come off. Maybe I just needed Ellen's challenge to push me to try it again. Really sharing skills makes a lot of sense.
Are you following The Simple Living Challenge? Please share your knowledge, experience and thoughts with us all. Ellen and I long to see it grow into a thriving, supportive community. What does simple living look like to you? In January what were your thoughts about 'Appearance'? And now in February are you 'Making Things From Scratch'? If you are, what and why? And have you any ideas for the challenge in March?
Live simply... simply live,