Patterns of a simple life

31 July 2013
One thing I really love about the simple life is that it encourages me to slow down and be mindful. I've stopped working on automatic plot and multi-tasking and now I concentrate on what I'm doing.  Focusing on my work has its own way of slowing me down. I don't think about what I'll do when I finish, I don't think about tonight or tomorrow, my mind slows right down and it's just me in a room with what I'm doing. I feel in control, enjoy the work and when it's finished, I have a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

I can slot house work in with my paid work better, if I work to a routine. I find that if I set myself up with a couple of easy daily chores early in the morning, it seems to keep me going the entire day. If I don't do those two set things, I flounder, going from this to that and not quite doing anything well. What is working well for me at the moment it to have a pencil and paper next to the computer when I write my morning post. As I think of them, I create a list of tasks that I want or need to do that day. If I don't finish my list, it's fine, they just get added to the following day's list. But there is always one constant, I always start my day with those two easy tasks - I make the bed and I get bread on the rise. When those two things are complete, I know I've set my day up well and the flow of my list directs me throughout the day.

This was one of the many surprises that came my way when I left paid work behind and returned to my home; supposedly the place where I would be boring and bored. Instead of boredom, I found that many household tasks are easy and quick and often they just flow into each other.

I still work for money but it's at a much slower pace now. I work from home, writing books, blogging and organising talks and workshops when the need arrises. The rest of the time I tend my home, look after my husband, myself and occasionally our grandson, and home produce as much as I can. I cook too. I bake, cook from scratch every day, make drinks, ferments and preserves. I look for new horizons so my work remains interesting. My biggest challenge at the moment is to increase my knowledge about food storage and to cut down on food and water wastage. But that's a story for another time.

So all through the day, I wash up, cook, bake, sweep and wipe, set the table, look after who ever is here, take breaks, sit and knit, or read and think, and all that is done around my writing work. One thing flows into the other, I don't feel pressured, I get work done and at the end of the day, I have a few pages to edit and edit again. Working in this way, I've been able to continue working in a commercial sense as well as feel like a full-time homemaker.

I never tire of cooking. It seems like a unique gift that I give to others every day. When I cook for my family, when I introduce Jamie to a food he may not have had before, when I bake a celebration cake or create a simple soup using backyard produce, that all comes from the heart. Giving from the heart is always meaningful and significant, and the giving comes back to me too in many wonderful ways.

These small things I do each day, when I make the bed, mop a floor, boil an egg, plant seeds, peel vegetables, mend a shirt, write a blog post or a book page, the willingness to do them and to give them, all come easily when life is so rich. They are activities I take part in every day, fluffing up our nest, doing this and that, putting plain and simple ingredients together to create something special, and they are given willingly with the intention of creating cohesion, harmony and strength in our family. People rarely forget if you make them feel wanted, comfortable and loved. I'm sure there are many people who think that a hefty bank balance makes a family strong but I think a family who works for each other and who give freely of themselves form the strongest families and create the most permanent of ties.

Do you feel what I feel or do you struggle with your work?