22 February 2012

The Final Step: Gratitude

A full list of the Simple Living Challenge steps can be found here.

I am the kind of person who doesn't generally take it easy. When I have a goal, I hunt it down like a hound dog. If I get inspired, I loose my sleep. Everything in my life happens with an intensity of emotion that either makes me forget where I'm headed or leads me to a massive burn-out.

Photo: Kanelstrand

Most of my first-time projects are over-ambitious: perfect images of utopias existing only in my head. The thought that they are generally considered unachievable makes me work on them even harder. Yes, I overwork myself and yes, I see my projects through. And then, after inhuman efforts and days on the job, after I've received praises and admirations I let go and never want to go back... Trust me, it's not easy being me.

Yet, there is a plus side to it. I have gained rich experience observing difficult situations and I've come to some valuable conclusions out of the countless inner conversations I've had. You see, I have a degree in Pedagogy, I cannot even stop myself from educating me.

So, I started a Simple Living Challenge.

I wanted to help myself out loud.

You thought it was all directed only to you, right?

You see, I wrote that on my about me page but you probably thought those were just words - I am walking a path and I would love to have you as my companions. Remember when I took you on that trip around Norway last summer?

The idea behind the Simple Living Challenge was exactly the same. I didn't intend on talking down to you, I wanted us together to take the first steps in the right direction. I just so believe that mutual encouragement and friendship make for a memorable journey.

Photo: Kanelstrand

And what a journey it was! So many people joined us and participated, so many bloggers that I respect shared their points of view, so many of you helped in promoting the challenge. I am humbled by your level of commitment and I would like to thank you for your efforts and for the extraordinary journey we shared in the past 3 weeks.

I know there are many simple living topics that we couldn't cover, but the ones that we did were a pleasure to go through with you. For the rest (Should I say this now or keep you in suspense?), the rest you will be able to read in my first e-book sooner than you think! Stay tuned for the actual date of release.

Thank you for this intense and eye-opening 3-week journey that connected us through oceans and continents. 

I will go anywhere with you.

You can still take the Simple Living Pledge, even if you haven't taken the challenge, and make your life a little bit more organized, decluttered and focused on what really matters! 

If you have missed any of the Simple Living steps we took, here is the full list. Read them through at your own pace and don't miss the comments! Their conversational structure allowed for a lot of enlightening, controversial and constructive opinions to be shared and taken into account.

Step 1: Embrace Your Imperfections
Step 2: Simple Living as Men's Trait
Step 3: The Rules of Simple Home Organization
Step 4: Simple Crafting for Happy People 
Step 5: Simple Scheduling and Planning Routines
Step 6: Spend More Time With the People You Love 
Step 7: Spend More Time Alone 
Step 8: Connect to Your Inner Self 
Step 9: How to De-Stress 
Step 10: Learn to Live With Less and Enjoy it
Step 11: Start a Debt-Free Life
Step 12: How to Overcome Consumerism
Step 13: Declutter Your Life 
Step 14: Get Rid of Toxic Cosmetics and Reclaim Your Natural Self 
Step 15: Wean Off Plastic 
Step 16: Celebrate Your Story 


  1. Inspiring! Looking forward to your e-book! What a beautiful photo too (road and mountains) x

    1. Thank you, Erica! I took that photo in Iceland.

  2. I LOVE the photo's today...and CONGRATULATIONS on the ebook! I am so excited for you and can hardly wait to read it!
    I have to say...I am a bit sad today at the end of our simple living challenge...it has been a great adventure...and I have met some lovely people and enjoyed the dialog...sometimes simple living is not as simple as it seems as there are so many different ways to approach it...I learned there is no 'right' way...but that whatever way we take …it should be done with awareness and gratitude. So thank you dear Sonya for being the hub on the wheel of ideas and for coordinating the gathering of committed and like minded people as we travel towards a simpler and more fulfilling life.

    1. Yes, Julia, it was a memorable challenge! I will be missing all the brainstorming we did but at the same time I am so glad about all the new connections being made and I know this a really good start for all of us, a base to build on! I know that we will be stronger after the challenge and will keep inspiring each other!

      Thank you for showing such great support!

  3. Congratulations on an eye opening journey Sonya!I so enjoyed each and every post ( the women you invited to guest post were fantastic) and the conversation too! I look forward to your e book! Great idea! I enjoyed getting to know you in blog land...the outer-space highway!
    I want to share what to me is the most important simple living ingredient GRATITUDE...I have learned over the years that if I'm always nurturing my feelings and attitude of gratefulness, living simple comes more naturally in every other area because I already have what I need. I wrote an article about " Grateful " for MaryJanesFarm where I write as their Beach farmgirl blogger. It's titled " Stuffed to the Gills" !

    You can read it here:

    Thank you again for an enlightening three weeks!

    1. I agree, Deb. Gratitude is the magic wand that opens our hearts and eyes. I can't wait to read your article on MaryJanesFarm.

      Thank you for your consistent support during the challenge, and for sharing your opinion all along!

  4. Sonya, I have really enjoyed this series. I missed a couple, but will go back today and catch up. Congratulations on your ebook.

    1. Thankfully, all the steps will be here to stay, so no hurry, Laura. Take your time and read through whenever you are ready. Loved your comments during the challenge!

  5. My dear Sonya, it is to you that we are greatful for this fabulous, mind-opening experience. We are also grateful for you. To have you to share these experiences with!

    So glad that you are going to do the book!. Can't wait!

    I'm sure though, that everyone reading you today will join me in wishing you a long weekend of rest and fun and NO work!!

    1. Oh Laurie, you know how I need a break, don't you! I will listen to you again (I have a history of following your advice) and will take it nice and easy!

      Thank you for being by my side. You are my inspiration!

  6. I just discovered your blog.
    I hope it does not stop now.
    Since two months I am living alone in a little house in the middle of natur.
    My husband left me after forty years.
    I startet cleaning the house, baking my bread ( in a muffinform).
    My goats are helping me to get up every morning .
    My cat shows how to relax, i startet to do some yoga exercises each day.
    I feel I'm getting stronger by the day, with the help of my friends.
    Although I'm 63 years old, step by step I will celebrate this beautifull simple life!

    1. Dear Kenavo,
      You touched my heart. You are so very welcome to this space and I hope I can help you, although I am so much younger than you! I feel like I should learn from you and your experience but I would love it if you find inspiration and motivation in the Simple Living posts.

      Although the challenge is over, I will not stop posting on the topic of simple living, so stay with us, I am sure everybody will love your input!

  7. This series has been so great. I can't wait to hear more about your e-book! Will all of these topics be in there, too?

    1. Thank you, Paige. All of the topics will be covered and there will be more :)

  8. Wow, can you believe all of the conversations and thoughts that have been shared here in the past three weeks? That connection you helped to create is pretty amazing. :) You did a wonderful job pulling it all together and organizing day by day. I know how much time blogging takes and I appreciate all the energy you invested in this wonderful idea of yours. Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve next... ;) Thank you Sonya, I'm grateful that although oceans separate us, we still managed to find each other in this big, beautiful world. :)

    1. Thank you, Melinda! You are always so thoughtful in your comments! And you are right, it feels like we've been talking forever, not just in the past 3 weeks! Can you imagine - 500 comments?!! We sure are a talkative bunch :D

  9. wow I can't believe February is almost over and time has blown by so fast! Love the pictures; were the colors that vibrant or did you saturate them post process?

    1. Me neither! How did it manage to go by so quickly?

      The first photo is HDR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging) I love this technique because it helps bring out all the light and colors from the real view, which cannot otherwise be captured by the camera.

      The second one was just so magically vibrant!

  10. It has been an inspiring 3 weeks. I learned a lot, and realized I am on track for living a simpler life. Thank you for all the information you shared, and people you introduced me too. I have found some great new blogs to follow. I look forward to your e-book and learning even more.
    Everyday Inspired
    PS - today's photos are amazing!

  11. It's been great and very helpful!! And that first photo is amazing!!

  12. Wow. Sounds like you tired yourself out, and I can see why! You put a lot of hard work into organizing this challenge and all of the guest posts, and you did a great job. So congratulations, I'm glad that it was such a success!

    An ebook is certainly exciting, and I wish you the best of luck with it. :)

    Sending a hug! <3