21 February 2012

Step 16: Celebrate Your Story

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

Somewhere along our busy lives, where there is so much to buy, learn, and achieve we loose ourselves. Caught tightly between obligations, promises, agreements and disagreements life happens to us but we fail to notice it. We fail to live it to the fullest.

This is the second to last step in the Simple Living Challenge, and today I have invited Katie of Gadanke to help us stop and listen to our story. Because, really, we do deserve to live a deliberate life, we deserve a life enjoyed in good and bad.

Apart from making unique eco-friendly writing prompt journals for all occasions, Katie has been blogging about her handmade life. She aims to show her readers that a life of adventure and constant transition can be inspiring. On her blog you will find tutorials, handmade projects, challenges, tips for simpler and greener living, and lots of storycatching.

I believe an incredible thing happens when we pause to celebrate our stories. IT GIVES US MEANING. The ordinary starts to feel downright awesome. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to get distracted by stuff.

Are we good enough?
We’re being bombarded with these feelings that our lives aren’t good enough just how they are. We start believing that if we had xyz, our lives would be better. The problem with that, of course, is that the journey never ends. We always feel like we need the next thing. The desire for xyz never ends!

Slam on the breaks.

Stop feeling like you aren’t good enough.

Start celebrating the good things you already have in your life.

Emotions above possessions 
In 2007, my grandma and I stepped into NPR’s traveling recording studio called StoryCorp. The StoryCorp mission was to interview everyday people and record their stories. For about 30 minutes, I interviewed my grandma about her life.

She never said anything about assets; she never talked about things she had or didn’t have. She talked about people. She talked about adventure with people. She talked about dreams and hopes, hardships, and happiness.

When my grandma and I stepped out of the studio, we drove into the mountains. Our family had come home to celebrate our grandma at her 90th birthday. She brought along a walking stick my cousin had carved, and the glow of her face was addicting. “All of you come here for little old me?” she asked as we gathered around a huge potluck lunch.

That day changed my life.

I knew that people mattered so much more than anything I could ever own.

Celebrate life
I also knew that I had to find ways to preserve stories and celebrate life. Remember when Sonya reviewed one of my travel journals a few weeks ago? My working life is committed to story. The everyday story and the everyday person’s story.

Gadanke is my business dream come true. I use writing prompts to help people tell stories and focus on the good stuff. The loose rings let you tuck in all the bits you want to keep (cards, photos, ticket stubs...). Online, we’re becoming a community of storycatchers on facebook and my blog, Making This Home.

So as you try to live with less, clear the clutter, and really get down to the heart of what matters, remember story.

On Journal Keeping : Celebrate Your Story from Gadanke on Vimeo.

Share your experience: Have you been keeping a journal? Do you like to go back in your life and reevaluate? 

See also:
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 
The Final Step: Gratitude 

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