Not Julie Andrews List

With our recent four-day loss of internet connectivity, we came to realize just how important — vital — the internet has become in our daily lives. That “digital detox” provided me with unexpected time to enjoy a few of my favorite things and brought to mind a conversation my friend Kathryn McCullough and I had last fall on her blog, Reinventing the Event Horizon, where I shared with her (cue the music for My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music)

“As you know, I have very few material possessions. My favorites include a sarape/cape I bought in San Miguel de Allende Mexico, a wide-brimmed garden hat my husband bought me in Colorado, and what I lovingly call my Buddha Butt — a small hand-crafted meditation bench. I have a pair of mahogany chopsticks that Len got me in Yokosuka Japan that I use daily, and I have a pair of black pants — high waisted like Katharine Hepburn wore — that have served me well for many years.”

Laurie in Cape 11-2012
What are a few of
your favorite things?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book — Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience — Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2014

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence
Find me on Facebook

More(+) Equals(=) Less(-)

If “less is more,” then it stands to reason that conversely, more is less. From my perspective, that extols a simple lifestyle, but don’t take my word for it!

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As a simple living enthusiast and research for a new book, I took a diverse sampling of 12 people from my client base and asked, “What does it mean to live a simple life?” Here’s what they said:

  • “Slow down and enjoy small simple pleasures.”
  • “Live more with less.”
  • “Embrace opportunities and experiences rather than material possessions.”
  • “Get back in touch with nature.”
  • “Buy quality in the first place—less consumption means less load on the environment.”
  • “Less clutter—body, mind, and spirit.”
  • “Paring down to what’s essential in my life — not deprivation, but healthy balance.”
  • “Need-based living rather than want-based living.”
  • “Create and honor empty spaces in my life—small crevices of silence and pockets of stillness.”
  • “Live up to my own expectation, not society’s.”
  • “Live within my means.”
  • “Get back to basics: engage with real people (authentic), real food (not processed), real work (contributes to society)—the meaningful real fabric of life.

For you, “What does it mean to live a simple life?”

© lauriebuchanan.com

Determining Your Net Worth

During our home selling efforts, Len and I took the opportunity to review our net worth. Anemic by many people’s standards, we’re glad our “portfolio” isn’t made up of finances alone.

Three Oaks Recreation Area — Crystal Lake, IL

We enjoy a different type of wealth — the recession-proof kind that retains its value regardless of the economic climate.

And while the financial side of the ledger might look a bit bleak to some, here’s a glimpse at a few of the items on the non-financial side of our ledger:

  • Peace of mind
  • Physical health
  • Spiritual abundance
  • Loving relationships
  • Unlimited potential
  • Gratitude
  • Laughter

Holy Toledo — we’re not rich, we’re downright wealthy!

What’s your net worth?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2013

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence
Find me on Facebook

Not Only My Heart — I Gave Him the Sky

Believing that fulfillment comes from experiences, relationships, and good health, Len and I don’t typically exchange gifts.

Recently he made me a beautiful breakfast of heart-shaped blueberry pancakes and delivered it on a tray before I got out of bed.

I filled a pail of water to catch the reflection of the sky and gave it to him — wishing him, a pilot, a lifetime of safe flight as he soars through “his” sky.

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What’s the most meaningful non-material gift you’ve ever received?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

Nary a Bat in My Belfry

Len and I sold our commercial property in December because we’re relocating. We thought we knew where, but it’s still somewhat of a moving target — we’ll let you know when we figure that piece out.

We intended to put our home on the market April 1, but due to unforeseen circumstances (including four weeks in a non-weight-bearing cast), we’re currently making up for lost time getting our home ready to put on the market.

One of the items on our to-do list was to empty the attic space over the garage. In twenty years of living at the same address, things accumulate — big time! When Len got up there to clear it out, he discovered that:

  • Literally, we don’t have any bats in our belfry — or attic, as the case may be.
  • Figuratively we just might be crazy — or at the very least, eccentric!

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We created three sections in the garage to sort items: donate, throw, keep.

As a minimalist [who’s married to a maximalist], I don’t want to be possessed by possessions, so for something to make it into the keep section took quite a bit of negotiation on Len’s part because I want the next chapter of our lives to be footloose and fancy-free.

Are you more of a keeper or a thrower?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Of Mice, Men, Packrats and Squirrels

Our home is located in what had been a grove of oak trees in days gone by. Most of the homes in our neighborhood have at least one huge tree in the front or back yard. Every fall we can count on being entertained by the antics of squirrels as they lay in stores for the winter. What they squirrel away is absolutely necessary for their survival.

Human beings are different. The National Association of Professional Organizers says that as a society we’ve acquired so much “stuff” over the last three decades that the self-storage industry is the fastest growing new industry in the United States.

According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego, the overwhelming desire to acquire, save, and compulsively collect—hoard—can be attributed to a “unique pattern of brain function abnormalities.”

Research shows the inability to discard doesn’t play favorites; it can equally affect both men and women.

Are you more of a minimalist or a maximalist?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

There’s a Price for Extra Baggage

When I write an article or work on a manuscript, I back it up on a USB thumb drive — a tiny data storage device. The clear housing allows me to see the inner-workings. To me it looks like an aerial view of a micro-sized warehouse with a maze of corridors, each one leading to a compartment that holds data, music, pictures, video, or software.

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan

Some Things are Definitely Worth Remembering
The information I put on my thumb drive is important enough to me that I transport it on a lanyard, much like a referee wears a whistle. I carry it with me for safekeeping until I have the opportunity to make a positive contribution — submit it for publication.

Some Things are Best Forgotten
Many of us carry memories with us that don’t contribute to our wellbeing. In fact they’re debilitating. Unlike a tiny thumb drive, they take up a vast amount of space in containers known as baggage — emotional baggage. And while we can’t actually see them, we definitely feel their weight. And the longer we carry them, the heavier they get.

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan

Let go or be dragged.” — Zen proverb

Some people overpack for trips. Are you overpacked for life?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

I Saw the Face of God

This is the final post from my San Miguel de Allende experience. As a participant in this story, I was unable to take a photograph, nor would it have been appropriate. As such, I’ve pulled a photograph from my archives; a photograph that represents what this woman was to me — a lighthouse.

Standing in the central part of San Miguel de Allende taking candid photos during their colorful, Day of the Dead celebration, my attention was caught by an elderly woman who’d journeyed in from the campo — the outskirts of town.

Bent from time and weathered with age, her small gnarled hands gripped two short sticks to steady her steps as she slowly progressed. A swathe of fabric wrapped over her shoulder — positioned at an angle across her back — sheathed her few worldly possessions.

And while many others who visibly fared much better asked for handouts, this elderly woman looked neither left nor right, but remained focused on the task at hand — to make it into the cathedral.

Curiosity piqued, I followed her. Ever so slowly she made her way to the third pew from the back on the right-hand side. I sat in the back pew on the left to study the elderly woman unobserved. Her silent sermon spoke volumes to my heart as she sat with eyes closed, palms upward in supplication toward the crucifix at the front of the church:

Keep moving forward — even through the pain
Don’t be held hostage by the opinion of others
Limit material possessions — they are a burden
Make time to sit with God
Believe

Carefully folding money so it would fit, I quietly made my way across the aisle and gently pressed a bill into her work-worn, ancient hand, tucking her fingers as I did. Before I could step away, gnarled fingers grasped mine, while her other hand slowly and repeatedly made the sign of the cross — touching my head, chest, and shoulders — as she spoke.

And while I didn’t understand her words, I clearly understood that I was being blessed; that her cloudless, silver-grey eyes took in far more than my features — they took in my heart. More importantly, as my tears washed down her deeply lined face, I knew that I was looking into the face of God.

When was the last time someone looked into your heart?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

The photograph featured in this post was taken at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Daylight’s Burnin’!

This week I celebrate Double Nickels — my 55th birthday.

In reaching this milestone it seems reasonable to suggest that I’ve got more time behind me than I do in front of me. In fact, daily I can hear John Wayne’s voice, “Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go, we’re burning daylight!

And while the package I reside in has changed considerably over the years, I still feel the same on the inside—bright and sassy!

How do you feel on the inside?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

Mind Your Own Business

Do you remember Gladys Kravitz—the nosey neighbor who lived next door to Samantha and Darrin Stephens—on the television show Bewitched? She was always curious about what other people were up to:

Samantha Stephens: Oh, hi, Mrs. Kravitz. What a surprise (not!).
Gladys Kravitz: I came over for a snoop of, uh, a scoop of sugar. I hope I’m not disturbing you.

Our dog Willa—aka Mrs. Kravitz—is a snoop in the first degree. When our neighbors are in their back yard, she peeks through the fence!

Willa would do well to heed Hank Williams’ song, Mind Your Own Business!

I have more than a dash and a dollop of curiosity. When I was a young girl, my hero was Harriet the Spy.

Have you ever stuck your nose where it didn’t belong?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved