Weekend blessing

September 27, 2012

May you lay it down.

(Trust Habits starts Monday. Come join us…)

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Tammy Strobel, Trust, and Simplicity

September 26, 2012

Rowdy Kittens Sketch

One of the most astonishing things about trust, to me, is how relevant it is to so many life arenas. Work, relationships, body image, food choices, environmental concerns, spirituality, time spent online – the list goes on and on!

So I’m delighted, today, to welcome my friend Tammy to this space to talk about the trust tending she’s done in recent years around stuff, and specifically around her moves to release as much of her stuff as possible as a way to free time, space, and resources for the things that truly make her happy.

Tammy’s newest book, You can buy happiness (and it’s cheap), just hit bookstores last week, and she joins us here to talk about what’s gone on in her heart and mind as she transitioned, with her husband Logan, from two cars, traditional housing, and a mound of debt to debt-free, carless living in a 128 square foot “tiny home” (read more about their story here).

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1. Can you talk about the emotions you’ve experienced through the different stages of your simplifying process? Sometimes just hearing someone speak honestly about such stages builds a sense of comfort and trust in those of us just embarking on a more radical paring-down process.

I experienced a wide range of emotions as I simplified my life. As we downsized, I felt scared, uncertain, excited, and happy. I believe all of these emotions are normal and come along with any kind of life change. With that being said, being aware of my emotions made simplifying my life a little easier. For example, when I felt scared or anxious I wrote in my journal and took photos. Both photography and journaling help me — and still help me — understand my emotions.

2. I’m curious about the less overt ways that your lifestyle has shaped your inner world. I’m wondering what your biggest fears were before simplifying your life and then, further, what your biggest fears are now.

When I began to simplify my life, I was fearful that my choices would not be tolerated by friends and family. Simplifying my life hasn’t erased my fears, but it’s helped me understand my emotions. For instance, we recently moved and not being accepted by our new community is something that scares me. And I think that’s normal. As humans, we want to be accepted by friends, family, and our larger community because we’re social creatures.

3. I think you’re so right! Is there a part of you that wishes, sometimes, that you were living more like everyone else? Or even activities (grocery shopping, hosting people, etc.) that leave you wistful about owning a car or having a bigger space? I’m so curious what the psychology is of tiny house life!

Living in a little house and not owning a car works for us 95% of the time. However, there are moments when I want a bigger house. For instance, when my mom visits it gets a little cramped in our tiny dwelling. We always have fun, but part of me wants to offer my mom more space and a private bathroom too. In the past, we’ve put her up at a bed and breakfast and that is a fun option. But I always love having my mom stay with us.

Overall, I love our little house. Sometimes we run into challenges but we also faced challenges when we had a larger dwelling (and a car) too. Whenever I feel the pull of wanting more, I try to practice gratitude. I’m grateful for what I have in this moment. I might not have an extra guest room, but I do have money and time to be generous in other ways.

4. What assumptions about happiness did you have as a new adult? What are your beliefs about it now?

In my early twenties, I thought happiness could be bought at the mall or by impressing my peers. Now, I believe happiness can be found in everyday experiences, through strong relationships and in small pleasures too. Happiness is many things, like practicing gratitude and reading comments on my blog.

5. Sometimes I feel like the internet is an enormous, gangly house, full of people and mounds and mounds of stuff. I feel overwhelmed and weighed down by it. Have you discovered connections between the simplifying you’ve done in your offline world and the way you engage your life online? I’m curious if you’ve found ways to be as spacious and simple online as you are in your physical space.

The online world is an amazing place, but it’s also very overwhelming. To maintain my values in the virtual world, I’ve adopted a few rules to simplify how I engage online, including:

  • I unplug for an hour or more everyday, which means I don’t check my email, blog comments, or social networks. I’ve also taken digital sabbaticals too.
  • I don’t “follow” or “friend” everyone online.
  • I only use social networks that bring me joy. Right now the social network that I use the most is Instagram.
  • I follow blogs, websites, and radio programs that bring joy to my life.
  • And last but not least, I don’t try to “keep up” anymore.

(Kristin’s note: Don’t you just breathe a lovely sigh after that list??)

6. What are a couple of approaches that we in this community might take as we read your book? – any suggestions?

Remember to take notes as your read the book. Whenever I read a book, I always write down quotes and tips for future reference. The act of writing tips down cements new ideas in my mind and makes it easier to adopt new habits too.

Also, as you’re reading the book talk to your friends and family about ideas that emerge. For example, if you’ve been thinking of going car-lite or doing the 100 Thing Challenge ask a friend to try the experiment with you. Doing activities with others is a great way to be accountable to yourself and your family. It’s so much fun working on micro-actions with others!

Thanks so much for being here, Tammy! I hope you’ll buy Tammy’s book and explore more of her life as a writer, photographer and tiny house enthusiast at her blog, RowdyKittens.com.

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Trust Habits, my 30-day trust UP, begins Monday. If following Tammy’s lead into meaningful change is something you’d like the courage and chutzpah to do – whether that change has to do with living more simply or not – join us!

Are you new here? If so, welcome! This post is a great distillation of what I believe about trust. And for a free book that introduces a core trust tending skill, click here. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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Marketing Depth

September 23, 2012

Life has this way of sweeping you off your feet in a certain way, taking you with its currents into eddies or side streams or even way out to sea. You get clarity in moments or seasons about who you are and where you want to be (artist, poet, centered, enough), and then slowly – or even in a blink sometimes – you find yourself drifting away from that place.

In my observation, life also has a way of reminding us what’s happening – of waking us up to that drift and to where it is we want to consciously get back to.

So it was with a nod of recognition that I read my friend Jen’s words this week about why she resists so much about online culture, and her words earlier in the month about how to be soulful online (both totally worth reading).

She’s a voice in my life that beautifully and persistently reminds me how sacred and necessary – even salvific – it is to name the currents that swirl around and pull at us, to talk about our discomforts with them, and to do what it takes to shift back, again and again (and again), to where we want to be.

I’m feeling the swirl of life’s currents as I approach and market Trust Habits (a 30-day course on trust fundamentals). At heart I am a mystic. I’m a poet. A seer. I live mostly deep beneath life’s surfaces and experience wonder at the discoveries I make there.

And my natural bent in response to what I see is to want to be quiet with it. Reverently so.

So there is awkwardness, for me, in the task of then peddling these discoveries to YOU. As though to fit them into the same formulas that are used to sell widgets, or used to sell products and services that aren’t mined from such depths dishonors their true value. Dishonors some important, hidden thing that was a gift for me to see at all.

Like peddling glimpses of unicorns.

There is a robustness to trust, a robustness to these things I want to share, that isn’t a unicorn glimpse at all. But the feeling is present that to sell them like widgets, or like “10 easy steps to a happy life” isn’t what they’re made for.

…isn’t what many of your treasures are made for, either. I feel this to my bones.

In the swoosh and swirl of the online world, I want to align and re-align myself with people whose lives and words and even stumblings are a call to come home (and come home…and come home again) to a holy, private wonder, and to the challenge of discerning in each instance how a product or service can be offered not according to how the currents of our world or the Internet are pulling at us, but according to how each of these treasures can most truly, effectively, be shared.

The difference might not always be clear, but the work of this discernment will surely birth words and images and types of media that better honor our from-the-depths offerings than those that life’s vaster currents bring. Birth words and images and media that – maybe most importantly – keep waking us up to who and where we deeply want to be.

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Do you wrestle with dissonance between what you want to share (art, ideas, courses, books, etc.) and HOW you feel obligated to share it? Have you found voices or examples that help you find your clearest, truest way? I’d so love to hear in comments below.

Are you new here? If so, welcome! This post is a great distillation of what I believe about trust. And if you’re wanting a deeper dive, Trust Habits is wonderful 30-day journey into what trust is, how it is and isn’t grown, and what it means to practice tending it. Class begins October 1st. I’d love to welcome you!

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Seize the day

September 19, 2012

I’m delighted by the group that’s forming around Trust Habits! In the lives of so many I speak with (and in my life, too!), there’s this pulse to seize the day when it comes to getting our inner lives in order. We want to walk toward the inner things that scare us (the shame, the self-defeating patterns, the heart-felt doubts and questions) and stay with them until they bless us: with greater strength, with more resilience, with a deep-down knowing that no matter what our fears say, we can, and are absolutely worthy of leading our very best lives.

In today’s short video, I talk about one of the (ironic) responses we often have as we look toward the very things we want, and the alternative that trust tending offers us.

In this alternative, in this seize-the-day move to not freeze up or flee in response to our fears, Trust Habits is a hand-hold. It’s a calming, steadying hand at your back, naming what you need to hear to stay a trust-fueled course.

I hope with all my heart you’ll join us!

Are you new here? If so, welcome! This post is a great distillation of what I believe about trust. For a free book that exemplifies what trust tending means, click here. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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Trust Habits: A New Course

September 17, 2012

I’m delighted to announce a new course at Trust Tending: Trust Habits. If you resonate with what you read here and want to take your trust – however big or small – to a new level, I hope you’ll come see!


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Trust changes everything

September 4, 2012

It’s been a rough few days around these parts. Kids are feeling happy anticipation and angst about school starting next week…and consequently fighting lots; feeling hungry but not wanting the food offered them. My own hormones are at their scratchiest part of my cycle. And I made the mistake of going to the mall on Labor Day (think: all of LA descending on the same place at the same time) to try to get the kids shoes, which resulted in mama needing time alone after returning home to shed some oh-my-god-every-inch-of-my-being-is-overstimulated-please-don’t-make-me-be-the-responsible-adult-one-more-second tears.

And woven through it all is my continued disorientation/reorientation around my experience at the Wake Up Festival and the need I feel to be still.

To be very quiet and still.

But as I sit here at this screen – tired, discordant – I feel a thread of light, weaving its way around me. I feel it gently, playfully, powerfully lifting my gaze beyond my small self, reminding me where I’ve come from and why, for now, I’m here.

Which is to say this:

Trust changes everything.

Trust sets us free to love and be loved.
Trust helps us be brave.
Trust unlocks and unleashes our creativity.
Trust grows us into the leaders we want to be.
Trust teaches us to honor and tell our truest stories.
Trust transforms the meaning of power and infuses us with that potency.
Trust lowers our fists so we can actually see each other, and see the horizon, and act and “be” accordingly.
Trust makes it possible to actually apply the self help we invest so much time and money into.

Trust changes everything.

It transforms an exhausted, scratchy, uninspired Tuesday night (or any other day or time) into a vessel for light.

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I’m working to put the fundamentals of trust – the truest, most potent lessons about it I’ve learned – into a month of artful missives, titled “So you want to trust…

Stay tuned for details and mark your calendar for October 1st as the day it all begins.

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I have deeply loved and appreciated the conversations happening by email in response to this week’s Trust Note. If you aren’t a Trust Note subscriber and would like to read that note, I’ve posted it here. Please consider the invitation at the end of it wide open to you.

And if this sort of note speaks to your heart, my warmest invitation to sign up for Trust Notes in the side bar.


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