Thursday, January 8, 2015

eighth

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We spent the eighth day of the year celebrating my Mum's birthday and in the veggie garden.

We've been having conversations about busyness over the past few days.  About how our society seems to value busyness and how people seem to wear their busyness as a badge of honour. The busier we are the more we must be achieving, the more we must be succeeding, the more demands we must have on us, the more we should be admired, or pitied, or assisted or heard.

Although we also live a life where lots of things need to be achieved each day, where often the to-do lists get longer rather than shorter as the day progresses, and where we really need to work hard to achieve what we want to, we've been talking about ways we can get rid of the busyness. Ways we can slow down, prioritise, be more efficient and more selective.

We started today off with a discussion about what needed to be done. After making the list we decided to stay close to the house in the garden. We worked with Pepper showing her how to use the seeder to plant carrots, we spoke about weeds and pulled out a bunch, we examined the beans climbing up the fences, we watched for any blossoming sunflowers, we dug to see if we could find any potatoes yet, we watched the birds, the bees and the butterflies, we squished a few caterpillars but left some for the ladybirds, we looked at the clouds for rain, we noticed the breeze on our hot skin and we saw that the shallots have divided. It was a gorgeous few hours that could have gone on longer but we were chased inside by the rain.

I feel like we are practising at not being busy at the moment because the girls are on school holidays and we have more freedom to play around without the routines and deadlines of the school term, but hopefully we'll learn some tricks and come up with some strategies to manage the busyness for when things heat up again.

It's amazing how busy the slow life can be, I wonder if it is possible to achieve all that we want to and still feel like the tortoise - slow and steady.


Oh I almost forgot, the five winners of the TikkiKnits beanie giveaway are:

Sooz
Skye
CopperPatch
Sue
Darklyss

Please leave me a comment with your Ravelry user-name and Georgie will send you your pattern over there.Yay!

Before I go I'm really interested in how you manage your busyness?
Do you rush through your list or are you more calm and considered?
Do you have any tricks for a beginner like me?

I hope your days are sunshiny and productive.

Lots of love xx


34 comments:

  1. Hola! Yo intento vivir el momento , ahora estoy escribiendo un comentario o sea estoy pensando en lo que quiero comunicar, cuando acabe iré a preparar la comida para cuando mis hijos vuelvan tenerla lista y podamos comer todos juntos, y después no se lo que haré, no lo he planificado ... tengo un chal empezado de lana para tejer, mi hijo tiene juegos nuevos que quiere compartir conmigo, tengo un huerto que necesita que saque las hierbas silvestres que han crecido, ya ira fluyendo la tarde y haré lo que surja en el momento,... la mente es muchas veces muy tirana... siempre quiere hacer como tu dices mas y mas... Lo importante para mi es no prestarle demasiada atención he ir viviendo cada momento como algo sagrado...¡ Ayyy! No se si me entiendes? Para mi lo importante no es hacer cuanto más mejor sino disfrutar con el proceso de la Vida.... Un abrazo desde este rincón del mundo.

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    1. Hello! I try to live in the moment , I am now writing a comment or whether 'm thinking about what I want to communicate , when done go to prepare food for when my kids come get it ready and we can eat together , and then not what I will , no I have planned ... I have a partly wool shawl knitting , my son has new games you want to share with me , I have a garden you need to remove the wild herbs that have grown , and anger flowing evening and do whatever comes the moment ... the mind is often very tyrant ... always wants to do as you say more and more ... the important thing for me is not really paying attention I go living every moment as sacred ...Ayyy ! Not if you understand me ? For me the important thing is to do as much as possible but enjoy the process of life .... A hug from this corner of the world.

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    2. For me the important thing is to do as much as possible but enjoy the process of life - I love this bit Karmen, thank you xx

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  2. Ooh thanks for the giveaway Kate. I spent all morning sewing and then the evening, once the boys were asleep, researching yarn swifts. Do you have one? I have a ball winder but keep getting my skeins/hanks in a tangle which take away all the fun of the ball winding. When you first caught the knitting bug I was a bit skeptical that it could be that fun and addictive. I totally get it now!!
    Thanks again,
    Ab x

    PS My Rav name is copperpatch

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    1. You're funny! I love that you love the woolly stuff too now. And I do have a swift, I love it! Bren bought it for me for my birthday. It's wooden and I think it's Swedish, it doesn't have a name on it tho. Get one - it's such fun and the balls are so beautiful. xx

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  3. Hi Kate, in my professional life I was always a 'busy' 'productive' person and felt that this was what made me successful. However, 7 years ago I had an accident which meant I had to change how I do EVERYTHING! I had a newborn baby and 20 month old and I am no longer able to work in the traditional sense. It took me two years to adjust to - to not overcompensate in over committing myself in volunteer work, to not go at full speed at every task (as this would have really bad physical ramifications / pain). My new physical condition has meant that I need to pace my activity and whilst you are physically able the principal of pacing and finding flow in what you are doing can still be applied. The principle is to create a list, plan, cross any non essentials off etc think about whether you are doing something through habit, duty, fear of judgement etc and consider jobs that need to be done and some that you enjoy. Split them up into small manageable parts - with potentially small pauses in between to slow down and enjoy the moment and be fully present. In my case this is so my body doesn't get stressed and cause me more pain but it applies to general well being I think. The other interesting thing I've found through research is that when we are lost in the moment of an activity (be it crafty or in nature or whatever you enjoy) if you immerse yourself in that task we find 'flow' which is when we are at our happiest. If we focus on being fully immersed and engaged in it these changes soon become habit - but you have to let yourself add these elements to your days and plan them in initially before our behaviours change. I think your lifestyle would be really suited to this. What I find incredible is that messages to our brain - perhaps our critical inner voice, pain signals, distractions, become quieter as the brain is completely engaged in 'flow' and the other signals lessen. Hence it's good for me as the reception of my pain signals reduce. At first I had to plan this into my day to avoid feelings of (self inflicted) guilt but after a while it becomes habit and I'm largely happy with my life despite physical impairment. I think to even be thinking along the process you are you will be naturally pausing and becoming less aware of distractions. People say they have no time constantly and of course we are all time poor in modern life but essentially Simple Things haven't changed - what we require as humans hasn't changed and in my experience it is the simpler life which is more rewarding for us and our children. Your children (and hopefully mine) will remember they were time rich with you in these days. Sorry this has become a bit of a mammoth comment!! It's a positive thing to think on though! J9 x

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    1. Mammoth comment, yes but a very wise reply and worth it! I am sorry to read that you still suffer the effects of your accident. It is true that by changing the way we think and go about things, we can still be happy despite our challenges and it was good to see your words reinforcing that view.

      As a person with chronic illness, needing to re-evaluate and pace everything I do, I totally relate and agree with your eloquently explained practical advice. In order to practice the skills you listed above, one also needs to learn to say "No". Your advice to think about why you are doing something is excellent.

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  4. Yay! I won!?? I'm so excited, I'm going to make a Spider-Man one for my son, and maybe my hubby too! Btw Kate, I'm loving the daily blogs, they've been brightening up my day! My ravelry user name is Sfraz

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  5. I started working full time two years ago, after finishing university (and a little trip around the world) and because I'm commuting to work more than 2 hours each day, my free time is limited. I never feel bad when I just do NOTHING. I really enjoy it. But I understand what you mean. Everyone expects you to spend your time with something meaningful and productive. But I don't care about the meaning of other people.
    Workwise I tend to make to-do-lists each morning, then list them according to their importance and then I'm slowly working my way through it. It works some of the time, because there always are announced things, but I really try not to stress myself too much.
    Greetings from Austria.
    Emm.A

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  6. I am a worker bee. I like the work. But it's easy to buzz through the day and at the end wonder if I had any meaningful conversation with my kids or any energy left to much beyond fall into bed. I keep a To Do list that helps me prioritize things. It's a big list and everything is Important. What I have found lately is that our cycles are much larger than Day or Week. There are times of the year that are crazy busy and some that are not. It's winter here and finally I have time to sit longer at breakfast with the family, to sit for a few hours a week and draw or paint. In a few weeks the garden kicks up again and by April I will be buzzing around from dawn until dusk like my bees. We will work hard to eliminate the less necessary tasks and at least be all together while we work at the necessary ones. Canning is a lot of work, but everyone agrees that it's worth it, so we do it together and make it as fun and efficient as we can. And that's going to have to be enough for now.

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  7. I don't manage it very well at all....that is a good thought...wearing busyness like a badge . I think most of a our passing conversations today are wrapped around what we are all doing......I too am trying to be more mindful about what I am busy with and how I communicate with others. x

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  8. My days are productive and (for today at least) quite sunshiney. But in a cold, watery sort of way!

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  9. Thank you for these words. I live simply - partly due to the stage of life I am at, partly because of choices I make - and often must fight off the impression that I should feel guilty. I am blessed to have time for solitude and quiet each day. I could fill it with shopping or lunch dates or a part time job, but why? I respect that some people need to be busy to feel happy and productive. I prefer slow and reflective. Thanks for good reminders.

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  10. Looks like a lovely day for your family close to home .... I have a large family (7 kids ) and often a couple more due to fostering and have studied full time for the past two years . I used to rely on my head to remember everything but I don't trust it anymore :)) I have list upon list and I love too cross things off .
    I have loved reading all the comments on this thread ... Some great ideas !!!!

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  11. I've grown to really dislike the word "busy" and agree totally with your words about it being a badge of honor. I have been unable to work due to a chronic illness for almost 2 years now. I struggled at first as I had been perpetually 'busy' for absolute years and it was a real challenge to learn to slow down, well my body forced me too but my brain was still capable! Thats where my blog came about as I could do it resting. I use to loathe going out due to these kinds of statements from people "so, how you been, busy" I struggled to answer them, but now I just reply "No, not at all". You can imagine how that reply goes down!!! Beautiful photos and what a great bundle of memories and moments you are collecting.
    Warm regards,
    Jan x

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    1. "No, not at all!" I love that. I usually say "no, not really and that's how I like it!"
      My biggest hurdle is myself. I feel guilty and as though I shouldn't enjoy being slow and contented because so many others don't even have that choice. I try to remind myself, that I've made choices and sacrifices to have this lifestyle so I don't need to feel guilty about it.
      cheers Kate

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  12. I too am trying to slow down. I find it hard when I'm trying to live a 'simple life' . Like many people I want to grow our food, make as much as possible myself and from scratch etc etc, but it all takes time. I wonder if the Internet is part of it with so many ideas floating around and so much information at our fingertips. I don't have the answers either, but I'm trying to slow down and live simply. Sometimes I think I just need to get out of my head and into my body by doing slowly and slowly moving forward. Much love, gorgeous photos. xo

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  13. Oh my!!! OMIGOSH! THANKYOU so much Kate!!! Now I'm gonna have to sneakily knit a stealth Spider-Man beanie, Ninja-style! ;) He'll be stoked to have some geeky-awesomeness to keep his head warm! xx My Ravelry name is: darklyss

    I'm with you on the 'busyness' - it's too easy for life to pass you by in a haze of "Shoulds", "Must dos" and "To Do Lists"! My mantra - especially at this time - is "Slow down. Breathe. Be here." Big love & gratitude x

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    1. I love that....slow down, breathe and be here! Wise words. xo

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  14. Too busy, too slow, too everything, too much feeling guilty that I'm not getting it right. My top tip - and I think you are great at this - take pleasure in the small things.

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  15. I don't manage the busyness. My doctor has told me to slow down and de-stress this year and that is exactly what I plan to do. My hubby has asked me to drop to only 3 days of work as he knows I am happier and calmer when I work part time. I also plan to eat a lot more slow cooker or easy salad meals!

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  16. I was having this conversation only yesterday, we feel guilty now if we stop to 'stand and stare'. The women I work with don't really converse, but when they do they seem to only talk about how busy they are and they don't know how they are going to do everything, but if you offer to help they always refuse, because they like to be martyrs I think. I have a very boring job, so I always make time at home to do crafts or else I would be very stressed - but I am lucky that my child is now a grown up and so don't have small children to run after... ( that said I would love to have her back as a toddler again - lovely days).

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  17. A few years back I had a major epiphany moment. I realised I would always be busy, in fact my life would only get busier and yet, I hated that feeling, people were constantly responding to "how are you" with "busy" and I felt like we were all hamsters on a treadmill. So I changed my mindset, I never ever let myself think I'm busy, at a push my life is full. With ten children ages 21-1 it is full but...I never let myself think busy. So practically it means I focus on the moment, it might be the day, it might be only that morning, not thinking about the many tasks of the afternoon till I get there. Now I do have to think ahead and plan ahead but my head doesn't life ahead if that makes sense.
    and too I say 'no' to whatever doesn't bring us peace. well not entirely true, but if we do take on 'extra commitments' it may only be for a season. and then we have down time to recharge.

    btw Maxabella recently steered me to your blog and I'm loving your photos and the rhythm of your life:)xx

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    1. Nice one, Erin. I knew you'd love Kate. x

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    2. hahaha welcome Erin. I cannot imagine life with ten children spanning such a vast age gap. There will always be a part of me that wishes I had had a few more but then I have this fear that I would never have two seconds to myself ever again and life would be BUSY. But I love your commitment to peace and the fact that you are so aware of yourself in amongst so many people. I hope you have a gorgeous year and I'm thrilled you like it here. xx

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  18. Totally agree with you about how choosing to live a slow and simple life does NOT mean that your life is actually slow. Making things by hand, cooking from scratch, fixing and crafting instead of buying new, all of these things take time. But it is time that is well spent. Time that is intentionally spent.

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  19. I am another who is very bad at managing busyness. I have a job that is pretty full on and not very secure. I always feel as though I am one stuff-up away from unemployment. If circumstances were different I would chuck the job in and take time to find something that fits better with our lives. Maybe next year?

    I appreciate your blog so much because it is nothing like my day-to-day. Thank you.

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  20. I really needed this post Kate. You've put into words all the things that have been going through my brain the past week, thank-you! I said to my Mum, yesterday, I think, that when you have a farm or animals you can't be trapped in the world's 9-5 working hours, the 5 days a week pattern. You have to learn to go with the flow, have your breakfast interrupted by an escapee animal, your plans thrown out of for the day by the weather or the animals. And following this natural pattern I'm trying to learn to take the quieter days as they come, because some weeks are super busy, and some aren't.

    Happy weekend!
    Sarah x

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  21. Such a topic of the moment I think. My take on it: 2014 was a hard year for me 'busy-wise'. I work part-time in a demanding role, started studying towards a degree part-time, blogged and so on and so forth. All things I loved to do...make, cook, read...were on a time limit, just squashed in somewhere. I ended 2014 feeling worn out and resolved to make 2015 simpler. Ironically, I like having a lot on the go and find it hard to sit still, so for me, it's been about thinking about the good kinds of busy versus the kinds the burn me out. This year I want to make more time to make, cook, walk, read books, garden, play with my cat. Still trying to figure it all out and find the balance. I think as a society, we move too swiftly, we're so preoccupied by our business that we don't have time for each other, to know our neighbours, or our neighbourhood. I'm not sure what advice I can give to you, perhaps other than, you're not alone and to always find time to do things that bring you lots of joy. Thanks for sharing, Kate. :)

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  22. We've been having similar conversations here. We're talking about how to manage the busyness, taking time out in between and keeping things in perspective. You're right, its much easier to do while the kids are on holidays, but I'm hoping we can put it into practice when they start back too. Happy birthday to your mum x

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  23. Hi Kate, thanks for writing every day, I am so enjoying it, and hope it is not feeling like a chore to you! Yes, it's true, we do wear our busyness as a badge of honour, I'm afraid I do it sometimes, too. I guess it makes us feel needed, important, useful. However, although I am a bit of a worker ant, I do really need to slow down too. The kids are so good at this! They just instinctively do it, and zone in to what really interests them. It's so cool. I follow their lead when I can. Also, although this is perhaps going to sound counter-intuitive, I think bring really organized helps, not that I'll ever be that automaton type. But if I know I'm getting the important stuff done, because it's all written down, I find I feel less stressed and "busy", because I feel confident the important stuff is going to get done..... If that makes sense? My house is usually a bit of a tip in December, but come Jan, the weather is generally rubbish here, so there's not so much on and I can just get on and potter :) xxx

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  24. So glad you got the day to wander with your girl. Busyness...at this point, I don't manage it, it manages me. During the school year, I feel like I don't do anything outside of school, except sewing when a job comes in. The opportunity to stop and just sew something for me is a luxury, reading for pleasure is non-existant. Kids are grown, at some point I will get to leave school, then... sew, read, garden...joy!

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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