Contentment · Path of Peace

7 Steps to Perpetual Contentment

Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. However, it is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?

1 – Practice delaying gratification. Yes, you can do it. It gets easier when we imagine how it may be on a day to day basis for the people of Haiti. When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money. To the one whom much is given, much is required. Enjoy the freedom and simplicity of “less is more”.

2 – In the major areas of your life: spirituality, mate, family, work, friends, finances, health, personal development, charitable service and rest/recreation, establish 2 or 3 value statements in each category that defines your convictions in that area. Such as, “for R & R, I need to be out in the fresh air and sunshine and I need unstructured blocks of time…”. This will enable you to establish a thought pattern around the way you make decisions in the “to die for” issues of life. The process for making better choices is made simpler because your values are defined and explain why you do things the way you do them. If I know I need unstructured time during R & R, I will factor that in when choosing a vacation destination or how I choose to commit my down time.

3 – Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend 10+ minutes each day reading something from the Bible, an inspirational author, or area of interest. Spend some time several times each week journaling learning experiences you glean from what you read, personal encounters, a movie you watch or just what comes to mind while you are in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular event or endeavor or are facing a personal trial.

4 – Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others.

5 – Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can be living instructional aids to learning how to do things in a different, possibly more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things or teach a class around what you have learned with others who will benefit from your time. Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share. I especially enjoy spending time with folks upwards of 65 and under 5. The wealth of information and the creativity amuse and inspire me.

6 – Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age or at work it may be someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you.

7 – Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own issues and personal challenges and be an encourager to others. This goes a long way in developing strong friendships. And, when you build relational capital by listening, you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of sharing your heart.

Put these 7 steps into practice on a regular basis for 30 days and judge for yourself if you don’t have a life that can be defined as being more content. And the good news is that if you are around people who are discontent, you may be the one to influence them to a more positive stance.

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor, Mentor-Coach, Writer, Wife & Mom

Contentment · Life Coaching · Path of Peace · Simple Living

Learn to Be Vacationally-Minded as a Lifestyle …

Consider the mindset that you enjoy on vacation. You are free to set your own schedule, not worrying about what you have to do today, not worrying about the time — just being — minus the anxiety. Now imagine the mindset of being busy at work: doing one task while being anxious about many others, worrying that you may not be doing the right task, interrupted by others, distracted and stressed.

These are two different mindsets, and yet, what if we could enjoy the vacation mind while working? Well, we would need to forego the lazing around, but the mindset could be the same. This has the potential to result in a more sane lifestyle, not just living for the weekend or the little vacation time we have, but the ability to navigate life so that we are truly happier every day.

How can this be done? We would need to practice and develop a few small habits that will make more sense as we go along.

What would the vacation mind look like at work?

Often just thinking about work tasks can alter our mindset from relaxation to anxiety: worry for what we need to do, deadlines, dealing with difficult people, information overload, being on the right task, even concerns as to whether we may be missing out on something important. (A life, perhaps :)!)

A vacation mindset lets that anxiety go and is simply present in the current moment. Time is less important, enjoying yourself is the priority. You let go of the anxiety. You aren’t worried about getting it all done, or doing the right thing right now, or all the things you have to do later. You are immersed in enjoying whatever you’ve chosen to do at the present moment.

So how would this look? You choose to work on a particular task, perhaps writing something. You, obviously, have quite a list of things to do but this is the thing you decide to work on at the moment. Could there be other things you should be doing instead? Of course, there always are and will continue to be. As for the best thing to do right now, the moment of perfect certainty never comes, so just pick something and do it.

Practice being able to enjoy the task at hand. Let other tasks take their rightful place, the time to do them will come. Immerse yourself in the current task. Focus on enjoying yourself as you do it. At times, you may mentally step back, come up for air and take a look at the bigger picture, and then return back to the project. This is what I like to call “laser-focus”.

And you can do this when you talk with a co-worker or client. You can do this with an important email, or processing paperwork/small tasks, designing something, programming, creating art, helping a patient or student. This is a learned strategy / discipline and it is doable.

We can’t just flip a switch and be good at these things today … they take practice, like any other skill. I can say that they’re worth practicing, even if you never master them, because they can transform your relationship with work.

Here are the practices that you can consider working on a little every day:

  1. Pick something, get immersed in the act of being creative. Focus on the enjoyment of creating something that is uniquely your idea. Being able to work from this relaxing mindset affords you the time to think with a higher level of energy. This will play out in everything you endeavor to do.
  2. Let go of anxieties. This takes practice. Learn to recognize when you begin to feel anxious and notice the source of the anxiety. This is typically focusing on an outcome you want to happen, such as, looking good in front of others, being highly productive, controlling a situation, etc. Realize the desired outcome is merely a fantasy, and other outcomes can work out just as well. Realize that holding on to this fantasy of how it should turn out causes stress. Let go and restore your creative energy mindset.
  3. Come up for air and see the big picture. Diving in is great, but it is also helpful to step back at times, and assess what is going on around you. Notice people who are nearby and if anyone needs your attention, how you’re sitting (and whether you’re sitting too long), etc. Is there an appointment you should get to? See the big picture, then go back into immersion.
  4. Be less worried about time. Time is important but we can be mindful of it while not being “lorded over” by it. It matters that we show up on time for appointments we have, paying attention to completion deadlines, billing clients etc. There are times when we can waste time worrying about the time we need to do or not be doing something. Practice a balance of being aware of when time matters and when there can be some leeway.

You may be considering if this is truly doable. The answer depends on you. You’ll be surprised what you can do — if you have the “want to”. 

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Realtor, Wife & Mom

make better choices · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living

Personal Growth…Where Do I Start?

Personal Growth is a phrase that often brings a sense of excitement and may generate feelings of positive forward motion. We grab the thought and think holistically how we can have the best life we can hope for once we take this leap. Or is it a side step. No wait, maybe it resembles a salsa.

Basically, we like the sound of it, but few of us know exactly where or how to begin.

To which I reply, start with a basic inventory…

How connected are YOU?

Getting rightly connected starts as we begin to consider…;

* Who and what is pouring into you? Godly friends and role models? Small group ministry? Supportive family and friends? Or are you receiving most of the info that is poured in via TV,  internet, negative people or unwholesome reading?

* What do your reciprocal relationships look like? With whom do you enjoy “give-and-take” status? Reciprocal relationships involve those who know you and love and accept you as you are. They bring over the pizza or ice cream to share while watching old movies when you may feel a little down. Or maybe they grab the tools and come hangout and work on a water heater in the garage and listen so you can share your frustrations.  The ones you would do anything for and at the drop of a hat. They are the best buds you could hope for.

* Where are you pouring out? Helping? Or rescuing, enabling? On a scale of 1-10, how balanced are your connections? Do you give in to, rescue or support others on a regular basis without requiring much in return? Or perhaps, it is you who constantly needs rescuing?

It is beneficial to bring the balance of who/what pours in — who you reciprocate with — and how and to whom you pour into — as close to equal numbers as possible. It’s not in your best interest to receive at a Level 1, have reciprocals at Level 3 and pour out at Level 10 on a regular basis.  Slide the scale into a happy median and feel the refreshment begin!

How are You with Time Management? 

* Are you consistently stressed or feel you can’t get everything together to get out the door in time, consider going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier.  Just move the monitor a bit more into your favor so you can set yourself up to succeed. It really is about being mindful and intentional. (Ouch, I resemble this!)

* Are you someone who mostly works to keep or complete your appointments with life? Or make excuses for not enjoying the best of life? When life isn’t so great, do you accept your responsibility in the process or is it consistently, “someone else’s fault”?

* How would you rate your ability to enjoy a healthy balance of saying “no” to some good things, in order to say “yes” to some things that are best? I.e… Are you trading off ‘best’ for ‘good’?  Life can be compared to baseball cards… always focus on making choices that allow you to trade up! 

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?

* Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…

* Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by accepting what you cannot change as well as eliminating the excuses for not changing the things you can.

* Where can you be more open to new ideas and not so attached to old habits?

You Are What’s Eating You

* How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging.  So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free…

* Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.

* Avoid the temptation to  clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion…

* Find ways to do and enjoy what you love and share it with others.

* Express love as often as you are able.

* Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Remember God’s Presence is all around you. Be intentional to stop and enjoy the fragrance of roses, the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend.   The day may come, sooner than you think, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

Contentment · encouragement · Path of Peace · Simple Living

Today is my Favorite Day!

Perhaps, you’ve said or thought that happiness is something that must be achieved:

“When this is done, I’ll be happy.”

“When I own that, I’ll be happy.”

“When I weigh less, I’ll be happy.”

As I’ve chosen my path to growing in intimacy with God, I’ve learned that I can choose happiness in any given moment. In working to take control of my thoughts and actions based on truths from Scripture, I have become much more satisfied with my life.

Some actions were obvious good choices: going to bed earlier, exercising routinely, being in the moment and enjoying now, singing to my favorite music in the shower…

A few other actions were counterintuitive at first: handling a nagging task, looking for the lessons in failed efforts, avoiding the temptation to gossip, and decluttering my home, life and schedule.

Adopting a mindset to “Enjoy this Moment,” has made one of the biggest differences in transforming my thinking.

I find pleasure in gradual progress and not just the moment of crossing a finish line. To my favorite mantra, “Life is Good”, I’ve even added, “Today is my favorite day.” It helps me to remember to enjoy this moment. 

If a task can be done in under a minute I avoid the temptation to postpone it. I use a five to ten-minute guideline to tidy up my ‘world’, wherever needed, each morning and evening. Putting things in order is very calming and helps me sleep better. And since I work from home, my mornings are more pleasant when things are in order.

My husband and I have our own business, so for me order and routine are golden!

To enjoy the moments I am given, clearing clutter, taking life in a lighthearted manner, getting more sleep, and responding to daily challenges in love, have brought much joy and happiness to my moments and therefore, ‘Today’, is my favorite Day!

Adding to my purposeful daily habits, I actively seek and find fun as often as I can in life, work and especially in play. It’s okay to be silly and to go off the path and do the unexpected. These are key sources of enjoying this moment.

Choosing happiness is about both actions and attitudes. If my attitude isn’t one of joy, I evaluate what I need to do: do I need to laugh more, be kinder, stop being critical, be more cheerful? And even when I don’t FEEL like it, I take control of my emotions and do the next basic ‘right’ thing, like it or not. And my feelings eventually catch up!

On a routine basis, I make the choice to appreciate my life right now, just as it is, and that makes me happy and allows me to have joy regardless of my circumstances or how I feel. 

Every day you can choose happiness. Today can be your favorite day!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · make better choices · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

Essentialism: The Simple Explanation of Minimalism

Essentialism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years. I enjoy breaking down certain mindsets of positive thinking or actions into bite-sized pieces to gain a deeper understanding of the terms or phrases that may present a new way of thinking. I’m a 60s baby and in the last 30 years, we’ve observed our music, vocabulary, schools of thought and even our food change in rather drastic ways!

I recently stumbled across the word “essentialism” during an Internet search.  It is highly possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. I recently noted a book on Essentialism that defines it as “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. I read a summary of it that could certainly be the statement of the way I do life.

So what is Essentialism? Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Essentialism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may bring or cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life. Homeschooling offered my girls and me the opportunity to have a Cottage Industry that provided various income streams to fund the interests we had as well as wonderful opportunities to add much-needed skillsets equating to an interesting and well-rounded educational experience. 

After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with God’s best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

The biggest obstacle I faced was determining what defined me and what would be the important pursuits of my life going forward. Basically I learned to ask myself often, “Based on where I am and what I’m facing, what is the next basic right thing that will lead to the outcome that will positively impact me and everything / everyone I hold dear?”

Here is what I have learned: The Most Important Thing I Can Do is to Develop Healthy Boundaries, which basically means: Self-Control. Boundaries provide a Structure for Success in Life & Work.

Here is what that looks like:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  As we all know, those we surround ourselves with may act as if they know best how we should be living and what we should be doing, especially if they observe us mostly flying by the seat of our pants. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I  simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life of Essentialism by design and, therefore, not default to living based on what is happening to me. I want to effectively learn to master my response to situations, good and bad, and be able to turn things around, and gain a positive outcome, if at all possible. This requires that I continually choose to focus on what is most important in any given moment and then act accordingly. Therefore, if unexpected circumstances attempt to throw me off balance, I have reserved my emotional energy to quickly and easily return to my “design” of living life, based on pursuing the right thing and focusing on what I enjoy most.

I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. At one time, I actually believed  that I could and would do and have it all. Over time, I learned that this kind of thinking actually eliminates and distracts me from experiencing the highly desirable choices and experiences that I most enjoy. I find it to be critical to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”

I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best form of Self-Control (Healthy Personal Boundaries), is learning to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. It is an ongoing temptation to say ‘Yes’ to far too much and end up sacrificing time and energy on things that don’t really improve the quality of  life. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. And, it is always easier to turn a ‘No” into a “Yes’, if I find that I can jump in and do what is requested of me. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (essentialism / minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · encouragement · Love Others

Radical Obedience

I am a member of a church I love! It feels so much like family that I believe it provides a glimpse of what heaven will be like when we are all gathered in His Presence.

I delight in being a part of a fellowship that keeps me awakened to having a heart of mercy and compassion. My challenge comes when I consider how at times I have allowed myself to be lulled into thinking that what happens for God for good only happens inside the church building at a worship service.

Looking back at where I have been I am acutely aware that great things happen at church and this is where we are equipped and raised up to go into our little corners of the world and influence others to become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ.

Out of the brokenness in the journey of my life, I have a stronger sense of what I believe to be the call of Christ on us as His church. I like to think of it as radical obedience. I believe this is a a call to make a difference in our world by reaching out to connect and get to know our neighbors in ways that may seem radical in our culture. We are all busy doing life but not necessarily enjoying it. Perhaps, this could be the game-changer!

Some time back, I rode through a neighborhood of older homes which housed families of fixed or limited incomes. Many were gathered on front porches, children were playing in the yards and on sidewalks together and though the means appeared to be limited, the genuine care and nurturing of one another was anything but lacking. It made me smile to remember many such times gathered together with folks on my grandmother’s front porch.

This image in my mind has convinced me that this is the picture of the true church. It is connecting where we live, work and play and not just where we go and all sit in the same building on Sunday. This is how a true family is built where time is spent building genuine, loving relationships. This is where we gain vision, encouragement, and support. And much needed guidance.

In these relationships the love of Christ is evident as we seek to develop a fellowship first with God and then taking what we hear in our quiet places and sharing that message with the world.

Once we experience the simple beauty of the sacred fellowship that comes when two or more are gathered together and realize He is in our midst, it adds a richness to our lives that we will not want to live without.

It is a depth that goes beyond the tradition of the church to a relationship with an untamed God, who is radical in His great love for us! It is an invitation to live trembling with joy in the presence of a holy God with a radical obedience, having the experience of a radical grace that compels us to know and serve this amazing God all of the days of our lives.

I have reflected on these ideas as a result of having a season of R E S T as I prepared for and said goodbye to my mother, as she recently passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. God wastes nothing and I’ve needed each season that He has allowed in my life, even the ones that are difficult.

What is it that God may be calling YOU to be radical about? And what are you preparing as your answer to Him?

Radical things happen in our own lives when we say “Yes, God”!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · encouragement · make better choices · Path of Peace

A Simplified Life

I’m uncertain as to when or how it started. I think it may have always been present with me. The day my life forever changed….

I realized that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life! I am most content in the space of routine and ordinary. It’s here where I recognize the truly spectacular events may be a rainy afternoon and a good book, or a lingering lunch with a friend or loved one where we reminisce about the goodness of God in our lives or the moments that He has given that have taken our breath away. It’s where my calm lives.

I have chosen a lifestyle of moderation and I have peace with that. I like the ease in managing stress and learning to choose the paths and places that maintain this level of quiet in my life. It allows me to reserve my energy for the unplanned and unexpected moments where calm is a true asset for responding in a manner I will be happy with now and in the future.

The world can be a noisy place with loud voices pushing or driving for me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. Make a huge impact in everything I do. Make my life count.

All the striving for excellence can leave me drained of joy and wondering if I am simply not enough. And when I stop spinning and listen for God’s still, small voice, I hear Him whispering for me to ‘cease’ striving and know that He is God.

What if I never really achieve accolades beyond the people who are my primary circle of impact, consistently letting them know they are loved and I would choose them again? What if life as I have chosen it is good, even amazing, in light of the fact that my heart is fully engaged?

What if I simply write as God brings His reflections of beauty to my soul? And what if I have come to accept that the greatest joys and fulfillment come from offering the gifts I have to the community of women I care about encouraging them that bigger isn’t always better? What if I can simply remind those that I invest in that their gifts and influence are far more valuable than what is understood at the time?

What if I simply remain calm and centered and help others to see that they are enough? And, that God in us, provides great hope for others?

What if I just accept this ordinary body of mine that is neither big nor small? And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me.

What if I am a home manager who rarely dusts or vacuums and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and after giving thanks to God for all things, I simply enjoy and do not feel guilty?

What if I make plans and budgets and then occasionally break my own rules and push back against rigidity. Is it really a big deal if I’m not into fancy or expensive things? Or that I like a small and safe home?

Since leaving the frantic pace of life and learning to not keep up, I have found that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy.

Having given up my former dogmatic state of being, I have found great delight in sharing my deeply rooted faith, doubts and insecurities, in quiet ways and through genuine relationship. I have some very special women in my life who have guided me to this and each of you know who you are!

We haven’t had a fairy tale romance and I follow hard after God to be the wife that will always be for Jeff’s best. This keeps me humble and I need it!

I am a mom who delights in her girls and in knowing they are free to choose their appointments with life. I consider it a special privilege to affirm and support them in their passions?

I seek the Lord often to learn to embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. I am at peace with who I am and what I need and believe it to be an amazing gift of God to walk in this knowledge.

I want a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life.

And for me, it is enough!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach / Mentor, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom.