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.

a simplified life · Contentment · Growing Relationships · make better choices · Path of Peace

Keeping it Simple

We often think of simplifying, down-sizing or minimizing our external possessions and living with only the essentials as denying ourselves of the good life. This journey isn’t so much about eliminating the number of shoes or books we own, how small the square footage of our house can be or giving away every non-essential item we own. It may be all of that, if there’s a deeper-seated issue that keeps us from a sense of gratitude and enjoyment of the things that we say are most important to us.

The quest for the true joy of not being “owned” by too much stuff and the required maintenance as well as an often overcommitted schedule required me to look deep internally. At which point, I discovered a dis-ordered heart.

For me, living an abundant life is a journey of intentional growth and learning to authentically live a simple life. Simplicity has become the clarity in which I find meaning. It’s the removal of the unnecessary. It’s the discovery of what I value most.

5 simple ways to live an abundant life through keeping it simple.

1. Simplify your wardrobeAdopting a minimal wardrobe has afforded me less stress when choosing what to wear each day. Eliminating items I rarely wear and only purchasing clothing, shoes and accessories that I feel most like myself in has given me more time each morning for the people and things I value.

2. Eliminate digital distractions. When meeting with someone, I intentionally allow my phone to take a coffee break. For me, multi-tasking simply means I am able to screw up two things at once! I work when I’m at work. I am intentional when I am in a meeting. I continually strive to remember that I own the phone, it does not own me!

3. Learn to be vacationally-minded in your work.  Changing the mindset in how we view our work can transform the way we work. It no longer becomes a balancing act of life and work, it becomes the essence of life itself. God designed us to create! Realizing that creating is our work makes getting up in the morning a lot easier. If the goal is only for a promotion, prestigious title, or a larger paycheck, it will not be enough to fulfill us in the long run. On vacation, we are intentional in getting the most out of the moment and creating the memories we want to keep. Focusing on the difference we can make by the work only we can do allows us to realize the value that only we can bring to our organization.

4. Learn to say no to things. It’s tempting to believe that saying yes to everything is the path to success. Often, in not wanting to miss anything, we sign up to do everything. These commitments and obligations can cause unnecessary stress and friction in our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. The ability to say no provides space to focus on the things we value most. It’s not about being involved in everything, but rather learning not to trade off the “best” and settle for “good”.

5. Embrace the mundane. Life is truly lived in the morning coffee chats on the porch, car rides to school or work, standing in the grocery line talking to a neighbor, reading to your kids before bed time, caring for a loved one, walking the dog, and clearing off the dinner table as a family. It’s in the moments we often hurry past. These are the simple memories that last a lifetime. These are the experiences that write our story and shape our lives. It’s these simple things that matter and become the things we appreciate most.

I did not intentionally set out on a journey to simplicity, but in so doing, I can honestly say, I have found true abundance.

I invite you to consider what ‘keeping it simple’ could mean for you…

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Christian Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer

a simplified life · Contentment · encouragement · Love Others · Path of Peace

The Power of Listening

I have often found it hard to avoid the temptation of telling people how to do something they are attempting to do in a different way. Different from the way I do it, of course! It has to be easier or I wouldn’t be doing it this way, right? At least, that is what the logical sense side of my brain screams to me. It almost seems natural to tell others our way of doing, seeing, being, etc. 

What I have been slow to learn is that we all have ideas on how to do something and many times if we are just present with someone and observing their efforts, we bring a lot to the table. Many of us are overdue for a few “attaboy” pats on the back and are overwhelmed with the telling feature of others.

I’ve learned that asking people questions about what they are doing or how they decided to do a certain task or project is a great way to offer encouragement and acceptance. I am now convinced that people need encouragement much more than they need instruction.

Asking a question and then giving someone the latitude to share their thoughts on it offers acceptance of the differences we have from others. Listening without mentally focusing on how we are going to tell them to do it a better way can bond us together in deeper ways. Active listening offers people the respect and courtesy to share their hearts and ideas without feeling corrected or as if they are in need of “fixing”.

I’ve heard it said that if you give someone 15 minutes to speak, they will tell you everything that is important to them. How much more value could we bring to our relationships if we offered the gift of listening to people who are important to us, and then using what we learn to offer encouragement in their endeavors?

Think about it. People often point out the mistakes, flaws and errors they see in others or in situations. How often do you hear someone comment on how enjoyable something they experienced proved to be? It’s refreshing, but rare.

Take every opportunity to develop the strength of character that is found in truly listening. People will be drawn to you as you, in turn, encourage them and open your heart to share the things you value.

If we pass this idea on to others, we may just find that listening is the most favored of all of the love languages.

Oh, and thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor and Christian Life Coach.

If this has been an encouragement to you, please share @Sheri_Geyer. Thank you!

a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · Path of Peace · Simple Living · simplify

Roll with it, Baby!

Each day brings a variety of events. Some routine and anticipated things and some possible surprises. There is a strong temptation to judge the unanticipated happenings as bad or negative. We may feel it necessary to try to fight or run from these situations rather than embrace them for the good we can learn from them. 

We are unable to control or have advance notice on all that happens. We do have the advantage of controlling what we choose to think and do about everything that does happen. 

Even when we face negative situations, we can respond in ways that are helpful and beneficial. Developing a resolve to follow our purpose can be a strong motivator to not let our circumstances deter us from what we deem to be worthy of our most firm commitments. 

While the wind will vary its direction, by changing our sails we can allow our ship to maintain its course.

We can make a determination of what we will do with each day and the purpose we will follow for our life, and decide to live true to these choices. We will be surprised what we can do when we have the ‘want to’!

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor and Life Coach. 

If this has been an encouragement to you, please share @Sheri_Geyer. Thank you! 

a simplified life · Contentment · Growing Relationships · Path of Peace · Simple Living

Life: A Balancing Act?

Sometimes it seems that life balance means simply juggling plates and successfully keeping them all up in the air. Consider what balance means in other processes. In accounting, things must add up. In physics, what goes up, must come down. In life, we can’t live like a gazelle being chased by a cheetah all the time — we’d be a code red, high adrenaline, super stress, possible heart attack or stroke waiting for a place to happen. 

Balance is more about a calm and stable mindset that allows us to make decisions based on personal values helping us learn to be intentional in the moment. Life balance may best be defined as the calmness and security of being able to manage the things we treasure, i.e. feelings, thoughts, talents, attitudes, behavior, personal well-being, etc. so in effect, we are able to assertively confront issues in life without a perpetual feeling of being overwhelmed. 

For me, personally, it’s about owning my life and choosing who and what to allow into it. This has made what is most important in my life — my relationships — more peaceful, loving and respectful. I don’t want to stress over things I’m unable to change. I want to have the energy I need when I’m required to manage necessary stress … and for the adventures I want to jump into with both feet! 

I want to focus on the truth that God will never allow more in my life than what I need to be all He desires for me. He will provide the resources, support and accountability I need. My job is to routinely take the initiative to renew my mind with His truth and love, and gain strength from those who support, encourage and hold me accountable to do what I say and finish what I start.

A consistent balance allows our lives to continually improve, not necessarily with more money or more stuff, but by simply having an awareness that every day holds challenges and successes, and that truly what we look for is what we will find, be it good or bad. 

As for me, I choose to live with the mantra, that indeed, Life is Good and, I’ve got the tee shirt to prove it! 

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