six ways to stay awake: creating a daily life of simple joy

 Welcome to the GREAT BIG SUMMERTIME BLOG HULLABALOO, an intimate and sometimes vulnerable celebration of the human spirit.  I like to imagine us all sitting in a circle together, perhaps around a crackling fire….  bearing witness to one another’s stories that display such breadth of courage, tenacity, and hope.  It’s not too late to grab a seat and share your story (or art!)–  but hurry, for the Hullabaloo will be coming to a close at the end of the month!  For all of the nitty gritty, please read  THIS ….  for we have so very much to learn from one another.

Today’s guest, Bronwyn Simons, is quite new to me….  but I have not been able to stay off of her website since I discovered it a month or so ago, and it’s quite clear that we have oodles in common.   I’m not sure if it’s her take on health and wellness or her love of sitting with women in circle that initially pulled me her way, but whatever it is, you will find all sorts of rich and wonderful things….  recipes,  creative inspiration, and invitations to the most delightful-sounding retreats….. do check out my newest soul sister, Bronwyn!   

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In her invitation to create and share in the Big Summer Blog Hullabaloo, Lisa posed this question:

“So how do you move through your days and stay wide awake, knowing how (delicate) buoyant we all truly are?”

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. If you make your days beautiful and meaningful and awakened, you’re creating a beautiful, meaningful and awakened life. How will you do this?

I write and teach about how to live a more artful life – that is, a life infused with creativity, mindfulness, love and authenticity, a life we make for ourselves as a pure expression of our soul’s gifts.

Each life lived artfully will be beautifully unique, as you are beautifully unique. My own artful life is rooted in spaciousness and solitude, quiet creativity, rural tranquility, and deeply challenging spiritual exploration. In your own artful life you may grow strong in the bustle of an urban center, thrive on collaboration, seek spiritual ease and physical challenge. We are all so complex, and so gorgeously diverse.

We are each a wholly original expression of the life force, we each carry a unique blueprint for our soul’s expression in the world. We will all shine differently. Yet we all share common needs and yearnings; there are certain things we all need in order to keep our light shining brightly.

Through my own journey of healing, and through my work over the years with so many women explorers, I have learned about some of those needs. I’ve taken my discoveries and created my Nine Keys to an Artful Life, a manifesto expressing the common qualities of beautifully lived lives. My work and my writing are all about living this manifesto.

What I’d like to share with you today are some simple ways to apply these keys to each and every day – simple ways to bring beauty and meaning to your ordinary daily life – ways to “move through our days wide awake.” I don’t want to add to your already oh-so-long to-do list, so I’ve created these keys with ease in mind. See how many you can incorporate into your day today.

Your Daily Prescription for Staying Awake:

Move Your Body Joyfully
Touch Spirit
Touch Nature
Do Your Work
Create Something From your Heart
Nourish Yourself
Connect in Love

Move Your Body Joyfully.
We live increasingly sedentary lives. We can forget the simple joy of movement. If you have time to get out to a dance or yoga class, that’s wonderful! But you don’t have to. I’m just talking about finding a few moments in the day to remind yourself that it feels good to be in your body. Dance in your living room or hula hoop in your front yard. get down on the floor and roll around with your dog, play fetch or frisbee with your dog, run with your dog – dogs are such great teachers of the simple joy of embodiment! Splash in a puddle, race your friend to the end of the block – just move. Breathe deep, spin and laugh. Sit in your chair and breathe and do deep neck and shoulder rolls. Remember that your body is a vehicle for joy. Even if your body is a challenge for you, if you are limited by chronic pain or disability, your joy in embodiment is a birthright. You may have to fight harder to access that joy, but you can. Start with a few minutes a day, of simple feeling and doing the movements that feel good. Find your pleasure and allow yourself to relax into it.

Touch Spirit.
There is grandeur and awe and infinite love and deep connection available in every moment, if we remember to touch the mystery. Once again, if you have time to attend a spiritual event, a class or ritual or celebration, that’s wonderful! But you don’t have to. In any moment, you can allow your breath and your senses to connect you to spirit. Even a quick, light touch is enough to sustain your soul through the day. Say a small prayer or give thanks. Breathe deep, close your eyes, and simply feel your heart-center, the depth of it, the truth of the feelings there. Look up at the sky, or into the heart of a flower, and see the mystery there. The possibility of connection is always available to us.

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Touch Nature.
I live in a temperate rainforest, on a tiny island surrounded by pristine waters. Every day, I’m deeply grateful for the natural beauty and peace in which I nestle. I don’t have to think about touching nature; she is my constant companion, my healer and my teacher. As I sit writing in my living room, a gentle marine-scented breeze streams in the big open windows, and the world is silent around me but for the rustle of wind in the bamboo, the late summer crickets, and the distant call of seabirds. After writing this I will wander out to the edge of my meadow, startling the mama deer grazing with her two fawns, and gather sun-warmed blackberries from their thorny canes. I have designed my life so that nature is a constant. This allows my soul, my creativity to thrive. We all need the daily touch of nature and her cycles in order to thrive. Maybe you don’t live in a natural paradise – I haven’t always, either. You still need to find ways to touch nature every day. Find or create green space, even if it’s just a container garden on your patio. Our hearts need the green of plants! When you can, put your bare feet in the grass or the sand or the water, and feel that naked connection to the pulse of the earth. When you can, be in the weather. Let the sun warm your bare skin, but also, go out and let the rain soak you, and the wind blow hard through your hair. Allow yourself some unsheltered time. When all else fails, you can remember that the sky is a vast wilderness. Keep track of the moon cycles and find the moon in the sky whenever you can. Watch the flight of birds and the dance of the clouds. Contemplate infinite blue.

Do Your Work.
We all need to feel useful and needed. It’s part of our joy. You have probably already discovered that just doing any old work doesn’t make you feel joyful or useful. When I say do your work, I mean that special contribution that you alone were brought here to do. I mean your soul’s gift. You need to do a little bit of that every day to feel whole. Your work doesn’t have to be your day job. Many people have day jobs that they like just fine, and they practice their true work in some other area of their lives. There are no rules about this stuff – just, if you know your calling, do it – somewhere in your life, every day. And if you haven’t yet discovered your soul’s gift make your daily work your effort to discover it.

Create Something from Your Heart.
We are all creative beings! So much in our modern lives is already created for us – unless we want to, we don’t have to create our own food, clothing, entertainment, or anything else, really. Which can be fantastic! And it can open up space in our lives for us to do the things we really want to do. But it can also rob us of a sense of our own creative spirit and potential. We need to exercise our creativity – it feeds our spirits, our sense of autonomy and purpose, and it keeps are minds dynamic and vibrant. And I’ll say it again – you don’t have to go out and do something special, like buy a bunch of craft supplies or take a class. You simply have to exercise some freedom in your daily life. You can be creative anywhere, in small, simple, satisfying ways. Try cooking without a recipe, or setting a gorgeous table. Make your planner into an art journal. Take up a simple traditional craft like knitting, that allows you to practice a bit each day. Be creative in your self-expression – write amazing emails or Facebook posts. Take some risks with the way you adorn yourself each day – try creative combinations of clothes and accessories. Instead of buying a bouquet, buy several bunches of flowers and create your own arrangements. There are so many ways to infuse your day-to-day with creativity

Nourish Yourself.
This is really about practicing self-love. You already know what you need to do to live in a vibrant and healthy body – rest, eat pure foods, sweat a little every day, but don’t sweat the small stuff. You know, deep down, what your body is asking for, and how you can nurture and nourish yourself lovingly. Do those things – make them part of your every day. Little by little, if you need to, slowly establish a foundation of exquisite self-care in your life. Your joy will rest on this foundation.

Connect in Love.
When we wake up and begin to care for ourselves deeply by practicing these keys and other forms of self-care daily, we begin to find that we have more to share. Others are drawn to our glow, and we have even more love to give. Connecting in love is one of the most basic things you can do daily to live a life of purpose. So give long hugs (it takes 20 seconds for the oxytocin to start flowing.) Do your best to speak with compassion. Smile more. Let others nurture you once in a while. Consider forgiveness. Hold hands and cuddle. If you need more touch in your life, gift yourself with a massage. There are a million ways to connect with others, and it is only our fear that keeps us from connecting in love. Challenge yourself to share your love more freely, at least in one little daily action.

My dear wish for you is that your days be filled with moments of awakening and moments of connection. I hope you will take some of these ideas and weave them into your daily life, and be able to open a little more each day to the beauty that is always within and around us.
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About Bronwyn:  Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy.

She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her popular blog, The Artful Life, provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

She spends most days writing and creating in her quiet island home, watching the seasons move gently through her acres of meadow and forest. She can also be found kayaking, bellydancing, doing yoga, having travel adventures, communing with nature spirits, hanging out with her husband and their elderly pug Chloe, and engaging in all forms of domestic puttering.

Bronwyn’s latest program, the Nine Keys to an Artful Life eCourse, a nine week immersion in the art of living well, launches in September.

Join Bronwyn in discovering how to bring more beauty, soulfulness, substance, and joy to your daily life by reading her blog, and by connecting with her via Facebook and Twitter  for words of wisdom and snippets of artful living.

2 comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Bronwyn– thank you so much for joining me here! Such wonderful bits of inspiration….. I am so happy to have connected with you, and look forward to more! xoxo Lisa

  2. Mary says:

    wonderful!

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