Cut out the noise

This is Week 25 of {Project 52} Stay Awake. You are welcome to join in anytime during this year-long mindful living photo project. please upload your photos to our Project 52: Stay Awake Flickr group so we can see what an Awake life means for you. And, if you also use Instagram please use the hashtag #awakeproject13.

This amazing thing happened while we were on vacation at the beach last week.

The four of us stayed comfortably in a tiny, 500-square foot condo that overlooks the ocean. With one bedroom and a kitchenette with only a stove not an oven, the living quarters should have seemed small, tight and abnormally confining for us since we’re used to our modest, Suburban home that thankfully has three bathrooms — perfect for four people.

And other than sharing the bathroom, I must say that everything was just … easier.

So little stuff. So much less to clean. Less to fuss over. Less to cook. Less to eat, in general. Less options. Less art supplies.

Simplifying everything leads to happiness

We had one option for each meal. We had one game. We had three movies. We had two books each. I had one legal pad to write in — and it was filled with amazing new ideas of where I’ll be taking Awesomely Awake over the next year.

And we were happy — happy because all that mattered were two things: We were together as a family without any distractions and that we could wake up and see the ocean every morning.

The secret to happiness is simple.

It’s true that when we choose the simple path we really choose a more peaceful way of living. This is the key to happiness. The secret of living a full life versus planning a life.

Now that I’m home, I want desperately to cling to the simple life we had all week but I can already see it slipping away … the grass needed mowed, and the weeds are taller than my children on one side of the house and the van needed de-sanded.

I can’t help think about this situation of having such busy, rushed, crazy lifestyles full of chaos and drama and how what we all want is to really just shed it all and get back to basics.

When we say slow down, what we really mean is simplify.


Instead of waking up with a list longer than our bed of things we need to do or should do or, gasp, want to do, we would much rather wake up and be present, playful and peaceful people.

Something’s gotta give.

A little story

This reminds me of an intersection in my life four years ago. I was working full-time and trying to be a great mother. But, I wanted to finally finish a novel I had started a decade earlier. But, when? There wasn’t more than 20 minutes in my day of free time. So, I simplified and I gave up TV. I haven’t watched it since — aside from the entire season of the show “Parenthood” that Dan and I watched on our date nights” at home thanks to Netflix and one season of American Idol.

Just giving up that one thing — granted, a major time-suck thing — I wrote a novel, started a blog, and quit my job to become self-employed. Instead of wasting away my nights in front of the television, I am busy trying to change the world, one key stroke at a time.

It would not have happened if I hadn’t simplified — and decided to cut out some things to make space for others. This is truly how I landed on the path of waking up to who I needed to be.

And yet … there is so much more to give up, to release, to let go of that I still cling to and I wonder if I can truly simplify — spend less time “cooking dinner” and more time just enjoying meals or if I could really, finally, truly make an effort to get rid of so many things that just lay around, unused, unnecessary and uninteresting to me and our life now. All of those papers and journals. The kids papers and their stuffed animals that even I can’t seem to make them get rid of …

So much stuff — so much emotional baggage to claim.

And yet so much potential.

And, since we lived — and survived — with the bare minimum, on the bare minimum (I did just leave my high-paying gig, ya know) and inside the smallest room possible, I wonder what else we can do without?

Project-52 Week 7 Notice the Details


For Project 52: Stay Awake this week, simplify your life. Downsize. Recycle. Re-purpose. Give yourself a few chances to live without something that you really think you can’t live without. Take a photo of what you are simplifying and share it with us!


 What is at the top of your mind that needs simplified or just plain cut out of your life?



P.S. — I’ll be closing registration for The Playful Family Adventure first thing tomorrow morning. As of right now it’s not too late to sign up if you were considering it … procrastinators are welcome! This is the only time this course is being offered this year and we have nearly 100 mothers signed up to figure out how to be more open to play and fun with their families. Join us!

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