I recently read an article on alternative lives, lives unlived or just doing things differently. The crossroads we reach at certain junctions which don’t appear to be anything like a fork in the road until we look back on it many years later and see that it was exactly that. There was a time in my life when I considered travelling solo but the timing never seemed right and it never happened. I went straight from school to tertiary to work to marriage to kids and have lived in the same location for 23 years. In fact, not only the same city but the same home! I’m lucky. Cape Town is beautiful and hard to beat.
Now approaching mid 50’s, with (same) husband, four children, three dogs, two bunnies and aging parents in the same province just five or so hours drive from my home, it’s hard to imagine living a ‘freer’ life working and travelling from different locations. (Actually, you may well be thinking, hell that’s enough to scare me to do exactly that! Run away!) And yes, in my daydreams it sometimes crosses my mind but how on earth would I get that right? For starters, what would I do with my STUFF, my clutter? My books? It’s enough to cause a tiny heart palpitation.
And so it was almost uncanny that I came across 10 Lessons for Living # LocationFree, a new book by Kate Emmerson and I’ve gobbled it up. I couldn’t wait to tuck in.
The simple uncluttered image of a glamorous woman sitting on a single suitcase on the cover and the almost ‘handbook’ type structure of clean white pages with bold headings, various fonts for ‘top tips’ at the end of each chapter kept me entirely focused for the first two hours of a beautiful day on my balcony as the sun began its daily passage.
It was almost impossible not to flick through it to scan the pages ahead. I needed to see immediately how Kate lives her life, wondering how it’s vaguely possible to reduce your life to THREE boxes and live clutter free.
The ten lessons are divided into chapters with titles such as ‘taking the plunge’, ‘doing business #LocationFree’, ‘wardrobe woes’ and ‘navigating relationships and building community’. I liked the sound of ‘The LAY Principle: Look After Yourself. In fact, I think that’s gonna be me over this holiday. Or actually the next few years. If anyone asks me what I’m doing, I’m going to tell them I’m practising the LAY principle!
But the book isn’t only about Kate’s experiences. She involves a number of like-minded people whose insights and experiences she incorporates into each chapter. It’s possible to imagine this type of living at the end of a relationship with no children or furry children but this need not be the only catalyst for a life lived differently.
Of course, it’s all about embracing the mindset and that’s exactly where the book starts. And it ends with a helpful chapter on relevant resources and networks which are useful to start planning.
For me personally, it’s going to take a few years of school and decluttering, but Kate has written that book too entitled ‘Clear Your Clutter’ (and a few others) so that’s where I’m going to have to start.
Ten Lessons for Living #LocationFree is a book that I intend keeping close and dipping into. If not to embrace in its entirety but then who knows? It may just be the start of that life lived differently.
For now, I’m going to get away from this laptop, try to ignore the heartache and fear and pain of this bloody pandemic and embrace the life I’m living with my feet up, my family, my books and practice of the LAY principle. Once I’ve packed my clutter and hit the road!
Here are links to buy this book:
Picture this: it’s 6 am UK winter and naturally pretty cold and pitch dark outside and …..time for my regular yoga.
I am very accustomed to getting up with the wee birdies bright and early. Historically, whenever I was in South Africa I would love to go and attend the first yoga class of the day …but ….I am no longer have access to my once-upon-a-time favourite studio doing bendy Bikram Yoga at 5.30 am.
SO I need a new way to practice NOW as we tackle Jan 202#$%^&*(*&^%.
What year is it again?
I LOVE getting up and doing something that is both exercise-full, mind-full and aligning. Depending on where I am in the world on my #LocationFree travels, it might be a walk, a cold water swim, or yoga. But I need to start my day off this way. Right now, in Jan 2021 I am figuring out how to handle this bizarre start to ’21 as I am in #lockdown with my mum in the UK again. We spent 3 months together during summer 2020 and still managed to come out laughing in the end, so we are piggy-backing on that history to stay amused as far as possible in these un-amusing times.
I have a much better sense of humour when I feel connected and strong and like I am taking care of myself from the inside out. Exercise keeps me sane! Yoga keeps me centered! What is your go-to?
So I have my little UK routine that gets me up at 6.00 am. It’s still pitch bloody dark and the thought of putting on lights just isn’t working for me. Mum is usually fast asleep, purring gently with her cat ZsaZsa, so I creep to the kitchen (super impossible for this Taurean bull) to grab some hot water, and start my yoga practice in the lounge – IN THE DARK.
Why on earth Kate? Why not flip that switch and put some darn lights on!
Well…it feels safer right now in this uncertain time:
I feel ironically held by the darkness of the world
I like the curtains drawn around me
It’s like a gentle cocoon of #calmbalm
It feels warmer and cozier
It’s emulating a little hug ( we all need those!)
It seems much quieter – ridiculous right?!
It offers me a slower, gentler wake-up each morning
I feel as if I am strengthening my body while kinda still in my sleep
It’s more soothing to my nerve endings
It feels like one of those anxiety blankets
I find it heightens my ability to tune in
It simultaneously helps me go deeper within
I feel like I have stolen the best part of the day from the sun
It’s more relaxing at every level
I seem to stretch a wee bit further
I absolutely have to focus more to stay in the challenging poses
I am sensing parts of my body rather than looking down to check alignment
I feel more in touch with my body by not “seeing” it
I also feel a bit naughty like I’m doing something in the dark, and that makes me smile.
And finding ways to smile is vital right now!
Often mum wakes up and walks through while I’m sprawled unceremoniously on the lounge floor. She’s usually chattering away to her trailing shadow that’s miaou – miaowing for breakfast and can’t see me until I squawk hello or she flips the light on. But she knows I’m usually there now if she potters through before 7am, as my little routine is locked in.
My preferred practice is always early in the morning in glorious sunrise-drenched light, each moment filled with opportunity and the creative promise of the day ahead. But right now I’m in winter, in the dark, making the most out of #lockdown. It won’t always be like this, will it? The days will shift to longer sunlight, we will at some point be let out of jail in our respective #lockdown countries and spring will surely, SURELY rear its welcome head soon. Then perhaps I will naturally whisk open the curtains and greet the dawn-kissed day again as I prepare to Om…
So what are YOU making the most of right now simply because it’s the perfect thing for this time for you, even if it’s not your norm?
Drop me a line if you try yoga in the dark, or something else equally as obscure – I always love to hear from you
PS: I have become positively obsessed with taking more and more time out and time off. Maybe you feel drawn to join me on a BESPOKE VIRTUAL RETREAT done from anywhere in the world right now, and I’ll hold the space from my dark lounge 🙂 Read more here