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Comfort Breeds Limitation: How Limiting Beliefs Can Creep Up When We're Not Looking

poppy fields, wildflower bloom
Photo: Life in Ceremony

We are a month into the fall season. It's Halloween today, and while many of you may be reuniting with your concept of social gatherings and costumed festivities, I suppose I am in a different headspace all together.

The wet and chilled weather has come and is here to stay it seems. Slowly, the appearance of the sun first thing in the morning has become a treat to relish in. And with these quieter times, there are more days spent at home. More hours to look inward amongst the stillness that approaches with winter on the horizon. This has also become a time for my family to reimagine our spending habits as income slows and we feel the need to save for the many rainy days ahead.

At times I have felt this shift from a place of lack. The desire to acquire things that I do not feel justified in purchasing leaves me at odds with feeling provided for and able to function in my normal ways. As I have reached a point of continuous minimalism over the years, I already approach my spending in a highly intentional way. For the non-essentials, I ponder their value and navigate my purchase from every angle I can think of before embarking on that dopamine high of new and shiny objects entering my life. After choosing a tiny house dwelling, this is not only engrained in me, but a necessity, as I have carved out just enough space for each object I possess. This rarely leaves room for constant additions and I must evaluate what I already have each and every time in the process.

But as I approach this new season with an even more frugal mindset, I have noticed the way that the things I regularly purchase have been fueled more by fear and rigidity than anything else.

Let me explain.

I have spent the last 8 years working towards an intentional lifestyle that is sustainable as I grow and evolve with age. In an all too predictable sense embarking on this minimalist and slow living journey, I have cleared space to very literally feel the underlying effects of my habits. I have delved head-first into anxiety symptoms that when undetected for years. I have looked for balance in my daily routines and efforts. And I have spent countless hours researching and discussing my core health issues that showed their true colors with this newfound presence. Many doctors, self-experiments and rituals later, I have come to a place that I feel is aiding in my healing.

Funny enough, this has always been the place I felt held the most excess, the area I was least able to practice the simplified way of living I have come to know and love. But it's my health. If anything, thats the best place to incorporate more, right?

I've become stuck in my ways of knowing whats good for me, what will keep me well, and what allows my body to function the way it so desperately needs.

And evaluating my spending, as opposing as it may seem, has shown me some stagnant points where this may have become unhealthy in pursuit of ultimate health and well-being. Where I may have allowed limiting beliefs to creep in when I wasn't looking.

There have been many thoughts crossing my mind as I choose to live within smaller means. For example:

  1. I can't (or won't) enjoy my daily coffee without it being made exactly as I like and am accustomed to.

  2. Without my fancy and luscious face and body oils, my skin will begin to suffer.

  3. If I can't take my many expensive supplements, my body won't function like it should.

  4. If I am not constantly seeking out food from the best and healthiest cafes and restaurants around me, I won't be able to keep myself healthy.

And all of these things have their much more budget-conscious approaches. So I have found ways to cut back where necessary and redefine how I can meet these needs currently. Some are even more simple than you would think. And as temporary a remedy I might have thought these were, they are teaching my something important about the mindset that got me here in the first place.

Some of these simple-minded remedies include:

  1. Getting back to the basics with my morning coffee. This has allowed me to remember just how much I appreciate and enjoy the taste and experience of quality coffee beans and the ritual it provides to start my day.

  2. Purchasing dual purpose, high quality coconut oil, that I can use both in the kitchen and to nourish my skin. Add a couple drops of orange essential oil and moisturizing becomes a luxurious and uplifting moment to enjoy in my day. It also turns out to be the heaviness my skin needs in the cold and dryer months of the year.

  3. Remembering to return to whole and unprocessed foods as my ultimate medicine in this life. I can eat specifically to fill my deficient needs. This has also allowed me to remember that I am not 100% dependent on supplementation. That the whole point of taking them, as advised by my doctor, is to readjust and rebalance. Not to need external support for the rest of my life.

  4. Choosing to wake up earlier and wind down at night. Spending more time out in nature and moving my body. These simple solutions allow me to find grounding, listen better to my bodies needs and sync my internal rhythms and cycles with the sun, moon and earth.

Each of these "downgrades" felt forced and uncomfortable at first. But the utter simplicity in these solutions has reminded me that we can change our beliefs of what we need. Even redefining what is a true need versus want. And how taking a moment to look within our daily actions can uncover the rigid and overly defined habits we have created. This leaves little room for adaptability and a steadfast sense of comfort in knowing that we are provided for. Knowing that what we have is enough.

It's like camping. On a regular basis, we feel air conditioning, on demand heating, a constant water supply and four walls are absolute necessity. But we can adapt very quickly to sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire we first must build ourselves. This is because our expectations have shifted. We know that when we pack up the car and embark into the woods that we aren't setting out to experience the same level of comfort that we have come to expect. And our understanding of what is needed to survive changes almost overnight. And we do this intentionally. Often people express that camping is perfect for putting things in perspective and removing themselves from auto-pilot.

Although this entire process began from an unwanted place that felt out of my control, it has recalibrated my sense of need. Ultimately, it has brought me back to a place of groundedness in myself, knowing that I have enough. I am enough.


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