Friday 28 August 2015

What if money were no object?


My dear friend Clare who runs a mean blog over at The Life of Clare, recently created an Ebook to share 92 ways to simplify your life. In the preview, she wrote how four years ago she was broke. Flat, not a penny to her name broke. Her and her husband Jay started spending less and doing more, being more mindful about what they spent their money on and focussing on what was important to them, aside from money. They learnt to bake sourdough, keep chickens and many other self sufficiency skills but what was most predominant is how Clare and Jay didn't see a lack of money as a major hindrance to what they wanted to do in their lives. They saw wealth in the experience of being more sustainable and independent and they learnt to prioritise what is important in their lives, individually and as a family, without connecting everything to money.

Two and a half years ago, I was broke. The term hand to mouth comes to mind. Even though I was lucky to have a place to live and food to put on the table, that was the limit. In my feeble frame of mind, money limited me and dictated what I could and couldn't do in my life. I had always been passionate about food but having no money really impacted on my enjoyment and creativity revolving around it. To curtail this, I started to take the time to plate up my meals, like I used to when I worked in cafes and restaurants, delicately, artistically, with love. Even if it was just spaghetti bolognese. I started to accumulate photos and had nowhere to put them. Since I was gainfully unemployed and on welfare, I would spend my days trawling through food blogs, looking at people's magically placed, healthy lives and sigh. I wished I was them, cooking food for friends, loved ones and family. I wished I lived in San Francisco, Venice Beach, Copenhagen, Sydney, Perth, Bali. I only focussed on the negative, the lack of money, the lack of everything.

Then I took a look at the accumulation of food photos on my camera and a little spark ignited. What if I had a food blog? What if it helped me to find some joy in food and photography again? What if it helped me by allowing me to write and share my thoughts? What if it could help others to realise that just like them, I didn't have an instagrammed #no filter life?

So I started writing. That was two and a half years ago. A hell of a lot has changed since then. Those of you who have read along with me on this journey can see that everything came in waves, ups and downs, twists and turns but it's been one hell of a ride. Out of the blog, I've made friends with an online community of bloggers, reconnected with friends from travels who live far away, developed really strong and honest friendships with people at home, connected with my family and probably more importantly, with myself. Once I (eventually) learnt to view myself as wealthy and my life as rich and abundant, irrespective of money, money became a minority concern. That's not to say I didn't have some serious moments of doubt and fear. Believe me, there were plenty and even today, I am guilty in getting caught up in it all. But each time I come back to my idea of wealth, it is about freedom, sharing, appreciation and creativity and not the ability to buy, accumulate and save. Wealth is what I valued, not a bundle of papers.

Today I checked my emails and saw one from Blog Awards Ireland. I've been nominated for the 2015 Long List*, for the second year in a row and I'm overjoyed. Not just about being nominated (which is huge for me!) but because of the journey that got me here! When I looked back at how it all started and compared it to my blog now, I feel proud. It all reminded me of the first time I listened to Alan Watts, the great philosopher and free thinker. You've probably seen the video where his lecture on "What if money were no object?" features. I remember about three years ago listening to it for the first time and being bowled over by the truth that lay in his words but also the overwhelming sense that I had no control and no opportunity to achieve the things I really wanted, the things that really made my heart soar. Keeping this blog has changed my perspective and made me realise that we owe it to ourselves to live the life we want and that there are ways to wake up in the morning and do the thing we want most in our lives, the thing we would instantly do, irrespective of money.

This post and its photographs are a celebration of the blog from its beginnings to were it's at now and I couldn't be happier with it and how it's grown in its own time, organically even. For me, this blog is just the beginning. Now it's time for more. Watch the video, get inspired, dive into your heart, figure what it is you really want to do and go do it!

Happy Friday

* As part of the Blog Awards Ireland, I've been selected for the long list for the Best Food and Drink Blog and Best Health and Wellbeing Blog

** Art credit: Heather Brown

                           AND IT ALL STARTED WITH WILD GARLIC SALAD...

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