193. Beautiful words that embody simple + intentional living

Words are incredibly powerful, they can communicate exactly what you are thinking, feeling, wanting, needing, in sometimes as little as a single sentence. But that only works when we understand ourselves and have the vocabulary necessary to name our lives. Join me today as I talk about nine beautiful words from other cultures that capture the heart of simple and intentional living and discuss how they can influence your life.



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Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor from simple on purpose.ca. Welcome to the simple on purpose podcast.

So welcome new friends, old friends, this is a podcast for anyone looking to be more intentional with how they’re living. And we talk about ways that you can declutter the home, the heart, the life, in order to make space to get rid of the distractions and the clutter and make space for the important things, the things that matter to you.

And to let you know who I am, if you’re new here, I’m Shawna. I am a Canadian. And I am a mom of three as well as a counselor. And I’ve been blogging for about a decade at simple on purpose, where we talk about decluttering intentional living and motherhood and I offer coaching and counseling services. Online. I’m an online counselor if you are looking for an online counselor coach.

Alright, so today I want to share some of my favorite words with you. And these are not English words. But these are words that you might have seen floating around the internet, and maybe you haven’t heard some of them. They are words that I’ve picked up through the years. And I’ve probably shared about some of them, and I’ve just pondered on them. And I’m sharing these specific words, there’s going to be nine of them for two reasons.

The first reason is that they are words that embody a lot of the concepts, we talked about your finding balance, being mindful, the simple pleasures of life and really building up a life based on meaningful things, things that are meaningful to you. And I also chose them because they give a name, they give a name, to something that sometimes can be intangible, to an emotion or an experience that can be hard to name.

And as a counselor, I know that naming things has so much value, you might have heard it said name it detainment, this is also called effect labeling. I’ve made a recent blog post about it, I’ll make sure to link it in the show notes. But naming something naming an emotion naming an experience. It’s a core skill that we can all use. Because when we name something, we can categorize it, we can give it meaning, naming an emotion is so important for our well being.

And any time that I have named an emotion and there are times where I couldn’t actually pinpoint it. And someone else looking into my life, my best friend, my husband, my own Wonderful Counselor, when they were able to offer what that emotion could be. And we could name it. I was like relief, like, oh, yeah, that’s, that’s what I’m feeling. And with clients, and in the blog posts that I’ll share, I use this analogy of how important it is to name our emotions.

So let’s use an example. Let’s imagine that you have some symptoms that like, maybe a weird pain in your stomach, it’s achy, it’s hot, it’s grumbly. But you don’t know what it is, you don’t know what’s causing it, you don’t know what to do about it. How is that experience for you? It’s probably a nerving, you’d feel uncomfortable with all those sensations you’re having your brain might be spinning, or you might just try to ignore it. Or you might just start running around doing all the things you can think of to just make it go away. And that’s what it can be like when we don’t name our emotion. We just have all these uncomfortable sensations in our bodies, they can feel overwhelming, they can feel wrong, they definitely feel uncomfortable.

Now contrast that to an a situation where you notice you’ve got a runny nose, sore throat and you’re coughing, maybe your eyes are watering. You could go to the doctor for some help. Or you could just tell yourself, I have a cold, like this is a cold and just naming it you know what’s happening, you have relief, like, Okay, I know what I’m feeling I know what to expect. You don’t have to panic, you know how to deal with a cold, when you can name something, you know what you’re dealing with. And ideally, you know, what tools to use or what you need to do about it. Okay, little counseling moment over. If you have questions or thoughts on that, please bring them into the Facebook group. And I’m always happy to talk more about that.

Now on to beautiful words that embody a simple living and inspire mindfulness. The first one, you’ve heard me talk all about it. Let’s just have a recap. It is Hygge (hue-gah). If you read it, it looks like the word hyg. And hygge is a Danish word. And it doesn’t have that direct English translation, but it embodies this sense of coziness, comfort, connectedness, and it’s more than just a word, right? It’s a cultural concept that really fills up that experience of warmth and contentment, intimacy quality, especially with your loved ones.

And I’ve written a lot about this in the past. One of my most popular posts ever is hygge versus minimalism because they are a bit different. Some of my favorite hygge Moments of late are sitting around with my family at the end of the day when everyone’s finally home from all their activities. And we’re kind of in the kitchen living room zone. And maybe there’s music playing, and I’ve turned some of the lights down, because I’m hoping people will start getting tired. And we’re just chatting is just slow and quiet, and easy. Easy, as you know, I do want to get the kids to bed, but they don’t want to.

Another moment that I really love lately is being at a restaurant booth with my besties. And it’s a rare experience that we finally all get to one place. And we’re at this little booth, and it’s got his little candle, and then we’ve got the menus, but we’re too busy just catching up to even look at the menus. And that’s just a real hygge moment.

Another favorite one that happens for me a lot is that time of night where we spend time with each of our kids. And usually we play cards with them. So we’re sitting on their beds, and they’re bundled up in the blanket, and I’ve got the cards dealt out. And they’ve turned their twinkle lights on and they’re like bedside light on and it’s just like, the lights are down. It’s just this cute little moment. So that’s that’s the feeling that you get from hygge, I do have a list of 30 ways to Heuga in cold weather, I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. It’s a great way to bring some coziness into your winter.

The next word is fika. This is a Swedish word. And it is about taking a break to enjoy a coffee and a treat with a friend. And just appreciating the moment appreciating the conversations. And this is actually one of my hobbies. My hobby is to fika, my husband will even buy me a little treat. And I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but he’ll bring it home and he’ll say this is for your fika. And so I make a point to do that. Because just all about slowing down and just being with your people. And just like that simple pleasure that you can get in that moment.

The next word and other Swedish word is lagom. And that kind of roughly translates to just the right amount or sufficient. And it embodies this idea of balance, moderation, just having the right amount of things. It’s often used to describe a lifestyle or attitude that it’s avoiding extremes, right? It’s not about extremes, it’s about contentment, it’s about just enough. And that kind of harmony and balance, whether it’s about work or relationships or just your personal well being and this is something that’s ingrained in Swedish culture. It really reflects that value of moderation and collective welfare.

I think this is a word a lot of us struggle with, especially in North American culture where we have so much all or nothing thinking with how we approach our lives. And I see all or nothing thinking and most clients that I work with, because we have it in so many subtle ways. Let’s say we ate one thing we didn’t plan on okay whole diet out the window, or we couldn’t work out for that whole hour. So why bother for the 15 minutes, or we can’t take a weekend off to declutter our basement. So don’t even worry about doing one shelf. We might experience it with just how we show up in relationships or a day where maybe there was a weird interaction, a conflict or a hard moment of the day. And just everything feels off than it really is a very common cognitive distortion is all or nothing thinking. And moderation can be really hard for us it can be hard for us to accept just enough, especially in the productivity culture, the busy culture, the consumerism, culture, we might struggle with how to rest and play in moderation. We might struggle with how to eat in moderation, we definitely can struggle with how to use social media in moderation. And so I really love that there is a whole cultural approach to this, that the goal is just an offering of a different way to approach life without those extremes. I especially love this word because my grandpa always said to us everything in moderation. And he passed away a few years ago and I had a dream about him I think last year where he told me, okay, don’t drink too much whiskey just to live. And I thought that was so adorable because that was just how you approach life. Everything in moderation.

The next word is a Finnish one. And I’ve shared it before maybe about five years ago, I was reading a book called The finished way. And so one of my earliest podcast episodes I was sharing about that. And Sisu is a Finnish word and Sisu is the word for grit, resilience, courage, determination, like going into the challenge. I think it actually pairs nicely with Heuga where we’re resting and connecting. But then sisu also doing that hard things and having some grit in life, which I always think about when Winter’s coming. When I talked about this book a while back, I mentioned that the book contrasts our cultures, with the Finnish culture that in the Canadian culture of how we can have a learned helplessness in our culture. And sisu can be a different approach where we are doing the hard things that make our life better and our bodies healthier. When I read this book, I wanted to think of ways that I could improve He’s more sisu in my life and one of the things that got me doing is adding in a cold rinse to my showers not a long one, and not doing it always. But there are times when I’m like, I just know I need a little bit more grit and I want to kind of like grow that resiliency. And just something as simple as turning the shower to cold and letting it blast over you. I feel like it’s growing my sisu slowly over time.

All right, we’re just over halfway through this list, and the next word is a Japanese word. wabi sabi. wabi sabi, which is about finding beauty in the imperfections in the imperfections of life in the imperfection of items and appreciating that things are impermanent, things wear down things age and wear. And from what I’ve read about it, it can really contrast our consumerism, our need for perfection, youth symmetry, flawlessness, all of the things we’re told that we always have to be and how our homes have to look. And on that kind of sentiment. There’s an aesthetic to wabi sabi, and that aesthetic is natural, slightly imperfect, you know, maybe there’s a pink drip or roughness, things are worn down, things are not symmetrical. You might see pictures of the broken pottery, and it’s mended with gold. This is also considered a wabi sabi aesthetic. At the heart of it, though, is embracing that that imperfections, the wear and tear that nothing, none of this is permanent, and we don’t need to make it otherwise.

Here’s one of my favorite words, because it’s, again, one of my favorite hobbies, if you’ve been around the Simple Saturdays, email, you know, one of my favorite hobbies is staring out the window hit tree, or just staring at trees, particularly staring at how the light passes through the trees. And as each season comes and goes in, I get four seasons here, the light changes through the trees, the color changes, the intensity changes, and if there are sun beams, Well, geez, I’m pretty sure God’s like talking to me through sun beams, and I tried to capture it in a picture and show my family and tell them, they just did, they don’t even know how majestic it is. To me, that is just one of the simple pleasures of life that I’ll never capture. I’ll never get into photo I’ll never get in words. And there’s a word for it. Komorebi. It’s a Japanese word that doesn’t have that direct English translation. But it refers to the way the sunlight streams through the leaves of the trees to so beautiful.

Okay, I have a German word for you. And I had to look up how to pronounce it, I’m still going to get it wrong. So I’m going to say it once. And then you can read how it is spelt Vaadin-some-kite (Waldeinsamkeit). It’s a German term that translates to forest solitude. But the meaning is more than just for solitude. It goes kind of beyond that, and captures that profound emotional experience of being alone in the woods, surrounded by nature, feeling that connectedness, connectedness to nature, almost even maybe a spiritual experience. And you know, one of my favorite smells is a warm pine forest. It’s grounding. It’s nostalgic for something I don’t even know I’m longing for until I smell it. So this concept is always a great reminder for me that I want to be out in nature, I need to make that happen more in my life.

And there’s even a growing movement in therapy for a modality called forest bathing or nature therapy – it is a Japanese practice. But there’s even more interest in more science growing about it, how even the molecules that the trees emit in the forest can impact our well being. So next time you find yourself in a park or an area with more green and gray and take a minute, breathe it in soak up that atmosphere, your forest bathing.

I have two more to share with you. The next one is Kaizen is a Japanese term, and it translates to change for the better or continuous improvement. Originally, it was about manufacturing and business practices. But there’s a partner phrase that you often hear with this and it is 1% better each day, I think we can apply it to our whole lives really. And if you’ve listened for a while, you’ve heard me say small things matter doing small things matter. And a concept like this really reminds us that the small things we do add up, that’s called the compound effect. I like to think of the metaphor of a big ship, and it’s going to a destination over a long ways. And it’s going to make micro shifts to its course. And just a micro shift can totally take it to a different direction over that whole destination over that whole journey. And I like to think of it this way. If there’s something that we are doing often, then we can think every time that we’re going to show up for it. What’s one little shift I can make to improve this. Whether it’s I always have to have this kind of conversation. What’s one little way I can show up differently or making dinner every day, right? We’re always doing that what’s one little way I can make this easier for myself? I think this also again, challenges are all or nothing thinking. We don’t have to find that one key thing to overhaul in our lives. To which we kind of want that we kind of want that one big answer that one solution that’s going to make everything better. Instead of doing the small changes over time, and when we’re working on anything in our lives, we can just start with one simple thing. I have episodes I’ve shared about this in the past, I’ll make sure to link them in the shownotes.

The last one is a word that I actually hadn’t heard before. But when I came across it, I thought, I’m going to add this to the list. And that word is Meraki, a Greek word that is about doing something with your soul, with your creativity with your love, and really putting a piece of yourself leaving a piece of yourself into something. It reminds me of that verse, whatever you do, do with all your heart. And a concept like this. It goes beyond just going through the motions, but about doing things with a genuine, wholehearted passion. Can you think of people in your life who do this, I have a couple of people in my life who go all in on what they do, and it is impressive. And I think two of my one of my kids, my daughter, how over the years, she’s created art, and she’s just really put herself on a page or a box or something, whatever she’s making, of course, with that trail of glitter and paint stains behind her. I love this notion of having passion of putting your heart into things. What would you love to put your heart into? What would you love to do with more passion? I think it’s hard for us, I think there’s a lot of reasons why this can be hard for us. For some of us, we’ve turned it off, we’ve been burned, we might not see the point, we might feel it’s frivolous, we’ve might had it shut down in ourselves over the years. Or we’re just really tired, right. And I’m not saying this is easier or possible for all of the things in our lives. But I think it’s something we can be mindful of. We can work on bringing in more passion and more purpose into the way we approach our lives.

So those are my words for you, I hope that there’s been at least a couple that have inspired you that have made you see that the things that we’re trying to do with simple living with mindful living with intentional living, that there are your whole cultural concepts outside of maybe our North American culture that really embrace this. So I made each of these words into a screenshot graphic. And you can go to the show notes, sign up for those downloads. And you can just put one on your phone, if there’s one you want to be working on, you can rotate through them, and you can have them on your phone to remind you about the things that you felt are important to kind of pay attention to right now.

So I have a few things for you. Of course, always the show notes, there are transcripts with every show. With every with every episode at the bottom of the post, there’s transcripts unedited, there might be a few spelling mistakes. There’s also the simple Christmas planner, Christmas is coming up. And the simple Christmas planner has been out for a number of years. And it helps you sort through your ideas, your expectations, it’s full of ideas as well. And different things you can do for gift ideas, tradition, ideas, all those kinds of things. And it’s a place for you to kind of bring down, maybe get the family involved. And there’s also calendars that you can start planning with. And I updated it for this year. And I also made the calendars fillable to use for any or so I took up the dates, and you can use that year after year. So the simple Christmas planner is there in the shownotes. You could also find it at the life on purpose academy.ca where the digital versions of my workbooks are we’ve got the life on purpose workbook, homemaker on purpose workbook, somewhere on purpose and the simple Christmas planner, we’ve got one for all the seasons, all of we’ve got you covered, we’ve got you covered.

And finally, I would like to encourage you to leave a rating and review on your podcast player. It’s not something I’ve asked for in a long time. But it is something that is valuable for podcasters to get their show out there. And to kind of also hear back from you to have my words echoed back to me hear from you guys to know what you’re listening to what you like, what you want to hear more of what has helped you. I love to come across those if you get a chance to leave a rating and review it is greatly appreciated. Alright friends, have a great week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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