What does simplicity mean to me?
While trying to figure out my theme for 2017, I originally went with community. I am a bit of a homebody and while I do have a bubbly and outgoing personality, my personal happy place is in my living room in my pajamas with my laptop and myself (my bae, too). Needless to say, I thought 2017 would be a good time to usher in a new habit of connecting with friends and family more, face-to-face. Something in me was uneasy, however, because I knew that I also wanted to focus on self-care this year. The homebody (and taurus) in me is also incredibly lazy and indulgent when it comes to enjoying the comforts in life, and not the good comforts. I wanted to push myself to put ME first, with a healthy and holistic approach.
After much back and forth, I settled on SIMPLICITY.
Why Simplicity Won My Heart Over
I felt that it was the perfect encompassment of creating connection with others around me and within myself. After putting a lot of thought into it, I finally understood why my mom would always tell me that there was beauty in simplicity. It suddenly made a lot of sense. I think Mama Brown was especially speaking to me in terms of how I was physically presenting myself to the world, but I’ve grasped the concept and gone even deeper with it. As I’ve gotten older, life has inevitably become more challenging and complicated. There comes a time when everything becomes so overwhelming and fast-paced that you just want to press the brakes so you can stop to smell the roses.
So much has changed within and around me since I moved to Los Angeles, that I found myself saying “where did the time go?” and not feeling satisfied with what I had accomplished or how I felt during that time. Something had to change.
An incredible coach Jeannine Yoder, does an incredible annual workshop on narrowing in on your annual theme and one of the best ways to know that yours is right is to feel its power as you’re speaking it out loud. The response should be visceral, and that’s exactly how SIMPLICITY felt for me. Every time I think about it, my body and mind expands and I feel free.
SIMPLICITY IN MIND BODY + SPIRIT
Some words that immediately came to mind were: detox, declutter, clarity, slow down, stay present.
I tend to live and think very holistically, as everything in my mind, body, spirit, and universe are all interconnected. For me, my need and desire for simplicity is no different.
Physically, I have not been feeling my best, because I have been putting absolute crap into my body. When you’re moving too quickly, this is what happens. Mindfulness goes out the window and convenience takes first priority, but with convenience comes sacrifice to your whole being. I remember a classmate at NYU getting up to present her passion outside of performing and she spoke passionately about the slow movement. Cooking meals at home, sitting down to eat and savor each bite, packing hearty and healthy lunches ahead of time at the beginning of the week for when she was on the go, taking the time to go through daily routines patiently and carefully, waking up slowly, etc. There I was thinking she was an absolute loony bin until recently. This girl was onto something.
2016 was a fantastic year for me for professionally, but boy oh boy did I neglect self-care physically. I had all sorts of ailments that randomly popped up without notice. So here’s the deal:
2017 is a time for asking my body for forgiveness and treating her like the temple that she is. Body simplicity = detoxing. Putting natural and healthy things into my body.
Decluttering came to mind with regards to my physical environment aka my apartment, which I share with my BF/bestie (bless his heart). We’ve had many disagreements spurring from my constant mess, but you know what the studies say, the messier you are, the more creative (yeah baby!); I know you can relate to cleaning it up only to have it be a disaster zone within the next 24 hours. To be honest, I tried unsuccessfully so many times because I wanted so badly to respect his wishes to live in a tidy household. The thing is, I didn’t even think it was important until it dawned on me that I wasn’t respecting myself either. A person’s home tells you a lot about what’s going on their heads. True story right here. Guilty.
It wasn’t until I committed to an organic superfood cleanse at the beginning of 2016 that I realized how much of my potential was being cut off. As I mentioned before, I tend to take a holistic approach to most things, so when I committed to the cleanse, I also aligned my activities with embarking on this “fresh start.” I carefully prepared for what I suspected would happen to me mentally as the physical shifted.
I decided to slow the hell down. Everything slowed down.
Suddenly meditation looked hella good, and I was so right. The cleanse allowed the mental fog to be cleared away, and meditation had it’s own role in finding that path to clarity. Twas beautiful, y’all. Now, I am only a novice practitioner of meditation, though my practice has vastly improved since doing it more often with an amazing app that I use (the paid version is ON FLEEK). I’ve had several breakthroughs with meditation, because of that mental clarity and spiritual connection that wasn’t being accessed previously.
In 2017, I hope to get better about making this a non-negotiable part of my day. After experiencing the benefits of it, I’m convinced that I am not living up to my full potential every day without it. So, meditation must absolutely be a regular, daily practice!
I decided to name this section technology, because the business model I am going with as an aspiring entrepreneur is very much based online, where I can hide behind lots and lots of technology and have an Instagram face on camera, but look like a bum from the waist down.
As I develop this business, I don’t want to forget about my fellow humans around me who need attention too. In 2017, my goal is to get back to the basics and turn off my electronics. This will be soooo difficult for me, because working on projects that I’m passionate about really, really turns me on. Once I get started, it’s very hard to stop. Fellow workaholics, you feel me?
This is the year of setting boundaries and being present with my family and friends. I’ve already started this practice pretty successfully in the last part of 2016, so I will continue with putting my phone and laptop away at designated times and just enjoying my life. End of story.
Welp, let’s just say going through a prestigious arts program at one of the most highly-regarded private universities in the country and then being thrust into the world without any instructions and banks shoving credit cards down my throat– has made things financially complicated.
When people ask me how old I am and where I go to school (thank you so much and it’s true– black don’t crack), I smile and then run away to go cry in a corner, because it reminds me of how much I wish I could go back in time and tell my 19 year old self what not to do financially. But alas, here I am, a 20-something year old actress/singer who looks super poised on the outside, but who is actually a HOT MESS. I plan on catwalking into my thirties with wisdom, a hot bod, a DGAF attitude, and zero debt, but in order to do that, I have to start simplifying my finances– like NOW. Game on. I am so ready to head into this new chapter, because being a broke 20-something creative professional ain’t CUTE. Not a good look!
Right at the end of 2016, I invested in 2 books: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Margaret Lynch’s Tapping Into Wealth and a flip switched on. I think I actually went through the seven stages of grief reading through both of these books (oh my god, the anger and OH MY GOD, the TEARS). So it’s safe to say, I am 100 percent committed to simplifying my finances to live a better life and support my dreams as an artist. Look out for monthly updates so I can hold myself accountability and hopefully inspire my fellow creatives to stay motivated, because this is probably going to be the hardest part of honoring my theme of simplicity for the year.
Inevitably, simplifying my finances is going to mean embracing the word “NO” quite a bit! Ashley and No are going to get very cozy this year. Oof. Jesus take the wheel.
Wish me luck you guys. Say prayers. Send positive thoughts. Cheers to going inward and reconnecting with yourself to find happiness! See you on the other side.
Let me know if you have an annual theme and what you’re doing to honor it this year. Did this article make you want to leave resolution land to come over to the other side, the badass world of themes? Take your booty down to the comments and write me there, or chat with me on twitter or insta.