I’ve been a fan of The Art of Simple, a website created by one of my favorite authors, Tsh Oxenreider, for many years. I had taken one of her courses previously, “The Essentials,” which helped me begin to find order in my chaos. Last fall, she opened a new course called “Like Your Life.” It was billed as a class to help the user create a personalized blueprint for living their just-right, simplified life, with Tsh acting as a life coach.
I think I’ve known who I am since I was in high school, but not necessarily how I’ve wanted to spend my days. As my best friend’s favorite author Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And when I thought about it, I wasn’t sure I was spending my life as I had always intended.
So I looked into the course, and decided immediately that in my broke girl state, I could not afford it. But as I continued to receive emails about the course, I felt a nagging feeling I really should sign up. I went for it, even adding the coordinating Facebook group.
I did not regret it.
The course work is in the form of self-paced modules, with five total parts and several small sections in each part. The Facebook group featured weekly office hours with the author herself in which we dialogued with fellow class participants and asked Tsh questions.
In part one, we began assessing what was important to us by writing about what our best day might look like and what we found beautiful, for example, culminating in crafting a personal statement. We then assessed our individual purposes, discussed living holistically, and learned how to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things in our lives. One of my favorite sections is very pertinent for this time of year: setting good goals. (Look for an upcoming post soon with more about my upcoming goals, and about what I’ve accomplished goal-wise since Like Your Life). The questions in each section were thought-provoking, challenging, and immensely helpful in our journey.
My favorite part was actually the weekly office hours, which I did not expect. Tsh acted as a life coach, and as she spoke, I scribbled down pages of notes. My biggest lightbulb moment came when she spoke about the philosophy of living with less, something in which she is an expert, and she said, “I didn’t want to be a stuff manager.”
I don’t either, and yet, here I am. THAT is how I’ve been spending my days, going to bed exhausted but feeling I’ve only been spinning my wheels. Not spending quality time with my children, despite often being home with them, and schlepping their stuff around instead.
When I completed the course, I had a plan set in motion for how I wanted to tackle the problem areas currently holding me back (starting with eliminating the stuff). I felt as though I had been reminded of parts of me that I had let vanish when I took on the role of motherhood, parts I had missed but hadn’t really realized. I decided to embark on a new career path as soon as I accomplish my other goals, and perhaps most importantly, I realized how my self-doubt has derailed so many other projects I have attempted.
Another huge perk is the Facebook group I joined remained open, so I could continue conversations with my classmates as we went about our own journeys. The course also has lifetime access, so I have returned to some of the lectures for inspiration.
I also should note, the course isn’t cheesy. Although I feel a bit as though I embrace cheese more the older I grow (I’m thinking of that line from “The Holiday,” where Kate Winslet says, “I’m looking for corny in my life,”) I get that not a lot of people have my tolerance level. Fear not; you don’t have to tell anyone you’re good enough or smart enough or well-liked.
In short, I couldn’t recommend it more. If you’d like to sign up, check out my link here: https://heckyes.me/ref/ringojster/
But hurry! The deadline to sign up is coming fast: January 8th is you final chance.
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