How to Let Yourself Bloom: 12 Ideas for Personal Everyday Contentment
Monday May 3, 2021

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“Find a way to do what you love and everything else falls into place.” —Adam Frost, British garden designer and Gardeners’ World co-host

At first glance, the above quote may seem far too simple. And a doubtful reader may argue, Even if I do know what I love, being able to do it regularly is not an option. Understandable argument, but after listening to Frost’s interview on Gardeners’ World podcast recently, hearing his story beginning when he was two and how everything unfolded – including the risks he took along the way, the work he put in and respect he paid towards those in positions of hiring when things did not go his way, I couldn’t help but contemplate how true his quote may be.

Finding out how to enable ourselves to bloom fully into our potential is not easy, but it is simple. Simple in the fact that once we learn how to listen to our inner rhythms, the answers are easy (yes, easy) to hear. What to say ‘yes’ to, what to say ‘no’ to and when and on what to take a risk becomes second nature. Because rather than focusing on the destination of how we want our lives to ‘look’, we begin to focus and savor where we are right now along our journey. We find the peace that comes with letting go of how it will unfold and we see all of the awesomeness that surrounds us in the current moment. We find peace in this moment because we want to be here, and it is not where society thinks we should be because we are not fully aware of the dog whistle of society. If society’s preference happens to align with our inner truth, fine, but if it doesn’t we trust our inner compass. We don’t push ourselves or ideas onto others; we simply live and do so with great joviality.

Today, inspired by having been outside in my own garden this past weekend in which the cherry trees’ blossoms are in full bloom, the snowdrops are emerging, and everyting seemingly wherever I look begins to ‘bloom’ ever so gradually, I wanted to share with you a post detailing 12 Ideas for letting yourself bloom. Because when you do, your life, your everyday – yes, Monday through Friday and of course then, the weekend as well – becomes sweeter beyond your imagination.

1. Pay to no mind to ‘ratings’

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin

The faulty was to disregard what other people think can often motivate people as well when it comes to ‘doing it differently’. But here’s the catch, if your purpose for doing something is primarily because it is different, then it is still for ‘ratings’.

Just be you. Sounds simple, but #2 on today’s list will help with embracing your true ‘you’. When it comes to letting go of ratings, only you will know if you are doing it because it comes from the heart or if it is to garner some sort of attention, approval and applause. So long as you proceed forward because of the former, keep traveling onward. 🙂

2. Become a ‘student’ of You . . . dedicate yourself to being a ‘front-row’ student and acing the course

Gardening becomes quite simple when you give the particular plant you are attempting to welcome into your garden what it needs: the proper amount of sunlight, the right soil and enough (but not too much) water and the necessary temperature maximums and minimums for optimal growth. That’s it. That’s all there is too it.

Until we choose to be the student of oursleves, we are told who we are, what we’re supposed to be and how we should live. Think of yourself as a plant for a moment. A waterlily will not flourish, and in fact, will perish in anything but water and warmth. A high desert mountain wildflower won’t fair well near the ocean. The ocean is serena and idyllic, but we cannot force something to grow in a climate it is not made to thrive in simply because we want it to. The same truth applies to human beings.

I never knew why the say “Grow where you are planted” never sat well with me until recently, but it has everything to do with finding the right conditions. You cannot “grow where you are planted” if you are lavender trying to grow in wetlands.

Before you knew what daffodils needed, you may have adored them just as I do. The next step is to learn when to plant them, when to expect them to bloom and how to ensure they will return the next year. Similar to any skill we want to learn, we too are a course to understand. In fact, the most important course to master is ourselves. What excites us, what speaks to us, what is truly ‘us’ and not society’s grooming? Explore deeply these questions. Pay the necessary tuition which is time and a setting aside of your ego and acknowledging you may need to learn more and it may take some time, more time than you had originally allotted, but I can assure you, as can many TSLL readers, the investment is the best one you will ever make for your quality of everyday life and your contentment throughout the rest of your days.

3. Let your old self go

“All that blooms must wither first.” ― Dahi Tamara Koch

If you have chosen the courageous task of attending the course of “You”, then you need to understand you must (a prerequisite in fact) let go of past thinking, once hard held expectations and let yourself be set free. The learning never stops if we choose to forever be a student of life (which includes being a student of ourselves); therefore, the shedding of prior knowledge, letting go of previously held conceptions of how things need to go or should be, will be constantly happening, but you will be able to shed these past selves easily because you will become excited about where you are heading due to what you have discovered.

3. Let your curiosity lead you to discover hobbies that enliven you

Speaking of excitement. Excitement is nourished when we let our curiosity be our guide. What catches your attention out of the blue? What topic prompts you to stop flipping channels or pages? Explore what piques your interest and who knows where it will lead.

4. Stop arguing for your limitations

Ahhh! This one holds so many of us back! I was thinking about this recently when I heard someone say I can’t do [insert a particular item or ability] because I am not strong enough. What I wanted to say was, instead of arguing for something lighter or easier, why not invest in your health and strengthen your entire body and/or mind! But I didn’t say it outloud. While in the meantime we may have to use or do something until we can tone the muscles we need, acquire the skills we need.

By arguing and complaining about what we cannot do or wish was different, why not explore how to live the life we want to live – what would make it possible? It won’t happen overnight, but so often what we argue we cannot do is exactly what we wish we could. Because if it is something we don’t want to do, if it is something that will never be of interest to us, it is easier to let it go and move on without raising our voice or engaging; however, unconsciously, when we engage, we are realizing there is something within us that wishing things and our abilities were different. While we may not have the solution, often there is a way to change either the circumstances or our skill-set, but often it will take time. Are you willing to invest? Are you willing to break out of your bubble? You have a choice, more choices than you may realize.

5. Rid your home of items items reminding you the past you need to move forward from

In last Monday’s post, I wrote about Spring Cleaning Your Life & Home and the easiest way to understand the power of ‘things’ is to simply look at an item and see where your mind goes. If it takes you back to memory lane, but pulls you down along with it, let the item go. Contrastly, if you look at the item and it fills you with joy and/or reminds you of what you are capable of, lifting your spirits and belief in yourself, keep it.

6. Practice living in the ‘grey’ area rather than believing there are only two options – black or white

The crucial key to understand in argumentation, as I teach my students, is the logical fallacy of either/or thinking. Life is full of grey areas. Life and people and situations are complex, not one or the other, solely two options The reason so many people jump to one side or the perceived only other option ‘the other side’ is because it is easier and requires less critical thinking. We want to know and we want to rest our mind because it is HARD to think well. It’s easy to judge. The hard work, the human work, is to do what Tyler Perry encouraged us all to do in his Oscar award acceptance speech last weekend:

“I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls, stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle.”

— Tyler Perry in accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards on April 25, 2021 (read the full transcript here)

7. Understand what fear actually is . . . and embrace it . . . then explore it.

Fear is not something to be afraid of. It is an invitation to expand the quality of your life. We have talked about the difference between fear and doubt many, many times here on the blog. It is crucial to understand the difference. I am quite the stickler in my classroom when it comes to precise language, and while many will say they feel fear and refuse to try something new, I ask them to explore what they are actually feeling and why they feel it. The difference between doubt (past experience resembling the current situation) and fear (no experience with the current situation and thus not knowing what may unfold) is understanding when and where your intuition speaks and when society speaks. Discover the difference and change your life path and journey for the better.

8. Free yourself from mental clutter by tending only to your ‘tasks’ and let others tend to theirs

In episode #301, the topic of how to Live Courageously and Live Fully and Deeply was explored inspired by the book The Courage to be Disliked. One key component in finding the energy to pursue the life that is uniquely yours and the life you are patiently hoping you will find the courage to pursue it is to understand what tasks in this life are yours and which ones are others’. Become clear about this distinction and you save yourself so much energy that can now be applied to living a life you love savoring.

9. Become fluent in understanding and heeding your intuition

Read the following post to better understand and recognize when your intuition is speaking and when society is speaking. Hint: Follow the former.

10. Let yourself play regularly

In episode #139, the topic of Deliberate Rest was discussed. This topic is also something included in TSLL’s 2nd book – Living The Simply Luxurious Life. Deliberate Rest does not necessarily mean you are sleeping or napping. What deliberate rest involves is a letting go of a schedule of time constraints and letting yourself follow where your mind and heart lead you. A freeing of your mind is when ideas arrive unexpectedly and seemingly out of nowhere, when you realize what is most true for you and when you seem to miraculously be able to figure out the “unfigureoutable” issues presented when you were in your locked schedule of your job and responsibilities.

Part of the reason the pandemic was so freeing for so many is we were finally given time to let our minds wander, and studies continue to show the power of doing just that – letting your mind wander – regularly. Productivity soars, quality of life increases and longer hours lose their power for being the best way to work. In fact, they aren’t. Quality over quantity rings true again.

11. Improve the quality of your thoughts as they determine the quality of your everyday life

Read the following post because when you finally harness the amazing gift of your mind . . . *mind blown* . . . your life improves more than you could ever imagine.

12. Prioritize BOTH your physical and mental well-being, and nurture them regularly

From self-care to regular exercise and well-care check-ups, prioritizing our overall well-being is not an ‘if I have time’ life issue. Once you become the student of ‘You’, you will become more privy to what you need in your everyday life to nurture your mind and your body. The body is often easier to figure out, but it is our mind that needs to be nurtured just as much. From figuring out how much down-time you need regularly and what ‘downtime’ looks like for your, to figuring out when sleep is more important than a workout and visa versa.

Self-care is so incredibly important, I have produced two episodes on this topic in the past three years. Be sure to tune in to episode #227: 16 Ideas for Simple Everyday Self-Care and episode #242: 31 Ways to Practice True Self-Care and Exponentially Improve the Quality of Your Daily Life

Often the most difficult road to travel is the road where we are consciously aware we are not on our road, but on someone else’s. However, in that truth is the gift that we at least know we are on someone else’s path. So long as we know we are off course, we can begin looking for another path, strengthening skills which will enable us to find the courage to step in another direction. It may take time, it will not be initially easy, and while it will get easier, often the final hurdle to finally step fully onto our own path will be the most difficult step of all, but once you do, a lightness, a sense of freedom you never knew could be possible will be felt. Find your courage, an amazing life awaits.


~Images: (1) found while walking in Portland, Oregon, last weekend; (2-4) Le Papillon garden (TSLL’s garden, aka Shannon’s garden :)) | The Simply Luxurious Life

16 thoughts on “How to Let Yourself Bloom: 12 Ideas for Personal Everyday Contentment

  1. Thank you once again for another wonderful post. I, too, have noticed that when I follow my heart instead of the norm I am much more content and happy. I plan on doing just that in my daily life from now on.

  2. WHAT A WONDERFUL POST! I am not in ‘the doldrums’, but am open to revisiting so many of these twelve reminders to sail into a true north kind of tack! Thank you!

  3. Your suggestions for a content life are very soothing. Have a beautiful day Shannon.

  4. Great reminders Shannon ?? thank you for all the links too…….I’m just about to do my ironing , and will enjoy re- listening to some of them ?

  5. Hi Shannon,
    I so appreciated this post today – you have the uncanny ability to know what I’m wrangling with at any given time and create a post with the information I need to work through it. I find myself currently knowing what I need to bloom, but being scared and uncertain of how to take the next step – this post gives me lots of thinking points. Thank you!

  6. What a wonderful way to start my week by reading this post! Thank you for the reminder to slow down, savor the moment, and tune in to what works for me, rather than the world. I look forward to paying attention to the little ways I can nurture my mind, body, and soul.

  7. This is such a timely post for me and such a pointed message that I must listen to right now. That last paragraph really hit the nail on the head.
    Thank you, Shannon, for always offering depth and insight and wonderful food for thought. 🙂

  8. Shannon, you have a marvellous way of distilling critically important ideas down to their core, & then explaining why we need to work from there to get to where we wish to go. Re: not arguing for your limitations. Many years ago I was on a job interview for a position in which I’d have been the first woman they’d hired & the only woman on the job site (the usual case with a female engineer back in the day &, alas, often still is). The guy interviewing me asked if I thought I was physically strong enough to do the job. I told him quite honestly, “I don’t know. But if I’m not, I know I’m smart enough to figure out some other way to get it done besides brute strength.”

    I got the job. Anytime I find myself limiting myself with hesitancy or doubt — do I have what it takes to do this thing? — I remember my answer that day & that there are a lot of ways of accomplishing something & all I need to do is play to my strengths. (For the record, there was NEVER a time in that job that I needed physical strength!)

  9. Thank you for the encouragement to take more time to follow where my interests lie and take time for “deliberate rest and play” to explore these. A timely reminder as life “busies” itself again and we return to some normality and perhaps more outside pressures and strains.

    Have a wonderful week!

  10. Thank you Shannon for the reminder. Just like the flowers we need to find the right spot. Many during the confinement have discovered the simple joys of everyday living and may those joys endure well into the future. Have a great week

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