Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

My One-Word Theme for 2018

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Just like last year, Octave & I spent Christmas morning at home and hit the road right after lunch to go spend the night in an old guard station in Washington State.

To access the cabin you usually need to park your car on the side of the road and put on your snowshoes. Once you get there, you have to build a fire as the house is usually cold (unless the previous guests kept it warm for you). There's no cell service, no electricity (but there are gas lamps) and no running water.

Without the distraction of our phones and computers, time slows down and we gradually adapt to the rhythm of nature (our bedtime quickly synchronizes with sunset).

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

This year, I packed this workbook in my backpack. I wanted to read its intro before the beginning of next year. So I sat by the fire, snuggled in my sleeping bag and entered the world of the moon and its cycles. It was a really magical time and I couldn't have wished for a better place to start this journey.

This little escape confirmed the feeling I'd had for the past couple weeks about what my one-word theme for the coming year should be.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

But first, I wanted to share a little about how my one-word theme shaped the past year.

As you may know, my 2017 word was ROUTINE.

The past year has been a tough one - for many of us - and my theme has helped me keep afloat. Here are some habits that have given me a feeling of normalcy every time I came back from a trip or felt like I had fallen off the wagon.

  • Wake up at the same time every day - Besides the fact that it's basically a great idea, this allowed me to have one hour where I could be in touch with my clients in Europe before they end their workday.

  • Walk at least 5'000 steps a day. I know it's half of what's recommended, but it's a start. It gets me out of the house, plus, I know a route around my neighborhood that's the exact right distance and allows me to listen to at least one podcast episode.

  • Set up work dates with fellow freelancers - I am SO productive when someone is working next to me! And it's a great way to catch up and/or brainstorm.

  • Sign up at the gym and take classes 3 times a week - I joined a gym in September, after a hectic summer that was concluded by a major weight gain. It's the first time I love a gym, have fun in class, and even manage to go there and just spent 20 minutes on the elliptical! It gets me out of the house and I feel energized if I take a class in the morning or just calm after I take a class in the evening!

As the end of the year was approaching, I started to wonder whether one should just let go of their theme and make room for the next one, but a spontaneous decision confirmed me that ROUTINE is now becoming a part of my life.

I'll elaborate later but just wanted to put this here. You do not HAVE TO let go of an annual theme and replace it by the following year's. But you can if you want.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Now, let's talk about the future.

My one-word theme for 2018 will be LEARN.

While studying ways to improve my routine, I noticed that I came across a certain number of stumbling blocks.

  • Over the past couple years, I've started to rely more and more on Octave for certain things like photography, graphic design, and other fields. While he loves to help and clearly is more efficient than I am, I've sort of abandoned certain tasks or even stopped improving them. And that's something I'd like to change.

  • I also hear myself say a lot that "I cannot remember numbers", or "I'm bad with numbers". I cannot remember the population of Portland or what my measurements are in the imperial system. I don't know whether it's laziness, a social construct or just the way my brain has developed but I want to see whether I can change this pattern.

  • Along the same lines, I was to improve my memory. I am convinced that my phone is slowly gnawing at my memory and I want to make a conscious effort to memorize data and remember names.

  • I've also mentioned many times that I really want to improve my public speaking and storytelling abilities.

And then, I want to learn new skills. Here's a non-exhaustive list of fields of interest to me:

  • Food preserving

  • Fauna and flora

  • The moon and its cycles

  • Feminism

  • Avalanche training

  • Poetry

  • Small business ownership

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

My intention during this new year will be to learn as much as possible, from the people I know, from the people I admire, from big and small organizations, from makers, teachers, mentors.

I'm planning on investing time and money, proposing to barter, hosting gatherings, organizing retreats.

So this is my intention for 2018. I hope you'll follow along and get something out of it along the way.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Now, I'd love to know, if you had to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what you want to focus on in the new year, what would it be?

My 10 Personal Commandments

My 10 personal Commandments by Conscious by Chloé

I always get very pensive on trips, I brainstorm, make up lists in my head, take inventory of my life.

During my last long flight, I came up with a list of personal commandments - truths and tricks that generally make my life simpler and happier.

Having a tried and tested list of answers for the interrogations, big and small, that life throws my way gives me a sense of control, peace and security.

As a questioner, I like to research, gather data, and make decisions based on that information. I also like it when these decisions can be applied to many aspects of my life, to save me from spending more time researching.

Reading this list calms me down, makes me smile, reminds me of what's important.

I've kept this list in my notebook for the past 6 months or so, and only just came back to re-reading it this week, to see whether it had passed the test of time and was still relevant.

My 10 personal Commandments by Conscious by Chloé

I edited it - as some commandments were too specific to the period I came up with them - and wanted to share it with you. Here is how it goes:

My 10 Personal Commandments

  • It's OK to say NO.

I wrote a whole article about this one. Whether it's deciding not to go to an event you are invited to (and staying at home to take a bath instead) or refusing to make coffee for a client (because you know your boss did not even think about asking your male coworker to do it), you're the master of your fate, you do you, enjoy that freedom.

  • Alcohol isn't worth it

This one seems very specific, but it's playing a very big role in my life.

I've suffered from migraines most of my life now and I'm only starting to learn to identify my triggers.

Alcohol is a major one (so is lack of sleep and loud environments). So when I don't feel like drinking - at an event, at a family gathering - I just don't.

Lately, I also stopped justifying my non-drinking. If people want to think that I'm a party-pooper or that I'm pregnant... I. don'

  • Let it go

There are things you can change, others you cannot. And oftentimes, you just have to let them go. It's a tough one for me as I have a tendency to ruminate, overthink and beat myself up about things. This story of two monks and a nun really opened my eyes. It's a quick read. I swear!

  • Smile

Too often - because, I'm shy, nervous, insecure, because I have a hard time understanding people in loud environments - I tend to retreat into my "serious gaze" (those glasses sure help), which, I feel, makes me appear unfriendly. So I try to practice smiling more, one trip to the coffee shop at a time.

I've also been trying to put into practice the "act the way you want to feel" mantra. They say that if you want to be happy, you could start by looking happy.

I'm not 100% sold on that last concept, but seeing people smile back is a very rewarding experience.

  • Less is more

I suffer from FOMO, analysis paralysis, and many more afflictions caused by the abundance of options.

When my head starts to spin, I just remember that less is more. Having one good sweater is better than 3 cheap ones. You can probably count your true friends on one hand. Outer order, inner calm.

Simplifying, downsizing and organizing are amongst my favorite pastimes. I know, I'm weird.

  • Act now

I usually wait for the "right time" to do something, big or small. Whether it's changing that broken light bulb in my bedroom or starting writing this book that's been on my mind for a while, the best option is always to act now. It will either provide an immediate satisfaction (now I can read in bed) or just give purpose (sharing my wisdom with the rest of the world, in all modesty).

  • Don't expect a gold star

This one is a tough one for me. I'm a gold star junkie and am convinced that my work and efforts should be acknowledged, always.

I'm working on it, it's gonna take time. In the meantime, if you want to tell me how much you appreciate what I do, suit yourself :)

  • You can stand anything for 10 seconds, then you just start on a new 10 seconds

I borrowed this saying from the one and only Kimmy Schmidt! This goes for headaches, scrubbing floors, or any unpleasant task or experience. It's just a practical translation of the "This too shall pass" adage.

  • Assume that people are doing their best

This is one of the main lessons I learned from Brené Brown's "Rising Strong". You never know what someone might be going through. There could totally be an extraordinary circumstance that made them behave themselves the way they did. I try to repeat myself this whenever I'm about to snap at someone. It helps, most of the time.

  • Think about your future self

Whether it's by going around the house at night and putting things back where they belong or exercising regularly, I try to do things that will make my future self happy, or thankful.

Waking up to a tidy home is definitely a good way to start the day and taking that yoga class or doing that core training will for sure help me in the medium and long run.

My 10 personal Commandments by Conscious by Chloé

What are your personal commandments?

If you haven't done so yet I would highly encourage you to take some time to write down your personal commandments (in your planner, on your phone, next to your bathroom mirror) where you can reference back to them easily.

My Daily Meditation Ritual

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

As you know, my word for 2017 is ROUTINE, so I've been looking into creating daily rituals.

In her book The Creative Habit, dancer & choreographer Twyla Tharp stresses the importance of morning routines, so I thought I'd start here.

Meditation has been recommended to me an infinite number of times though I've never quite managed to incorporate it to my life on a regular basis.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

But lately, I've unconciously and gradually carved out room for this practice in my life. While reorganizing the living room, I created myself a little reading nook, with a cozy chair, a pillow and a little table on which rest a candle, palo santo, and the copy of my current reading.

One day, I figured that it would also be the perfect place to meditate (I like to meditate sitting in a chair, rather than cross-legged on the floor).

Now, whenever I can, in the morning, before Octave gets up, I take advantage of the stillness of the house and practice meditation.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

Since I'm a beginner, my mind tends to wander (How long has it been since I started the session? What should I do now? Is it OK to be thinking about my to-do list?) so I'm using the following tools to help me focus.

My favorite Guided Meditation Apps

Headspace (free) - I started using this app many years ago when it was first launched. I remember being very dissatisfied with my job and trying to meditate on a park bench during lunch time. It was an epic fail but I knew it was just because I had too much on my plate. Short after, I quit my job and moved to another country.

The first level of the Foundation Course, Take10, is free. It consists of 10 10 minute meditation exercises designed for beginners. You can then purchase packs and one-off sessions on a range of topics such as stress relief, happiness, mental health and appreciation. I never got to purchase any. I prefer to go back to the beginning of Take10 and start over on a regular basis.

Simply Being ($1.99) - This one was recommended to me by my acupuncturist when I was trying to find a cure for my migraines.

It's a great meditation app that offers a wide range of options. You can chose a meditation length of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes and let the voice guide you step by step. You can also listen to the meditation with or without music/nature sounds or decide to listen to the music or nature sounds alone.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

My Meditation Playlist

Having a meditation playlist is also a great option in order to be able to meditate in different locations and for various durations.

The first part of the playlist is by Shalom Mayberg. I attended one of his Crystal Bowl Sound Baths last month and had a great colorful meditation experience there, so I thought I'd extend the experience by listening to his playlist.

The second part of the playlist is by Moby who over the last couple of years has been making really quiet music to listen to when he does yoga or sleeps or meditates or panics. He ended up with 4 hours of music and decided to give it away.

A couple extras

My most successful meditations happened early in the morning. I prepare a cup of tea, burn some palo santo or some incense, light a candle, grab my favorite throw and sit comfortably in my chair.

There's no need for all these props but I've come to like the ceremonial aspect of opening a meditation session by a ritual.

I even go as far as drawing a card from the beautifully Minimalist Oracle Deck that my friend Rachel designed here in Portland and use it as a thread to guide my meditation for the day.

Tarot Spread by Conscious by Chloé

How to meditate

  • Set time aside
  • Find a calm location
  • Make yourself comfortable
  • Pay attention to your breath OR initiate a body scan (from the top of your head to the tip of your toes) and pay attention to your sensations
  • Don't judge your sensations, just acknowledge them
  • Don't worry if your mind wanders, it's natural
  • Pay attention to the present moment

This article by the New Work Times is a great source of information to start your own practice.

What about you, what are your meditation rituals? Do you have any music or apps to recommend?