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Tag Archives: simple life

How To Follow Your Gut

Have you ever thought about doing something when you got this weird feeling that maybe you shouldn’t? Like you KNOW it’s a bad idea, but you can’t explain how you know it? That strange feeling that in retrospect, you usually kick yourself for not following it and saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I trust that feeling?”

Call it a gut feeling, intuition, or a sixth sense. I’ve learned to trust this feeling. It’s usually when I resist that feeling that things turn out badly. Like the time I left my backpack in my car (even though “something” told me not to), and I came back and the car had been broken into and the backpack was gone. Or the time I thought I could quickly run in somewhere to drop something off and I thought (against my gut), “I’ll just be a minute, I won’t get a ticket.” Sure enough, I came out 5 minutes later and had a parking ticket. (d’oh!) Or another time when I left my bike in the carport unlocked, was late for work and against my intuition, I thought, “It will be fine.” Came home: bike gone.

From these incidents (and others), I’ve learned to trust that “feeling.”

My intuition doesn’t only warn me about bad things though, it also gives me a GOOD feeling when I am doing something right for myself. From the moment I made the choice to move and hit the road, I’ve had this amazing feeling that I’m finally doing what’s right for ME. My intuition hasn’t flared up once in a negative way. Life just seems to be flowing and everything is falling into place at the right time. It’s been the most amazingly empowering feeling, and I want MORE of it!

When you’re having these “feelings” trust them!

Follow your gut instincts

Long Beach, BC, Canada – © 2010 Mariska Richters

How to Follow Your Gut:

1. Ask yourself questions, and trust the first answer that comes to your mind.

The next time you are faced with a decision, even something as simple as which fancy coffee to order at Starbucks this morning, take the first one you land on. Our minds are constantly a whirlwind of thoughts. That little voice is always trying to tell us something, or convince us of things. Trust your instincts and go with whatever your first response is. It may seem scary at first, but once you start exercising this regularly, it will become easier.

2. Clear your mind.

Whether you meditate, do yoga, go to the gym, or just go for a run to clear your head: do it! Our heads are full of repetitive thoughts that need to be cleared out regularly. Find a practice that you are comfortable with and maintain it.

3. Trust your body.

When gut feelings hit, we tend to have physical reactions. Trust your stomach if it flips or you get those “bad” butterflies. Trust your body when it resists you wanting to do certain things. Your brain and your heart know when something isn’t right, and may warn you physically. Trust it.

4. Keep a journal.

Develop your intuitive confidence by writing down any gut feelings you have. Keep a record of them and then later look back and see how often you were right. As you learn more about your intuitive feelings, your confidence to follow them will grow, and you will have a better sense of when you are being led in the right (or wrong) direction.

5. Be creative.

The right-brain hemisphere is the center of nonverbal, intuitive, holistic modes of thinking. So to keep this side of the brain more active, we need to be and stay creative. I use photography as my creative outlet. We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves creatively, from drawing and painting, to dancing, to brainstorming and visualizing. Whatever it is, keep it up to exercise the right side of the brain.

Trust your gut. Follow your instincts. Live a Life You Love!


Live Your Dreams and Live Them Now!


We often forget how short life is and how fragile we are. It’s not until we are faced with the loss of someone important to us that we are reminded of what’s really important. This week, brought this back for me while supporting a friend through such a loss.

About two years ago I went through a similar experience. I faced the sudden and unexpected loss of a friend. Processing the array of emotions was one heck of a roller coaster ride. I experienced denial, anger, frustration, a lot of sadness, and eventually acceptance.

I value the lesson I learned from the experience, although I wish I didn’t have to lose someone in order to learn it. I came out of the process with a renewed appreciation for the people I care about. I started to notice that I was sweating way too much of the small stuff and not being present to what was important and right in front of me. I had far too much attachment to material possessions. I was holding on to the past and this was holding me back from LIVING LIFE NOW!

This experience was the initial realization that I had to transform my life, and choose my happiness. I had to start living a life in the present, and appreciate every moment. Once I let go, there was nothing in front of me but possibility. No one knows how much time they have, so make the most of the time you’re given.

So, to borrow the words from a friend, and to pay tribute to those that we’ve lost, let this be…

“A reminder that life can be short; so live it with love, passion, emotion, and adventure. Live your dreams and live them now!”

Clean Up the Clutter, Clean Up Your Life

Preparing for any extended trip can be stressful. Add a move into that, and the stress escalates. This is the second time I’ve moved right before traveling. You’d think I would have learned the first time that this isn’t the best idea.

My last extended travel was a couple of years ago for a 2 month trip to Thailand. I had to have my house moved pre-trip. I did something very similar to what I’m doing now, and moved everything into storage to save on 2 months of rent costs while I was gone. Because really, it makes no sense to pay rent when that money can be spent in much more exciting ways like travel!

This time, things are a bit different. I’m not moving stuff into a storage locker here in Vancouver, but rather I’m selling or donating all the big stuff (furniture etc) and I’m storing the rest with family. Although my Craigslist experience has been a frustrating one, things are slowly selling off. My TV now lives on the floor, I hang out by candlelight in the evenings, I eat my meals at my desk, and my patio is standing room only. There’s still a pile of stuff to sell, but it will all happen in the next week. It has to!

It’s funny how we get attached to stuff. I’ve been working on this purging thing for probably about a year now, and I can honestly say that I’m not attached to much anymore. The more I get rid of, the easier it gets. It all just feels like stuff. Stuff that if I really wanted it again, I could buy it again.

The experience of watching my things go out the door has been freeing. Each item I’ve sold has given me a little bit more breathing room. It’s a great feeling to free myself from the shackles of possessions. It’s almost like any attachment I’ve had to my past goes out the door with it, creating a clean slate to recreate myself and my life.

Some people do spring cleaning, I’m doing a life cleaning. Scrubbing away all the unnecessary crap that just ends up being put on a shelf, shoved in a corner or stored in a box. If I haven’t used it in the past year: Gone! I love it!

I’m sure you also have a bunch of stuff that you could live without and not even notice. So why not do exactly that? You will love the feeling of decluttering your life!

Clean up the clutter! Clean up your life!

Leave the Past Where It Belongs

Leave the past where it belongs. Move forward. Live a life you love. © 2010 Mariska Richters -  Lovina, Bali

© 2010 Mariska Richters – Lovina, Bali, Indonesia

With my upcoming move and ongoing purge, I threw away over 3 albums of photos from my previous life over the weekend, and have been deleting more from hard drives. I’m not really sure why I’ve held on to them for the past 5+ years… They lived mostly sealed in a box. A box of memories that I barely revisited.

After going through this box though, it doesn’t even feel like it was my life. It’s funny how time will shift your perception of the past. Things that were so important at one time are completely foreign now, meaningless even. The life I dreamed for myself then is not even close to what I am imagining now! Back then it was the “formula” life. Now it has grown into something so much bigger, more inspiring, and more exciting!

This is not to say that I don’t value those times, and the people I knew and lessons I learned. I’m using those lessons and experiences now to grow into the my future self. I know what I don’t want, which brings me closer to what I do want.

If you remain stuck in the past, you will continue to live into it and long for something that is not attainable. Leave the past where it belongs: In. The. Past. If you don’t, your future will never inspire you. If you live into a new future that you create for yourself, you have a clean slate to work with and create whatever you want in your life!

If you feel yourself reminiscing and constantly thinking about what once was, you will not be appreciating what is. And if you can’t appreciate what is, then you can’t live into the amazing life that could be. Resisting the change and avoiding the influence that the past has on us, is what keeps us stuck there. Trying to change the past is impossible, and therefore pointless.

It’s not until I realized this, that the reality of it hit me. Once you put the past behind you, you open yourself up to infinite possibilities of reinventing yourself and your life!

Leave the past where it belongs. Move forward. Live a life you love!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving. Families are coming together from far and wide for turkey dinners, wine and quality time. Many will go around the dinner table stating what each person is thankful for.

Although I will not be with my family this Thanksgiving, I love you all and I have plenty to be thankful for:


I’m thankful for my health and that I’m in the best physical shape of my life and am able to continue working at it to improve even more.

I’m thankful for my family and the love and support they have always provided in whatever choices I’ve made and whichever path I’ve chosen.

I’m thankful for the children in my life. My niece and nephew, especially, for reminding me of the simple pleasures that surround us everyday. The teach me more about love and patience every second I spend with them. Children are an amazing reminder that life can be so simple, and it’s all about love and human connection.



I’m thankful for the love, support and encouragement of my friends. Especially those who are not afraid to have difficult conversations. I’m thankful for their honestly, their integrity and their strength to tell me the things I may sometimes not want to hear. I’m thankful to have such amazing people in my life and look forward to growing my friendships further.

And, of course, (and risking sounding like a “crazy dog lady”) I’m thankful for my best friend in the world, my Roxidoo! I’m thankful for her unconditional love, her excitement every time I walk in the door, her cuddles and her adorable smile. She keeps me warm at night and active outside in the day. She gives me that daily reason to get out of bed in the morning, especially on those days when I just don’t feel like facing the world.


None of the things I’m thankful for are actual “things.” Although most stuff makes life easier and more convenient, stuff is not what truly matters. The things most people tend to be thankful for are the intangibles in life. Health. Love. Friendships. Family. Which begs the question, why do we have so much stuff? Why do we attach our happiness to things? Why do we have this warped belief that acquiring that next “thing” will finally make us happy?

What makes you truly happy? What are you thankful for this thanksgiving? Now, I invite you to look around at your stuff. How much of it is on your Thanksgiving list? How much of it do you really need? And how much of it could you get rid of with very little impact on your life and your happiness? I’m willing to bet that your thankfulness lands on the intangibles, just like mine does.

Happy Thanksgiving! xo

Thoughts Become Things

Halfmoon Caye, Belize 2009

Halfmoon Caye, Belize ~ © 2009 Mariska Richters Photography

Do you ever have those days when everything seems to line up perfectly? When you have great parking karma – you get both a prime spot AND there’s over an hour in the meter, you get to the coffee shop in the morning and there’s no lineup but then one forms right behind you – perfect timing, you hit every green light on the road and arrive at your meeting early?

Have you ever noticed that the only times these days happen is when you’ve woken up on the “right” side of the bed?

I believe that the law of attraction is responsible. You attract what you think about. If you think about traffic, you will get traffic. If you’re in a hurry and trying to get somewhere fast, there will be some obstacle to slow you down. If you expect someone to be in a nasty mood, that’s how they will appear to you. The same goes for positive experiences: if you relax and think about finding a great parking spot, one will show up for you, even if you have to be patient and drive around for an extra minute.

YOU set the theme for your day. Your thoughts become things. Only you can choose how the day will occur to you, and then you live into that choice. If you choose to think about bad things, bad things will show up for you. If you choose to think about great things, great things will show up for you. It’s ridiculous how simple and easy it really can be to have an awesome day! Just CHOOSE it!!

So the next time you’re having a day where it feels like nothing is going right, I invite you to examine your thoughts. Have a mental checkin with yourself and identify whether your thoughts are focused on what you want or on what you don’t want. The more you think about what you don’t want, the more it will show up for you. If you’re thinking about what you don’t want, you subconsciously look for it. And vice versa for the positive things. So think positive!

Your thoughts become things!

Contagious Inspiration

I woke up this morning to the following message in my inbox from my friend Catherine Bendall in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Hearing that you are spreading contagious inspiration is an amazing way to start a new day!

“Hey! I just wanted to say I read your blog this morning, and it really inspired me. Last fall Charlie and I had been feeling the same way, dreaming of days in exotic cultural rich places… A life without shackles to a desk, back problems, mortgage stresses etc etc… So we said what would make you happy today. A trip to India was my dream, so we booked within a week and went. When we returned, that feeling came back… As I knew it would.

This week we are listing our house with the hopes of a move West. But what we realized is after we sell our house, why do we need to buy another one in Calgary right away, why do I need to get the same job there. Why can’t we take this freeing opportunity and see where are sails take us.

I read your blog at 6 am when I woke up today and it truly inspired me. So today is the day I start the process to do what I want. It might take a couple months to save and plan but that’s the fun part! At breakfast we talked about a round the world ticket and where we wanted to see and experience. It was a nice breakfast;)

So thank you!

And sure enough I get to work go to the office kitchen like I do every morning, and the only mug left is this one;) a sign or what!

Good luck in your journey!”

Thrilled to be 30 Coffee Mug

Quick Have Fun Coffee Mug

Thank you so much, Catherine for your message and encouraging words! I’m so happy that the adventure I’m about to embark on has inspired at least one more person to live life to their full potential!

Too many of us are living a cookie-cutter “formula” life. One that is expected and already drawn out for us by our parents and/or society in general. If this is the life you envision for yourself and this makes you happy, then go for it! It’s really all about being happy. I just know that, although I saw this for myself at one time, this “formula” is no longer the life for me.

So, I encourage you all to take a look at your life. Are you happy? Are you inspired? Are you living a life you love? If not, what’s missing? What could you be doing that you are not? And the big questions: What’s stopping you?

If you are not living a life you love, I challenge you to take life by the horns and make your dreams a reality! Do what makes you happy! We only have one chance at this life and the whole “one day” mentality is one that makes so many people (me included, until now) miss out on an extraordinary adventure full of inspiring experiences! Life is yours to enjoy, so break out of the mold and enjoy it!

Get out there! Live a life you love!


Change is Afoot

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain

Photo: © 2012 Mariska Richters Photography – Vancouver, Canada

I made a major life choice this past weekend. I have watched so many of my friends over the past few years, make the leap from a life being enslaved to an office job to that of a digital nomad. I have followed their blogs and adventures with stars in my eyes, as it has always been my dream to do the same.

I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for…? Some kind of sign? Some kind of magic opportunity to be handed to me on a silver platter? I’m not really sure. But this past weekend, when yet another friend made the courageous leap, and moved his life to his dream location in the tropics, something in me flipped. Although I’ve always known it, it became very real to me that the life I want isn’t going to just happen TO me, I have to MAKE it happen!!

So on Saturday afternoon I made the decision that I would make a major life change. I would give my notice at my Vancouver apartment, sell and get rid of most of my possessions, and begin the process of becoming a digital nomad, living a life that I love!

I started making calls to friends and family and have been showered with nothing but enthusiasm and encouragement.

Within a couple of days, I have found new homes for most of my furniture, I’ve posted a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, packed a few boxes, and have decided on my next location to begin my transition.

Then yesterday it all became very real, when I paid my last month’s rent and delivered notice to end tenancy to my landlord! Ahhhh!! It’s finally really happening! There is no chickening out or turning back. My new life begins NOW!

It’s truly amazing how quickly things begin to happen and flow with ease when you make a choice with full determination.

So I leave you with this quote from Mark Twain, which is really resonating with me at the moment:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

And I ask you: What have YOU been waiting for to start living a life you love?

Let the adventure begin! A year from now you will wish you had started today!