I have a very special guest for you today. Hellena Woods is here with me, welcome, Elena. Hello, thank you for having me. This is such an honor. So cool. I’m so excited to have you here. It’s one of these things we were just speaking about before we started recording that. I mean, right now in the world with lockdowns, with all the things that have been happening, it’s a beautiful moment in time to really start slowing down because I think a lot of us have wanted to, but with the crazy pace of modern culture we just don’t allow ourselves to and there’s this hunger for quietude and silence and stillness. And now we have the opportunity because of the change in the pace of the world. So I wanted to bring you on today as this beautiful storyteller and writer and many of the beautiful things that you do, to share how to do that, how we can enjoy the simple living and joyful presence of life and slow down.
So thank you. yeah, I’m excited to share more of my story and what I’ve learned. So how did you get into this? We were just talking about that a little bit. But I think that that’d be interesting to share with everyone. How did you move into this slow-living piece of life? It was, actually, three years ago, I was living in the States. I was living in New York City, and I was living such a fast rushed, hustle, you know, girl boss kind of life. I was working at a talent agency. And I and also I was working as an actress, and I just felt really burned out. And I ended up moving to a small village in Virginia, a small little town. And I picked up this book called Chasing slow by Aaron Lochner, who’s a blogger. And that book really got me started on this journey of living a slower pace of life. And it wasn’t until I moved to France, three years ago that I started living it in real-time, not really studying it, not learning about it, but living it. And it’s just because in France, life is so slow here. It’s such a big part of the culture. And because of that, that contrast between how I was living my rhythm, my natural rhythm of what I was used to, versus how the French people live, specifically, not in Paris, because Paris is stone play.
But everywhere else, especially in smaller cities, villages, the country, life is just so slow. And so I really started implementing that in my life and I found myself really changed. I found myself not caring as much as what other people thought I stopped chasing things that I thought were once so important to me and I just started living life for myself one day at a time. And now I just love sharing that on YouTube through videos and interviewing the locals here in France, learning from their perspective, about life here and why it’s slow. And yeah, just sharing that as much as I can. But, it’s been a journey. And there’s so much in it. Specifically, in regards to you, knowing what’s important to you, knowing what your life what you want your life to look like, you know, having a vision. And I think that really stems from seeing things from a big picture lens, from a big picture perspective, zooming out, and seeing the world from a bird’s eye view. And when I started getting that, you know, the zoomed-out perspective of life. It just became so obvious to me that I needed to slow down and enjoy it more.
The big picture really does sink you back into the big picture and like what’s meaningful and getting that perspective. So what does slow living look like, you know, what is living? And what does it look like for you, I mean, paint a picture as this visual storyteller that you are of even you’re just everyday life so that people can get a taste of what that can be like. Yeah, it’s a lot of it is connecting with nature, a lot of it is going out on walks by myself, it’s spending time alone, enjoying that time, going on gratitude walks is a big part of my every day, just silently observing the world around me and taking appreciation, you know, being appreciative of it, noticing the simple joys of my every day, a lot of that time is spent not on the computer or like not on not watching TV when I’m not working. As you know, as a content creator, a lot of my workday is spent online and so when I’m not working, I really try to get off as much as I can. And that looks like you know, playing card games with my partner, we read books aloud to one another at night instead of you know, binging a show, or, you know, going on picnics when it’s warm outside, you know, going for a swim or a hike on the weekends. You know, it’s finding ways to be less plugged in, and more connected with our five senses with the tactile world. Oh, good one. I love that. Check picnic and nature next week. Waterfall. Okay, got it. I know. I’d like you to try out a schedule for me of nonscheduled. Thank you. Some berries, pick berries? Yes. Oh, actually, that is on my schedule, pick berries, the blackberries are almost ripe here. The mulberries are going off. So that is on my schedule. Maybe I’ll do that later today. There we go.
So when someone I think that there’s a really big gap between you said it your New York Life and the France life, and I think people are in that position right now where they’re like, oh, like I would want to, you know, so they watch your videos, they watch other amazing, you know, say YouTubers that are just out in the wilderness, creating primitive skills with no audio, you know, just like all these different things. I’m like, people are watching this. And they are because they’re seeking it. And I feel like there’s a huge gap though, where they’re like, Okay, I can at least let myself venture into your world. But how do I bridge that gap? When I am super wound up? And it’s, I’m so far out of balance. I don’t even know how to come back into balance. How do they make that transition? There are so many ways, oh, my gosh, I’m a huge thing is to not eat your lunch at the computer book, okay. It’s such a simple thing. But when I was working, you know, in New York City, I remember, all of like, my colleagues would get their lunch really quickly from across the street, or whatever. And they would just sit in front of their desk, and respond to emails as they were eating lunch, and they could take a full one-hour lunch break. But they chose not to, you know, and it’s like little choices like that, that can allow us to connect outside with nature, even if we’re in a city, you know, there are so many silent places around us like temples, churches, libraries, you know, cul de sac, small parks, there are so many places where we could just take 1020 minutes to reconnect with ourselves, you know, and yeah, like, that’s such a simple thing of taking your lunch break, taking your full lunch break, that’s such a big thing here in France, they do it for much longer, like, you know, shops and restaurants will close for three hours in the middle of the day, because they’re taking their full break.
But obviously, you can’t do that in the States. So even if it’s just a 20-minute break, you know, taking time to periodically check back in with yourself. And another thing is breathing exercises, you know, journaling, going inward, and asking your inner voice questions. One of the ways that I slow down, even when I’m visiting big cities, or I’m traveling, I went back to the States recently, there were a lot of times when I had to do this periodically to check back in with myself is breathing, taking deep breaths, putting one hand on my heart, one hand on my chest and just asking myself quite questions and then waiting for answers. You know, I think we have such a higher support team within us, our higher selves within us, and when we can get still and find those little pockets of silence. We can always connect with that. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, you know? And then another thing is like movement, getting movement in, dancing, swaying, really connecting With your five senses, and as many ways as you can, you know, whether it’s just doing the dishes, and you have your favorite sponge and your favorite scented dish soap, and you’re just slowly enjoying the process of washing your dishes by hand, you know, smelling the sense, the feeling the warm water, there’s little ways that we can really tap into that connection with what we’re doing in the present moment. And yeah, they’re their little ways and just our day today, you know, when you’re stirring a pot of boiling water, you know, just watching the water move, you know, little things like that.
You know, I love all those pieces and they’re super practical. So I was like, wow, that that was good already for me. So thank you for that. I love the theme of the five senses because it reminds me because I think you know, all the things you’re saying. I’m like, oh, yeah, that’s what they do in Europe. Oh, yeah. That’s what they do in Europe because there’s a priority and a full allowance of pleasure, I think is like the simplest way to put it which then yes, you know, sensory. When you were saying even just like feeling the water and like the soap on your hands, or I even think about, you know, eating certain foods. In America, it’s like, you can’t have that that will make you fat. And so even like, if you are wanting to satiate yourself with a chocolate cake, you’re not allowed to really or you’re not really allowed to enjoy it, or there is that puritanical, I think embedment somewhere where it’s like you can’t have pleasure. I think there’s something to that when you were talking about the five senses. That’s what came up for me because the only way that I could tap into what you’re talking about is tapping into like those other cultures to really Yeah, start receiving that. And I think that’s why we have such romanticized, which is true fantasies, and why we all love like, you know, Under the Tuscan Sun, and like watching and visiting these other places because there is a reality to it that is truly connected.
I was in a little bit of luxury this morning. And I was journaling ideas for like a video. And there I was working as I’m enjoying my hot chocolate. And I was just I was looking at this French woman next to me on the balcony. She sat there for like an hour because I left and came back and I could see the back of the balcony on the cafe and she was still there. And she was just no phone, no book, no notebook, just watching the waves drinking a cappuccino eating a tart, little like French tart. She’s just enjoying the present moments took a long time and I was like, that is so inspirational. You know, it’s almost as if there’s no shame. You know, with eating here, like it’s so true every day. You know, they eat here in France, they eat that gets every day, every day you get a bigot every day, you get croissants or Pennell Shukla every day. And I imagine a lot of people in the states would say it’s a lot of bread first thing in the morning, you know, or like, or have shame about eating a tart first thing in the morning, you know, but here, it’s it, there’s no shame around that pleasure of eating and connecting with that. It’s so true.
I think because of that, they still stay thin, because they continue to have the pleasurable long walk and they have the pleasurable sex and they have the pleasure. And then all of a sudden, like that burn those carbs have gone away, you know, cuz yeah, measure all the way through every aspect of their lives. Yeah, I definitely noticed that when I was living there, I lived with the I lived in Paris with this French Madame when I was 19. And it was hilarious, because one night, she was like, okay, dinner, of course, was at 930 to 10 every night on weeknights, and I’m like, in my room eating almonds and chocolate because I’m starving to death, you know and we ended up I come out and there’s just this small salad on the table. I’m like, Ah, what am I gonna do? Like I’m starving and she was just like, she didn’t say anything about it. And then all of a sudden, afterward he in this small salad, and I thought that’s all there was for dinner. She brings out this giant, tart, giant. And really what was for dinner? It was a tart that night and it was only like, once, you know, in the semester that we did that, but no shame. It was just like worry and dessert for dinner and this is what we’re doing. Yeah. Like, I love it. That’s awesome. Like, it’s a story. I remember now that it was like, so it’s like creating these experiences that just like light us up and like lasts for a lifetime. Do you know?
I’ve been thinking a lot actually as to why French people don’t really get fat because I’ve noticed that and I’ve tried to figure it out because they do eat a lot actually. They usually Like, they’ll have like, three, four courses, they’ll have dessert and then cheese. And it’s just it’s a lot of food. And I don’t know, I don’t know, if it’s an energetic thing, you know, they look at the food as a blessing and or something. I don’t know. But, um, yeah, that’s, that’s really, really interesting. Yeah, it’s so much fun. So in those, so you’ve said in some of your videos because I’ve been diving into your content, which I love. And you were talking about how it is necessary to shed certain things to synchronize with the moment synchronize with slow living, like, what are the things that we do need to let go of to invite this greater blessing into our lives?
Oh, gosh, I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to stop caring. Which sounds so blunt, but it’s true. Like, I think so many of us care so much about what people think of us online, our families, our peers, you know, our mentors, all these people, we care so much about the opinions of other people and so much of life, you know, especially in like big cities, and the states or whatever, it’s like, there’s this constant thirst for more, this constant need to have more things, to do more, to be more productive, to achieve more things in our lives, to have more followers. And there comes a point when you have to realize what you truly value in life. And again, it’s having that big picture perspective of realizing what’s really important to you, each day counts everyday matter. So what are your values, you know, and so for me, boundary setting has been huge, not caring what people think choosing to only do things that light me up and give me vitality, you know, I’m choosing to be around people that, that support me and encouraged me, and then also doing that values, you know, intention setting work, which is really big for me. Unknowing, going deep within yourself to realize what are the three top-five values?
For example, some of mine are freedom, creativity, expression, how can I incorporate that in my day-to-day life? how can I choose to feel free today? You know, what can I do today that will help me feel playful? So knowing what are your values, and then asking yourself every day? What can I do to feel this way? Today? What kind of actions do I need to take to get this feeling that I love? You know, and saying no to everything else, saying no, to more. And, and, and yeah, and choosing to do the things that light you up really, so boundaries are huge. That’s beautiful. What I’m hearing, and what you’re saying is really what you need to let go of, are the things that don’t work for you. Yeah. So that you actually value can come forward, and then you can return to balance and more of your creative Free Self.
Exactly. And sometimes, you know, it depends on what you value. But sometimes less is more, you know, for me realizing that I didn’t want a six, you know, figure big business or that I didn’t want to have a studio with my artwork, like a big city and to show off my, you know, my photography gallery or whatever, to decide that actually, that wouldn’t bring me fulfillment and to choose the other things that do and sometimes it is less is more, and living simply is actually more heart fulfilling, you know, it’s more fulfilling and intrinsically satisfying. So, it depends on each person, but doing that inner work and knowing what you love is like, critical, you know, I so hear you resonate with that. I mean, even that the invent of this, and the inspiration for this podcast came from that where like, last year, I was like, You know what, I could go into this direction, where I am going into this, you know, making a ton of money. And a lot of my friends that are influencers do and they’re like, it’s time to go to the next level. And I’m like, I’m like, no, no, I’m good. Actually, I’m good with this amount of income and where I’m at. And then instead of going to that next level of like, what would bring in more in the material sense? I was like, what if I did this thing called the podcasts where we could have these actions that are rich and fulfilling and like, help people and help us and so I actually traded that in for this and this is my version of slow living content.
You know, to some, some people who are, you know, achievers, naturally, they are achievement-driven. That’s gonna satisfy them, you know, going fast will satisfy them that will bring them fulfillment, but realizing, you know what, What feeds your soul? You know, is Yeah, so important. And I’m actually seeing this a lot more lately online these days, especially in the last like three to six months, I’ve been seeing so much content about people choosing to like reject, you know, the Girlboss narrative, the hustling narrative, like more and more people, I’m seeing it every day. It’s really exciting because people are following or they’re, they’re following their own self-sovereignty, you know, they’re choosing to do the things that light them up personally, and it’s really inspiring to see. It really is and I completely agree with you, I’m seeing that simultaneously where it’s just like, yeah, nope, you know, and even if they could be doing these huge things. It’s no, I’m not sacrificing my spiritual path and not sacrificing these other things and that is tremendously courageous. Then that inspires me and then I do that more. I think that these conversations are really helpful to have with each other to give each other permission, because the cultural permission still isn’t there, you know, but like, within our own community, within our own friendship circles, I think that that really helps.
And what’s fascinating is that when you follow your values, and you get into that alignment, that feel-good place, naturally, inspiration comes more frequently, naturally, ideas start popping in, and flow starts happening. Then random synchronicities and opportunities just come out of nowhere, but it’s from feeling good first and being in alignment with what you want first, and then enjoying that ride, enjoying that journey, that everything else comes with it. You can choose to reject or take on things as you go. But yeah, I think so many people are focusing on having more instead of finding what they love, feeling good, and then allowing things to just come into your life as it’s naturally supposed to. It’s so true. And funny and expedite. So it’s actually paradoxical, right? Because like things Yeah, but like, manifestation even comes in more. But it’s, it’s intuitive, but it’s counter conditioning. Right? Oh, man. So it seems easy, you know, so maybe the listeners of you living there on an island in France, and me, you know, here in Sedona to like, in a sacred site in a small town, you know, these perceptions of what that would be to be like, Yeah, of course, you can slow down there, duh, like you guys are in luxury situations. So how do you find magic? How do you recommend people find magic where they are? Like, what, you know, they maybe they’re in a big city, maybe they’re like in suburbia, and have like a busy family or life? Or whatever it is? How do they find magic? wherever they are? That may be the culture isn’t supporting that slower pace?
Well, the first thing I recommend everyone do is to have like a magical morning practice, or some kind of morning practice where you feel good, because it’s when you do the things that lift you up, maybe that’s watching Gilmore Girls, you know, maybe that’s eating chocolate, maybe that’s, you know, doing tapping, or EFT, tapping, or maybe that’s calling a friend. But do whatever you can do for the first like 20 to 30 minutes of your day, doing what lights you up first thing, and then from there, I really recommend anyone going on a gratitude walk, or just taking a walk, getting movement, and noticing paying attention to the small little things around you. And you know, it doesn’t have to be something super romantic or beautiful. It could be as simple as a lone wildflower coming out of the concrete, you know, on the side of the road, or it could be you’re in a big city. And you notice this beautiful rush of water coming down a sewer as I mean, there’s just so many ways that there there is beauty everywhere, everywhere. We’re not used to noticing it because either was rushed, and we’re trying to get from point A to point B and we’re not really slowing down enough to see those things, or be we’re thinking about something we’re just completely lost in thought planning something that we’re not present. But when you can take time, even if it’s a 10-minute walk, just being present, and noticing really asking yourself, like noticing the small things around you in, in all the ways that there is you know, it could be a kid family walking down the street or you know, a flower, you know, a seagull, the way the light is hitting that tree, you know, or the wind and the trees, you know, or the wind in the leaves.
There are so many little simple things, even in cities, even in suburbia even in all these places, and I think by just really being present and going on a quick gratitude walk. Over time, it gets easier because we’ve trained our brains to notice it, and for me, that’s what I had to do. I trained myself to notice the beautiful things, I trained my mind to see beauty in the mundane and we all can do that. I completely agree. And I really loved it because I don’t really resonate with cities. I mean, I can find, especially the beauty in European cities, I’m fine with that. But in major cities, say in America, I just can’t do it. I appreciate that you can see, you know, the beauty in the chaos and like the actually the quietude in the chaos, like in your New York video and stuff. Yeah. And utilizing the extremes, and how do you go about doing that? I always make time to visit parks, whatever, I’m in a city, you know, or places that are silent, like churches or libraries, are quiet bookshops, you know, I’m always going to those places. I do enjoy going to the busier parts of cities and enjoying it for an hour or two, and then needing to leave if you know.
So, it’s having that, that busy life in small doses, and then finding your refuge, your place to recharge. And that can obviously, be your home, you know, having a safe haven in your apartment, you know, bringing plants into your home making your nest, you know, more comfortable and, and quiet and peaceful. But having seeking those little spots in the city that provides you with that calm place, you know, and it just takes some exploring and some walking around. Also for me, I find a lot of joy in having conversations with people, you know, so like, while walking around a city, I’ll strike a serendipitous conversation with someone on the street. And it’ll, it’s almost like, they gave me a message that I needed at that moment. So by engaging with others, I find there’s a lot of beauty in that as well. Those miracles and blessings happen more frequently, the more you notice them. The more you pay attention and spot them out. You could say verbally or you know, just think about it, but I find that those peaceful moments happen more frequently. Yeah, it’s really all a choice. It’s really all a choice and it can be hard.
There are days when you’re in a city when it’s really hard, and you just want to go home and take a nap. And naps are great for getting out of that stressed-out place. Naps are so helpful. But yeah, it’s choosing to find those quiet moments and be appreciative of them. I love that. And I love the invitation to connect with other people. Because when I have lived in cities, I can I’ve lived in London and Paris, it’s you don’t you’re the closest to you. You’ve ever been to hundreds of 1000s of people at any given moment and you connected them at all. Like it’s like this ironic thing where you could be in the place of most connection ever and you’re not. So I love that invitation to break through that cultural boundary if you will. It’s been set up because of this fast-paced culture and like, we don’t have time for this. Yeah, actually engaging with other people around you, I think would be an amazing way to bring one into the present.
Even just being an observer, like I was recently in New York, and I was on, I was at a rooftop lounge and it was just the most beautiful view of the city from high up above. You could see all these little apartments in, you know, all over the East Village. And they’re all these like cute little kitchens and nothing fancy, just very small and tiny and homey. And it looked like there were so many people that just loved their spaces. And it was I felt really connected to humanity at that moment. Because I saw these little lights flicked up flickered on all over the city and all these people creating homes with families for themselves. And it just I had a moment where I realized there is so much beauty in the city, this place that everyone can live in. And there’s a lot of beauty in that in that small, you know, visual of seeing little apartments lit up all across the city. It was really beautiful. But there’s beauty in that too, you know? Absolutely. That’s so sweet. When do you know because you’re you’re a nomad? Very much. So when do you know if it’s time to leave? So we’re talking about the grace and the beauty that you can find wherever you’re at. And also there are places that are more conducive culturally energetically to leading a life that might be more In more alignment with what you’re inspired to be and do. So how does one know that they’re not just bypassing and being like, I’m just going to avoid this thing?
But when it’s really time to go and to go to move to that next place, how do you find that when you’re in this in-between phase, there is this feeling of finality that comes like it’s just, it’s a knowingness. It’s a gut feeling. It’s a response that you can feel deep within your body when you know it’s time for something to close. At least that’s how I know when things are over. It’s a gut response and this can be accessed by asking your gut question. A lot of people either feel their answers from their chest and their heart space, or their stomach, their gut area. And for me, I receive answers in my gut, and I ask questions, I say, Is this the time for me to leave, and I wait, and I just breathe and exhale. On that exhale, I receive answers and, it’s an intuitive feeling. But you know, I feel like you, you might know when you wonder if you would regret it. If you stayed. You know, it’s that question of regret, like, Would I regret anything if I stayed here? And if the answer is yes, then leave. And also, thinking about that big picture perspective of time is my most important currency. Do I want to spend the remainder of my time here? And asking yourself that question can really bring a lot of clarity, you know.
So for me, I recently left the mountains where I was living in Corsica, and I moved to the seaside. It was a big decision that my husband and I had to make and it was bittersweet, you know because we loved the mountains, we loved living up there, it was so beautiful and isolated and lovely. But it was also really hard living in a place for that long, where it is very isolating. Yeah, and it was a really hard decision to make. But I felt in my gut that it was the right thing to do. I just knew within an instant by asking my inner voice that question, and then we moved here, and since we moved here, it’s been easy. It’s been flowing, it’s been miraculous, you know, and I find that when you move to a place that’s better suited for you, life does become easier. life feels lighter. It doesn’t feel like a push, like a challenge, like effort. So that’s, that’s a great distinction between the two. I think those are really helpful. Those are good tips. And like checking in with myself, you know, cuz I always I’ve been well, now I’ve been stationed here in Sedona, well, for eight years, pretty consistently, except for my year in Hawaii.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve pretty much been here with a few trips, like just in the remaining Well, I in Europe, it would be far away. But in America, it’s one state away. And so I’m like, is it time to go like, is it time to go back to why is it time to go there? And I’m like doing these check-ins from what you were just saying. I’m going no, this is good here. This is good here. I like it. Yeah. Awesome. So what are some of the secrets that you’ve discovered, being with these other cultures that they use to find peacefulness and contentment, where they are like, what are some of their keys? The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that the French specifically and I also think the Portuguese as well, the Italians. From my travels, I’ve noticed this, but specifically, France, because I’ve been here the longest and I’ve talked to more French people, they do not place their identity in their work at all, at all. Like they work to pay the bills. They work to make money to feed their family.
There is no emotional attachment to their vocation or their career and they take time off, you know, they take the whole month of August off depending on the region in France, but in most regions, they take the whole month of August off, you’ll find shops are closed restaurants are closed. I was living in Strasbourg, France for two years and it was so mind-blowing just walking around the busy city which would usually be busy kind of busy. In August everything would be closed up and there’d be like no one walking around. And that, allowance to give yourself four weeks off from work is astounding, I think to most Americans. And just the idea of taking three hours you know off the middle of your workday to go spend time with your family or friends enjoy an app or Have a nice meal. You know, it’s, it’s it really shocked me when I first moved to France it took I remember walking around the city the first time, in middle of the afternoon, like two o’clock, and everything was closed. And everyone was just lounging on the grass, reading a book, you know, having a coffee, and I was just like, This is so crazy. And it’s just because the French doesn’t put their identity in their work. They care way more about their family, vacation, and intellectual pursuits. They love to play, and they love to play devil’s advocate and have conversations and talk more about politics and you know, intellectual things. And that’s such a bigger priority than work, which is really cool.
That is super cool and do you feel like I mean, I can see the benefits of that? Do you feel like they’re missing something? Because you know, you and I like we’re following our passion and there’s fulfillment and that was like, our, is our vocation? Yeah. Do you feel like they’re missing out on that at all? Or what’s your perspective on that? I don’t know. I think they’re really happy where they’re at. For me personally, I love that admire that. But I am such a service-oriented person. And I think as light beings, you know, Starseeds, and they’re all over the world, right? Starseeds and light beings are everywhere. There are so many of us all over the world. But, yeah, we feel this need for this mission to fulfill a purpose. And I think a lot of the French people, that’s just their culture, it’s just their upbringing, their, their way of life, it’s natural for them, they grew up seeing that. But you know, you go to places like Paris and, or big cities, like in Lisbon, Portugal, you know, where there is that, that big need to provide a service to fulfill a purpose. So I think that people who feel that really deep down, they go to the big cities, or they do find a way to do it online or something. The people, I know, I don’t know, a lot of people in France who do that. But you know, even just the baking bread, baking bread in France, I have a lot of friends that work at this college area here in Corsica, they are so passionate about big bread, they are so motivated to serve their local community, and to have a conversation in the laundry, you know, every day like they are.
They are serving people like they love to serve their community and I think that’s their way of finding their light and finding their way to serve others. So it could be as simple as baking bread, you know, or having a little clothing boutique. There are so many ways. I love that. I think one of the things that I extract from that, that I can apply or people can apply that are maybe living more of their passion service is that there is an end of the day like there is a delineated. We’re having lunch now for three hours or we’re going we’re taking this time off of work. And I think that that’s the boundary, if you will, that we don’t have you know when we’re following our passion, it’s just No, I mean, I’m always on because I’m always maybe getting inspiration or always in technology does that a lot? Like I’m always answering that email. And so I think having that structure, right, so it’s actually structured that they have, where it’s like this is on, this is off like this is playtime. And so I think bringing that in would be a good way to incorporate what you were just sharing.
Absolutely, that structure is huge. They, at the end of the day, literally close their doors right on the dot there. If a customer comes in, you know, a minute before closing, they usher them out. And they say Nope, we’re closing the shop, cash registers closed, we’re leaving. And that is so beautiful, that boundary setting and that structure. So they work, they fulfill their passion, and then they go home to their family and that’s so beautiful. I need to do more of that. Because it’s it’s so cool. Yeah. And how interesting is that? Because you said that at the beginning that it’s like slow living also requires boundaries? Yes. Like you’re protecting the sacred sanctity of your own pleasure, your own stillness, your own connection to self-right. So it’s like that that actually needs to be protected because the assertive world or other people or own even like creativity can overtake that silence because the silence isn’t trying to protect itself. It’s just chilling in the present, right?
I think also knowing your natural rhythms like I have periods of my life where I am on a roll with creativity and inspiration, and I work longer hours than I should. But then I compensate by taking a few days off, you know, so it’s, it’s knowing your natural rhythms, your energy and working with it. Yes. And, and, and giving yourself that grace, to allow yourself to work more if you want, and allowing yourself to take a break if you want, you know, really honoring your energy is such a big part, I think of slow living, too. I love that. That’s so beautiful. It’s so great. I love this conversation. It’s, it’s just like it’s relaxing, just even having this conversation. It’s funny because you’re extremely enthusiastic. And you got a lot of energy. Oh, yeah. And how do you navigate that, like having a lot of this energy, but then slowing down? Maybe as well, my own personal gain, but other people can relate?
Yeah, I think my personality is naturally very bubbly and excitable. But and, and I don’t, I don’t move slower in the sense like, I don’t walk slower, you know, I move quickly as I naturally would. But I slow down to enjoy the moment, I guess more, you know, I feel like a lot of people think slow living is about moving slower or talking slower, or, you know, bringing your energy quiet or more peaceful. And I think slow living is about really being in the present moment, honoring your energy. And yeah, just being more mindful in the everyday moments, and slowing down your awareness, or maybe even increasing your awareness so that you can be so fully present, connecting with your five senses, enjoying the way the wind is, you know, blowing through the trees, all of those simple things. So, for me, it’s my energy is high. But I’m fully present. So I guess that that’s how I am living slowly in my every day. Also just being really reflective, you know, like, I have periods in my day where I stop and I just reflect journal or I think, or I meditate, I go into my records, you know, I have moment pockets in my day, where I really force myself to be still for a second and really reflect and go inward. So that for me is really about because I have I’m like I’m a hummingbird. You know, I have very, I have hummingbird energy. But yeah, I would say that yeah.
I love that clerk vocation Hellena because it’s one of those things that some listening like, for instance, I’m similar energy, like, yeah, bubbly hummingbird and I think that this will help a lot of people that are going well, I don’t want like that kind of annoys me if I just like walk slow, like, I don’t want like, no, like, yeah, do I have to talk slow and just like Be quiet all the time. So I love that it can be like, you can still be yourself, but it’s really just fine. And presence. Yes, that’s a huge part here. So living is yes, definitely. And it’s so true. I see that all over the internet, you know, the slow living is like, walking, slow-talking. So I’m just like, I can’t relate. I can’t relate because I’m so high energy, you know. But slow living is so much deeper than that. It’s so much deeper than esthetics or, you know what things appear to be? It’s going so much deeper. And yeah, in a way it’s slow. Living to me is very spiritual, very spiritual because it’s going inward. And instead of seeking outside of yourself, it’s seeking internally, that’s such a huge part of still living for me.
So to speak to that in context of being alone, because I’m, I’m alone or two, and I can prove that you’re a big loner, like you like going on your own adventures and stuff. And some, some people listening might relate to that and be like, Yeah, but a lot of people, a lot of my close girlfriends are like, I don’t really get why you do that rigid, you know, so I would love to speak to their benefits in your experience of being alone and what that does. Yeah, I think the biggest misconception between introverts and extroverts is that introverts are kind of anti-people, or they don’t like to be around people, or they don’t like to talk a lot. And what I’ve realized, just from my experience, and from some of my friends is that introverts gain their energy by being alone. And when they refill their cup when they refuel their energy by spending time alone, whether that’s, you know, engaging in a creative pursuit, making jewelry writing, going for a run, connecting with nature. When we come back out of that alone time, we have so much more to give to other people, we are able to come to others as our best selves. hen we spend too much time with other people and less time alone, we present our worst selves.
For me, especially, I think a lot of creative people are very introverted because creativity comes from stillness and I think creativity comes from boredom. And creativity comes from quiet moments of introspection, that’s when those messages come through. So knowing that, that our energy comes from being alone, and it’s it, and then we can come to others, you know, as our best selves, I think that’s the key thing, the key difference between extroverts and introverts. And for me, that really is being out in nature, you know, putting my palms on the trees, putting my hands in the soil, connecting with the grass, connecting with water, taking deep breaths. That is like the best time for creativity and just for moments of reflection. I love that I totally resonate with everything that you just said, I love people and I guess I would seem extroverted. I am extroverted. I’m very extroverted, and I’m extremely introverted. And that is the way that yeah, everything you said, I get my creativity, I refill my cup. Oh, that’s so good. And yeah, go ahead.
I use the term social introvert Whenever someone asks me because I’m an introvert, that’s where I get my energy. But I’m social and I love people. And I love connecting with people. So it’s, it’s making sure I prioritize the time alone, but then also make time to socialize, because that’s also another way that I fill my cup, you know, I have to release that I need to have an outlet to express the joy and express the light that’s in within me when I am, you know, spent time alone. So finding that balance of being social, but also spending a lot of time alone, I think is really key for social introverts. That’s so well said, Okay, I’m a social introvert. So if someone I want to, I want to break this down for people, because I find so much joy in it, I can hear that you do too. But I’ll go on. Yeah, usually 10 days, one week, 10 days three-week adventures by myself at least once a year, if not twice a year, even when I’m in a partnership and it’s just like, of course, in my world. And it’s very obvious, like how to do that, and what that looks like, and I feel very safe doing it. A lot of people continue to just be like, wow, like, what is that? How do you do that? So I would love for you to like, create a pathway if someone wanted to venture into their own solo adventure, even if it’s for a small-time, what how they can even begin to orient themselves read to themselves again.
And to that idea. Yeah, I would start with taking yourself on a lunch date. Go to a restaurant, I did this yesterday, my husband was at home and I was like, I’m going out to lunch and I went to a restaurant, got a corner table and just enjoyed the day you know, going out to eat by yourself is such a great way to just get you, you know, your feet wet into that being alone time doing things by yourself. Also going to the movies alone is such a great way. That’s even easier than going to a restaurant because no one’s looking at you. So, go to a movie theater, see a movie, go to a restaurant, then start slowly going into maybe a weekend trip or a one day trip, go to a little in the countryside or go spend a weekend at a local city I do the same thing. I do yearly trips where I go for a week to two weeks by myself and the last. Actually, the last trip I went on was a month and a half I went to California by myself recently. And it was so nice. It was so so rejuvenating for my soul to just reconnect with my purpose and my mission and what brings me joy and not to and that’s another thing like as introverts if you have a partner that’s a fellow introvert, they will totally understand because, you know, you understand where you get your energy from.
So I’m telling your partner that you know you’re going on a little trip for yourself to enjoy your hobbies. Enjoy your creative pursuits enjoy spending time alone, for even just a day or a weekend. It’s such a great way to start. And then over time, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you know, you can book a trip and you know, traveling is so much cheaper when you go by yourself. So it’s, it’s great. It’s a win-win all around. Yeah. And I find in a relationship, it reestablishes, who you are, and you come together as entirely new people, but more whole, and it revitalizes actually the relationship to you missed each other more totally. So excited to see each other and talk and you know, my husband and I, and I are big communicators. We’re big talkers, always staying in touch throughout the day. But when I travel, you know, we, we really, we talk less. And it’s, it’s important for me to get that. And I can’t remember who it was I heard this from, but there’s a blogger that I listened to on a podcast recently. And she said, when she’s traveling by herself, she and her husband are very close. But when they travel, they don’t talk. And so she says she sends a text message to her partner’s saying, and I not in jail, just to let them know, all is good. All is well, I’m safe. No need to worry about me. I’m having a ball. Just let you know. I’m alive and well. And they did it to each other they send when you’re traveling alone.
That’s so cute. I have not been in jail. Yeah. It’s so and I think it’s one of those things in those kinds of relationship dynamics that it goes unspoken, where it’s like, we are connected. We don’t need to be talking. Yeah, this is a different phase of exploration. And it’s going to just make us richer and stronger. I think having that safety that you are going to come back together. I think that’s probably one of the reasons why people would be freaked out, or that they would think their partners are in jail. So the NIH, like, another key one. Yeah. So I love that’s beautiful. And, it’s you know, I think a lot of people worry about traveling alone by themselves without their partner because of that of the fear of the relationship. But that independence that you gain, that introspection, you gain every time you travel alone, It’s so fulfilling and rewarding for not only you but for the partnership. And that also really develops that trust. Yes, between you and them, because you build that confidence that you love one another. You’re each other’s biggest supporters. And it’s all good. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. It’s gonna be great. You know, yeah, it’s really true. And to trust someone that I’ve never even done the Niha like, people wouldn’t even know where I am, which is maybe not the smartest, but it’s worked for me for 15 years. So. But it’s one of those things where if they trust you that you will be okay to like, being really powerful about that, where it’s like, I’m not worried about you, like even Yeah, traveling alone, because like, I know, you are safe.
You got you, yeah, and that in and of itself is extremely empowering as well.
Trust is everything, I think with relationships, communication, and trust. And that traveling alone really solidifies that trust for sure. I totally agree. So for those who are wanting to move into slow living, and we kind of talked about it a little bit with our buzzer you hummingbird energy, but I feel like for myself in different times, so I’m going to be specific and not going to bypass this to someone else. But at certain times, I’m like, well, to fulfill my purpose, I need to keep on doing this thing. And it’s actually sometimes because it might be true, but also it could be to bypass that slowing down. So how can I But how can other people still fulfill their purposes, but in a way that is also inclusive of slowing down? That makes you mean like that, that feeling of need like I need to do something, okay.
For me, that need goes away, when you are living in complete trust with where you are. And when you trust that the universe has got your back, you know and that you are supported and everything you do and if you stop and take a break for a long time, you’ll come back and it’ll be just as normal or it will be 10 times more blessings than it was before. That feeling of need. I think for me, at least it would stop me from really enjoying my social life, you know because I would feel the pressure to have to do something. And for me, my pleasure, and my joy doesn’t come from doing things at all. It really comes from being appreciative of the moment. And when I’m so fully in the moment, often inspiration will come, and then I’ll strike, you know, and I’ll go do and make something and take action on something.
But then when I am done with that project, or whatever it was, I will wait until inspiration strikes again and that season of waiting, and trusting that something will come allowing that thing to show up in my life. You know, instead of putting pressure that I have to do this, I need to do this, right? Yeah. Because just for me, personally, it would block me from receiving any joy, abundance, whatever. So letting myself off the hook. And just being like, it’s okay to play. It’s okay to just be and trust that when your energy is ready to take and make something, you will, you will be ready, you will be ready to take that action. You know, it’s trusting in my bodily energies, it’s trusting that something’s got me, I guess, is big for me.
I love it. And that’s the true path of the creative that it will come back again and it just always does. Yeah, it’s actually amazing. You’re like, okay, you know, us making YouTube videos are different things it’s like is, yeah, I don’t, I don’t have anything for next week, you know, or something like that. Then inspiration for eight videos comes through, like, I can’t even come from like, I don’t even, it’s really fun. I think that there’s something too, I can hear and other people that if they were to actually let go. And if they were actually like, take a lot like time really off, or they were, you know, gonna really start to make a shift, that there’s a fear in that, that they will never, like, come back or like that. Actually, maybe their life will completely change. I can hear that in some of the people listening, what do you say to that? That comes up? You will be okay. It’s so simple. But your living and breathing are enough.
Yeah, you know, like being alive is literally all that you need. For me, it has such a big aspect to surrender to releasing control of my life in certain ways. It’s like, showing up in the morning, taking action on the messages I receive. But if something doesn’t present itself, I relax and let go and surrender. There’s an amazing book that really changed my life. It’s called the surrender experiment. So good. Oh my god, it just radically altered my perception of reality. And that is literally how I approach life now, and I’m telling you, the more you surrender, and just let life blow you to where you’re meant to be, but still have the intention of I want to feel this value, or I want to feel you know, free, creative, playful, whatever your values are, allowing the universe to move you and surrender and release that control is just, it will change your life it really well. And I’ve I I’m so grateful to that book, I’m so grateful to that concept of surrender because is through surrendering, that everything that’s good in my life has come to my life because of that. I’m sure a few examples you’ve got, you’ve got some good examples.
Because you’re speaking from experience, so share, yeah, those big ones are related to my housing-related to moving, having, you know, a place to live. I, Alex and I, my husband, we’ve moved a lot. And we’ve had, you know, months go by where we didn’t have a job, or we didn’t know we were gonna move to next and our French visa was about to expire. And I am very much inspiring my husband, this concept of surrender to release control. And we practice this all the time and opportunities always come up like we are my husband’s job and Strasburg was entering ending. Then this job in Corsica just popped out of the blue like a month, three weeks before we were supposed to move. And it happened at the very last minute, but it happened and I’ve had so many instances of that happening like jobs, money, I didn’t have enough money to you know, pay my blog domain or whatever. And a random gift would come or something out of nowhere would come and it’s the same with just housing and our French feces and the jobs like all of it.
It has happened when I stopped caring when I stopped placing expectations or hope, or just this idea that it has to happen. And it’s the same with YouTube, like, literally with Instagram, I got off Instagram permanently in November, and I’ve been a big Instagrammer for three years. It was like my joy. It was like my blog, it was fun for me. And I was in meditation one day in November, and I received this message you need to get off Instagram, you need to get off social media, completely cold turkey. And I did and it was in that moment of surrender of I don’t care, I’m I don’t care about sharing my life on these social media platforms, all of that, that I had this rush of abundance come in my life, I had a video, get picked up and had a lot of money that suddenly came in my bank account. And the things I wanted to come to me when I literally was like, eff this. Up this and so now whenever I feel thirsty for anything in my life, anytime I feel like I need to do something, I have to do this, I say eff this, you don’t have to do anything, which is radical, it is a radical way of thinking, I think for a lot of people who are on that, you know, nine to five grind, or, you know, living in the city or whatever. Like, it’s, it’s that it’s surrendering and releasing control and trusting that you’re supported, you know, and so those are just some of the ways that that’s happened.
For me, those are great. I’m so glad you shared those. It’s so freakin true. And then just over time with all this stuff, then you’re like it, it really does work. Like it’s worked for me for years like I’ve been independently an independent entrepreneur, whatever. Since I graduated from college, I’ve always been fine and crazy, as you know, like down to the wire type of situations, right? Every single time. And so then eventually you’re like, Well, okay, I guess I do have to trust this time. Because like experience actually said, so now. So take it from us. And just one step at a time to whatever feels comfortable. Surrender, yeah, surrender. It could be as little as like getting off Facebook, or getting off Instagram, you know, like, leaving Instagram felt like such a big thing for me. But I’m still able to keep in touch with all my friends, you know, I’m still able I have their phone numbers, you know, if someone needs to reach me, they’ll find a way to reach me, you know, it’s stuff like that, like, even as something as simple and small as leaving social media or, like giving up little things in your life like it, it will all come Life will always support you. I just find that life always has your back, really, if you really trust and let go and have that support or feel that support.
But it really comes from experience is so starting small, starting with those little experiments. And that’s such a big thing too, have I really approached life as a playful experiment, you know, little experiments. And if something works, it works. If something doesn’t, it doesn’t move on, you know, it’s having that lightness that that playfulness with life. And so experiment with releasing that control to anyone who’s listening, you know, let go of small little things in your day-to-day and see what takes its place. You know, I love it. I think that’s so powerful and beautiful. And in the surrender experiment, the book is really good, because it’s so extreme that you’re like, Okay, you know, you can really go. This is pretty powerful. Then when you hear enough people talking about it, it’s like, Well, okay, maybe I can take that little leap and it worked. I mean, like, you don’t have Instagram, and that’s usually how I would contact people and I contacted you through your website, exactly what it does. I mean, I’m going through those many fears, because I am getting off of Instagram as well. In this next month.
So I have those things where I’m like, Ah, but where am I gonna contact this person or this or that universe? There are other ways, you know, we are how can I become available through other conduits? Yeah, I felt that like the full year because I had been wanting to do it for a year but I was like, I don’t I can’t do it. Because how will people reach me? You know, how will people know what I’m up to in my life? Yeah, they all found a way they found ways like it’s all good. In fact, all the abundance, and growth and exciting things that happened in my life happened right when I left Instagram, so I think yeah, yeah, trusting confirmation. I love it. I love it. Well, is there anything else you want to share with this audience about simple living? See life’s big picture. Because when you see life from that bird’s eye view, everything that matters becomes so apparent that everything else that’s unimportant is not essential to your vitality just drops away. Life becomes so much richer and so much filled with joy. And that might look like a simpler life for you that might look like living in the country or it might look like living in the city or in a tiny home or whatever that suits your boat but letting go of the things that no longer serve you and just completely existing loudly and whatever it is that you love is so so vital and that all comes from just looking at life. Big picture. Beautiful, Elena, I love it. I love it so much.