The Slow Life

Help You Dwell sat down with Ashley Addair this week to talk about simple living. Ashley is an established artist living in Knoxville with her husband, two children, the occasional dog, and sporadic out of town guests. To give you a bit of background, Ashley and family have spent the last year or so living a bit nomadic-ally while her husband gutted and rebuilt their home. (Which incidentally used to be a neighborhood grocery store) Their newly finished home is truly a work of art in itself. Ashley is a wonderful thinker and writer and one of her recent blog entries about her entry way inspired us to ask her about her approach to her home and lifestyle.

Tell me a little bit about what simple living means to you.

A: In this season I'm learning a lot about letting things be as they are. I'm trying to live out the tension of facilitating change and evolving but at the same time, accepting things as they are; not fighting the chaos of life. I'm trying to posture myself in a way that allows for finding beauty in that chaos and letting that be enough. 

That is such a refreshing answer. On a practical level, do you have any habits or routines that help you accomplish and maintain that simple posture?

A: I recently read a haiku that said "To make a home, start in one corner- Make that yours. Work outwards, slowly." I'm trying to take that and practice "looking smaller". I'm picking little things, small corners that I can work on and letting the rest go. I'm endeavoring to let things evolve without me and it's helping me notice natural rhythms and the beauty of observing from a distance. Basically, I'm working on becoming increasingly slow: on letting life wash over me and recognizing that slow is the gift of this season. I'm becoming more okay with embracing limitations. In a very literal sense, I've picked one corner of the yard and one corner of the kitchen to focus on and I'm venturing to let the rest go. 

One of the hardest parts of simplifying is letting go of all the "stuff". You seem to have a really healthy detachment to "things". Tell me about that.

A: I have moved around a lot over the course of my life. I've found that there is a gift in traveling light. Honestly, at this point having kids has forced me to recon with the fact that things will get messed up and broken. In general, I try to let things be meaningful without being attached to them.

You can meet Ashley and purchase her art at our pop up market on May 3rd from 11-6. We hope to see you there!

Caroline & Taryn