Every month I receive my Audible Credit. And this time I decided to spend it on a self-help type book. As I began to listen I couldn’t help but notice how spot on Brene Brown's 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living were to our lives. Turns out I had already begun my cultivation of these ten guideposts before I even knew what they were! 

The adventure my fiance and I undertook designing, constructing and now living in our tiny house inadvertently taught us how to cultivate the following list: 

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think

2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism

3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness

4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

5. Cultivating Induction and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison

7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth

8. Cultivating Calm and Still: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

10. Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control"

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Source: Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York, USA: Penguin. 

 

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think

Being interested in the tiny house movement isn't particularly unique, it seems to be the norm these days. Sharing articles, watching documentaries and following tiny house TV shows is common enough. However, you seem to cross this invisible line when you actually start building and living in a tiny house. We would never have built the tiny house if we had cared what people thought of the idea. We had to cultivate authenticity early on, agreeing that it was something we 100% wanted to do and to hell with other people's opinions. 

2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism

Attempting something new is always daunting, especially since the tiny house build involved a lot of money and time. But since we choose to build our house with mostly recycled materials we knew that we could never truly achieve perfection. That’s just the nature of used items. Although Pat struggled with this more than I did, we both had to work hard to be kind to ourselves. Taking a break when we needed one, taking our time, not calling ourselves stupid for not knowing how to do something, giving ourselves time to learn and adjust. It was a long process. But self-compassion is utterly necessary, and not only while building a tiny house but in order to survive in a hyper-competitive world. 

3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness

There were so many hiccups, problems, and issues we encountered along the way that if we hadn’t cultivated a resilient spirit, we would have given up ages ago. We couldn’t rely on numbing to ignore the issues, the only way to stay on budget and on time was to confront issues head on and to toughen up our spirits. These skills have helped me in other aspects of my life as well. 

4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

I am filled with gratitude and joy every time I wake up with my partner next to me in my tiny house and my cat yowling in my ear for her breakfast. Well, some of these things fill me with gratitude and joy. But with all the extra time and space that I now have in my life thanks to my tiny house, I have more time to practice this cultivation. You must let go of your fear of scarcity when you don’t have a lot of space and you have to live in the now. While building, it is good to be able to foresee issues and problems, but imagining the worst because you can't allow yourself to be happy was just too hard to do! We had put so much effort and time into our tiny house, I just couldn't bare to imagine it being destroyed. Tiny house living is a good way to fast track your practice of this guidepost. 

5. Cultivating Induction and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

I would describe myself as a compulsive planner. And although this trait is handy when you are undertaking such a huge project, you also have to have absolute faith that even when your plan gets thrown out the window, that things will come right in the end. It is amazing what power you possess when you put out the right positive vibes to the universe even when the going gets tough. I am sure that this is how we eventually found a place to park our house, we didn't know where we would end up while we were building, but we had faith that it would work out in the end and it did. 

6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison 

Working with recycled materials is a challenge and expecting perfection is not realistic. Because the tiny house was made by us, for us, we weren’t concerned with comparing our house to anyone else’s. Cultivating creativity while we were building and now that we are living in our tiny house has allowed us to make room for more important things in our life. Comparison is a waste of time. The only voice you should care about is your own. 

7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth

Building a tiny house is not an easy feat, you will be exhausted and tired. But we never lost sight of the fact that our tiny house was a labor of love. When do you ever complain about working hard to do something you love? You don’t ! So to cut out the exhaustion as a status symbol and fill your life with things that make you happy. And it won’t matter if someone doesn’t view it as productive because you already don’t care what other people think, right? 

8. Cultivating Calm and Still: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

Living in a tiny house is a good way to cut out useless time-wasting activities like shopping for unnecessary things, cleaning unnecessary spaces and working to spend money on unnecessary items! With all the extra quiet, space and time you have a chance to breathe, catch up with your thoughts and cultivate calm and stillness. It’s eye-opening, to say the least when you realize that some forms of anxiety are unhealthy choices. When you make conscious efforts in your life, you can get rid of the crap bringing you down. 

9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

This cultivation is still a work in progress for us, we constantly get asked if we will start building tiny houses for other people, but that type of arrangement doesn’t have much meaning for me. I, however, do enjoy talking to people about the lifestyle and options. And that suits me just fine. There is no such thing as "supposed to," for anyone. Life is what you make of it, and there is only one you, there will only ever be one you and whatever path you choose is the right one for you!

10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Laughter is the best medicine. It helped us through some of the most difficult times building the tiny house. We love music and made room for some albums and a record player, it was important to us so we made that a priority. There is nothing better than gardening while listening to the Sound of Music! We try to get to a concert once a year, and boy did we dance to Nelly in Christchurch a couple months back. Having memories of times of completely abandon, happiness and joy makes life worth living. Living in a tiny house has only brought us freedom, happiness and joy. That's a lot for 14sqm!