From The Heart, Ramblings

From The Heart: The Magic Of Not Trying So Hard

July 24, 2015

I’ve been thinking lately about life and what really makes “a good time” good and it always comes back to having friends, someone you are partnered with (if they add happiness to your life), simple times like sloshing through mud puddles giggling with your children or making homemade bread, and letting a lot of laughter into your life – sincere, genuine, from the heart. I also think a home that I feel proud of qualifies here because I can’t really enjoy life without feeling at home in my environment.

From The Heart: The Magic Of Not Trying So Hard

I never realized how overly sensitive I am to aesthetics (in the home) until I had my son and suddenly home really started to feel like a real place beyond just pretty stuff and the occasional cocktail party or movie night. I deeply cherish the times that I have to spend with him watching as he examines everything in each room with curiosity that is often rarely present with most adults. I love seeing how our home is becoming part of his childhood memories and I want his good times in life to be not only outside of the home, but inside with us, too. I want natural moments and funny times to be more important than keeping up appearances or having the best new toy or gadget. I want his childhood to feel sincere and unscripted so he looks back and remembers the great times with us and not a Pinterest -friendly lifestyle where he couldn’t touch anything outside of his bedroom because mommy had to Instagram it first for her followers.

We are all so focused on the next big vacation, the new home, the new car, making more money, the job promotion, having a flatter stomach, doing anything to “save” our relationship (as we drown), and trying hard to please others before pleasing self. Of course, I can add more to the list, but those are just some of the things that pop to mind. And I wonder why we always strive for these things when, at our core, simpler times make us happy? And why are we always looking to the next fix and not enjoying what we have today? Why can’t we enjoy the person in front of us instead of making plans with someone else on Whatsapp during dinner? Why can’t we just live in the moment more and bask in the beautiful light that soul connections and genuine conversations can bring without constantly seeking the next fix?

Have you ever fallen for someone? If so, I hope it went in your favor. If not, you know how it goes – you feel this deep, gut-turning connection that runs very deep, you aren’t even sure how you ever lived without them until that moment. You then proceeded to do all you could to win their heart, and later it goes sour because you tried too hard and scared them away. You weren’t natural, you came across as aggressive, you lacked patience. You lost them.

Have you ever fallen for someone you couldn’t have (they are married, for instance)? This is even more brutal because you don’t try at all and you effortlessly win their heart and you can’t do anything to scare them away. You both know there is something real that could result in such beauty and joy, but you also can never be with them. They came to you too late, as the expression goes. These loves are the much-written about affairs in steamy chick lit novels, the forbidden fruit.

And yet, isn’t it so remarkable that when we are not looking, when we are our most natural, and not fighting to win that love walks in? I wonder why we are at our best and attract the most beautiful people when we are unrehearsed and natural? I remember when I was single, I had such a hard time finding a nice man to date. Was it all of the makeup, trying to look “hot”, trying to be the most intelligent in the room? Was it simply all of the trying that scares love away?

My grandmother always told me when I least expect it, “it” would happen. This has been true for so much of my life, especially when it came to getting pregnant. We didn’t even try, I just let go of constantly thinking about it and decided to go live my life and it was then that I suddenly skipped a period and realized that the magic of not trying so hard is a very real kind of magic.

I’m not saying to be selfless, to live a life without intention, nor to focus only on the moment without a plan in sight. I’m not saying to live passively. What I am saying is to give everything a moment to sit and to think about it before diving right in or making plans for the next moment. Some berries are best eaten fresh-picked whereas others are ones that have sat out for a few days in the summer sun. The happiest person is one who can look at a situation or moment and quickly ascertain whether to enjoy now or save for later.

I hope that as I continue to age and evolve as a person, as a woman, and as a mother that I can more quickly make better calls of judgement and learn what to savor and what to store, what to cherish for today and what to work towards for tomorrow and most importantly, how to balance my need for stable, intentional living with my overwhelming desire for spontaneity, freedom, travel and experiencing all of the joie de vivre that I can in life. I am so full of fire and courage, curiosity and passion that often the smoke I cause from running so fast blurs out everything else around me and I lose track of being in the here and now. And enjoying it.

These are things that I often think about when the house goes quiet late at night and I sip a glass of wine and gaze onto the street below from my balcony. I think about love, life, magical moments and simplicity. I think about how being less intentional may be a good goal to have. I also think about how I have done so much within my own life and business that came because I wasn’t out aggressively hunting and hustling for it. And I wonder why we try so hard to have more when all we really need is less.

Do you think about these things too?

Photo: Julia Caesar


  • Reply MM July 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your message here. It seems like any time I was totally 100% focused on making something happen, something ELSE happened that was just as good but in a part of my life I wasn’t expecting. Very well said!

  • Reply Donna July 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    To put it simply, yes. Perfectly put.

  • Reply Izzy July 24, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Beautifully written, Holly, and so so true. It’s a shame how the media has created this need and urge to continuously want more, better, bigger. Chasing dust and ghosts, forgetting what really matters and what is right in front of you. That said, it’s a real challenge to not get pulled in and to keep one’s balance, as you so nicely mentioned above. Definitely something to think about and to work on! Thank you for regularly posting such a think piece :-)

  • Reply Myrte July 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    This is so true. But what resonates with me most and what is my personal struggle is the balace between your goals, the things you really want to achieve personally, and enjoying the road to get there. You need to make time to enjoy friends and family, but there’s this voice that says you want to do this or that and you’ll call later. Having said that, this weekend I have decided to visit as many people as I can.
    (Plus I have a tea mug that says:” Let it go” that about says how much I agree with you :-) )

  • Reply Heather July 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I definitely agree with you. There’s a wonderful book “Timeless Simplicity Creative living in a consumer society ” by John Lane which discusses this beautifully. He’s a British author and he writes with such eloquence. He talks about simplifying and about beauty and the aesthetics of our homes. I reread it often because he says things that are true and it keeps me centered. I highly recommend this book; I suspect you’ll like it. Thank you, Holly!

  • Reply Viviane July 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    So true!

    After this post I have to admit, your blog does not only stand for beautification of homes, but also for beautification of souls.


  • Reply Kim July 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Yes you are right ….absolutely…and thanks for reminding me! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Reply Jacqui July 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    So lovely Holly. I like to call it wild simplicity. Being in the moment, slowing down, savoring the beauty/chaos whatever it may be. Kids help put this all into perspective i think. I love your words…and if you would ever like to come on my “creative mama” interview series my readers would love to hear your perspective as a mama and a creative. xx

  • Reply Lida July 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Yes, I do.

    I did enjoy reading your post today. It’s nice to stop and smell the roses and appreciate what we have and be grateful. It’s true, when the magic of not trying so hard works. Best ever.

  • Reply andriana July 24, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Oh Holly… Life happens when we are making (other) plans. This is life. Now. Me reading your beautiful words and deciding to share my thoughts with you. Now is all we have. Let’s try and make the best out of it.
    xxxx a.

  • Reply Kaitlyn July 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to read. I feel like I should bookmark this and read it every morning to remind myself of the importance of living for me and in the moment. Lovely lovely lovely post. Thank you:)

    – Kaitlyn |

  • Reply leah July 24, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Yes! So much THIS. My parents took our boys for a few weeks this summer, and finally having time to breathe a bit has made me come back to all of these things. I’ve realized that I need to take a step back and let things fall together. To laugh more, relax more, and be ok with imperfection. Thanks for the amazing post, Holly!

  • Reply sharon / July 24, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    such a beautiful read. i myself, can find myself ‘thinking’ too much. i am of late trying Not to ‘try so hard’ in this department. even though you gave me a lot to ‘think’ about here, lol! i have left lifted, relaxed, and centered for today.

  • Reply Ishtar Olivera July 24, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    SO beautiful Holly!!! So touching and wise!
    Bless you!

  • Reply Dharma July 24, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    MORE!!!!! When are we going to start removing that battle cry from our vernacular and start saying “ENOUGH!”.
    I have enough, we are enough for eachother, I am enough.

  • Reply Tiffany Grant-Riley July 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Absolutely yes to all of this. I’m working my way through another difficult time – the fall out from struggling to maintain my online presence, role as a mother, work-whatever else. Then I decided that enough was enough and I’m trying to learn to be kind to myself, to be mindful-remind myself to live in the moment from day to day rather than focusing on what might happen further down the line. My little boy starts school in September, so this is my last summer with both my babies at home full time and I’m going to soak it all up and worry about everything else later. Great post Holly. x

  • Reply Francisca July 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Oh yes. As I was reading through you text Nina Simone’s Feeling Good started playing. I absolutely agree with you, though sometimes it’s hard to have faith. But, after all, life proves me that the faith is worth feeling.

  • Reply Laura @ July 24, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Beautiful post, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about this. I agree! It seems that the world around us is getting more and more hurried, and full of people who are trying to top one another with trends and the next big thing. In our home (and blog), we try to be mindful of keeping a good balance of function and aesthetics, and I totally understand your point of view because we have young children too. It’s hard sometimes to sit back and let things happen around us and just try to feel the magic of the unknown (which can turn out to be better than anything we could plan for), but it’s definitely a healthy mindset. Again, thank you for sharing this.

  • Reply Wrenaissance Art July 24, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Very thought-provoking essay!
    Living fully in the moment takes as much intentionality and awareness as being caught up in self-created goals and plans, I think.
    It’s just that the busywork and energy of reaching milestones and pursuing the ideal requires a focus on the future, a tunnel vision. We have to close ourselves off from random opportunities lest we lose track of the goal ahead.
    Truly enjoying the here and now requires us to full-out stop, look around at what is already here, be open to “dancing lessons from the universe.”

  • Reply Nina July 25, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I have loved. Quite a few times. He didn’t love me back (a few cases). Or he was taken (also a few cases), yet found it appropriate to toy with my feelings (most of those few cases) – because I foolishly allowed him to do so (I have learned my lessons). Or he became my husband and was abusive. That one is an ex now, of course. Or he planned a future with me, then walked away. Men and I don’t seem to work out. In the meantime, life happens, and it is my duty toward myself to find peace and happiness within. I need to be a whole existence on my own, because even when I might still find that great love, he could die the next day, and I would have to know how to live on. Luckily I’ve practiced ever since first discovering boys, and know quite well how to take care of myself by now, not to rely on any man to have my back. It’s just that ache that I have, and the longing to become a mother before I run out of time… Those of you in happy relationships, don’t take them for granted please. And those of you, who have kids, even more so. Some of us have neither, and it takes guts not to accept a bad relationship just because you don’t want to be alone.

    • Reply Holly Becker July 27, 2015 at 9:32 am

      @Nina Thank you for sharing your experience. I definitely felt heartbreak in the days before I got married, it’s so painful and you think the pain will never end. But it does. I don’t know if any relationship is always “happy” though. I think you rate it like if it’s mostly good it’s happy but that doesn’t mean that some days you aren’t in pain or feel like running far, far away. I think marriage or committed partnerships are tricky, it’s like you are always standing in the middle of a seasaw, no one seated on either end, you are just standing in the middle all alone with your unique worldview, past experiences and feelings about yourself trying to keep the seasaw in balance on both sides. Some days it’s very easy, other days one slightest shift in weight or movement and the balance is off entirely. Those are the hardest days honestly. But even the days that aren’t bad or hard still take work because you have to maintain that balance in your relationship. It’s something I’m still learning and I’ve been married for 14 years.

  • Reply Desirae July 25, 2015 at 12:00 am

    What a wonderful piece Holly-thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Elizabeth @ Rosalilium July 25, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Yes! I fell in love when I stopped trying to find it so I totally agree with you.

    Beautiful words!

  • Reply Eos July 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Such beautiful words straight from your heart!
    That is so important and I think it has a lot to do with knowing ourselves, knowing who we are, what makes us feel good and then setting our boundaries. As creative entrepreneurs working from home and having our children around us, it really is so important that we find balance and space for us and for them. I for my part find that is a constant adjusting and readjusting. Making and setting my own boundaries really helps to give space to what is important.
    I also see that when I take real and present time for my daughters, they then are very happy to spend their time on their own after this and I have time for me and my needs.
    Not trying so hard, relaxing into the moment and being grateful what we already have is such a big key to happiness!
    Have a most beautiful weekend Holly!

  • Reply Amber Rhodes July 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I resonated with everything you said here because I too have just come to these realisations and have been writing about it on my own blog for a couple of weeks .I have decided to step back in time a bit and slow life down as well as enjoy the journey rather than just always wanting more or worrying too much about the future .

  • Reply vichi July 25, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Totall agree.
    I can sooo relate to “when we are our most natural, and not fighting to win love walks in”.
    And enjoyed reading the comments of the ladies too.
    Have a lovely weekend everyone!

  • Reply mary beth at MBZ Interiors July 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Well said. My children are in their early 20s and are just now beginning to move out (after returning from college). I’d like to think that I made such a comfortable happy home for them that they stayed just about as long as they could here and enjoyed every minute of it and are taking happy memories with them before they made new ones.

  • Reply Elena July 25, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have been thinking the same lately. Sometimes we spend a lot energy thinking about what we haven’t got or we haven’t achieved and we don’t realize we lose concentration and focus on the present which is where we can be happy and build our happiness. I think that the internet, an enriching instrument no doubt, can be overwhelming as well and this incredible amount of images make us wanting not just objects but also other people’s lifestyles or what we think their lifestyles are through their profiles.

  • Reply Pam WhimsicalVintage July 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    A beautiful post in every way. Now that I’m older and my son has just left home, I can’t begin to say how important the small things are…and how quickly it all passes…

  • Reply Kalyn July 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Such a beautiful post, I love reading these types of posts from you. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and gorgeously written words.

  • Reply Manuella July 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Beautiful article Holly, it brought me back to Alan Watts talking us through the virtues of a life without hurrying,a purposeless life which misses nothing compared to the purposeful one “for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.”, and you convey this wonderfully through your blog, which always makes me want to sit back, simply, smell the roses, smile lightly and listen to the grass grow. Bisous Holly

  • Reply Julianne July 28, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I really needed this today. You’re a great writer, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Effie July 28, 2015 at 3:05 am

    I just got home from a disappointing visit to the fertility clinic and went in search of something beautiful to take my mind off of my frustrations for a few minutes. Your site was the first one that came to mind. I know you wrote this post a few days ago but I am thankful that I came across your uplifting words today, when I needed them most. Thank you for reminding me that wonderful things are found and created – husbands, babies, friendships, homes, contentment – when you allow them to come in their own time without chasing them down so relentlessly. And thank you, Holly, for sharing your spirit and your talents with the world so bravely. You and your site inspire me repeatedly!

  • Reply Maja July 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Great post! I love reading peoples thoughts, their life stories and lessons.

  • Reply Jess July 30, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Oh Holly, how you put my feelings into words so well! I know exactly what you mean, it’s like we all need a sign hanging in front of us like a donkey’s carrot saying “Enjoy the Here and Now, Idiot!”.
    A couple of years ago I bought a little run down house in the middle of suburbia, and in a year or two with help of friends and family it went from horrid to lovely renovation. It’s very small and modest compared to my friends or what people in my area strive to live in, but its bright and sunny and mine. Yet my partner is so keen to build a house, and we talk about our “forever home” so often, that I feel like my little house isn’t good enough or worthy of loving. But the truth is the home I’m paying off (by myself!) could easily do us forever, and is far more than a lot of people have in a lifetime. And yes, one day we will sell it and build our dream, but in the meantime I feel like I’m constantly swimming against the tide because I love my little place. If only life would let me enjoy the here and now!

  • Reply lourdes costa July 31, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Yes it is true, maybe you can see it now when you are younger you are so axious to live everything at rhe same time today! not tomorrow. You cant wait for someone special or others material things. Now I am 45 and I agree with you probably when I was 20 I couldnt understand the meaning of ” less is more”
    because you dont need a new car …you need someone waiting for you by night saying “how was your day my dear”. I dont have it now and I miss him a lot but I can say thank you to him for all these moments, simples but amazing moments we had . Thank you

  • Reply Eileen July 31, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I just happened to stumble upon it and it speaks to me so much. I am a wife, a mother and have been struggling since the end of last year to understand how I came to be in the place that I am. Wondering what it would have been like had I not rushed into my life so quickly while I was so young. I love my children and my family life yet I wonder what it would be like if I had just taken the time to let me be me rather than pleasing others and try to live a life that is “supposed to be”. I am now focusing on letting things be and letting things come to me. Finding gratitude in what I have. Enjoying these moments with my children.

  • Reply Diana August 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I think about the balance of planning and spontaneity often as well, but this was beautifully written.


  • Reply Amy August 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I think about this all the time. What a beautiful post, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  • Reply Afi August 6, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful post, I truly agree with you. Sometimes I am so concerned about taking great photos while on vacation that I realize that I don’t enjoy the moment!

  • Reply Kellya August 9, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    You said it so well! It’s really beautiful. And I couldn’t agree more. I try to look to my home with a fresh look every day, and to feel happy in it. It’s so easy to forget to be happy when we are looking for the next great thing. Thanks for this great post!

  • Reply Trina August 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    You are so right! I have found that the best things happen when you are not trying so hard or planning out every second of your life.

  • Reply Liz @ Diamonds August 20, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Your last line really resonates.

    “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

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