In August, the APDO Book Club hosted an online workshop led by Sarah Gregg, the author of Find Your Flow (Rock Point, 2020) and Choose Happy (Rock Point, 2021). In it, Sarah shared her 1-2-3-Flow method and discussed how we can use positive psychology methods and her journaling system ourselves and with our clients. In this blog post, Sarah answers five questions put to her by Book Club Co-organiser Anne Welsh (Beginning Cataloguing – Tidy Beginnings).
Growing up in Belfast, how did you picture your adult life would be?
I struggled to picture my life. The wrestling match between what I wanted and who I should be seemed to create a messy blur. I certainly didn’t imagine that I’d be almost forty, living out of a backpack and traveling the world as a published author. But that’s the beauty of life – sometimes you need the messy blur to create a brilliant masterpiece that surprises you.
When did you realise that you wanted something a little different?
The draw towards something different has always been there. It was something myself and others told me to ‘Get out of my system’. I kept the unconventional part of me entertained with travel, new hobbies, and experiences. But once I was married, had a house and a good job I tried to silence it. I wanted to fit in and to belong – so I paid more attention to who I ‘should be’ and not who I was.
I remember going to bed at night just feeling that something was missing. I now realise that ‘something’ was me. In being everything to everyone else, I’d lost myself.
In 2016 when we decided to sell our house, all our stuff, and quit our jobs -t hat was the moment I realised it wasn’t just about ‘wanting’ something different, I ‘needed’ it.
What’s been the biggest surprise you’ve had since you ‘found your flow’?
I’ve realised that it’s really challenging to be yourself. But it’s also the most liberating and exciting. Finding your flow is about becoming who you are, fulfilling your potential and that will look different for each of us. The more we can shed who we think we should be, the closer we can get to the core of who we are.
Is minimalism and traveling a ‘forever lifestyle’ for you?
I have no idea. It feels right, right now. I love the freedom it gives and that it’s in line with our values. But I also know life can change, nothing is really ‘forever’. If we did stop traveling that would present a new challenge for a minimalist lifestyle but I’d hope we keep it up. I feel lighter without the clutter and ‘stuff’.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself in your journey to ‘choose happy’?
I’ve learned that I used to treat negative emotions as a sign that I was failing or as a form of punishment from the universe. Choosing happy has involved learning how to sit with negative emotions, to understand and value them as much as the positive emotions. After all the greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments in my life have come from negative emotions. They can act as a real clarifying force when we know how to work with them.
You can keep up with Sarah’s latest publications, workshops and travels on her instagram, @thepowertoreinvent.
We are also very grateful to Sarah and to her publisher for offering us three free books as member giveaways. Sarah made two random draws on the night, and we ran an instagram competition for APDO members. The winners were Lesley Gault (Declutter for Calm), Jo Lubbock (Perfect Order), and Victoria Nicholson (My Wardrobe Zen).
The APDO Book Club is one of the many benefits of joining APDO. You can find out more about becoming a member here.