“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately… I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear… I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” –Henry David Thoreau
I want to live deep… to sing my song while there is a song still in me.
So where do I start?
I start by cutting away and cutting away what is superfluous… what is excess, what is unnecessary in order to see more clearly what truly matters, and what truly brings peace, joy, and purpose.
Whenever I am confused and overwhelmed, my mother always says “start where you are, with what is immediately in front of you.”
What is staring me in the face, is a mess.
My house is cluttered. My mind is cluttered.
I want … I need… to free myself from all this stuff.
So how am I going to do this? I mean–I’ve de-cluttered I don’t know how many times. It just never seems to stick.
I need to start with a plan.
The problem with my efforts in the past, is that I wasn’t able to truly identify what I really wanted to do with my life, how I really wanted to live, so could never really face letting go of stuff.
I thought that by letting go of my things, meant I was letting go of my memories, my identity, my accomplishments… and also letting go of my security, my ideas, and my future.
I read a book many years ago that made me very aware of how my clutter was affecting me. I knew this stuff was actually holding me back, but I felt compelled to continue gathering more and more. I couldn’t stop it. It felt like I was being loved, rewarded when I would go to the store and purchase something for myself, or for my home. It soothed me emotionally. But it only masked the problem.
The problem is that I have been trying to avoid my purpose. I have been succumbing to all the same thoughts and beliefs that keeps anyone and everyone from the full measure of their existence.
I was fortunate enough to have come across the book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo during the previous year, but had yet found enough time to implement it. I knew when I read it, that this is what I needed to do to change my life.
All my de-cluttering attempts failed because I hadn’t done them thoroughly enough, or in a way that truly awakened me to just how much crap I really had.
So thankfully, about a month ago I got a couple weeks off work and I decided I was going to spend it de=cluttering my life.
I followed Marie’s advice.
I started with the end in mind.
Your image may look different to you, but this is what my image looks like:
I have my own business teaching others many of the methods and tools I have been blessed with to help heal their lives. I work with amazing people. I have a beautiful office and studio made from natural materials.
I have a wonderful loving partnership with my husband. We enjoy riding horses in the evenings, working in the garden, and traveling together.
I have a small, beautiful home made from natural materials with large windows with enough land to pasture a couple horses, grow a lot of my own food, and in an area of the country where we have four distinct seasons, but a decently mild for each one… just enough to enjoy a few inches of snow in the winter without having to drive too much in the snow, beautiful autumn colors with a crispness to the air, beautiful spring flowers and the sense of anticipation in the air, and green, sunny summers perfect for trips to the swimming hole or the lake.
I have enough money to live debt free, enjoy regular travel, and help others. My life is simple and focused, with ample opportunity to live slowly and enjoy nature.
I exercise through swimming, yoga and weight training. My diet is simple and made up of primarily raw vegan foods.
My mornings are spent swimming, meditating, and writing. My day is spent working, creating, and managing my business. My evenings are spent riding horses with my husband, preparing a healthy dinner, simple tasks around the house, and snuggling up with a good movie, a good book, in front of a warm fire or out next to the pool.
My weekends are spent hiking, trail riding with the horses, traveling, or otherwise enjoying my time with my loved ones.
Now that I have a clear picture in my mind of how I want my life to look, it makes it easier to let go of things. I just have to let go of all the things that don’t fit into that idea. Things that belong in the past, or to a future that isn’t what I really want.
So this is where I started about a month ago using Marie Kondo’s method of tidying, which means tidying by category, not by room (a big mistake I have been making all along.)
I’m not done yet… far from it. (There’s a reason she says it will probably take about six months to finish a complete tidying process.) I thought she was kidding until I went through my papers and books. It took an entire two weeks and I’m still not done with the papers, but I did take at least 12 boxes of books to the thrift store, and I got rid of approximately an entire car load (front and back seats, and trunk included) of papers. (I called the mobile shredder and found out where the truck was going to be. It cost me about $40 to have him destroy them completely… it’s such a relief to be rid of them!)
So that’s my advice.
Start where you are, with what’s right in front of you, and get clear about what you want your life to look like. Not five years from now, but now… today.
Once you’re really clear about that. I heavily recommend Marie Kondo’s book. You can get it by clicking here. It truly is life changing.
If you’re having a lot of emotional attachment to your stuff and are having a hard time letting go, I recommend one other book to help you past that hurdle… “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston. While some of the book talks about Feng Shui, which you may not be into, the message I got the most when reading it, was understanding and being able to assess what kinds of energy objects are radiating into my life, either from their previous owners, or because of my own memories attached to them and what they represent to me, how energy flows through a space, and how to utilize that to make your home sacred space.
If you have read either of these books, leave a comment and let me know what your experience of them was. Have you done any tidying, and what were your results? What picture have you created of what your ideal life looks like?
Post your comments below. I’m reading every one.