Back in Summer of 2015 with a baby on the way and an upcoming home renovation, I started getting rid of everything unnecessary in my life. With a changing body and a changing home, I felt the need to create space for what was next and in my typical fashion that started with my surroundings.
Let me preface this by saying I am not a person who has a lot of things. I have moved 12 times since I was 18 with 1/3 of those moves being back and forth to Europe. I have learned to travel lightly. However, even with my editing, I still felt as though I had more than I needed, and I didn’t want anything that I didn’t use. In retrospect, it was a natural part of my spiritual journey.
Relieving myself of things in order to create space for additional clarity, grounding and focus. In addition, as an environmentalist, I feel like the acquisition of things is a temporary fix, and at the end of the day just more stuff to add to the ever expanding piles of trash that pollute the planet. The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste. That’s insane to me and seems extraordinarily short sighted.
It’s why I shop vintage, don’t use paper towels or cleaning wipes in my home, hate the waste created by take out, always carry my own water bottle and used cloth diapers, but that’s another post.
Beyond the obvious reasons to live lightly there was a more practical reason. We were living in a loft with a baby where the only room with a door was the bathroom. A friend told me about Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I quickly got to work following her method of touching each and every object to see if it brought me joy. I really tuned in; quickly discarding the things that didn’t spark a reaction and soon was left with about 50% of my wardrobe. As a spirit seeker and general vibey person, her energetic approach to organizing really resonated with me and I followed her directions to a T.
When we moved into our house (that was supposed to be an Airbnb) we were all prepped to move to LA so put the bulk of our belongings into storage. One year later (after an unexpected hiccup in our plan), we have learned to live without all that is in storage leaving me to wonder why we needed it in the first place.
3 years after applying her methods, I continue to live with less and surround myself only with things that bring me joy. This practice has opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t care about clothes as much as I thought and prefer to spend my money on vintage furniture, beauty and wellness treatments, books, herbalism classes, travel and food. The Universe continues to support my plan. When my car was stolen I had my wedding china in the back because it wasn’t bringing me joy and I wanted to sell it. Wasn’t quite the way I thought it would happen, but the china is gone (maybe they used it for Thanksgiving!), the car is back and I got a check so I guess I’m on the right path. I got what I asked for, just in a different package.
As we roll into the Holidays, I am being super mindful of the sprit of the season and focusing on activities and experiences that bring me joy. As the mother of a toddler who is just starting understand Christmas, it’s important to me that I create and share rituals with him. I want him to know that this time of year is to be savored and entered into with ease and gratitude; not stress, expectation and overwhelm. We can choose. It’s time to slow down, spend time with loved ones, help others in need and build energy for the next season. Fortunately it’s a pretty easy call in my family as we stopped giving each other presents years ago and instead go on a big family vacation for a week in January.
Best. Present. Ever.
This month we will officially welcome Winter which for me is always a time of introspection and quiet. Short days and long nights are natures signals to us to rest, but most of us spend the Holidays running around like a crazy; trying to get all the shopping/decorating/cooking/traveling/partying done.
Now I’m not saying slowing down is easy, we all have busy lives, but pay attention to what is happening around you. I was feeding into the stress and overwhelm of life a few weeks ago when one of my properties sprung a leak, my refrigerator stopped working and a chair that I sourced for a patio redesign project arrived damaged all in the same week. Instead of just ticking things off my list as planned, I was ground to a screeching halt having to shift my focus to mundane, but necessary tasks, forcing me to slow down. Which in turn is exactly what I needed because sometimes I need to be reminded. Life is a long game and I, for one, have zero interest in being burned out. I want to enjoy each moment, knowing that that’s all we were really have.
This year I invite you to focus more on being rather than doing. On giving. On saying no when you when you need to. Or want to. Take time off. Rest. The Holiday season will be so much more enjoyable and so will you!