Things to Remember as You Change (for the better!)

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism

We all have a tendency to build emotional walls, develop coping mechanisms, and hone in on our fight or flight survival skills. I’ve learned that with time, all of these things defenses build up emotional plaque.

I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, and neither are you. Our experiences have changed us – either for the better or worse. Perhaps we have baggage and negative energy we have bottled up inside. It never gets dealt with because we don’t make or have the time for it.

As we shift and change through time, this bottling up can become a very stressful situation.

If we let it go long enough without dealing with it and changing our behaviors, issues will eventually surface. The daily grind can become overwhelming simply because our inner primal instincts tell us to run from the lion, even if there is no lion.

This is the effect of busyness, stress, frustration, clutter, and simply not taking care of ourselves.

Because my health is now suffering, it is time to do the work and deal with it.

I have attempted to de-clutter my possessions and simply for many, many years but I always end up stuck and giving in. I will donate, then binge trying to fill the void.

Life is full of lessons and I have learned a few things so I can adapt and change:

1. Take it slow. Although I am doing a panicked de-cluttering of my possessions, I am really feeling and experiencing the weight this has on me this time. Instead of just taking my unused possessions out of my living space and downstairs for later or labeling it ‘may use in the future’ it goes straight to the donation center.

2. Be patient with yourself. When we face reality, it can be tough. Especially if you are like me and have just pushed issues inside without the time to deal with it. All of it will eventually surface. It’s worth noting, looking into, and letting go.

3. Celebrate. Yes, de-cluttering and simplifying can be daunting. You will come to realize a lot more about yourself than you may even be ready for. But, this is time to celebrate! You are facing your demons and changing for the better. It’s a celebration!

4. Grace. You and I have made a lot of mistakes. We are human after all. But, everyone has and everyone has to own up to it. By hiding behind the curtain of denial, nothing is accomplished. We can not change unless we bring it all to the table. I’m learning with time, that I forgive myself. Not everything is my fault; whether it was someone else’s doings or my own: what happened has happened. There, I said it. Now, let’s do something else.

5. Live for now. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter anymore. You learn from it. You have permission to let go and be your best today. Tomorrow hasn’t happened; and quite frankly, may not ever happen, so let’s not worry. Let us live our lives for today in this moment. We better make dang sure we live the life we want because we only have 1 shot at this.

You will know when it’s time to make a drastic change. You may be lurking here for some inspiration or someone to relate to. That’s what I do. Know that you can’t change until you are ready to do the work. Start now. Be the person you want to be. Don’t focus on the end result, focus on what you do right now and what your next decision will be. All the littles make the bigs in the end. It takes daily tries and choices – not just one big bang! Get that momentum and do it.

That’s where I’m headed; imperfectly perfect.

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5 Questions I Ask When De-Cluttering

De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Letting Go

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I dropped off another 2 car loads of clutter yesterday. It feels so amazing having all of this stuff gone and out of my life.

My de-cluttering process is simple:

1. If it hasn’t been used in 1 year, it’s gone.

2. If it doesn’t spark any joy, it’s gone.

3. If it is a duplicate, it’s gone.

4. If it brings me negative energy, it’s gone.

5. If I was to pack up and move and wouldn’t take the item with me, it’s gone.

Using this 5 step process has been a major success. I am coming to find out that the vast majority of my stuff is useless. The more I donate and get rid of, the happier I feel. My home is opening up and getting clean. It’s a new slate for my home to be a place of peace and calm.

My home is going to be a place that fits our needs for today. Not a place to store items of the past or items ‘we hope to get around to using.’ It will only house things that are useful or beautiful or both. It’s a lot of work, but it is well worth it!

A De-Cluttering Past

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

I stumbled across the idea of minimalism when I found the website zenhabits.net in 2007. That’s a long time ago. It was prior to Pinterest and prior to the big ‘buzz’ of the unconventional lifestyle mainstream. I remember being intrigued by the notion of how small habit changes daily, can change your life! From there, I attempted to make changes. I was young, fresh out of college, unmarried, and pretty dang hopeful.

From there, I spent years on and off of the simple life. I would declutter and be excited, then feel lost and go on a shopping binge. Just like any other addiction, really.

Then there was marriage and combining stuff and moving a few times and major life shifts.

You know, the usual.

This binging and purging of stuff and debt over the years has left me mentally, physically, and emotionally drained.

Partly because in my heart I am a simple girl. I want the simple life. I don’t want the excess and mess – but somehow society creeps in and tells me that I just have to have it to be successful.

So, I try that and in the end feel worse than I did before.

I’ve done massive, MASSIVE decluttering stunts in the past. And, I always feel better afterward. But then, I want to do DIY Pinterest crafts…so I go to the thrift store, load up, repaint and refurb, and then store the junk. Then I feel guilty.

Endless!

My last major declutter was last year after I was laid off from work. I was able to stay home for a while and thought it was a good time to get rid of some stuff.

Well…I did.

But, then I just kept it ALL down in the garage in case I needed it.

Somewhere, between then and now ALL of that junk made it’s way back upstairs and in my living space.

Now, I am decluttering the same stuff and then some again!

I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty insane to me.

This time, I have a serious, serious rule.

What I donate and do not need gets loaded into my car and taken to the donation center right then.

It’s been working like a charm.

I’m different this time. I am focused this time. My life is slowly changing for the better.

This is where I want to be.

Enjoy the Journey Up

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Simplicity

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When I was telling my best friend about the biggest, hardest, tragic, most emotional event in my life she said the comforting, lovely words to me: “Shit happens.”

Well, that was pretty blunt and why I love her so much.

Not what I wanted to hear necessarily, but it was definitely a shot of truth. Over the last few years I have tried hard to accept some truths about my situation and life as hard as it is. And then, last night I finally had a revelation. I mean, I’ve know this revelation, but somehow it just sunk in and gave me peace.

See, here in Alabama we are hardcore college football fanatics. It is serious business. And, being a University of Alabama football fan – we hear it all the time:

When you are at the top, there’s only one way to go. Down.

This is our justification for winning so many championships and taking it to heart and being spoiled so when we lose it is pretty much the end of the world. Panic strikes and there are tears and toddler tantrums from adults.

Could it be that I am tired of the swampy heat and craving some rotel dip? Probably. Or could it be that it makes sense and that my life circumstance could also apply the same concept?

I’ve been on top of the world. I busted my tail to get where I was. As far as I was concerned I had ‘made it’ and my life was about to be gravy. My hard work and conscious decisions lead me to where I wanted to go: great credit, awesome SUV, husband, cute house, baby, and a stellar job.

I mean, what else really is there?

The ‘what else is there?’ is that you can fall to the bottom quick. Should the stars not align perfectly one day, you can be knocked off the high horse. Deep down we know that can happen – I mean…who’s gonna stop that tornado from demolishing your home, or a sickness, or wreck, or any other crisis? Not me, and not you.

The problem was that I clung so hard to my life that I created. I did it. It worked out. But it was A LOT of pressure to keep it there. Constantly on the defense. Always stressing and worrying about getting knocked off.

And then it happened.

I was knocked to the bottom and nearly lost everything.

Not of any fault of my own – it just happened and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

So here I am with a mess.

But secretly (and here was my acceptance and revelation)… I am thankful.

What? How in tha? How did I do that?

Well, if you are at the top there’s only one way to go…down.

But, if you are at the bottom there is only one way to go…UP!

Yay!

I can let go of the control and pressure from the top. The top is where I was using all my energy for worry and defense and stress to stay there.

I am at the bottom and it’s an excellent way to do things differently. I can now do things the way I want and not the way society tells me I have to.

I can let go and enjoy the journey.

Because truth is, I feel the same as I did at the top except I don’t have the pressure to stay there. I can ride back up with a different set of eyes. I can create something new and beautiful. I can learn from the fall. I can learn to trust intuition and destiny.

When you have nothing to lose, you lose nothing. 

Consent: Making my Personal Life Personal Again

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

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Social Media has really taken over, hasn’t it? I remember when Facebook was just for college students, it was a whole lot more private, and didn’t take up so much emotional, mental and social energy. Well, I opened my account in 2004 when I was in college. I’ve been through all the waves and curve balls and here recently, I have just had enough.

I have had enough ‘social posting responsibility’ and people micro managing what I post, who and what I respond to, and the like. Not only that, I notice that the more time I was spending on Facebook the worse I felt. It’s like I was watching a train wreck, but couldn’t quit looking.

I’m not against people who want to use Facebook by any means. But, by hearing my close family and friends chatter about it – it seems they are getting a good fill of it too. Jealousy, frustration, feeling less-than, and constantly comparing their lives with someone else. I mean, we all know deep down that people only post their highlights mostly, but it still can be a real drainer of energy if we don’t control it.

I took it upon myself to go on a Facebook hiatus the last few months and it has been lovely. Yes, I have missed out on a few social updates; like someone had a baby or got married. That’s awesome and all, but I don’t need to continually ‘stalk’ other’s daily lives anymore. I have a lot on my plate and I am changing and rearranging my life – and really don’t have time for that.

So, I deactivated my account today. Although I wasn’t logging on, I feel better knowing that I am unsearchable. I know people are going to notice, and when they do, I will just inform them to text or call me if they need something, no biggie.

I remember the days before social media. It seems like I knew a lot about what was going on around town anyway without logging on to read other people’s business. And also, obsessing over posting MY OWN business. Do I really want everyone to know what I’m doing? No, I don’t.

My personal life is now that. Personal. And I’m already liking it better that way.

Let Go of Who You are Not

De-Cluttering, Letting Go, Minimalism, Simplicity

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Sometimes when we dig through our stuff, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional – we find out a lot about our true selves.

I came to a major revelation when doing another de-cluttering haul this weekend:

I have a LOT of stuff that I’ve bought in hopes to be a person I’d like to be; not the person I actually am.

For instance: the necklaces pictured above. I think they are adorbs on some people. I thought that I would love them on me too. A great way to accessorize and mix up an outfit. The truth is though, I hate necklaces and I always have. They make me hot and sticky and they just bug during the day. But, I bought them anyways knowing that I hate necklaces.

So, they have been hanging on display in my bedroom never worn. Not even once because I lothe them but secretly hope that one day I will love them.

Well…nope. I don’t. I’m not going to wear them because I just don’t want to.

Now they have been donated and I don’t have to look at them every day wondering when I will actually wear them and dress like someone I am not.

There are a lot of things I have purchased and held on to for that reason. Also, there are a lot of crafty things I have in ‘hopes’ that I will be a Pinterest Queen. But, I’ve tried that and it didn’t work out, so…

Another carload went to the donation center this weekend. My home is finally…FINALLY becoming a little more manageable. There may just be light at the end of the tunnel afterall.

Next thing to leave my house…

My sewing machine.

Because I hate sewing.

I want to live to my true self. I want to have the things around me that I actually like to do. And if I try something and don’t like it – I will let it go too.

Currently, I need space, cleanliness, an uncluttered view in my home. And a huge space smack dab in the center of my living room to do my yoga and roll around with my daughter.

THAT IS WHO I AM. THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO DO.

Fear & Fact

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The time for hiding behind my financial misfortunes is no longer relevant. It’s time to take action and that’s exactly what I did today.

I am humbled and sad; distraught and challenged. But, facing my financial woe’s head on has lifted a weight of my shoulders.

Perhaps it’s that an elephant in the room exposed, or an opportunity to shift and change. Regardless, I am happy I finally tackled this arduous task. Now, I sit and wait for a while before knowing what to do next.

I was laid off from my job last July. It was very unfortunate and life changing. Not to mention my baby girl was only 6 months old at the time.

But, the problem is that during my unemployment I had to use credit cards for things, you know, like food and diapers and formula. It really wasn’t something I wanted to do, it was something I had to do.

And also another catch? Now I make about half as much as I used to. Half.

So, considering I live a very modest lifestyle – nothing elaborate by any stretch – I still built my life on my circumstances and finances because my old job was secure right? Well, wrong.

Our jobs are not secure.

The long and short of this story is that my credit score went from excellent to piss poor. Have you ever been laid off? That $800.00 a month is better than nothing, but I’m afraid to say — you can’t pay your bills with it!

So now I have a humongous mess to clean up. I’ve been so depressed about it that I have procrastinated facing debt head on. I’ve procrastinated because:

1. I’m a badass and thought that I could catch up on a few lacking car payments, etc. even though I make half of what I used to.

Fact is: I can’t. It’s an illusion that is not reality. I only make so much money a month, and it’s just not the same amount as it used to be.

2. I’m scared. I’ve never had bad credit or so much debt that I am a poor person. Well, I am now and it’s hard to accept the reality.

So, fear and fact has held me back.

Since I am ready to just go ahead and face this and accept the reality, I dove in this morning.

I have been on the phone with the loan people, collections agencies, and my husband.

Not much has been resolved as far as payments go – but one major thing has happened:

I FACED IT. I EXPOSED IT. I NAMED IT. I CALLED IT OUT. I GOT IT OFF MY CHEST. 

This is the first step in action. Seeing something for what it is and not being scared. It’s so tough sometimes to just face a situation. We wait. We hope. We put it off. It’s held inside and then we feel so stressed we may burst.

But now I have looked my financial situation in the eye and got the truth. Was it what I wanted to hear? Well, no. But it is my reality and it’s what I have to work with.

Now I wait on a few phone calls to come back before I can make a plan. Still feels so good to have this ‘lurker/stresser’ out in the open. Whew.

Are you procrastinating dealing what something because it’s a tough topic? Is it something you wish were different or is it something you can’t control, but want to?

That’s what happened to me. But now, I’m ready to expose it and work with my here and now and free myself from the bonds of shame, frustration, and humiliation. It’s only hurting me. And, it’s not worth hiding anymore.

How I Want to Navigate Life

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Ecstasy is something higher, or further out, than ordinary pleasure… its achievement requires a particular discipline and skill that is comparable to the art of sailing. We do not resist the vibrations, pulses, and rhythms of nature, just as the yachtsman does not resist the wind. But he knows how to manage his sails and, therefore, can use the wind to go wherever he wishes. The art of life, as we see it, is navigation.” ~Alan Watts

I don’t want to fight the flow anymore. I want to grow. I want to float with the currents and the ups and downs of life. I want it to be sexy, interesting, pleasant. I want to be able to glide without fear of the waves. I’m in management training: soon I will master the art of using the wind to go wherever I wish.

My Schedule: Why I Crave a Simpler Life

Minimalism, Simplicity

I spoke about my current stress level yesterday. It’s turned into a health problem. There are a lot of emotional issues I need resolved and a lot of dreams I want to do. One of the themes that is pretty much across the board for people who are searching for a simple life is that we all want to create more time to do the things we love. My daily schedule is spread too thin with all my responsibilities so I am working hard on making the space I need to enjoy life again.

I know so many of us are busy and some are busyer than others. My current daily grind is too much for me. It goes like this:

5:45 – Wake up, take shower get ready for work.

6:45 – Wake husband and baby and get baby ready to go.

7:00 – Drive and drop baby off for the day.

7:15-8:00 – Commute to work

See, right here. I’m exhausted and haven’t even got to my job yet.

8:00 – 4:30 – Full-time job.

4:30 – 6:00 – Pick up baby and get home.

6:00-7:00 – Cook dinner and feed baby.

7:30-8:30 – Clean up kitchen.

8:30 – 9:00 – Bathe baby.

9:00 – 9:30 – Play with baby and have a few mins of family bonding time.

9:30-10:00 – Put baby to bed.

10:00-10:15 – Sit down for the first time all day and take a breath.

10:15 – 11:00 – Yoga to relive stress and work on health.

11:00-11:20 – Take quick shower and get ready for bed.

11:20 – 12am – Wind down, bond with husband and try to go to sleep.

Repeat.

That’s a long day y’all and doesn’t leave enough time for me to dream, think, rest, enjoy. Because, for me to get into bed before midnight is near impossible. During my day I am wide open leaving no time for creativity or hobbies.

Have you thought about what all you cram into your day? It probably looks like me and could be a whole lot worse. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed like I do, it may be time to make a change.

My changes are gong to take some time before my schedule will be where it needs to, but I’m not giving up.

What does your day look like? What do you need more of? Isn’t it time we took some action?