“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” ~Marie Kondo
After the roof blowing off our house and the flood in the master bathroom and bedroom, it has been the summer of remodeling. We have lived in our house for almost 20 years; we have acquired a lot of stuff. So, when we had to move all of our furniture and items from every closet into the living room so they could put in the new tile it was an eye opener. I am a person who purges on a regular basis and gets rid of stuff, but when you move everything from a 2000 square foot house into your living room, you see how much stuff you really have. We have too much stuff and I went on a BIG PURGE. I have filled bags and boxes and made at least 10 trips to donate clothes, furniture and household items to local agencie. I have thrown away bags and bags of things and shredded years of old documents –I no longer need the addendum contract for coaching softball from 1983. Things went into folders and were never looked at again – I got rid of a ton of manuals for devices we no longer own. It was an arduous process to go through every document in the files and every item in the closets and rooms, but now that I am almost done, it feels wonderful.
The hardest things for me to purge were the mementos and knick-knacks from awards, trips and friends. I am grateful for the awards I have won in my life – but they are not who I am. The awards, plaques and trophies were at my office when I worked. But now that I am retired, most of the awards went into boxes in closets or hung in the guest bedroom and I decided it was time to let them all go. I took photographs of all the key items in case I ever want to see them again and then I got rid of them. It was a very freeing feeling. I have lots more space now. It has been another great lesson in detachment and detaching to material things.
I got rid of furniture and there is more empty space in the rooms – I don’t have to fill every inch of each room with furniture and things. I got rid of so many knick-knacks that on many surfaces of tables and desks I don’t have anything on top of them. It will make it easier to dust and clean and feels more open. I looked at each item in my house and asked if the item spoke to my heart and brought me joy and if it didn’t, I got rid of it. I am resetting my life and embarking on a new lifestyle - less is more. It feels like a new home and I am excited about it.
Do you have things in your home that no longer speak to your heart? Why are you still holding on to them?
Do you need to get rid of any clutter in your house or workspace? If the answer is yes, what is stopping you?
“If you’re wondering whether a choice is wise or not, don’t search your mind for a rational argument. Instead, hold each option in your attention, then feel its effect on your body and emotions. When something’s wrong for you, you’ll feel constriction and tightness. The wise choice leads to feelings of liberation, even exhilaration.” ~ Martha Beck
For most of my life, I was taught to make decisions from my head – I used my intellect. I would make a list of pros and cons. Then I would weigh the pros and cons and sometimes give a numerical value to each pro and con and total up the values for each side. I am an analytical person and I could take any big decision I had to make and put it into a spreadsheet and determine the best solution.
Lately, I am learning not to make all of my decisions with my head. I am using my heart and gut to make decisions. I still consider the rational logic considerations from my head. But, I also listen to my heart and I feel the emotions inside my body from each of the possible outcomes and see which one feels better to me. I look for the feelings of constriction and liberation as tools to help me make my decisions. I also use my gut for decision-making – it is that inner knowing from my core being. When I have a big decision now, I make sure that I am coming from a good space and I listen to my body and the emotions I feel and I also listen to the wisdom of the universe that comes when I am in a peaceful and quiet space. I meditate on the decision and I don’t always get the answer during meditation, but if I come from a place of peace, I receive the signs of which decision would serve me the best. Sometimes my gut has a different solution than my head, but when I look deeper, it is usually because my ego has gotten involved and I am afraid or scared of a particular solution. With a meditation and mindfulness practice, I have learned to listen and trust my intuition. I use my head, heart and gut to make decisions.
Do you make decisions from your head, your heart or your gut? Which works best for you and why?
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few. Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.” ~Shunryu Suzuki
After one of my recent blog posts about letting go, Peggie shared that she was going on a canoe trip in Alaska, which was a new adventure for her, and posted a comment that said, “Relinquishing control was easier than I thought it would be. I think my novice status contributed to letting go. That and deciding in advance to let go. I am going to be more mindful of the freedom of being a novice. It's a lot of fun!” She brings up the philosophy of coming at everything with a beginner's mind. In our everyday life, we encounter so many things that we see and do without ever thinking about them – we do them out of habit. But in doing things in a habitual manner, we miss opportunities and possibilities. When was the last time you stopped and smelled the roses and really looked at their texture and color and appreciated their beauty? When you slow down and live in the present moment you can experience the flowers and all of the items you see and hear, the tastes and smell of your food, the relationships with the people and animals you interact with every day from a fresh perspective. You will begin to appreciate things that you take for granted. For example, today was the first day, after my root canal, that I could chew on the right side of my mouth. I had taken the ability to chew for granted. But today, I am approaching chewing from a beginner’s mind and doing it slowly and easily and being grateful that I can now chew again.
Think of a time when you did something that was new to you. For me, the new experience was paddleboarding. I listened to every piece of advice I could get about how to stand up, how to balance, how to get back up when I fell off and how to make turns. I then took that knowledge and applied it and found out what worked for me. I applied previous knowledge from kayaking and windsurfing to what I was learning. I did not let my ego get involved and think that I knew what to do; I listened to the advice of teenagers and others who were successful. It was a blissful experience to do something new and approach it from a beginner’s mind.
We need to remember to try and look at each experience from a beginner’s mind and see if there is something new we can see and appreciate. We can look at the activity and see how it affects us physically, emotionally and mentally. Come from that place of innocence where there are no doubts, limitations or fears. Embrace life like a toddler learning to walk – you will fall down and make mistakes, but you will also experience moments of pure ecstasy too. I embraced paddleboarding like a toddler, - I was shaky when I got up, I was unbalanced, and I fell off. But, when I was successfully paddling across the lake I was living in the present moment and blissed out.
How can you bring more moments of the “beginner’s mind” into your daily life?
How often to you try new things? What is something you have always wanted to try but have been putting off?
How would your life be different if you embraced everything from the perspective of a novice instead of an expert?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
My goal is to build a community with like-minded individuals who want to grow, share and learn from one another. Please post comments to enrich the experience for all.