Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ Category

Stumbling toward simplicity

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Decluttering/space clearing is a journey of discovery.

As I make my weekly pilgrimage to the storage unit, I bring back boxes of things that I had formerly thought of as essential to my happiness. Sorting through them, I realize that: I’ve been without them for over a year, I’ve been happy anyway, and they’re (mostly) going right back to storage at the end of October. So, just how essential are they?

Unpacking and sorting them, I uncover not just possessions, but old patterns and attitudes. Some are easy to discard; I’ve moved on. Others, I see as areas that need more examination. Just why am I keeping these things? What do they mean to me?  Are they truly essential? Is there another way to reframe this? Is there a way to gently release them? Or do I need to wait?

One of the challenges is that my life is in flux. How do I know that I won’t need X in my future? So another question is: if I do decide I need it, how difficult is it to replace?

I’m trying to keep William Morris’s advice in mind: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Here are some books I’ve found to be useful on this journey.

Do you have any tips, books or websites to recommend?

Space Clearing, the last frontier

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Your Spacious Self

Your Spacious Self-

No, I’m not talking about vacuuming up space litter (although that’s a terrific idea.) For me, this path started in San Miguel de Allende, where I took a weekend class in Space Clearing @ the Life Path Center, led by Stephanie Bennett Vogt & Nancy Shapiro.

What started out as a kind of lark (one more workshop…) ended up being a truly transformative experience.

I’ve always been “the messy one.” The one with so many irons in the fire that I’m surrounded by the detritus of my enthusiasms. And always, I’ve beaten myself up about it, trying to get a handle on the clutter. Because I really do value and love simplicity and organization. I just don’t know how to achieve it.

Every effort I’ve made has involved a new book, or a new technique that scolded told me how awful I was, and what to do about it. A whirlwind of picking up & boxes dragged to Goodwill. (“This time, it’s for real! I really mean it! No more clutter!”) And every time, “stuff” crept back in, until things were back to ” normal.” And then the self-loathing cycle would begin again.

What’s different about space clearing (as I understand it, and as it works for me) is that it addresses not just the physical clutter, but the energetic issues behind it. And it’s not about scolding and trying to be “better.” It’s a gentle dialog- an experiment. What if… I put my keys in the same place every day for a month? And gently, gently, things change.

It’s not about being regimented or compulsive. It’s about uncovering the spacious life each of us is heir to. So that’s one of the things I’m working on this summer. I may express it as “cleaning out the storage unit,” but what I’m doing is editing- setting free the “stuff” that doesn’t make my heart sing, to make room for what does. It’s not a grim exercise in forcing myself to toss things. It’s a stroll, rather than a forced hike. What do I really love? And what is superfluous to my life? And what will arise in this new space I’m creating?

There’s a parable I’ve always loved, about a sloppy housekeeper who was given a beautiful flower. She set it on her messy table, and then saw that to appreciate the flower, she should clean the table. Once she did, she saw that the room the table was in need of cleaning. So she cleaned that. And the room was so beautiful, that she was inspired to clean the next room…

And I thank Stephanie & Nancy, as well as my fellow participants, from the bottom of my (more spacious) heart.