It’s been quiet on my side. My hands are full. Full with a gorgeous baby, a beautiful pre-schooler and piles and piles and never ending piles of things which seemingly come out of no where.
Usually this time of the year I’m somewhere extraordinary. A place where sun is a matter of course, mangoes at hand, coconut water to hydrate, yoga on a roof top, a daily swim in the sea, meditation as a daily practice. Reduced electronic consumption and the outdoor lifestyle gave me annually a sense of health, rejuvenation and with all the other yogis around me it felt like I’m
A) fitting in and therefor doing the right thing
B) doing my practice and therefor stripping the layers of who I think I am to come closer to Self
It was great and I’d honestly have to say I’d like to the same thing again this year. Yet, I’m digging deep here in a completely new way and I’m stripping layers I had no clue would be so painfully hard to strip.
German January…The sky is grey and forms a heavy hat that often pours water like an uncomfortable cold shower with a broken knob to turn it off. People around me are overweight, fed up with life and tight... in their minds, schedules and hearts. Coconut water is available only in tetra packs and mangoes are on sale… at Aldi. My husband is in Bangkok training new AcroYogis and I get go… to the roots.
Roots are usually deep down in the earth, where it’s cold, damp, and dark. Sounds a little bit like my reality. Every day I have strong intentions to step on the mat and practice… and mostly, at the end of the day I'm too tired to actually do so. I haven't been sleeping properly for weeks. A teething baby on one side of the bed and a tender pre-schooler dreaming heavily on the other. I get up at 5:30 with the little one to prepare breakfast and my day is full with meals, errands, snacks, kids activities and mere life logistics.
I’ve been very comfortable those past years on the flowery side of life. Yet, never had anyone said that’s the full spectrum. No mud, no lotus, they say in Yoga.
Ok, it’s mud time for me. With around 0 degrees celsius and a 7 month old I get to spend a lot of time at home. That means I have to take a look at my “nest” and with all the strings, branches and things I’ve built it with. This time I spend in those walls which I call my home I realise how much clutter there is and so the virgo in me wakes up:
Let’s dive in.
Time to declutter.
If I do, I do it proper.
In America, Joshua Becker writes in his minimalist Blog, twice as many material goods are consumed as there where 50 years ago. Over the same period, the size of the average American home has nearly tripled, and today that average home contains about 300,000 items.
I don’t live in America, yet I can tell there are very similar tendencies over here. We moved from a 60 sqm home to 124 sqm home exactly one year ago. When we moved I felt I have cut down our belongings in half. Having this time now to really see how filled our cupboards and closets are, I had this deep longing to comb through all those things and make space. Space for … life!
“Does it spark joy?”
Mary Kondo asks to answer the question: keep or throw?. And this question for me was a great place to start the process, Lea in Kindergarden, Finnja sleeping or crawling (happily enough she isn’t in the collecting-EVERYTHING-from-rocks-to-hairbands yet), husband’s out of the house. A perfect set up to unpack it all.
Everything out. Completely out of its box! Yet while combing through those things in the back corners of those deep closets it hit me fast: This is about something way deeper here.
“The next time you decide to uncluttered your life and clean up your space, start with the things that are truly useless:
Like regrets, shame, anger.”
- Sandra Kring
I get to feel and let go of my jealousy of not being under the Thai sun playing AcroYoga with the movers and shakers of our time.
I get to feel and let go of my shame to not live up to my “perfect” illusionary standards I’m making up in my busy head.
I get to feel and let go of my anger to not reach my goals and manifest my dreams faster and more accurate and most importantly: I get to let go of the angry illusion anyone else than myself in charge of how I perceive and own my life experience.
Like this I look at it all. Each item. Each memory. Each emotion.
“So when you’re holding one of your possessions in your hands,” Joshua advices, “ask yourself, Does it help me fulfill my purpose? Does it help me craft a lifestyle in which I am able to build relationships and care for others, or might I be able to use my time, money, and energy in better ways?”
The things I feel a desire to let go of create piles, pile after pile. I’m pretty amazed by how much stuff fits into those closets and cupboards… I move from fitting in, to belonging. I move from careless what-I-need-now attitude to a strong desire to close-the-cycles. Something like reduce, reuse, recycle and beyond.
For now I used a mixture of recycling bin, charity, second hand shop and eBay. I was quite amazed by how fast and fun all of those cycles were and also how much money there is hiding in my closets when the money came in from the sold items.
Not only money, also unused potential. 4 Years ago I purchased an amazing juicer. Super stereotype I used it 5 times and never again. I thought I sell it, yet when it was out of its box and ready to use Lea and I had amazing time juicing and experimenting and chose to keep it and celebrate juicing 2 times a week. It was such an enlightening experience to be in the kitchen with my girls, fruits, vegetables, colours, flavours. We made a juice, almond butter, coconut cream almond-coconut milk… all in one go. No shopping, just sifting through our stocks.
While I still pack packages shipping out sold stuff it became a habit having a second look when opening a cupboard or a drawer. Often I take out something I haven’t used in a long time. I make it a gift, take it to recycling, sell it, throw it.
I feel so content with the things I kept that I have no desire for purchases which makes us more frequently go to the forest instead of the store.
If there’s a need coming up I let myself sit with it for a while and test it and mostly check for second hand options.
As I uncluttered my life, I free myself to answer the callings of my soul.
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
So now, there is more space. And it all feels a bit more spacious. And spaciousness is a deep longing of my soul. It also brings up the calling of my soul and therefor makes me reflect upon and deal with decision that are exciting, yet not always comfortable.
If not to say: Damn scary.
* Where do I want to live with my family? What does that mean for me? What for my extended family?
* What type of education will I choose for my children? How will that shape their future?
* What’s the most important values I want to trade in my family and how am I trading them?
“There’s a big difference between tidying up your home and freeing up your life. Instead of merely sparking some joy within yourself, light a fire in the world,” Becker says and brings me back to what my life is actually about. For a brief moment I thought I could just swim with the stream and have decisions be made for me by the system:
You’ve got family of origin here? Then this is where you live.
You live in this district? This is where your kid goes to school.
You’re born into german culture? Then you trade their values by performing their rights and routines.
Nope, I’m not numb enough yet. Apart from uncluttering my life through tidying and sorting out cupboards I found some pretty powerful habits to stay awake and to keep an ear on the inner voice:
1. Switch off the wifi in the night
2. Draw a picture with a brush, for real. No tablet.
3. Give away something every day, can be as simple as a smile.
4. Everything out of the closet once a year at least.
5. One day without internet per week.
6. Limited phone access, phone free zones.
7. Talk instead of text.
8. Touch instead of voice message.
9. Unsubscribe from Newsletters instead of blind deleting.
10. Write a post card or a letter, send it old school including licking the stamp.
"Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor- it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living."
How do you keep an intimate connection to life? I'm curious and excited to get inspired!