Goodness, has it really been three months since my last blog? Seems that I’ve been busier than I thought. Truth is, these last few months have been very eventful. I’ve taken big steps to streamline my life and rid myself of many obstacles that materialized in the last few years. I took a good look at myself, my possessions, my finances, and the people I surround myself with; then I began cutting some of them away through small purges.
I’ve always valued my friendships and have worked to keep communication open with many friends from the past and present. I love reconnecting with old friends and classmates that have been kind to me. I share my life with them through social websites like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, especially, has made it easier to keep in touch with most of my friends.
My friend list is not permanent, however, and I have taken the liberty to clean people out every once in a while. A lot of people daydream of “un-friending” several of the knuckle-heads that they have hesitantly added through the years. True, there are sometimes repercussions after deleting “friends” when you share mutual acquaintances. Texts start flying across the stratosphere, bouncing off the clouds, and lighting up cell phones with questions, assumptions, and judgements. I don’t care. Friendship, like love, has to be nurtured. If I ever added anyone as a friend to avoid the awkward embarrassment of denying them, chances are that they got deleted some time after. Also, annoying status updates earn a quick boot from my news feed.
It may not seem like a big deal to allow acquaintances to remain on my friends list, but I believe that our social circles have certain energies and it is best to do away with trivial and petty conversations, even if they are on-line. Time is precious to me, even the time that I chose to waste on social media.
CLUTTER AND CASH
This year I decided to step up my efforts to rid myself of more material possessions in a mindful manner, meaning that I keep myself and my community in mind through the entire process. I decided to split everything that I chose to get rid of into two groups: items I would sell and items I would donate. Instead of throwing things out, I sorted through all my boxes of junk and took out every little thing that I thought someone could still use.
It took a lot longer to sort through everything in my garage than it would have if I just threw out everything I didn’t need, but I felt that it helped me reach a better understanding of where I came from, where I am, and all that it took to get here. I found a lot of items that I didn’t know I still had. Pictures, letters, schoolwork, military documents, and toys that I hadn’t seen in years jumped back to life in my memory when I touched them again. Sometimes it was pleasant, other times, not so much. I had forgotten so much about my past. It felt like trying to remember a dream; the images were there, but the link to my reality was gone. When our belongings lose their energy, it is time to cut them loose and allow them to bring light to someone else. Pictures and letters have to burn and return to the space that they materialized from.
The payoff from minimizing clutter was a pocket full of cash and a lot of open space in my garage. I have sold a few items and that has definitely helped my financial situation. I have two big boxes full of things I am going to donate and am gathering a few more clothing items, blankets, and bed sheets to donate as well. There are a few more rounds of cleaning left before I am happy with my garage space, but I have definitely made great strides this year.
MIND AND BODY
I have had sleeping problems for a long time. I was often late to work and it was causing my employers to question my commitment. Last year I began making a much greater effort to go to sleep earlier and make sure to get enough sleep. It wasn’t very easy. No matter how tired my body was, my mind was always processing something. I literally couldn’t fall asleep until both my body and mind would shut down from exhaustion. It took a small investment in better pillows and a large amount of discipline and self-control to meditate and put my mind at ease. It didn’t work every night, but it worked enough to turn things around. I am still working to improve my meditation so I can relax even more. My goal is to actually fall asleep like a normal person does after getting in bed. I’m not there quite yet, but I have been to work on time consistently for several weeks now.
My health has become a priority again, and I am running and lifting weights regularly. I hope to race a few times this year and complete another half-marathon. This time, however, it is not just for me. I have a very special person in my life and I keep her in mind daily. I want to be the best version of myself for her. That includes having a healthy mind and body, amongst many other things.
It is not easy to organize and minimize everything that you own. It is also not easy to rid your mind of clutter. The process to achieve our goals is different for everyone. My issues with attachment have driven me to deal with that aspect first before doing anything else. My attachment to material things and the memories that they embodied was a crippling obstacle in my life. I have slowly improved since beginning this blog and enough time has passed that the little victories have amounted to a shift of momentum in the right direction. I no longer find my thoughts kicking up dust from my past, but instead focused on the present and future.
My life has changed for the better because of my experiments, failures, and eventual success in living a simpler life. I’ve parted many dark clouds and allowed my soul to breathe. I have gotten rid of clutter in my home and along with it have gone the memories they generate; bringing much peace to my mind. I believe that it is because of these practices that I have been able to open up my heart, allowing light to enter it once again. I would not have been able to love again if I did not take these steps. The prize was clarity, peace of mind, and eventually a healthy relationship. My path is not over, but the tide has changed and I am on the right direction.