Create Space

The best way to create space in our life is to examine what we can’t live without. There are things and people that give us joy, and they are certainly worth keeping.

Once we know what we can’t live without, we’re ready to gain freedom from stuff, consumerism, emotional blockages, things that overwhelm us, debts, negative people and thoughts, and physical and mental clutter.

Anything that doesn’t contribute to what we want to be, to want to achieve, and that we can’t live without falls into the category of nonessentials. We should strive to get rid of as much of the nonessential to create space for an extraordinary life.

Simple living, or minimalism is not just about having a home with white walls, and as few things as possible on the counter top in the kitchen. It’s about getting rid of your clutter, be it physical, mental, or emotional. What ever doesn’t bring you joy must get out of your life.

It might be quite a challenge to be yourself in a world that wants you to be like everybody else.

As we’re made to believe that the more we have, the happier we’ll be, we instead crawl under commitments, obligations, stuffs, and debts. Blame it on our genes: we’re evolutionarily programmed to hold onto stuff.

What we own makes us feel we’re less inadequate, and advertising is using this to make us think we’ll be better, and have a better lifestyle when we buy their junk.

Instead of enjoying the people and things around us, we are racing and stressed out. We spend most of our time working at jobs we don’t really like to buy stuff we don’t even really need, or worst, we don’t really want.

It’s okay to own things — that make you happy when you use them. I personally have many things that I would be sad to part with; I love riding my Enduro bike and my trials; and I love playing on either my guitars(2), piano, or ukulele. The problem is when we give too much meaning to the stuff we have, without questioning why we have it.

This summer, I sold my VStrom 650. I had just bought a used modern trial bike because I wanted to replace my old vintage Yamaha TY 175. That was the bike I wanted to sell, because who needs two trial bikes, right? I had a buyer, but at the last minute, I changed my mind because I went for a ride in the woods behind my house with the TY. I was instantly filled with joy, unlike when I was riding the VStrom. I knew I was keeping the big bike to ride with my husband, but I’m much more of an off-road rider. Tarmac isn’t my thing, so I sold the VStrom without any regrets.

Yes, sometimes we keep stuff to please other people.

And then, right before Christmas, I almost sold my piano. I figured I wasn’t playing enough. Out of the blue, I sat down and started playing. It filled me with so much joy, I started crying thinking of loosing this wonderful feeling if I sold my piano. Of course, I again changed my mind and I’m keeping the piano!

It’s not just about stuff. Recently, I have been listening to a self forgiveness session on a popular app called Calm. If you haven’t already downloaded it, I guarantee it’ll change your life.

It’s a practice of letting go. You simply recall an action or an event you’d like to forgive yourself for. You can trust that whatever comes to mind is perfect to focus on. Failure, disappointment, regret, a chance you didn’t take. We all have something we’d like to be forgiven for.

Through the guided session, you try to have self compassion towards the you who took that action, and if possible to release yourself from blame, to forgive yourself.

When I’m done, I feel like I’ve done some decluttering in my mind and my soul. I feel lighter and freer, just as if I had cleaned up the garage from some old boxes that were lying around.

Useless Stuff

To follow-up on last week’s post, We Have Enough, I thought I could put myself through a challenge.

Unlike many women, I genuinely hate shopping. It’s hard for me to understand the excitement my friends feel when they shop. I see this activity as a stress inducer, feeling no pleasure whatsoever in giving my hard-earned cash in exchange for a thing that might eventually end up unused after 3 months.

But I’m an imperfect being, and I do sometimes buy things I eventually don’t use. When I do, it makes me feel guilty, and, at some point, I want to get rid of the useless stuff I bought not so long ago.

We/I easily blame the media for this behaviour, and the marketing strategies they use to create needs. As I believe we always have a choice, I think it’s wrong to blame them for our consumerism habit.

The real reason I sometimes buy stuff I don’t need is my habit of mindless consumerism. I convince myself the thing I’m about to buy is going to make my life so much better. About 95% of the time, it ends up being the opposite. The stuff takes space in my home, in my mind, and robs me of precious time when I need to care for it.

Because I love challenges, and because I want to change this bad habit, I will experiment not buying anything for the month of November 2017. I’ll only buy food, and the essential personal hygiene products I absolutely need. I have enough clothes, kitchen utensils, and all the tools and product I need to care for my home, myself, my motorbikes, and my car.

If I like how the challenge goes, I might extend it to December. I will keep you posted in a short note on my weekly blog post.

Do you think I can make it? Have you ever tried a similar challenge in the past? And would you try it with me this month?