I stumbled on this blog yesterday, and I can not stop thinking about it. Primarily I read about the woman herself. I wanted to know and learned what made her succeed at changing her life. More about me -How I got to paradise.
I believe that if we really stop. Stop what we are doing at this moment, and ask ourselves, “Is this where I want to be?” Many of us may answer, “not really.” Other will answer, “yes.” They need not read any further.
I’m in the “not really” category. I thought I was getting closer to figuring it all out and then poof, I determined I had to adjust my thinking. Which has lead me nowhere, but back to limbo of not being able to formulate concrete goals.
I didn’t place my bid on the No.3 (small) house. I woke in the middle of the night and I thought OMG what if I can’t sell it, I’ll be stuck there forever. And that quite frankly scared the sh*t out of me.
All the cheer-leading I did yesterday didn’t even work for me. That’s another topic for a post, those who can tell others what to do, but can’t seem to do it themselves. I fell back to second guessing myself, and asking myself,” wow is this it? Is this the final destination?” I couldn’t make it be. I couldn’t pull the trigger and commit to this area. Even though we have other commitments here, my gut told me not to make that decision. At least not right now.
I listened to my intuition – I get credit for that , because in the past I have ignored my gut feelings thus leading to my own peril.
We [I] need to determine what it is that keeps us inside the boxes we have made for ourselves. The boxes can be our location, our job, our eating habits, or exercise non-habits, it can be any box at all. It’s what ever has you stuck. I don’t like feeling stuck. Feeling stuck is both terrifying and depressing.
So I am returning to square one. Back to the basics. Time to reevaluate everything. Again. But know we have time, because it’s December. And in December the world stops for awhile. There are holidays, and we even close the business for a week. I am going to follow the 5 tips below:
1. Recognize that you are in a rut and have lost your ability to dream beyond your zip code. First step always acknowledge the issue. (easy, check, done)
2. Determine that you are willing to make real changes in your life. Start with small changes that you can turn into habits. It takes 21 day for something to become a habit. (so I have read) Today is a good day to start.
3. Set goals, small and big, set at least 5 for starters.
4. Intention: concentrate on your attention on your goal with every choice you make. Question everything, does this get me closer to my goal or not? Only participate in those things that are in line with your goals.
5. Follow through. No excuses.
At the end of December, review what you have accomplished and make 5 new goals for the next month. This will at least get you[me] moving in a direction rather than, floating aimlessly inside a box of limbo.
I recall hoping 2011 would be better than 2010, and I find I am wishing for the same thing this year. Only this year it has to get better, or I may become a drug addict for real. (and oddly enough that doesn’t scare me :)
I seriously can’t take much more.
Tip: Don’t beat yourself up, most people have no clue how to change their lives.
Inspiration: ” Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. “- Jose Ortega y Gasset
One-day one-thing: Clean your work area in you home, this will help you to gain focus.
I can’t believe I have done it once again. I am setting myself up for one more let down only this time it’s going to be the U.S. court system that delivers the blow.
This poor guy, I imagine he is poor now. According to court records his 17 parcels are all on the chopping block. Well I decided to try to take one off his hands. This new possible house, I’ll call it No.3, is small. Not unlike the house in my original plan, the small house in my journey to living better with less.
Here’s the kicker; all offers must be approved by the court. So we put our offer in and wait. Thus giving me enough time to question myself, and ponder the pros and cons of this “maybe ” purchase.
No.3 is a small brick house with a pointy peak over the front door. Nothing I currently own will fit in this house, therefore I am going to literally have to get rid of nearly everything. Just like I said I was going to do before, but I still held on with a storage unit. I told myself it was because I didn’t know exactly where I would be living next. (still true, but I think I was holding one to our past life)
Until we hear back, I’ll spend my time on Apartment Therapy looking at ways to make small look wonderful. I’ll learn how to make form and function work with simple design and create spaces that fit our lives. This will be fun.
All this time, what I am really learning through this process is even if most things don’t work out eventually “some” thing will work out .
Then in creeps FUD; fear, uncertainty and doubt.
This house could be a bad decision, but then again, it could be a great decision. As we get older we can clearly see the trail we have left behind. Hindsight, that 20/20 bullsh*t that relentlessly gnaws at our psyche. For some reason seeing that old trail we’ve left behind leads us to believe we have the super-power see our path into the future. This is not good.
Thinking we know anything for certain about the future is ridiculous. These
thoughts beliefs can hold us back from looking things objectively, making changes, and it holds us back from taking risks. We are conditioned by events throughout our entire lives, and somehow we decide that however we saw things, that vision or” fact” should be set in stone. Oh yeah, that’s what happens when you do” this” or ” that.”
Twenty years ago, I would buy this house and never look back. It would be what it would be. And no matter what happened after the purchase I would never look back and say, ” I suspected, I imagined, I knew that would happen.” No, I would just accept it, whatever happened, and I would move-on to whatever happened to be next.
How limited is our exposure? Can you really say you’ve seen it all? Have I witnessed everything you have witnessed. Not a chance.
My point here is: forget about it. Our minds are powerful, take the expiration off your brain and live again.
There’s an entire world of possibilities out there, just waiting.
Tip: Follow your instinct even if everyone disagrees. Repeat as necessary.
Inspiration:“People are disturbed not by things, but by the view they take of them.”~Epictetus
One-day one-thing: Correct negative thoughts in your brain when they happen, don’t dwell in fear.
Wow, can it be happening? Is giving up the same as surrendering?
I wish I knew. Because I am trying , really trying hard to figure this all out.
I don’t think it is, but it’s awfully close.
Look at the note under my photo to the right. I adjusted our goals. I left the old “goals” there so I don’t lose sight of them. Am I changing because we can’t get the other, am I finally learning that there are some things that can’t be left behind.
We all have commitments. And the commitments that we can not or do not want to give up are what holds us back. You can have all the open mind you want but you have to be realistic. Yuck! I hate being realistic. It’s no fun.
On the flip side, once you look at the circumstances realistically, it may be easier to focus. Which is another one of my weakest skills. Focus. Blah.
I don’t like the idea of giving up. I don’t like not getting what I want, in others words, “failing.” And I hate to feel limited. No one like those things. To top that off, once again, I find I am quickly re-learning lessons of compromise and patience. (more of my weaknesses)
Sure, I can change my perspective. Easy peasy. Change your mind change your world. (I do believe in this) But to do this at the same time I am redefining our goals, well, it seems a bit disingenuous.
So am I giving up? Maybe. But not without getting something out of this. I have a plan to do something new, to try something, it’s a small independent business not like our other business at all. It would be mine and have absolutely nothing to do with servers and corporate events.
I think I can manage to make this all work together. And that idea right now is what is rumbling inside my brain and holding me together. Keep thinking. Cheers!
Tip: Realize that life is full of unpredictable events, attempt to be flexible.
Inspiration: ” Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ~ Albert Einstein
One-day one thing: On strike until the children go back to school. :)
The answer: zero.
A brand new journal sat before me. I longed to pour my heart out on the pages so that some day I could see where I had been and how deeply I felt. I wanted nothing more than to fill my journals with beautiful words that would read like a novel. I created images in my mind of sipping tea and peacefully writing by candlelight, no less.
I was delusional.
Journal-ing became huge when my children were in grade school. They started at the third grade level and I thought it looked like a good idea. So I attempted it. I think my longest consecutive journal-ing lasted four days, tops.
When I was a kid, I was given a diary and told, “Never put anything in writing that will come back to bite you.” Well that wasn’t any fun, so I wrote in code. A code that means absolutely nothing to me now, pure gibberish.
What I carried forward into my adult life from that was fear. The fear of putting things in writing. My fear extended into me sharing very little, being secretive and guarding my thoughts. I admit, I am a very private person. But maybe it stems from the intense code of secrecy I was taught to live by.
( in all honesty I never even considered that before writing this – that’s the light bulb here)
The really funny thing is no one really cares what someone else thinks or writes, especially when it’s in their journal hidden in a drawer under lock and key. So write to your hearts content, tell stories, write about your dreams, swear, use slang, forget grammer – it doesn’t matter at all.
I have collected all my partially filled journals. I am not even going to read them. I am letting go, yet again. Letting go of one more belief that held me back. It feels good.
Tip: Question authority.
Inspiration: “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” ~Elvis Presley
One-day one thing: Sort old documents, letters and cards. Paper clutter is among the worse, because it lingers and grows when you are not looking.
The last few attempts at writing a post have me lost. Here are the various titles:
Am I the only one?
It’s a small world.
Get a life.
I can’t get a coherent thought on to the screen. Because I am so perplex as to why I find it so difficult to live my life by my own rules, and beliefs. I mean I do for the most part, but there are always these interruptions, when someone has to drop a boatload of judgment on me, in what I feel is the most condescending way.
My rules: don’t engage, get away from the conversation, change the topic. But what did I do today? I failed at my own rules.
I tried to explain the way I thought. I was hoping for a sliver of understanding. What I got was dismissive, and basically a statement saying I am weird, no one else is like that, and it ( whatever the f*ck “it” is) is my fault.
So when I say this journey was going to teach me something it has. And here’s my lesson for today: All of the reasons I left town nearly thirty years ago are still here alive and well. Small towns thrive on gossip and it’s totally acceptable.
There’s a strong overcast of judgmental gossip about people I don’t even remember and I really don’t have any interest in it. I mean seriously, I have moved on. I don’t care. I wish no one ill will, but I also don’t want to hear random bullsh*t about various people when I haven’t even seen them or talked with them since I was eighteen years old.
Today I was the gossip topic for two other people. One was on the phone here and the other had called. I heard my mother lie about where I lived and continue to talk about my children. Like it’s this person’s business. I left the house. I was disgusted. And quite honestly I still am. So this woman (the caller) who hasn’t said a peep to me since 1980, calls my mother and starts the inquisition.
Later I add my two cents. My mother replies to me, “I don’t think it’s weird. Don’t you ever call her mother?” I was floored. “No,” I answered , ” Why would I?” I don’t call any old high school friend’s mothers. I never have in my entire life.
So this makes me the odd-ball. No wonder I left so many years ago. Heaven help me. I can’t do this on my own.
Tip: Do not engage.
Inspiration: “It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people’s business. ” ~Dolley Madison
One-day one-thing: Create a fresh outlook, go somewhere and take photographs.
For the most part I am really happy. However, once in a while, I want to scream. When this happens I have learned to stop. To stop whatever I am thinking. I then remind myself to be grateful for the thousands of wonderful moments I get every day. That is the key; gratitude.
Trouble happens when I allow myself to considered, to ponder or mull over someone’s negativity as something that could be true, may be true, or holds some truth. But I know deep in my heart that every time I welcome one teeny tiny inch of this negativity into my thoughts, it eats me up alive. It brings me down, way down, really quickly.
I can physically feel it happening, every time. Which is enormously better than how I use to be. Before I didn’t recognize the darkness of bullshit negativity for what it was. I took things to heart, took things personally and believed that I could change how these people felt or what they thought about situations. I can’t. (No one can.) I no longer try.
What I need to do is care about myself. Sounds selfish but it’s not. Because if I am down, and swimming in a pool of crap, I am no good for anyone. When I’m blue my judgement blurs and I can’t be there for the people who need me. I become the negativity. That’s not what I want for my life.
I am improving my awareness. But I still need to identify negativity more quickly and remember to move to gratitude immediately. I’m learning this takes practice. In time it will be second nature for me.
For now, I’m going to create a super power shield and protect myself from negativity and hatred. An invisible force field that disintegrates the atoms of filthy negative hatred.
The more consistent I become in quickly moving to gratitude the less I’ll need my shield. But until then I’ll be my own super hero and I will continue to be eternamente grato.
Tip: Do not engage in conversations that feel wrong to you. Change the topic or walk away.
Inspiration: “From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.” ~Anais Nin
One-day one -thing: Create a gratitude notebook, make it part of your day to record your gratefulness.
Baggage is a drag. It is clutter of the soul. One of the most difficult challenges I face is clearing the clutter out of my head and heart. It’s hard work, and I don’t always do a very good job of it.
I keep a running mental list of the way I would like my world to be; my “when” list, my “if” list, and my “dream” list. I could spit it out rapid fire without even taking a breath. I bet you have a list you could rattle off in a minute as well.
But those lists rarely resembles reality. And worse than that, it marginalizes what you have in your life right now. By always thinking the grass is greener, the future is better, we fail to see the greatness of right here and now. I know it all makes sense in words. It’s easy to say and words are cheap. The true challenge, and the most important challenge, is applying what we learn to how we live.
For me it all comes down to clutter, at least that’s my analogy. My initial intention of this “journey to living better with less” was to tackle stuff, less stuff. But now
I believe I’ve learned clutter is systemic. It goes hand in hand with the rest of my life. I can close the closet door and I can’t see the clutter, but all the clutter stuffed inside is still there.
Just like our cluttered emotions, beliefs and overall well being. It’s always there, right inside you, where ever you are. Clutter goes deep into your psyche, at least for me it does. This realization is making my simple journey to minimalism a totally different trip. Who knew?
( someone knew, but not me )
I boiled it down, into four segments. This is where I have to
really seriously declutter and maintain clarity.
Physical stuff: Garage, storage unit, office, boxes, etcetera. This is the easiest one to identify and I believe it leads to clearing out the more difficult areas of your life.
Emotional stuff: Stress, relationships, sorrow, guilt, regrets, fear – we all have some degree of this in our lives – find a method to manage this emotional clutter so that it doesn’t ruin your time here on earth. Very difficult.
Spiritual stuff: Belief system – define your personal beliefs and match your daily actions to that belief – create harmony for yourself.
Mental stuff: Identify what is holding you back from your own life- what do you hear in your head that tells you -” I can’t.” Identify that voice and delete it. This takes constant effort for me.
This is tough and I don’t pretend to know anything about how to accomplish this. What I do know is, I have been to hell and back a few times, and I am not interested in any revisits. No matter what, I have made my choice. I don’t want any clutter of any sort. So I am willing do the work. I am willing to let go and move on.
Tip: Try saying an affirmation: I let go of my past hurt feelings. Life is good and so am I. ( I picked something simple, so I could remember it. )
Inspiration: ” It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself. ” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
One-day one-thing: Let go of one or more expectations….forever.
During my years of irrational consumerism, I could see the future. It’s true. I knew exactly what everyone needed before they even thought about what they needed.
Once, I bought an alarm clock guaranteed never to turn off, until a person caught it and turned it off. It was self propelling, and if it wasn’t turned off by the sleeping human quickly, it would jump to the floor and run away by rolling under the bed, or any other out of reach place while still sounding the alarm.
I bought this two years before my son went away to university. Every single day of his high school years, I had to wake him up over, and over, and over again. In the future, I wouldn’t be there to wake him up. I could see this clearly. The clock still sold by MOMA today runs 48.00, I think I paid more. That never opened brand new clock, sits inside a blue plastic container that contains an assortment of new things, on the second shelf inside U-Store-It unit #227.
I know of another new thing that’s in there. I bought it for myself. It’s a bank that is a replication of a wooden water tank like the ones on top of buildings in Manhattan . I was “saving” this for when I had a “cool” office not a cluttered mess of an office. I have an awesome office. It’s not yet “good enough” so I am using old tea bottle for loose change. As I am write those very words I see how pathetic this is. ( I’ll fix the coin bank issue Monday)
Other purchases are back-ups, duplicates. I bought these because I already owned the item and I liked it. Like a certain Ikea scrubber, I could see in the future this scrubber would no longer be available. I even taught my daughter if you like something – buy two of them….ugh! Some of those thing I don’t even like anymore. Other “new” items I bought for future gifts. I could see who needed the gift and what it was before I even met the person. I was good. Unfortunately when it came time to give these gifts away, either I couldn’t part with them, or they weren’t the right gift for the occasions.
When I shopped I shopped with conviction, no second guessing, everything had a purpose. A purpose in the future that I could clearly see. I was clairvoyant. I could see the future as far out as I needed, to infinity. That is, until I could not.
What I could not see in the future was not being able to sell our house that was on the market for 14 months. What I couldn’t see was all our equity was going to disappear. What I couldn’t see in the future was losing our home of twelve years and having no place to live. Once I lost my ability to see the future, I was sad for a long time. I could not see anything and I certainly could not see joy or any shred of happiness in my crystal ball.
But that was then, this is now. Nothing much has changed except me. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I have ever had a more defined idea of what’s important in life. I have learn so much about how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we interact with people. My life has completely changed it’s trajectory and I like it.
The more stuff I shed the better I feel. Simplifying is intoxicating and addictive. Simplifying has helped me to focus and grow. I like it. I have a long long way to go, but so far it’s good. I am examining my life on a different level, from a different place. I am learning about myself and my family and what I am learning brings me great comfort. We are all in agreement that we are on the right track to “living better with less.”
UnPacktheRat is more then a blog to me, it’s my teacher, and for that I am grateful.
One Day -One Thing: List at least one new (or not) item on eBay
This is particular difficult to achieve one hundred percent of the time. I mean if you are like me, you spent the last 20 plus years buying stuff. You bought for your house, your garden, your dogs, your cats, you bought for the new baby, and the new baby after that and so on. When I am faced with looking at those things I bought sometimes I see the joy it brought, but more times than not I see a price tag. Front and center my mind tells me, “Man that was expensive.” The next thought is “and we barely used it.”
My item today: our pool table. I bought it as a birthday present for my husband, back when the children were little. We thought they would grow up have friends over and shoot pool, like we did when we were younger. Not so much. Video games, organized sports, movies and social networking was the main stay of their teen years.
This particular purchase is more “dwell” worthy than just it alone, because when we moved we actually put an addition on our house to hold the table. Ugh! I recently tried to sell it for weeks – not a single bite.
I can’t dwell. Currently the pool table is in storage, at a U-store-it place. It’s been in storage before , so there still may be hope for future usefulness. I am not sure.
My key here is do not dwell on it. It is what it is. Move on and do one thing today to move closer to living better with less.