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.