choice

On two wheels

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When you looked at your first bicycle, did you think; oh I can’t do that, I’ll never be able to ride that, everyone will laugh at me when I try? Did you tell yourself , “If I can’t ride this bike the very first time I try, then I’ll never try again?” Were there small voices in your head saying you’re not talented enough, not tall enough, not strong enough to ride a bike like this.

I doubt it.

I want to go back. I want to feel the freedom that comes with being four years old. At four we made our lives fair, we didn’t play with kids we didn’t like or who weren’t nice. There was no drama. “She’s mean. I don’t want to play with her.” And that was that. No big deal.

At four, if we were pretending to something different from ourselves, it was only because that was the game we agreed to play. Remember “make believe?” At four years old, if your pal was crying you wanted to know why and you tried your best to make it better. That’s was important. Being four could be little complicated since you couldn’t drive a car, but it was manageable because we knew all we needed to know to get by.

Some time has past since I was four and the world I am living in seems somewhat off kilter. There’s too much negativity and troubles. Grown ups are old and crabby. They don’t appear to know how to play. Too much stress and worry is occupying the space their heads and hearts. I see them all the time in shiny cars wearing bitter frowns as they scurry about the city.

But I know, in that very same city, there’s a bunch of four year olds living the good life, living large with eyes wide open and playing by their own simple rules.

So that’s what I am going to do. I am going to be four again.

I am going to follow my own rules and have fun.

Cheers.

unlimited possibilities

Tip: Think like a child when you meet a new challenges; worry less and do your best.

Inspiration: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~T.S. Eliot

One-day one-thing: It’s Sunday do whatever you want.

Baggage: packed and ready to lose.

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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.

the past is gone

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.

People Clutter

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your choice

I know when we start our days we have high hopes for a “good” day.  Sometimes we make mistakes, even though we know better.  Those mistakes can end up ruining some amount of time in our day.  Maybe it’s because we are tired, or we forget, or we aren’t prepared.  This brings me to the question for today: why interact with crappy people?  Hint: No good can come from it.  None.

As part of our life-style change, a move to minimalism, we have made the conscientious choice to eliminate the crappy, negative, mean and rude people who are (and were) in our lives.  They are like clutter but far more dangerous because they  sap your positive energy, and send you down a negative and unproductive path that can only lead you to more stress and unhappiness.  Not good and no longer permitted.

We’ve done a really good job at this thus far, but every once in a while an identified crappy person tries to suck you in -or- a random crappy stranger decides to blindside you.  It happens to the best of us.

Here’s the answer the only answer, it come from a friend’s blog post.

James Altucher : How to Deal with Crappy People.  Read his post (I promise it is worth the read)  and re-read this when ever you need a refresher course.

Tips: If someone is nasty to you, remember it’s about them and their anger inside. It’s not about you.

Inspiration:  ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi

One-day one thing: Buying poster board, pricing and making signs for a yard sale.

Minimal motivation

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Just like any anything that requires a lot of work and anything that will take a long time, it’s difficult to stay motivated.

“One day -one thing” method keeps you on course but it doesn’t give you that rush of accomplishment.  Continue to do “one day -one thing,”… I am telling myself.

So the the new challenge is to find out what will keep a you [me] motivated.

I can tell you from experience a deadline has helped me, but not in this case.  You see, I don’t have a deadline for minimalism. It’s not a necessity of life, it a choice.  My only deadline is my life.  I pick and choose when I will have less stuff, how I want to shape my life and how soon I get there.

someone is loving the cold

Right this minute I want to blame the weather for my lack of motivation.  It’s cold. It’s been rainy for the last few weeks, and now it’s cold.  I hate the cold.  I want the sunshine and the free and easy wind pushing me to tackle the crap in the garage.  I am so sick of sh*tty weather, that I could scream.  Meanwhile, someone else is waking up in the same weather, saying, “What an awesome day I love this! Can’t wait for the leaves to fall.”  It’s all a matter of perspective, and what you choose to believe.

(I know my dogs are saying that right now.)

Only two sips of coffee in me at the moment, maybe things will get better.

So I am going to suck it up, get dress go to the park, and smile.  I will be happy there, I won’t get my sorting done.  But just maybe I can find that motivation I lack.  Because right now, I know,  the only thing holding me back is myself.

Tip: If you find yourself unmotivated find someone to help. Just do something to make it a better world today for someone else.

Inspiration: I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. ” ~Douglas Adams

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”  ~Author Unknown

One day – one thing: Today I am making a list of the things, the big things I know I want to keep.  This will help me to visualize exactly which BIG things I have to donate, sell, or toss.  Getting rid of something large is very rewarding. (belts on the other hand very un-rewarding even tho they put up a fight)

My Ugly Belts are Laughing at Me.

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Downsizing my wardrobe will  be very tough for me.  Because clothes, in the scheme of things, don’t take up much space.  For example, today  I was looking at my belts.  I don’t wear the majority of them, but then that voice in my head said, “Don’t sort those yet, they don’t take up any space, you don’t have to make those choices today.”  So I didn’t sort them……What?!?

The goal isn’t to keep things because I have the extra space.  That is what got me into this mess in the fist place.  Yet still after all this time,  my resolve, and all that I have been doing, reading and focusing on,  that little voice, that little hoarder voice was convincing me not to move forward.  Devil hoarder voice won.  I took my filled bag of give-away-clothes to the Good-Will and my belts stayed and lived on another day.

belts living large

Not only did the ugly belts survive,  but now I still get to see them.  Sad, but one hundred percent true, some of these belts I have NEVER even worn.  But I still kind of believe I would need one of them in the future.  I might.  It’s possible.  (it’s NOT possible) I think the belts are laughing at me behind my back.  Telling their little belt jokes.  I hate them.

Right now I am going to take a time-out and SNAP myself back to reality.  I mean seriously,what the h#ll?  If I was in a gym I would have earned a penalty of 25 push-ups or even worse burpees.

(back to reality – time to  face the core issue)

Unfortunately I can, and still could, make anything seem perfectible logical to buy, save, or even pick out of the trash for myself or for someone else.  In a matter of seconds,  I can present at least four perfect rationalizations that justify any acquisition,  whether it’s lavish or simply junk.  The very root of my problem is my acquisition rationalizations.  I can not let that continue.  I need my rationalizations to focus on my goal and my goal alone.  I need that voice to tell me why it’s better for me to donate, sell or throw away things.  That has to become my stronger voice.

The devil hoarder voice has lived inside me a long long time, and I don’t think it wants to leave.   I’m its host.  I gave that devil hoarder’s voice life.  Now I have to squelch it silent….for good.

The lesson here is the one I stress over and over again; do a little something each day in the right direction and soon you’ll be closer to living better with less.   Lesson served.  (to me)

Tip: Never go clothes shopping dressed in sweats.  This only makes you think you need everything you see.  Dress nicely, look good and feel good about yourself, and then ask “do I really need this?” – before buying anything new.

Inspiration: “Women usually love what they buy, yet hate two-thirds of what is in their closets.”  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

One day one thing: Sort belts today!

Miss Minimalist Wardrobe (Comment section is interesting also.)

Shock and “Awe, what’s Wrong with You?”

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I have been telling anyone, and everyone who will listen, about my plan to get rid of everything.  I tell them that I am actually already “in process” of getting rid of everything I own.   You should see the look of disbelief on their faces.   They are entirely shocked at this idea, and at first they don’t believe me.  They tilt their heads….like “really ?”  When they eventually realize I am dead serious, (I swear I can see something click in their brains) right there and then, they think I am crazy.

I didn’t expect this.

I think of myself as a fairly “normal” person, not any crazier than the next. I can’t say that I had any preset expectations at all, but this reaction has been surprising.  It’s so surprising to me, mostly because it is recurring.   It’s not just a few people who react this way, it’s a solid 97%.

I suppose it is going outright against the grain of the “got to have” based mentality of the American consumer.  Three-fourths of our economy, ( 75% percent <-that’s crazy), is based on consumerism.  Businesses want you to want. Want more, bigger, faster, better, lighter, smaller, they even want you to want more that uses less.  The somewhat green marketers say “buy this aluminum bottle” to use less plastic bottles.  That’s a good effort because plastic is evil, but everyone knows glass bottles are by far the best.

For whatever unknown reasons most people can not believe that I don’t want “things.”  I like things, I just don’t want to own things.  I have way too many things!  Besides owning  is work, and it’s expensive.  Maybe I am just cheap and lazy. (?)  I don’t know.  What I do know, is my things stress me out.  They are weighing me down, taking up my time and I don’t want them anymore.

I can’t wait to tell the next person.  Cheers.

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Tips from:  Joshua Becker – via Organizing  Your Way

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Today’s “one day- one thing”: Listing chairs on Craig’s list.