growth

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.

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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.

My Dogs are Minimalist Gods

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When I need some inspiration on my road to minimalism, I look to my dogs.   If you have dogs you’ll know what I mean.  They are everything.  All inclusive beings, without owning anything.  They don’t own any material things willingly.  They may have one favorite toy or bone, but those didn’t come with a title or proof of ownership.   Maybe one thing.  Everything else they have we humans  have pushed onto them.   You know like the collars, tags, leashes, sweaters, Halloween costumes, you get my drift.

( who says “drift” without the word snow next to it ?)

Batman pretending to read the paper & Ice

Dogs are super Gods.  Not only because they are minimalist but also because they have  mastered their general day to day existence in life.   Everyday they wake up and it’s the best f*cking day of their lives.  They are ecstatic to see you are still with them and eager to eat their gruel-in-a-bowl.  They play, they run and when they tire they slip in to a deep slumber.

When they wake up or when you come home, it’s like the very best f*cking day in their lives, again.  You are back, and they are eternally grateful.  Their tails give them away,wag wag wag wag.  So dogs actual get two days out of one without much effort, and they are happy about it.  I don’t think there is a day they don’t love.  Every day is great!  Wow, they are super beings!

Beyond the basics;  air, water,  food and shelter,  the only true possession a dog  need is love.

What’s not to learn from that?

Tip: Wag more Bark less

Inspiration: “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”- Henry David Thoreau

One day one thing:  Sorting my pets’ bins (cats and dogs) and donating to local animal rescue.

I was a crystal ball

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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.

Cheer!

Insight:


One Day -One Thing: List at least one new (or not) item on eBay

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.