Sunday, December 15, 2013


Next weekend is the Winter Solstice. Friday night, 12/20, is the longest night of the year. Sunset in our area is 4:55, sunrise not until 7:49. Saturday is the Solstice, the beginning of longer days & shorter nights.

This is the peak of my time to look within. I’ve mostly figured out what I want or need to remove from my life. I’m beginning to figure out what I want to bring into my life. Most people save this for New Year’s Eve, which comes 11 days after the Solstice (this year). I use both. Why not? Who says resolutions need to be static? Who says that we can only make resolutions during a set time or day?

This year, I am using the two dates together. Endings are not generally clean cut, neither are beginnings. I want to embrace that transition period. We often see transitions as messy, a time of turmoil – because they often are. For me they very much are, & very much make me uncomfortable. So, I am going to step out of my comfort zone & embrace the turmoil. To see what happens when I enjoy the ride.

On the Solstice, I will establish what things, feelings, or actions I want to exit my life. I may write them down on paper or find a physical representation. And then I will burn the item (if it is safe to do so). Over the next 10 days, I will work to put the various things out of my life. Break the habit, change my mindset, or donate the items, whatever. I will also begin to think on what I want to replace those things with.
Some things I’ve already determined to remove:
Masking wants as needs & allowing myself to stress over what doesn’t get done.
Fear to the point that I don’t try.
Self doubt about my abilities & beauty.
Greed - grasping for things just to feel though I have them.

On New Year’s Day, I will write down the items I want to draw into my life. I will display these things prominently in my home or car. And I will begin the action. Establish a new habit, continue to change my mindset, or rejoice in the space I have opened up, whatever.
Some things I’ve already determined to bring in:
Truly identifying my needs for the day – emotional, physical, mental.
“Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne
“I am capable. I am beautiful. I am worthwhile.” - Me
Seek quality over quantity – if it is a true want.

For me, the most important part of these actions is Compassion. Having compassion for myself – ALL of myself. Resolutions aren’t about degrading ourselves or considering what to remove as failures or flaws. Even if the item to remove is of negative connotation (bad thoughts about self), that does not make US the failure or flawed person. It’s not about finding ways to make us suddenly “good enough.” If we don’t feel good about ourselves when we determine our resolutions, they will never work.

Resolutions are about growth & change. We all grow, we all change. Acknowledge it, honor it.

How will you approach the New Year? Do you have resolutions? Do you feel good about your resolutions?
Here are some beautiful links to help us along in a positive manner:
The Year of Enough by the Unlost
Unravelling the Year Ahead by Susanna Conway

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Two steps forward, One step back

It would be silly to pretend that I never have moments of doubt or weakness. Doubt about if we are doing the right thing, weakness in keeping to the habits. In fact, I was smack in the middle of it last week. I’m barely through it now. Terrible doubt... utter weakness.

Every day, we are working to pare down our possessions & imagining ourselves in a smaller space. That involves evaluating wants & needs. Removing items. And I completely panicked about it last weekend. Not a small “hmm… how will that work?” No, it was a full on “Oh My GOD I can’t DO this!”

I started to doubt everything we have been doing.
“How will we get away from each other in a smaller house?”
“Where will all my stuff go?”
“How will I function with less of x or y or z?”

And then I resisted.
“I won’t do it.”
“I like the way things are now”
“Why would we do that to ourselves?!”

Along with the doubt came a bout of weakness. Weakness, thy name is Books. I bought books. Not a ton (ok.. well, maybe 6..ish). I love books. I love how they feel, look, smell. I could die happy in a pile of books. “How did she die? She was reading & forgot to eat.” It could happen.
So my love of books is in direct contrast to downsizing & minimalist living. This is because I don’t just want to read them, I want to own them. And just forget trying to get rid of them. As a result, sometimes I feel guilty. And weak.

What’s a girl to do?

Calm down. Step away slowly. Take a break. Realize that sometimes we spend so much time focusing on where we are going, we forget to enjoy where we are. So I have spent the last week focusing on the present.

I haven’t put anything new in the “get rid of” pile all week. I’ve read my new books. I snuggled with James & Shadow (our exceptionally fuzzy beast aka dog). And I feel better. The panic has subsided.

I know there are still things we can get rid of that I won’t even miss. But I’ve remembered to not try & do it all at once. And I’ve remembered to not make downsizing my sole focus. I was ready to step back in today and I went through our CD’s. I wanted to organize them anyway, so I took the opportunity to purge at the same time. Most of our music is on the computer now & while I still love to have most of the albums, some can go. Maybe in the future more will go, maybe not. And when I was done, I walked away.

As for the books? I love them. So our smaller life will just have to accommodate that. Compromise is the mother of all solutions. I will make efforts to not buy so many but I won’t give myself a hard time when I do acquire more.

We are working to make positive changes. But change is hard. Remembering to give ourselves a break can maintain our sanity & keep us on track better than trying to force what isn’t ready.

Is there something you can give yourself a break about today?