“One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old belongings.” ~Julia Cameron
If Julia Cameron is right, there must be something very healthy afoot in my life right now. I have been positively itchy lately to go through and get rid of things. It’s on my mind all the time, and I’m driven to keep it going.
As a recovering perfectionist and someone with considerably more interests than I have time, I frequently find myself trying to do too much. This condition generally leads to high levels of stress and frustration, inadequate self-care, and emotional (and sometimes physical) meltdowns when allowed to continue for too long.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to catch this pattern sooner in the process so that I can avoid the more extreme effects that can come from doing too much for too long, but I find that frequent reminders of the importance of monitoring my energy levels and the size of my to-do list help to keep me on track with this. This week’s links are a set of posts about doing too much and have served as great reminders to me of how I do (and don’t) want to live my life.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about simplifying and reducing and letting go of “stuff” of all kinds. Some of this pondering has been prompted by encountering various posts about minimalism, and some of this pondering has led me to searching for more information about minimalism.
I am definitely not a minimalist now, and I’m not sure that’s really where I want to wind up. But I am inspired by these people who have really dedicated themselves to simplifying their lives down to the minimum in order to make space for the things that matter more to them: travel, freedom, choices, or other rewards. Today’s list of links are a few of the recent (and not so recent) posts that I have found helpful as I consider my own next steps.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris
I am nothing if not a practical person. In fact, I’m often practical to a fault. And yes, there is such a thing. As I’ve been working through this process of releasing the weight of excess “stuff,” I’ve been realizing how often I convince myself to purchase or keep things because they are practical, not because I truly love them. These leaves me surrounded by things that leave me vaguely dissatisfied, but that function just well enough that I can’t justify replacing them.
I allow my “practicality” to squash my love for beauty in all its various forms time and again. The irony is that my “practicality” usually comes into play by urging me to select an option that is less expensive than the one I truly love, but because I’m never quite happy with the result, it usually winds up costing me more in the long run than if I had selected what I truly wanted.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann
I have found myself reflecting more and more about how much excess weight I carry through life. It’s not body fat that’s troubling me (although I do have some of that I could afford to lose too); it’s the weight of too much “stuff” that has increasingly come to feel like a burden. It’s not just a physical burden of things that I have to make space for and take care of, it’s also a mental and emotional weight from the clutter and the responsibility for it all.
“Funny how much of life feels like remembering & forgetting & remembering again. Perhaps if we did not forget what was essential we would miss out on the great AHA! & joy of all those moments of remembering.” ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The quote above is one from a Facebook status that Oriah posted quite some time ago. I saved it because it sums up my experience so well, and I was reassured to know that I’m not the only one who seems to keep forgetting those essential things I’ve learned along the way, requiring me to keep learning the same lessons over and over again.
I was reminded of this quote the last few days as I’ve been going back through and looking at old posts on my blog. It’s a bit embarrassing sometimes to see how many times I keep having to relearn some of the same lessons.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell
Finding balance is a constant, ongoing struggle for me in so many areas of my life. There are days when I think that almost everything that I ever struggle can eventually be reduced down to a question of balance.
The particular area of balance that I am struggling with today has to do with trying to figure out what I am called to do in this life. I want to make a positive, healing difference in the world around me, but I seem to be particularly unsuited to do so. But the longing to be able to do something in this world along those lines is so intense that I cannot seem to leave this question alone.