let’s do that again

After I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, I thought I knew exactly how I would handle my mess. That is until I actually started doing so. I’ve been so preoccupied with the ultimate goal of tidying up that I almost forgot to experience the journey itself. Luckily for me, I couldn’t reach my goal and therefore I kept falling back to square-one every single time. This made me feel defeated so many times but I knew I had to keep trying. I don’t know if I am the one actually struggling to follow the decluttering rules, all I do know is that I found myself into many phases of procrastination and denial. Now I’ve come to realize I wasn’t helping myself at all.

Here is where I got it wrong.. (and if you’re reading this: I suggest you to do exactly the opposite of all this:) – I wanted to take baby steps and therefore I didn’t feel the need to absolutely decluttering all at once, sadly this made me feel unsatisfied with even my smallest progress. I didn’t want to ask myself “does it spark joy” every time I held something in front of me, instead I was focused on what to keep and what not, ending with just mediocre choices. I was too lazy to put everything from one category in front of me, but this way I couldn’t see how much stuff I owned and therefore I wasn’t aware of the amount. I couldn’t start dealing with my clothing, thus I went straight to other less-emotional categories, but that just made it all worse.

I understand now more than ever;
a skill is only learned while practiced, not just by reading.

what matters

I have found myself in a negative decluttering mind-space: it didn’t do what I had envisioned in mind. After peeling off some layers of what isn’t important to me I found myself questioning where I was going with all of this. Downsizing my stuff made me focus upon what needed to go or what made me so unhappy and I could only see the massive shit everywhere: the stuff that surrounds me, the things/thoughts that suffocate me. I realize now I’ve been doing it wrong. I started with the basic method of decluttering: selecting what I didn’t need anymore, separating it from what I wanted to keep and another pile of things undecided. When I created the pile of what wasn’t working for me, I was instantly distracting myself with the thought of what to do with this mess: sell, donate, recycle or dump?  Therefore I was only focused upon what needed to go. When I looked at the quantity of all things, I lost the confidence of ever ending in a place/time where I felt happy about the things that remained and what was left of me.

I know now I should reverse my strategy: Instead of asking myself ‘what can I get rid of?’, I should ask myself only one question: what do I truly want to keep? Maybe this will save me time and cut right through the bullshit of downsizing and go straight to the minimalist point of view of doing things. I’m far form reaching a more zen state of being, but I am still happy I have found what didn’t work for me. Now I can start with this new approach and see what it does for me. And hopefully this enables me to see what gives me joy instead of what isn’t.

 

the next time you purchase online

One tip I wish I could have given myself some time ago: when you read the reviews of an online seller do not read the positive reviews, only read the bad ones. Some sellers will hack their reviewing system and therefore the bad reviews should get more attention than the positive ones.

I have been scammed, simply because I overlooked the bad reviews and was too naive to chose to believe only the good ones because they were the majority of the comments. If someone writes a bad review, it will mostly be true, especially when it comes to the seller’s service or friendliness.

I don’t want to produce any more waste

When you start to approach a minimalist lifestyle, the first change you go through is to declutter yourself from everything you don’t need anymore. First it is the physical space in your home (getting rid of everything that does not spark joy and distracts you from achieving your wishes in life). Then it becomes the mental and emotional self (freeing yourself from bad habits, harmful relationships, negative mindsets, stress..) Finally you’ve managed to make room for what matters to you and you able yourself to be fully in charge of your own life choices. When applying the skills of decluttering and minimizing to everything you do on a daily basis, you will gain more; time, focus, space, money, awareness, freedom, joy.. and experience less; stress, distractions..

It is hard for me to call myself a true minimalist yet,  but it is definitely my way of life. I know am going there, but today I am still in the first process of decluttering myself. In the meanwhile I’ve already seen many positive changes and thus far I’ve gained great experiences and knowledge. While I share some bits of my journey with you, I wanted to talk about a specific problem I have been dealing with while tidying up.

As an ecologic minded person, I have felt very restricted in enabling myself to toss things away and declutter without guilt. Sure it is okay to donate books and stuff that can be reused, but when it comes to items that will most probably get tossed into to trash because nobody will get a use from it, it’s very heartbreaking to realize how much waste you are adding to the landfill. I don’t think I am that much of a hoarder but the amount of stuff that I kept because I didn’t know where it could end up or be thrown away, has made me think about the impact of my problem upon myself. It has completely prevented me from becoming a better person.. and in order to feel better about myself and make better decisions from now on, I have to accept and forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in the past. I am working towards a zero waste lifestyle but for now I have to accept that this includes some waste in the process.

Your present state of consciousness

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When I came across these two pages from my favorite book about lucid dreaming, I really had to share its core message. Not only does it apply to your lucid dreaming experience but I also find it useful to apply it to your everyday life (if not to enhance your probability of experiencing a lucid dream). For me it’s a form of building your conscious awareness of your state of being. I’ve copied page 12 and 13 especially for you to read this and really consider each aspect as a useful exercise. Spend about one minute on each of the steps. This way you become more aware of yourself as a living being.

Exercise: your present state of consciousness

  1. Look
    Become aware of what you see: notice the richly varied and vivid impressions-shapes, colors, movement, dimensionality, the entire visible world.
  2. Listen
    Become aware of what you hear: register the various sounds taken in by your ears- a diverse range of intensities, pitches, and tonal qualities, perhaps including the commonplace miracle of speech or the wonder of music.
  3. Feel
    Become aware of what you touch: texture (smooth, rough, dry, sticky, or wet), weight (heavy, light, solid, or empty), pleasure, pain, heat and cold, and the rest. Also note how your body feels right now and compare that to the many other ways it feels at other times, tired or energetic, stiff or limber, painful or pleasant, and so on.
  4. Taste
    Become aware of what it is like to taste: taste a number of different foods and substances, or remember and vividly imagine their tastes.
  5. Smell
    Become aware of what you smell: the odor of warm bodies, earth, incense, smoke, perfume, coffee, onions, alcohol and the sea. Remember and imagine as many of them as you can.
  6. Breathing
    Attend to your breathing. A moment ago you probably were not consciously aware of your breathing even though you have inhaled and exhaled fifty times while doing this exercise. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Let it out. Now take a deep breath. Notice that being conscious of your breathing allows you to alter it deliberately.
  7. Emotions
    Become aware of your feelings. Remember the difference between anger and joy, serenity and excitement, and as many other emotions as you care to feel. How real do emotions feel?
  8. Thoughts
    Become aware of your thoughts. What have you been thinking while doing this exercise? What are you thinking right now? How real do thoughts seem?
  9. I
    Become aware of the fact that your world always includes you. As William James noted, it is I see, I hear, I feel, I think that is the basic fact of experience. You are not what you see, hear, think or feel: you have these experiences. Perhaps most essentially, you are who is aware. You are always at the center of your multidimensional universe of experience: At the same time you attend to each of the various aspects of your experience, be aware that it is you who is noticing these things (“I see the light…”)
  10. Awareness of awareness
    Finally, become aware of your awareness. Normally, awareness focuses on objects outside ourselves, but it can itself be an object of awareness. In the light of ordinary experience, we seem to be distinct and limited centers of awareness, each alone in our inner worlds. In the light of eternity, mystics tell us, we are ultimately all one- the unlimited awareness that is the source of being. Here, experience cannot be adequately expressed by language.

if interested: get your own copy of the book “Exploring
the world of Lucid dreaming”  by Stephen LaBerge
and Howard Rheingold

Affluenza

Materialism or over-consumption in affluent societies, seen as a societal and environmental menace, as in large-scale consumer debt and product waste.

Social condition that affects a society because of the elevated number of individuals striving to be wealthy. People within the society feel that the only measure of success is determined by how much money and prestige a person has.

A social theory claiming that individuals with very privileged and wealthy backgrounds sometimes struggle to determine the difference between right and wrong due to the nature of their upbringing. Also known as sudden-wealth syndrome.

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