April 24, 2011

Finding Balance

Day 24 of The 24 Things Challenge.

The past 24 days were surprisingly easy. The more I let go of, the more I desired to let go.

I called my husband in to look at my newly organized, closet and he said “I came in here the other day and was shocked at the mess.  I wanted to talk to you about it”.

I laughed, “You probably saw it mid-toss. I had everything on the floor in a big pile.”

“Well” He said. “It sure says something when I can’t tell the difference between how it usually looks and you’re clean out”

Don’t misunderstand.  I really don’t have a lot of “stuff”. I am not an excessive shopper and have cleaned out and given away my things for years. Still, I discovered so much that was unused and wasted.

There were a few things I found difficult to part with, but I felt somehow, they deserved better than to be stuffed in a musty box, in the dark.

I understood that it wasn’t the item I loved; it was the time in my life that it represented. The girl that twirled in the shoes, shared in her journal, or smiled into the camera.

Things got pretty chaotic before they got better. About Day 11, the clutter and disorganization weighed on me. I felt overwhelmed with the growing list of things to accomplish.

My office was besieged with boxes, trash bags and piles needing organization. My son said “Mama, it’s like some alien came down and turned you into a bad mood monster”.

So, I decided to approach, this 24 Things Challenge, the way I would a yoga class.  Sometimes, we get frustrated with our bodies and where we are in relation to the full expression of a pose.  But if we accept our limitations, explore the space we are in, and are open to growth we move deeper and discover new abilities.

I kept in mind that the state of my office was temporary and I needed that yogic balance between effort and ease. I stopped pushing myself to get the work done. I sorted and donated and my mood lifted. I felt unencumbered, lighter, and free.

I promised myself, with each box that went out the door that I would not fill up the space.

Victor Lebow was a retail analyst during Eisenhower’s presidency.

He said;

“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating rate.”

Americans have been manipulated by planned and perceived obsolescence since the early 1950’s. Commercials insist that if we don’t own it, wear it, or eat it, we aren’t worthy.

We don’t need to empty our homes and live with nothing, but we should respect the earth, take only what we need, and teach our children that we are not defined by our things.

I look forward to repeating the process on July first. I know it will be more difficult with each 24-day cycle and I hope you will join me again.

Being satisfied with little, you can gain much. Seeking much, you will go astray. The wise heed this precept. If it could only be so with all people. – The Tao Te Ching

Learn more about The 24 Things Challenge and how to declutter your life for an inspired future.

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