Minimalism….what does that word bring to mind? A stark room with no personal objects or clutter in it? Having to get rid of everything and be uncomfortable in order to embrace the minimalist movement?
May I propose to you another way to embrace minimalism – in the words of the Head of Mindfulness at CALM (an app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation – but ohhhh so much more in my book – I’ve been using it for years and LOVE it!)? “Minimizing what we own and consume, preserving money, energy and time for what will nourish us in profound and lasting ways.”
Deep. Really Deep. But….it isn’t – the concept is quite simple.
What’s the first object you see when you glance up from the device you are reading this on?
Do you love it?
Has it earned the right to consume a space in your orbit?
Let me explain…I look up right now and see a picture of my son, an Air Force Lieutenant, living thousands of miles away. Has that pictured earned a right to be in my precious space? YES! The warm feeling I get when looking at it nourishes me. Makes me sad, too, because I miss him, but overall the effect is positive.
What else do I see in my space? A pair of slippers that are actually quite uncomfortable and I avoid wearing them. They do not nourish me, and although I paid very good money for them, it is time for them to find a new home where they will be appreciated.
Minimalism is not about making our space so stark and empty that it feels inhuman. It’s about surrounding ourselves with items that have meaning and importance that we can SEE (i.e. NO CLUTTER – it can’t ALL have the same amount of meaning ) and visually connect with in a way that nourishes us, even if subconsciously.
The flip side of that is clutter eats away at us and we don’t even realize it! If you hear anything in what I’m saying, if anything at all registers, let it be that YOU are important, your stuff not so much, and surrounding yourself with things that you use and love will nourish you in a way that you won’t be able to help but light the way for others! It is all about finding the right fit for you - the right sizing of life.
OK, maybe that is a weeeee bit over the top But. I believe in you, and I believe in your worth. So much so that I want to share a guest pass to the Calm app with you! 5 readers who like the We Love Messes page and/or share this blog post will get a complimentary guest pass to Calm – I hope you love it as much as I do! And if not, well, that’s OK too – we each have our own way of connecting!
This seemingly innocent looking envelope has been sitting here, unopened, for over a week. One would think I’d have ripped in to it, being that it holds a masters diploma – the culmination of 3+ years of hard work and many hours spent studying, lots ‘o tears (yeah, I’m *that* person who cries when she’s frustrated), and large of amounts of outgoing cash flow in the form of tuition payments.
I haven’t ripped in to it. I dance around it every day thinking I *should* open it (if you don’t know how I feel about the word “should” check this out) but then find something else to do instead. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING????? Admittedly I’ve been busy (ummmm…. aren’t we all?) – got the privilege of a consulting job creating housekeeping systems and implementing them for the staff at Green Gate Guest Houses, my own company has 15+ employees and multiple jobs a day to juggle, and of course its holiday season and…. well, COVID throws everything in to uncertainty.
What is this really? It’s procrastination and fear of facing the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next. Because I’m a planner. I need a checklist. A goal. And then the steps to get there. Well, guess what folks? I don’t have a concrete goal to organize a checklist and steps towards. And it FREAKS ME OUT. Yet, that’s what I do with clients EVERY SESSION – ask questions to ferret out their goals and then create the steps/checklists/actions TO GET THERE! And I absolutely LOVE doing it. Seeing a client reach a goal, no matter how big or small – from clearing a corner of their closet to narrowing down emails in their in box – IT FEELS SO GOOD when their shoulders square up, they look me in the eye, and say, “Tidy Tammy, I didn’t think I could do it but *we* did!”.
Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? I’ll be scheduling a self-session (ouch!), asking those hard internal questions, and creating some next steps for myself. And……drum roll……at the end I’ll be pouring a glass of Prosecco and opening that diploma envelope!
Are you stuck with a project or mess and need a boost to get going? Or feeling adrift and goal-less? Yeah, I get that! Check out the options for working virtually or in person – we’ve got you covered! Not sure what’s best? I offer a complimentary phone consultation as well – I’d love to chat with you!
Not listening to my gut, going with the “safe” choice, finding the most efficient way to do things at the cost of enjoying the experience – I’m guilty of settling at times. Lots of times. In fact, MOST of the time. It is something I struggle with and need to keep working on for me. For example:
I finally decided to paint my living room; the bland walls were driving me crazy every evening. I picked a shade I love, but second guessed my choice as too dark, and went with a lighter shade. Spent a Friday evening painting (don’t I live the glamorous life?) all the while my gut was screaming the color wasn’t quite right.
Fast forward to Memorial Day, where I spent 2/3 of the day castigating myself every time I walked into the newly painted room. OK, in all honesty, I binge watched The Crown (must watch!) 2/3 of the day, only entering the painted room when I forced myself to look. And then…. the inevitable happened – I ran out of episodes and had to face the reality that I could go buy the right shade and get the room done that same day.
The horrors of having to make that decision! Realizing I could either settle and be “just OK” with the color but irritated every time I sat on the couch, OR invest the time, energy, and money into making it right. And who was I making it right for? ME! And that’s where the indecision lay! Was I worth the extra?
News Flash – I AM! And, my friends, so are each of you! So let’s work on not settling – those little things that irritate us every day? Those are the tipping points, the things that cumulatively send us over the edge at some point. The time, energy, and emotions we put into even the little things matter - so let’s work on making the most of them!
For what it’s worth? The “correct” color choice for me is April Rain!
A camel and a farmer walked into a bar.
They had both been working hard.
They were both thirsty.
They were both on the lookout for a straw.
Are you the camel or the farmer? Or maybe the straw?
I think we are all at one time or another any of these. This week? I felt like the camel.
You remember this thing called a pandemic? Yeah. We all feel like the camel carrying the weight of Covid-19. As a small business owner it feels like extra heavy straw. And then... Monday.
The digital platform we use to track our clients, our appointments, our every day, decided to change without notice. And those changes wreaked havoc on our data. We lost numbers. We lost critical scheduling nuances. We lost time. I think I smelled the desert sands as I camelled along (that’s a word, right?).
Then the phone rang. Again. On this straw-laden Monday. Who was calling me now?
Wait for it…
A reminder to schedule my colonoscopy. I know. Seriously?
Coincidence. Irony. Kismet.
Whatever you call it, I felt the camel in me start to give way. I let myself get a little angry, a lot frustrated, and a tad overwhelmed.
And then I decided I didn’t have the strength to be the camel. I needed to be the farmer. I needed to take the same energy that carrying heavy weights requires and put that energy into farming. I needed to gather the straw. Rake it in. Wrestle it into bales. Harvest what I could. My point? We can amble along and carry the weight. We can be the weight for others to carry. Or we can hitch up our britches and do something.
And then we can head to the bar - or wherever - and know that we at least put in the effort.
And now when I go walking into that bar, I have my own stash of straws for whatever I decide to order!
Congratulations to Kalsie V! She accepted my challenge to Take Care of You, and now gets to choose between 2 hours of cleaning or a Strategy Session! I have shared my personal journey through breast cancer because I want to help raise awareness about proactive care - and while extremely important - this extends beyond mammograms and pap smears.
Taking care of you is about recognizing your own personal needs - for good old mental, physical, and emotional health. It is about the big stuff - cancer screenings - and the small stuff - like taking a time out to read a favorite book.
How do you take the time to take care of you? Please share in the comments - you never know who you might inspire! And if you need a little more "me time", let me know how I can help!
So, there's these slippers. Slippers that are well loved and worn thru on the soles. I knit them about 7 years ago, and then felted them. If you've ever seen me knit you know it's a painful process...shoulders hunched, pure concentration. What should be a relaxing hobby gives me a neck cramp. I've since given up knitting. But that's a story for another blog post....
My daughter keeps telling me I need to give the slippers up, too. They've served me well, and are quite past their prime. I keep meaning to throw them out. And, I....just cannot let them go. I think, "just one more wear" or "tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow".
What it boils down to is the heart and soul, sweat and tears I put in to them. Throwing them out, even after they've served me well, just isn't that easy. They are one of the few material things to which I'm actually attached.
I've learned over the years that often clients need the opportunity to tell the story of an item before they can release it. I feel the same way - now I've shared the story and they can go. Letting go is a process - whether it's material things, emotions, relationships - it doesn't matter. Telling the story helps validate the process and keep us moving forward.
Have a letting go story to share? Please share in the comments below - I'd love to hear about it!
Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who