I wake up feeling groggy.
Mr C’s alarm goes off. A new day, a new year, and work begins again.
I have not slept well.
I have not been sleeping well for the longest time.
Late to sleep, early to rise. Not enough sleep. By a long margin.
I am fatigued, groggy, unproductive.
I grab my laptop. I check Facebook. I am trying to only check it once in the morning and once at night. I hop into the group for Introverts. It is there I find out about The Minimalists.
I am visiting a friend today. I love visiting her. She is a good friend, a kind friend. She knows me well. Not many people do.
She lives an hour away and the drive is beautiful. Through open countryside. I love the space, the freedom, the room to breathe.
My body physically starts to relax.
I listen to The Minimalists’ podcast. Immediately, I am taken with what these smart young gentlemen have to say.
Slow down, let go, declutter, free yourself – from debt, from stress, from anxiety, from want.
Their following is vast. So many people caught up in the mire of consumerism, trying to fill a void so deep, trying to find purpose and meaning, not succeeding. So many trying to find a way out.
I am one of them.
My visit with my friend is deep. I tell her of my mental illness and the possibility of me going away. It feels so heavy in my heart. She holds my hand. She understands how crippling life has been for me lately. Not many people do. I confess to her that I am worried I am too broken.
I also confess that I am worried what people will think. I am always worried what people will think.
I listen more to the podcast on the way home. There is more to this than simply decluttering your physical things. There is a philosophy involved too. Decluttering your things frees your mind, it enables you to breathe more and worry less.
I like that. A lot.
I think about the new house and how it is a new start.
I think about going away and how I could use it as a reset – time out to declutter my thinking, to prune the vast thorny mass that envelopes my mind. I think about the possibility of peace of mind, of simplicity.
I think about the garden at the new house. A vast one acre that has had nothing done to it in the 35 years someone has been living on it. An acre of land that is begging to be productive. An acre of land that has been lying in slumber – a blank slate to nurture and develop.
Much like my mind, but far more patient.
I imagine myself digging, feeling the soil on my hands. I imagine myself looking over at the views and breathing deeply. The image is stilted, unnatural, but I urge myself to persist. I imagine the first shoots of plants that I will have planted. I imagine the freedom and time to grow that garden. I have no idea what I am doing, but I also know I can learn.
Minimalism is not easy. It is difficult, and at times painful, but nothing worth having is not without its difficulties. It takes time, effort, and the willingness to let go – of stuff, of preconceived notions, of what people may think. It takes courage – to forge a new path, your path, my path, living life to the beat of our own drum, breaking free of the shackles that our society has made for us.
It can be done.
I know that there are many things in the new house that are not going to come naturally to me. I am going to be forced out of my comfort zone. This is a good thing. This is also something I need to work at.
It has been a very very long time since I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It has been a very long time since I have grown, or breathed freely.
We are methodically seduced into believing that life owes us comfort, that it should be easy, that courage and bravery and breaking free from what the media and popular culture dictate are not an option.
This is a lie.
I am at home, watching Minimalism, the movie. Family life takes over and I end up finishing watching seated on the floor in my walk in wardrobe at 11pm so I don’t bother Mr C who is not sleeping well either. I watch it on my phone, with headphones, in my nighty, in the dark, on the floor.
Two young gentlemen walk away from their careers, to pursue the notion of letting go, freeing their minds, living more. They hug a lot. They talk about using their values to enable them to decide what is important to them, and what they can, and do, let go. The decluttering came first. It was only by decluttering their physical things that they could find out what was truly valuable to them.
Both found contentment by letting go.
A lot of people want contentment. We all want contentment.
I am in bed, mind in overdrive. I think about how I can declutter my things, about what is really important to me. What are my values? What can I let go, what would I have to keep?
Minimalism is letting go.
We simply need to let go.
In the dark, lying on my back, I open my palms. I imagine myself letting go. Letting go of all the stress, of all the fear, of all the stuff. We hold onto things because we fear so much.
I think of the images from the movie. People trampling each other to get to the latest sale item in the Black Friday sales. Black Friday – a concept that is no longer just American. Both England and Australia have them too now. Even though we don’t celebrate thanksgiving.
The hysteria of consumerism saddens me.
This is what we have become. Desperately seeking the next thrill, the next hit, to find that one thing that we can’t live without, to fill a void – a void that is unfillable.
The void I feel is deep.
I think of toiling that soil again. Of being out in the air, breathing. Breathing.
I am thinking of how to live with intention. Not the kind of intention that makes us want to force the way of the world to our bidding, but the kind of intention that is mindful, contemplative, considered. Not impulsive or reactionary. The kind of intention that is kind – to ourselves, to others, to the environment.
Minimalism is all of these things.
Mindful. Considered. Intentional.
I am drifting off to sleep.
I wake the next morning. Still groggy. Still suffering from lack of sleep. My night was fitful, full of nightmares and unsettled.
I resolve to let go. I know that in order to find peace, in order to breathe freely, in order to start living, I have to surrender. I have to let go.
I pick up the phone.
“Hello? This is Sarah and I’d like to find out more about checking in.”
Until next time,