By Karen Mehringer
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.”
– Paulo Coelho
Camping this summer, John and I were reminded how freeing it is to live simply. We had only the bare necessities with us…food, water, our camping gear and clothes. Living in a simple environment, we were able to appreciate the small things and be more fully present in the moment. Consequently, we felt more joyful and at peace. For example, here is a brief journal entry I wrote after waking up to a gorgeous day in Ouray, Colorado:
“It’s only 9am and the clouds are already moving in slowly like a wild cat stalking its prey. The birds’ music has never sounded so magical. A feeling like Heaven has descended upon me. Oh…how nature feeds my soul! I’m in love, like a young school-girl with a crush.”
True abundance was my experience in that moment.
After returning home, we began to explore ways we could simplify our lives. For example, we have decided to sell our home and downsize to a smaller house. Not only will we be getting rid of a lot of stuff that we don’t use or need like furniture, wall decorations and knick knacks, but we will minimize our monthly mortgage payment which will free us up financially to continue to follow our hearts and our dreams.
As I embark on this process of de-cluttering and simplifying to prepare for our eventual move, I am amazed at how much better I feel….I feel lighter, freer and more energized. Further, I have more clarity and peace of mind. As a result, my creative juices are flowing.
When we begin to let go of old stuff, whether its material clutter or even emotional pain from the past, we have much more space within us to show up fully present for our lives. We are more open and available to experience the beauty, richness and abundance all around us.
Here are some tips for simplifying your life:
- Re-evaluate your current needs. For example, now that the kids have moved away, is your home too big? Could you downsize? Can you eliminate one of your vehicles? Are you willing to let go of your TV? If so, what would you do differently with your time?
- Block out half a day or more to go through every item in your house including your clothing, linens, kitchen appliances, etc. Set aside the items you have not used in the last year. Ask yourself, “Does this item have sentimental value or meaning for me?” For example, perhaps it was a gift from a loved one who has passed away. If it doesn’t have meaning for you, then give it away or sell it. (If you’ve lived in the same home for many years, you may need more than one day. Create a schedule of blocked out times to work on this as a “project”.)
- Next, give away books; recycle magazines and personal papers; go through your computer files and e-mails and delete items that are old or no longer important or useful.
- When you have completed the clearing out process, celebrate your accomplishment! Making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of can take a lot of energy. Honor yourself for the work it has taken to let go.
- Finally, notice how you feel. Do you feel lighter and freer? Do you have more energy?
As you clear out the clutter and simplify your life, don’t be afraid to be generous about what you let go of. Remember, as you let go, you are creating room for something new to show up!
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” – John Burroughs
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann
”The essence of voluntary simplicity is living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich.” – Duane Elgin
”Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” – Richard Halloway