In the past few weeks, I happened to travel to various workshops. This reminded me of how much I like to sometimes be away from home. But really, why do people enjoy going away for a while?
My husband and I have built a happy, peaceful home, so in my case family troubles are not the answer. The reason for my nomadic inclinations came to me only when I chanced to stay for a few nights at a lovely house in Zurich. What I realized during my stay there was that the predominant furnishing was white walls.
And then it hit me. Getting away from home is uplifting not because of the shimmering beaches that are often our destination, but because all we have with us is a suitcase of possessions. We leave the clutter of our lives behind, including the intangible clutter of chores and obligations. And then, as I was riding the train back home, it became apparent to me how much I was drowning in clutter. Our garage and home were filled with possessions kept mostly out of habit; my son had too many toys; and I had developed a far too elaborate book keeping system and work routines. It was as if we were preparing for an eventual doom’s day, making sure we have double of everything and keeping around things for some once-in-a-lifetime use.
Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. So, I decided to trust in the world and take my chances with any forthcoming apocalypse.
For three weeks, I decluttered and simplified our lives. The result was four carfuls of things to trash or donate, fewer furniture pieces, fewer clothes, two containers of paper for recycling, and the cancellation of several contracts and subscriptions. Our lives deflated considerably and I’m sure there are areas where more air can be let out. This was only the first round. Living lightly takes learning and a general change in the way one thinks.
Dan Blank calls it “investing in white space” and Sadhguru talks about “creating pleasantness within and pleasantness without”. After the walls of our home bared and the corners of the rooms showed, after my lists diminished and my elaborate plans got thrown out of the window, and after masses of “should-s” and best practices fell away, I could finally see the bare bones of what it is I value and need in life: simplicity, lightness, focusing only on one thing at a time, and having space to think. Now that the murky water of my life has started clearing, I can see glimpses of the bottom where my truer Self resides and notice which currents move me.
Image from Pablo