Here we are: January, 2019.
What. The. Heck.
Maybe some of you are thrilled the holidays are over and ready to get back into a routine. Maybe you want to go back and relive every moment of the Holidays all over again… okay, well most moments.
So, January. Here we are. An invisible page is turned and all the sudden we should have goals and resolutions and it’s a new year and all the things.
I love how Emily P Freeman says ‘Dear new year, be gentle with us, we pray’ in her Blessing for the New Year.
Simplicity is attractive, and yet, so very counter-cultural. I drive down the countryside of Indiana and note the piles of trash parked on the side of the road. We just ended the season in America marked by excess; it still overwhelms me compared to life in Haiti.
So as we seek simplicity in life, soul, and space, here are a few suggestions to declutter your life and mind:
1. Unsubscribe from all those emails that crowd your inbox.
When I moved to Haiti, I unsubscribed from all. those. emails. We’re conditioned to think marketing is something we Need. What if I miss the sale at Ann Taylor Loft? What if I show up for a purchase and don’t have the email coupon because I’ve unsubscribed?
But when we do declutter our space, it’s so freeing. Pretend like you’re moving overseas and get rid of excess emails that you don’t ever read and only serve to distract you.
2. Excess Spending
Again, we are socialized to think we need more. More monthly subscription boxes, more Starbucks, more clothes, more, more, more. Find one thing that is automatically pulling money out of your account, and discontinue it.
Moving to Haiti was a perfect reason and opportunity to remove all automatic withdrawals from my bank account. My finances look much different now and it’s incredible how simply and freely we can really live when we’re not tied to the rat race of spend more, work more, repeat.
3. Create Less Waste
If you are creating less waste, i.e. putting less garbage inside of our precious earth, it’s quite possible you are living simpler. Buy less, waste less, recycle more, buy in bulk, use reusable grocery sacks, purchase less packaged materials. Ultimately, the less we consume the less waste we create. Americans produce over 4 pounds of trash a day. Staggering.
4. Practice Meditation
I don’t know what this looks like for you. For me, it’s an intentional practice of getting quiet, getting still, and releasing the thoughts that flood through my mind almost constantly. I really enjoy listening to a calming meditation (like the Blessing for the New Year), listening to the Bible, practicing yoga, and deep breathing. Find some intentional space for your mind, heart, and soul to breath and get in touch with what is going on inside your body and soul.
5. Do Something that You LOVE
Prioritize one thing in your life that you will do because you love it and it feeds your soul and draws you closer to the Lord. Maybe it’s spending time in nature, maybe it’s going to an art class, dance class, yoga class, running, cooking. Maybe it’s riding a horse. Maybe it’s calling a friend. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it is taking time for yourself. Invest in something that you love and don’t feel bad about it. Maybe it’s a course or workshop you’ve dreamed of doing for years. Maybe it’s big and risky and you’ll probably fail. Do it anyways. Feed your soul. God made your soul and put the talents, strengths, and desires inside of you. Get in touch with God in you by listening to the desires in your heart and executing one of them.
“Dear new year, be gentle with us, we pray.” – Emily P Freeman
Rather than piling on a list of to-do’s may we create more margin and space in our lives to get more in touch with who God created us to be, living happy and whole.