The Year of Enough starts here…

I wrote a couple of days ago of wanting to live a simple life, in the tea house. I tried to think practically how much of our stuff that we could live without. That was quite easy until I got to a clothes line and bike shed and all the stuff that comes with daily life that would inevitably clutter up a zen space.

 But maybe that’s the problem.

 We seek to possess or inhabit something so that we might embody its qualities that we admire… and yet in the act of possession or inhabitation, we bring our own mess, our own baggage with us, and the object of our affections becomes sullied in our eyes.

Bugger it, the Buddhists are right again – I am clinging, this is attachment. It will and can only lead to suffering.

 There is another way. Just to hold and enjoy and release, rather than possess. I guess the thought birdpractice is a good one for cultivating the mindset of peace and clarity, to learn to embody these qualities within myself, rather than seeking to grasp them outside of myself.

 I have recommited myself to “The Year of Enough”. After all, this is stil 2011, and it is never too late to start again. We can always recommit ourselves in the endless Now.

And so I have started shifting junk – again! Ripped children’s books, plastic containers, cardboard boxes, medicine bottles with only a teaspoon of syrup left, endless children’s drawings – gone. Odd socks and unworn pants – gone. The top that makes me feel fat and has a hole in the sleeve, even though it’s practical – gone! Bags of hand-me-down clothes waiting for “what if”… going. The surfaces are clear – ahhhhhhhhhhhhh that feels good! My house is transforming into one big zen space!

I realise that I have many clogging patterns which I have inherited and nurtured: in my body, my emotional life and my home. These include:

Waste not want not… – so I eat more than I need, including the kids left overs.

Waste not want not… – hang on to it because it might be useful some time – scraps of fabric, a ripped book, bits of string, used elastic bands, an extra, extra coat, that-little-plastic-thingy-that-no-one-quite-knows-what-it-does-or-where-it-comes-from-but-it-might-come-in-handy…

Comfort fullness – I like the feeling of being contentedly full – until it overwhelms me and I feel bloated – in my body and in my house. I don’t like feeling empty/ hungry/ in need – I like to be set up for the day/ for life. I am a good Girl Guide and I like to “be prepared”

Taking on other’s stuff – if people chuck stuff out, they come to me to see if I want it – this way I keep myself and the kids in clothes for free… but I also get a lot of stuff that we don’t need, that I’m not very good at moving on and moving out, so I keep it for just in case… in bags, in corners, that children unpack and scatter around and get attached to. Beware other serial hoarders – they try off-loading their stuff on you so they don’t feel bad about getting rid of it!

Taking on other’s stuff mentally. I’m good at this one too – you have a problem, I’ll get upset on your behalf, I’ll get agitated for you, I’ll worry and cook you meals and get really involved. Until I end up spending more energy on your life than mine. Then I get really tired. And don’t shift my own stuff. So it builds up…again!

Buying more stuff – because I really believe that we “need” this, that this is “different”, that this is a good deal or will bring greater happiness, that THIS isn’t too much, it’s all the other stuff that is bad… and the problem is, sometimes I’m right… and then a lot of the time I’m wrong

Mental dread – I prefer to get caught up in head stuff (reading/ writing/ TV) to avoid the “pain” of tidying and shifting stuff on a daily basis – this is part laziness, and part the drudgery of not again, please God, not again I feel tired from the last time I washed up/ tidied/ sorted stuff. I experience tidying and sorting stuff as energy depleting, not energy building. And a waste of time. Not the real stuff of life, just a monotonous bind which I resent.

Mental dread – I can plan the perfect healthy eating regime – but doing it – no siree, I get caught up in the head stuff

Do you recognise yourself in any of these?

I can see the roots back into my own unique childhood – child of divorced parents, often very lean parental incomes, being told not to waste food, wanting to assert this is how much I eat, that I deserve to take up space…

 With the amount of diet books and decluttering books on the market, I know I am by no means alone in this. I recognise the teachings of the Buddha, the words of Jesus about the lilies of the field… to be human is to struggle with worries about if we have enough, of how to deal healthily with the material world – without hoarding, anxiety, greed…

I recognise that my habits are built on faulty beliefs…

That hanging on to stuff will make me happy

That fundamentally everything will NOT be OK, so I need to be as prepared as I can for impending disaster

Sugary food/ pretty clothes/ another book… make life easier to cope with

That I am not enough, not good enough…

That stuffing myself fuller and fuller will make everything safer, better, happier

That feeling full is better than feeling my feelings

That tomorrow is a better day for dealing with shit

That I am too tired

That I can’t face it

That I mustn’t say no or be ungrateful

That if I don’t take it/ eat it this opportunity is gone for ever… and I’ll regret it. So take it just in case

I am scared of being hungry or without what I need

Waste is bad

Not knowing how much I actually need rather than want

Believing the voices in my head, letting them dominate

Believing on a deep level that stuff is better than space

But all these are just beliefs and open to examination.

And so here I sit, in the tea house, grateful that I am here, now. Not wishing away my home as it is. Not fantasising about living here. Just writing these words with the sun rising higher in the sky over the light house, the sea shimmering, migrating ducks flying in over the bog. I am here… letting go.

Awareness is the first step. The next is action. Both are happening here.

Our fridge is full of fruit and veg and I am really focusing on creating lighter health filled meals and snacks. Our surfaces are clear, and I am rededicating myself to sustaining it with joy! I’m practicing saying no and monitoring how much I take on. This is the Year of Enough, starting here, and now. Away with overwhelm. Away with bloatedness. Welcome enough. Welcome natural balance and abundance.

Where are you at with this? Will you join me at re-dedicating yourself to enough before the winter blowout of Thanksgiving and Christmas? Let us shed our “too much” just as the trees are shedding their leaves. Let us enter the winter bare and simple. Let us celebrate the winter holiday season in mindfulness.

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  1. Ellie Di
    Ellie Di11-10-2011

    I’m so happy that you’ve recommitted to “enough” and faced those dark motivations. That’s a big, brave thing you’ve done, and I can’t congratulate you enough!

  2. Marla @ Your Full Plate
    Marla @ Your Full Plate11-11-2011

    The part of this that speaks to me the most is about taking on others’ ‘stuff’ mentally. Sometimes I get so jammed up with everyone else’s crap that I don’t take the time to clear out my own. I am joining you in your dedication to enough!

  3. Dreamingaloudnet

    Thanks Ellie

    Welcome aboard the enough train Marla!

  4. anempoweredlife

    I am so appreciative of this post! I am going to share this with everyone I know. Let’s do this!

  5. Dreamingaloudnet

    Oh, delighted empowered life, thanks!