Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Learning to Value Yourself

2018 has 365 days in it.

Each a gift in itself, though we forget about that part most of the time.

In the past 8 months, I've been learning a lot about myself. 

For example, I used to fill the gap of feeling inadequate and lonely in my life, by purchasing "things".  I'd wander a mall, an antique store, a market, a new town, and inevitably I'd find "things" to buy.  The trouble with that?  My home was full of stuff.  To the brim in some places.  And I didn't even remember some of the great things I had found for my home. 

Then, you go through a tough time, packing all of your belongings up into boxes and moving out of the place you called home and setting off on your own.  The task of unpacking your life into this new space is gloriously freeing and fulfilling.  So, I stopped trying to fill in the voids I felt in life with things, and started unpacking my life.

I got down and dirty with myself and those boxes.  I learned I hold onto things hoping to rekindle the joy I once felt, or thinking that those items had to stay because it is the only way I'd remember the experiences, people and places I wanted to remember.

Living on my own for the first time ever was a truly magical experience.  It allowed me to be the controller and ruler of me.  I had all of my belongings and worldly possessions in the same place at the same time.  I came and went as I wanted.  I painted walls in colours I wanted.  I dressed my beds in linens I loved, in fabrics that felt gorgeous under my fingertips.  I arranged the furniture in the way I wanted...and then rearranged it three weeks later when the flow was still off.  And I began reevaluating the possessions of my life. 

Having a space all to yourself is glorious!  I loved every single second of it!  Then, as life does, things changed, and I found myself packing life up again to move to another place.  I loved my place.  Everything about it was perfect for me.  It checked off the dream place I had in my mind's eye.  And I didn't quite get enough time with it.  Circumstances of ownership had changed, and I was left having to find another place. 

And so, this time I packed up less of myself into boxes.  This time though, I was lighter by several boxes, had stream lined my life better, and was able to take my time getting packed and purged as I went. 

In my new space, I was no longer the only ruler of my domain.  There are others in the domain that have thoughts and opinions.  Though, I can say, the blend of this new domain has been good so far. 

I've been able to unpack my possessions and have been able to blend and create warm and inviting spaces in this new domain.  I am not quite finished unpacking everything yet.  There is still purging going on.  My 2018 goal is to purge 18% of my own belongings.  I'm well on my way to this and am proud of the work I've done in the last 3 months on this front. 

As more of the blending occurs, I'm finding myself making lists of To-Do items again.  And this time, they are shared lists.  I've learned that I really enjoy my own space.  I love it, I live in it, I am comfortable with myself and my space and what I have in my space.  I have been practicing inviting in only that which truly serves me best and letting go of the "nice to have" things that will inevitably collect dust, or take up space with clutter that I am no longer happy to have in my space.

As this process continues, it often appears to outsiders as the mess grows before it gets better.  Indeed this is sometimes how it feels.  However, having everything laid out and in front of you, you can instinctively purge out 10% of the items right away as things you do not need to keep anymore.  As you go, there are things that you feel worthy of releasing for others to enjoy, items you are not negotiating on and will be keeping regardless of others thoughts, and things that you just aren't sure about. 

And so, what starts as a box of items gets spread out on the dining table and the sort begins.  Garbage, recycling, donation, keep for sure, unsure, and LET IT GO!  Garbage bag, recycling bag, donation box, keep and put away, and the box of unsure.  In the last 4 boxes I've sorted, I can honestly say I've recycled three of those boxes, and have one mashed up box of items to sort through in the summer time.  I like to give myself some time with my items in this box, as some of them inevitably are seasonal. 

In the process of all of this, I've found my voice.  I speak up.  I kindly speak the truth for myself.  I am ok saying, I see your point, however I do not agree with it.  I am learning that sometimes you just need to do it yourself, while other times help is so warranted and appreciated. 

I am seriously proud of the work I've done on the new place I'm in.  I am seriously proud of what I've learned about myself in the process.  I know that I am a piler.  I pile things and then get the urge to get the pile handled and spend half an afternoon doing just that.  Then I move on.  I have learned that if I put these piles into bags or boxes they can add up over time and can overwhelm the best of us.  I am not a hoarder. Instead I have items from my past that I am unsure of what to do with, neatly boxed up, and when I am ready to release those items, I do so with gusto. 

I can spend a Saturday afternoon ripping every single possession out of a room, putting it in the hallway, sweeping and dusting and scrubbing the room, and then only putting back that which actually serves a useful purpose into that room.  I trash, recycle, or donate what is no longer necessary, put a few items that I'd like to move to another room into a pile and move them there, and then take stock of what is left over. 

Those left overs I am getting better with.  Some will go into drawers for future things - crafts, handy-man needs etc.  Some will become my next relaxing project - stitch work, scrap book, photo framing, painting.  Some will simply go into the garbage, because in the last 5 years I haven't yet used it, so why am I going to suddenly use it now?  And still others become gifts or lenders that you don't expect to see again -"Universal Borrow" items.

In the end, the room gets much cleaner and tidier, the energy flow is intensely improved and often the room itself feels brighter.  It's a lot of work sometimes.  Other times you don't notice it so much.

I'm almost there with the bedrooms.  I know that what is in the kitchen is actually in use regularly and am happy with that.  The dining room and living room are next on the evaluate and release.  the bedrooms will require another concentrated weekend of time to complete.  The living room and dining room a weekend or two for sure.  Then, the basement will get it's due time.

It is where the remainder of the boxes and bags of stuff from the move currently reside.  Through this process, I have learned and am much more aware of my own needs, desires and wants and how to articulate those things to others.  It is truly a lovely thing to finally understand how to value yourself and present that value to others.  

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sometimes You Just Have To Listen To Your Body

We are beings that have lists and goals and tasks to do.  We GO-GO-GO for as long as we can and because we "have to" or because we have to.

Sometimes though, we really need to listen to our body.

This past weekend, and in fact the last 2 weeks, I've been tired, fighting some sort of illness but never quite getting it, and I've been exhausted.  Like, bone tired, sleeping 17 hours a day exhausted.

This past weekend was good.  I didn't feel like doing anything even though I had a pile to accomplish.

I got a few things done, but I was really tired.  Moreso than I had thought.  Case in point, I awoke Sunday at8:30am.  Was up and doing things, went to lay down on the bed to take a moment to contemplate what I was going to do with my day, stretch a little, and apparently feel asleep.  I woke up again at 1pm.  What?! 

Turns out my exhaustion levels were still quite high.  I can say that I am very happy with the tasks I did manage to get done this weekend.  My bedroom is much more organized and feels clear and wonderful.  The spare bedroom needs a little more work - and a furniture shuffle to be considered completed.  Painting/wallpaper removal will be a task for this summer hopefully.

Sometimes though, despite the lists and tasks that "need" to be completed, you need to take care of yourself more.  And who cares if you spend the day in front of a tv or in a bath or absorbed in a book.  It's allowing your brain, and body some much needed down time.

The point of this post?  Listen to your body and treat yourself with grace.  Self-care is a must.