The Wellbeing Series: KISS

This is the second last post in the Wellness series, inspired by Lamu Island. 

It has been 4 weeks of reflecting on what Lamu Island taught me about wellness. 

Here's a reminder of what you might have missed over the last posts in this series:

Check out the intro post here that delves into self care as an art.

 Part 1 talks about staying in flow and going with the slow.

Food was the subject of deliberation in the 2nd instalment here.

 Part 3 was an encouragement to all of us to drink up some more.

{p.s:  do you know anyone who would benefit from a little lift in their self-care and wellness? feel free to pass this forward}



WEEK IV: KEEP IT SIMPLE

Among the first things you notice when you are on the island is how clean, simple and minimalistic everything is. The buildings are non-fussy, painted white which contributes to a level of serenity and calm. The mode of dressing is laid back. People take everything easy. Their routines are normal and relaxed.

Our daily routine consisted of waking up, planning which yoga session to attend, walking along the beach, going for lunch, more yoga, winding the evening down by walking along the ocean front and enjoying the sunset.

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Simplicity-  that state where nothing is complicated.

This week's lesson is therefore an invitation to simplify on all levels in order to experience true freedom, lightness and enjoyment.

4 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

1| Declutter. 

This is the ALWAYS the first step. 

Too much stuff makes you heavy. So heavy that you cannot soar.

The orgasmic lifestyle was borne partly because of a prior frustration of feeling stuck and unable to move.  I was surrounded by too much stuff that was wearing me down and making me too heavy to do what I needed to do.  For some people, too much stuff manifests itself as being heavy physically. 

De-cluttering made my life a whole lot lighter- as the trash bags went one by one and my space became less full of papers and stuff that I no longer needed and used, it took down the unnecessary weight I was lugging about.

Are you using too much stuff as your excuse for not flying and soaring?

Get rid of the gunk and junk that is taking up valuable mental and physical space.

Start small and work your way up.

2| Clean up

As the decluttering went on in earnest, I had to clean up- there were no two ways about it.

One of the exercises that I found to be very useful was becoming acquainted with my space. It meant touching, seeing and feeling the whole scope of my room- an unashamed assessment of how I experienced my surroundings. 

Getting present with my space, I called it.

The first time round, I was able to recount the stories behind the things I had surrounded myself with. Everything has its story.  I had to sift through the tales and the emotions and respond to the call to do some rearranging, recycling, reorganizing and disposals. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary.

In the process I came to discover how many beautiful things I own, which made me appreciate my style and how endowed I am.  I was

I consistently have the urge to clean, clear and purge.  I have been increasingly reflecting on how well my space serves to nurture me.   While I am not as heavy and stuck as I once was, my goal is now to create a space that is supportive of the creativity I wish to express. I am excited about the flexibility I have to make the changes. I am doing this based solely on intuition, with no design handbook to guide me. I trust that as I evaluate and audit, I will know exactly what it is I need to do to enhance my life situation.

Clean. Clear. Purge. Repeat.

Start by dusting off that drawer.

Move on to clean out your computer desktop.

Sweep your floors and arrange your furniture.

Literally remove the cobwebs that are clouding your judgement.

These seemingly small exterior actions have a large effect on your internal dynamics.

3| Get Rid Of What Weighs You Down

To really savour your life, getting rid of what weighs you down and clearing up physically can have a tremendous affect on your wellbeing. 

When I started the process of re-arranging, re-doing, changing, moving, re-purposing and recycling, it was not the easiest. However, with every small step I took, I experienced a level of clarity and awareness around my relationship with things.

Gatherer of stuff:- someone who loves collecting everything and anything, and years later, shakes their head in disbelief at what they find.

On one of my decluttering sessions, what I hoped would take me one hour ended up taking half my day. I got rid of old magazines, which I shared amongst the local salons. They would probably get more reads from them than I could ever have hoarding them in the darkness of my cupboard.  What I unearthed was about fifteen years’ worth of collection right there, most items telling the  ‘whatifIneedthemoneday?’  and the ‘thisistooprecioustogiveout’ sob stories.

Being a gatherer of stuff leads to an unnecessary sense of overwhelm that you can very well do without.

Being a gatherer of stuff points to an unhealthy attachment to material things that end up filling your space and your life.

Being a gatherer of stuff slows you down and makes you feel stuck and bound by the chain of ‘too-muchness’ floating around.

One of my friends shared the story of helping her ailing mother clear out her belongings. Her mother could not believe that she had been imprisoned all her life by the piles and mounds of all that stuff.  AHA! That’s what it is…being a gatherer of stuff makes you:- a prisoner. 

Refuse to be bound. Take charge of your stuff and streamline. Like I have said, for me, cleaning and clearing out is an ongoing process.  There has been a lot of effort that has gone into letting go. It has been a release of pain, struggle, drama, insecurity and sometimes fear.

In its place it has welcomed in lightness and freedom and space that is worth its weight in gold!

4| The 3 Ts: Tell The Truth

There is a very simple formula that has made all my choices of letting go or holding on seem very easy.

Tell the truth and it shall set you free.

When you are trying to figure out whether to keep or discard something, tell yourself the truth.

Truth:  I collect a lot.

Truth:  Half of what I collect does not even make sense to me.

Truth:  I dislike having too much stuff around me. I feel confused, irritated, stuck and heavy.

It is not easy trying to scale down so many years' worth of stuff into the present moment. Two particular instances struck me as being very significant to understanding this basic principle.  I had a box full of papers and books from a previous job that when I looked at honestly, made me feel bad.  I remembered the crazy hours, the boss who was never happy with what I did and the stress. Normally, I love having mementos of my accomplishments and achievements, but this time round, it evoked such clear unhappy thoughts. They had to go. And they did- into a bonfire.

Here’s another instance: I found a couple of my Maths books from primary school- for whatever reason. But in a moment of clarity, I discovered that holding on to them reminded me of how difficult arithmetic was for me and how hard I had to work just to get by.  I did really well in the final exams but not without back-breaking, over and above my usual effort.  Unfortunately, my current life ethos does not agree with such methodology and it made it all the much easier to let go.

You are the only one who best understands your truth.

In order to create lasting change, especially through a process as profound and life-altering as simplifying, if you are looking for freedom, you best starting point is with 100% honesty.


Your Turn:

What stories are your belongings and environment trying to tell you?

How do you keep things simple? 

Share in the comments below.


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