Creating Your Environment
This is the current state of my living room. And because of that, it's pretty much what the inside of my mind looks like as well.
Unless you've been completely off of social or news media, you've probably heard of Marie Kondo by now. (And you either just grinned or groaned.) I read (ok, started) her book a few years ago. A week or so ago, I watched the first episode of "Tidying Up" - Marie's new special on Netflix where she works with various individuals, couples, and families on decluttering / tidying-up their homes.
And then I watched it again with my husband.
And then I played it a third time and made my kids watch it.
I wasn't sure what all I was going to do with all of that information and inspiration, but I knew I wasn't going to do it alone.
The idea of decluttering and organizing your home isn't, of course, a new one. And Marie's concepts, while new to many of us, aren't revolutionary. But they are a tipping point for many people who are starting to feel the overwhelm of too much.
If you are one who groaned when I brought up Marie, or if I mention the "KonMari method", don't fear. I'm not here to proselytize about that way of organizing. (I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get down to 30 books, as she recommends. And yes, I've seen the arguments about such decluttering being a very "privileged" topic - that only those who can afford to buy something if they toss it and need it again, or only those who have the luxury of having, well, luxury items, GET to worry about decluttering. I understand, but I carry enough guilt over parenting and finances and my art and ... well, for now, I'm not taking on any more.)
I bring this up particularly for BEING BREATH followers because there is a very important link between the state of your environment and the state of your well-being. Want to breathe easier? Try clearing some of the space around you.
In one episode of the Marie Kondo show, she says,
"the point of this process is not to force you to get rid of everything. It's really to confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess."
The state of my living room (photo above) isn't, of course, what guests usually would be greeted with when they walk in. The areas of the house that people see are the areas I always clean first. The too many blu-ray discs are hidden in tidy little baskets. Stacks of papers that usually reside on the counter are tossed by our bedside, and the bedroom door closed. The bathroom sink, usually spotted with toothpaste from the kids' most recent brushing attempts and a wadded up washcloth that was used for who-knows-what, is wiped down and made to appear as if it is always this clean.
Each time I went into one of those rooms (long after guests have left and the clutter has found its way back out), a little part of me always noticed what was out of place. I've trained myself not to think of it, lest I become overwhelmed while trying to go about my day.
But in doing so, I've been not only ignoring parts of my environment - I've been ignoring parts of myself, of who I am and how I live my life. I've been denying myself the opportunity to examine what I really love, and what is no longer serving me - or worse, what is weighing me down.
Your environment is not only a reflection of who you are, but strongly influences that person as well.
You create your environment and it creates you.
I am constantly exploring - and inviting you to explore - how your mundane actions are creating (or taking away from) the life you want to be living.
And as we look around to see how we can creatively engage with our daily lives, there's a large neon arrow with that annoying buzzing sound flashing on and off and on and off, pointing right to a large, comically written, "ENVIRONMENT".
Your environment is your physical environment, your mental environment, your social environment. Your stuff, your car, your office, the state of your mind, your friends, and even the state of your friends' minds. It all plays a part in determining who you are.
As you decide to take more control in playing with the path of your life, there are certain areas that are easier than others to change. (It's not so easy to change a friend's behavior, for example, or to let go of a harmful belief that you've carried since childhood.)
Your home environment is just such an area.
Don't think of this "tidying" process as necessarily getting rid of stuff (though trust me, that helps). Think of it, like Marie said, as consciously re-evaluating your relationship with each and every item you possess.
Are you and your 378 books still in honeymoon phase? Awesome. Enjoy every single one. Has that framed picture on the wall that you got from Target (or was it IKEA?) several years ago to match the couch stopped bringing you joy? Take it down, thank it for bringing you pleasure for a while, acknowledge that it is someone else's turn to enjoy it (it's not you, it's me....), then place it in a pile to be donated.
Does this take time? You bet. Is it easy? God, no. Is it worth it? Well, you tell me.
Is it worth your time and effort to have a home environment that you love? An environment that helps you breathe easier no matter where you move within it (no hidden clutter-corners)? An environment that not only supports, but reminds you of the joys of who you are and the possibilities of who you are becoming? An environment that feels spacious, creative, unique, and that cradles you each and every time you step into it?
I'm giving you a look right now. A look that says, "yeah, ... you know the answer".
Have you joined the KonMari cult? Have you tried other methods of organizing / decluttering / minimizing? How do you feel about this whole thing? Let me know!
Leave a comment below and give me a sneak-peak into your dance with this whole process....
p.s. I’m attempting to let you follow along with my decluttering / tidying process - the whole messy, exhausting thing. I’m sharing behind-the-scenes videos and posts over on Facebook. Want to share in my pains (and yes, joys)? Join me at : www.facebook.com/BeingBreath