Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

Decluttering Your Breathing Space

If I take in my breath from the environment around me, than that environment is crucial to my wellbeing.

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Because I work from my home, as a mother, blogger, writer, and artist, I am an a constant dance with that environment.  There are things I learn to sigh through  - the single socks constantly dragged into the dog's water bowl, the snippets of construction paper littering my daughter's floor, the candy wrappers pushed behind my son's bookcase.

But as I start to feel off in my days, when things start to feel tight or dreary, I know it is time to do a little environmental rearranging.

Thankfully, during my most recent gotta-get-this-clean mode, I had a wonderful insight:

I want to be surrounded by things that support and remind me of the person I want to be (of who I already am beyond all of that stuff).

Allow me to break that down.  If I am going to have something, it needs to:

1) Be of practical use in helping me to survive

2) Be something that reminds me of the person I am / want to be.

I've read before of tips to declutter using two question: Is it "practical" or is it "beautiful"?  If so, keep it.  If not, toss it.

Here's the problem:

I am a mixed media artist.  I can find a practical value for ANYTHING. (Honestly. I've saved and used toilet paper rolls, bags of leaves, pizza boxes, and tags from clothes.)

And I am an Awareness Artist.  I see beauty in every object.

Living by those rules increases the clutter in the house. It makes it hard to let go of anything, and easy to purchase everything.

But looking at something through the lens of whether or not that item fits with the person I am / want to be?  Refreshing.

Sure, the candle holder is beautiful.  But I value spacious shelves, decorated only with those things that inspire and enliven me.  The candle holder does neither. Away it goes to someone who will love it.

Yes, that gate I got a few years ago at the antique show is kitchy and cute, and a wonderful place to display photos.  But it now feels heavy in the room.  I want to feel light. Time to move it out.

The tissue paper poof from my daughter's birthday party that still hangs from our light fixture isn't useful, nor is it necessarily "beautiful".  But it makes me feel playful, and inspires me to do more 10-minute craft activities with my kids.  So it stays.

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As my awareness changes, so will my feelings about the things around me. It is important that I practice and play with both, letting them change as they are apt to do.

The practice isn't about getting rid of everything, either. Rather, it is about inviting into my home, my sacred space, only those things that support and enliven me and my family.

Try it now - take a look around you. Look at what you consider yours - whether it is a desktop, an office, 4 seats in your car, or the room around you.  

Does this place reflect who you truly feel you are?  (Or who you want to be?)

If not, of what can you let go?  

What can you invite in that would make you breathe fully and freely?

More space, different scents, music, or more of a certain color? 

Here's to the space in which we breathe, both inner and outer. May it feel free, inspiring, and uncluttered.

Namaste.