I know it seems crazy, with all the back to school, season-changing madness, that I would pick September to write a series on simplifying our lives, but . . . Imagine achieving a peaceful, uncluttered, happy home now before we make a futile attempt to slow down and scale back at the holidays. Imagine saying no to Black Friday and the excessive, budget-busting gift-buying and the stress of trying to juggle a million holiday party invitations and family commitments. Imagine relaxing in a peaceful home, together with your loved ones, listening to Christmas music, playing a board game, or reading the Nativity story to the light of a crackling fire in the hearth.
When our lives contain only that which you “know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” as William Morris famously said, we realize that we have need of nothing more. The lies that say you can only be more if you have more become powerless over you. The expectations from others insisting you make three dozen snickerdoodles or show up at their special event or participate in the annual gift exchange or, or, or . . . have no hold on you. You will have learned the beauty of being content in every situation, like the apostle Paul.
So, for September, I am embarking on a journey, and I’d like you to join me. It is an exploration and an excavation of the things that hold us back from truly and simply living. Some of what we will find is the actual, physical stuff of our surroundings, but much of it will be the unearthing of our attitudes and emotions towards that stuff. We will examine the why behind what we accumulate and analyze the deeper issues of the heart and mind that cause us to fill our lives to overflowing with things instead of purpose and passion. What do we find hardest to release? What people or ideas do we feel beholden to?
I have a feeling it will be dirty, ugly, hard work the deeper we go. I admit, I am scared I will fail, that I won’t be able to let go, that I will hold on even tighter, that I will turn away from the necessary, inner work that need to be done to truly be free from the pain of past relationships, the expectations of others, the dependence on earthly treasures. I also know that we can’t possibly reach perfection in just one month, but I am hoping to find and share some of the tools to help us continue doing the work once the month has ended.
Will you join me? We need the support of like-minded people to do a job like this. Let’s get our hands dirty together, peeling back the layers of clutter in our homes and our souls. Call it what you like: simplifying, minimalism, decluttering, discarding, downsizing, but let the end result be a life with more: contentment, joy, connection, space, peace, etc.
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