Clutter. We have it in our homes, in our heads, and in our hearts. It’s easy to hone in on the clutter we see around us, and the simple act of clearing off a countertop can do wonders for shifting the energy to a place of quiet calm. Allowing for a physical clearing where you can see a “white space” or blank palette allows your eyes to rest and make room to really embrace the few things you have set out. I talked about minimizing a few blogs back, and when you clean out the clutter in your home, it’s not just about making it pretty and easier to find things; it does something powerful to your inner soul. Your energy settles and finds comfort. Your tensions can relax a bit and you can create a space to simply be.
That’s a tricky thing. I’m a “do-er” and always have something on my to-do list. I love making lists and checking off all I’ve accomplished that day. My personality style loves the achievement aspect and feeling productive. This week, however, all of my online world – my work, my writing, organizing our pictures and documenting our travels, planning our next adventure and calling loved ones – it’s all been pretty minimal. We are at a spot where the closest cell-phone tower for us is thirty minutes away. I can get internet only up at the main campsite office, which requires driving to. Although this wasn’t an intentional fast from the online world, this has allowed me to be unplugged at a greater level this week.
Let me tell you a bit about the energy that follows us in our unhurried state. Here is the life we’ve been living.
In the morning, we wake up when our bodies are ready. After over a year of getting up around 5:30am, we’re early risers and consistently wake up before the sun. Here in the East, it’s been anywhere from 5-6:30am. We make ourselves one beautiful cup of cappuccino with our little espresso maker and $3 frother from Ikea, and sit down with a book. No cell phone updates with texts, facebook, and the latest news rumblings – just us, the quiet, a luxurious drink and our minds opening up to new insights from a book with no other distractions.
Our girls get up on their own and look over to their little hideout to see if the lights are on. We have “stars” in their cubby and they are on a timer – when the lights go off, it’s a cue to the girls that it’s late enough to get out of bed. They tiptoe in and climb under the covers on the “cuddle couch” to simply talk with us. No demands, no complaints – a time to simply be.
Nathan has been the master chef on this journey – not just making food to sustain us, but creating art with every meal. He uses the time cooking to imagine and play with different ideas, letting his sole focus be on the food and bringing forth his creative energy to make something beautiful and delicious. I am in heaven being the recipient to his amazing concoctions!
I knock out any work first thing in the morning so I can be with the family, being intentional about prioritizing my time on what is most critical to get accomplished, and shutting out other distractions. I can really struggle with distractions and doing ten things at once – but with limited time and internet access, I’ve had to be very focused on how I spend my time. And, of course, in this, I’ve been very productive and gotten a lot accomplished within a small amount of time.
And then, we relish the simple things. It’s freezing cold here, and we don’t like the cold. We’ve had our pipes freeze over twice, and have woken up to a 50 degree house. No matter how much imagination we can muster, the shower is never, ever hot enough. Where we are right now, there is a bathhouse right beside us. We are the only ones at the campsite, and there is radiant heat in the floor. It’s all about comparisons. Coming from a freezing shower in our little camper in the wooded, frozen mountains of West Virginia, this little bathhouse with it’s scalding water that goes on forever is pure bliss.
I’ve found myself closing my eyes in the shower, letting my to-do lists wash away down the drain as I simply feel the heat run over my body. Showers are amazing places for epiphanies, ideas, and literally soaking in what is around you. Try meditating in the shower and focusing on nothing but the water. Clear the clutter from your mind. Stay simple and just focus on the hot water hitting you and the sensation it gives you. My girls have memorized this – camping by rivers and relishing the water as we do, this seemed fitting:
Embrace the moment. Simply be. Allow time to stand still and to just soak in the present. Distractions will always crop up. My to-do list will never completely go away. There is always something on the agenda. When we minimize our homes, we don’t eliminate everything – we chose to be intentional about what remains, and make sure it serves a purpose – whether in it’s function, or the emotion it stirs in our heart.
When we “minimize” our head, don’t try to shut out everything. You don’t empty a room of everything in it, you create a space you want to remain in. With your mind, meditate – shift the focus to your breath, to the moment, to simply being. Trying to shut or block out life and it’s distractions creates a war within your mind; a desperate feeling you are fighting a losing battle, as every swing to focus causes that much more distraction. You can become like a frantic pendulum, trying to stay all “zenned out” yet your mind is berating you for not being zen enough.
Life is crazy. It’s frantic and we are more like ants than sloths. Everything screams at us all the time, and the bustle of the city can be numbing. But imagine even in that scenario – look at a busy ant mound and notice what your eye is attracted to. It’s typically wherever one ant is standing still. It’s the lack of movement in the chaos that we zone in on when everything else is crazy. Life isn’t still – but we can find moments of stillness when we are intentional about it. Those moments of stillness give us energy, shift the energy to calm, and allow us to be fully present. Those moments of pure presence take us to a deeper level of awareness and give us the fuel to carry on about our days.
Take time today to soak in the little things. Really take a shower and cleanse not just your body, but your mind and your soul. Allow the stillness to clear the clutter and move forward with a clear head and heart to truly embrace today. Namaste.