Minimalist Journey (Part One ) Shedding My Skin
Minimalism is not a word that I would have considered to be part of my every day vocabulary a few short weeks ago. It is not a concept that I would ever have imagined owning or identifying with. But the truth is, we can find ourselves entwined in our personal labyrinth of struggles, buried knee deep in unwanted emotional baggage and we do not know what we want or need to get out of it. Sometimes, by the grace of God, a door that you didn’t even know was there, opens and you find yourself not tiptoeing but leaping through it, ready to embrace change.
A few short weeks ago, I was feeling overwhelmed, chaotic, pretty burnt out and just lacking a general focus and direction. I was on a personal development mission and I knew I wanted to reconnect with my creative side but something was and has always been, holding me back. Our lives have been fairly turbulent since the arrival of our third daughter and my husband and I have needed to reevaluate our lifestyle and our habits, particularly in relation to spending money. Then I stumbled across this beautiful blog Someday Slower where a lovely lady named Beth, shares her journey on becoming a minimalist. I found her story so authentic and relatable and there was something about her reflections on stripping back the excess that got me eager to dig deeper.
I began to reflect firstly on my shopping habits and how they have been deeply connected to my level of self esteem and confidence (or lack there of) and on how emotionally charged and driven some of my purchases have been. I thought about the endless clothes I have bought to cover the parts of my body I am so ashamed of and the physical weight I have felt when things haven’t looked good or no longer fit. The make up that I’ve tried to hide behind on the days when I didn’t want my face to speak its truth. The materials that I believed I ‘needed’ in order to begin homeschooling because I doubted my ability to inspire and fuel my child’s imagination. And books, oh the books, lets just say I have an amazon wish list that would stretch oceans and in all that time I was so determined to read every one else's words that I was afraid to dare and write my own.
I woke up on a crisp sunny autumn day after binge watching minimalism videos the night before and as I gazed out at the leaves dropping so effortlessly to the ground, I sipped my coffee and prepared to let go. I had this deep urge to shed everything that I felt had been holding me back and so I began, room by room, removing what was no longer serving me. Item by item I could see the varying forms of clutter that had engulfed my life (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, financial and internal) and I hadn’t even realised it until now. The surfaces cleared, the bags of unwanted items mounted in the centre of my living room and my children watched with curiosity as I shifted, disposed and reorganised.
Almost instantly I felt these surges of emotion, it was unbelievable that these material possessions held so much power. The guilt for the money wasted, the shame for choices that I’ve made, the pain attached to things that for whatever reason, trigger something unexplainable, deep within me. I could hardly believe that all this ‘stuff’ had been suffocating me, I felt awakened and ready, so so ready to breathe again. I powered through my entire home in a matter of days and with each day I felt more and more at peace. My mind felt lighter, my prayer more focused, my spirit more balanced. These feelings were almost immediate and so welcomed.
A few weeks have passed and I am slowly realising that I have only just scratched the surface of this lifestyle. I sit each night physically twitching in my seat wanting to throw out more, I am assessing our space and realising how much of me is within it. I have always felt pretty unfulfilled with that sense of home. Renting property in the UK market (especially in London) does that to your soul. I can get frustrated trying to accommodate furniture that we do not own or decor that we did not chose and a space that houses so many of our personal stories, yet doesn’t belong to us. My daughter was born, in the early hours of a spring morning on my bedroom floor, you cannot get more intimate than that and yet still, I’m not sure I consider this place our home.
Stripping back and living with less opens these narratives within your heart. For me, they were always there, along with the difficult feelings that I suppressed, the memories I would rather forget and that deep desire to be who I am, with simplicity. I am in an exhausting, yet exhilarating season of my life as I navigate motherhood with three beautiful little spirits. This is a time when all my vulnerabilities are thrust to the surface and I have no choice but to face them. I never expected that I would want so desperately to slow the pace right down, be brave enough to let go and be willing to live with less but I am so very grateful that this door was opened.
Please do head over to Someday Slower and read Beth’s beautiful posts, I am sure they will warm your heart, as they did mine.