Categories
Decluttering Empty Nest Minimalism

The Process of Pivoting

What do you do when you can do anything?

That is the situation in which I find myself. For the first time in my life I am free, completely free. I can go anywhere, do anything. The road of Life is wide open. All I have to do is pick a direction.

It feels overwhelming. I’ve spent my entire life burdened with obligations both real and imagined. To realize that they’ve all disappeared…I’m not sure how to feel about that.

This was why, as the waters rose in their routine surge, that a part of me wished that it would wash my house away as well. It would be nice to have a completely fresh start, I mused as I watched.

But I don’t have to wait for a disaster to have a fresh start. I’ve got one already. As for the stuff…I do believe it is time for a pivot. Minimalism is perfect for pivots, because it allows us to cut the crap from our lives. It makes it easier for us to change direction.

So I tossed some stuff. There’s a cabinet and some empty totes sitting upon my front porch for a friend to collect. Another friend has been offered the bicycle. Other items were deemed too ratty to pass on so they’ve been put in the trash.

“Are you going to have anything left?” One friend asked when she came by to collect some of the things.

But I didn’t just focus on physical things. Mental clutter can be just as burdensome as physical clutter. In some ways, it can cause more damage because it affects us emotionally. All of those old grudges and resentments really build up in time. They can turn us from happy people into miserable, hateful old cranks.

So now, whenever one of those memories surface that trigger a negative emotion, I work to eliminate the negativity connected with it. If I find myself getting stuck in a negative emotional loop, I make myself stop by focusing on my breathing. In, out. In. Out. It’s not like a normal meditation where you turn into a pretzel while staring at your navel. This is something you do wherever you’re at, no outfits, ommms, or twisty poses required. I find it much more effective than traditional meditation. I can’t sit still long enough for the standard stuff.

And whenever I find myself wanting to acquire a specific item, I ask myself what purpose it would serve along with other related questions. Those questions helped me to realize that the only reason I wanted to acquire a record player and a VCR was to revisit a piece of my history. But the past is dead so why bother?

So I discarded the plan to purchase a record player and the VCR. I even placed the tentative plan to purchase a stereo system on indefinite hold since I’m not sure if I really need one. My entire music library is stored upon my computer and selected playlists are synced to my phone. I use my soundbar with both my computer and my phone to play my music and I’m more than content at the sound quality, so do I really need to buy more stuff when I’m content with what I already have?

In this world if we’re not growing and changing we’re dying. Just like with trees and plants, in order to achieve the strongest growth we have to prune the branches. After the pruning, it is time to sweep that old away. We have a new future to look forward to.

What can you prune today?

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Food

The Meditative Properties of Bread Making

Here’s a treat from way back during my Associated Content days. Enjoy!

It’s there.

Waiting in the darkness. When you turn out the light it comes.

Whispering, worrying, tormenting.

You toss, you turn – sleep eludes as you continue to be tortured by the thoughts swirling within your mind.

Oozing, shrieking, pulling at you, dragging you inexorably toward an abyss of fear.

Finally, you can’t take it anymore. This demon, this fear, this worry, this concern – you must purge it to have peace.

Walking to the kitchen, you pull out your tools. Two cups of flour, a package of yeast – stirred and set aside.

You take care of the liquids – 2 cups of milk, perhaps one cup milk with water for the rest instead. Perhaps all water, save the milk for the kids. A tablespoon of butter or shortening, two teaspoons of sugar, few shakes of salt, warmed on the stove just so – the butter hasn’t fully melted, but the mix is warm like a baby’s bottle.

Perfect.

Combining this with your flour and yeast, you mix with your wooden spoon, mixing, thinking, adding flour one splash at a time, working as much in as you can before sprinkling the table and kneading the dough.

Knead, press, work, strain. Imagine your tormentor is in the dough as you beat and pull and knead it into submission. You breathe softly, regularly. Your worries and fears come under your control like the dough beneath your hands.

Feel the life beneath your fingers. Know you are participating in an ancient life-giving ritual. Think about your ancestors, standing, kneading just as you are at this very moment. Recall the peace they must have felt as they too worked their worries into the bread.

Finally you step back and give it a poke, smiling when the indentation disappears. It is ready.

You place it in your greased bowl, flipping it once to make sure it is evenly coated, inspecting it lovingly. Covering it with a cloth, you treat yourself to a gentle relaxing bath. Life is truly good.

Enjoy the heat; enjoy the warmth. Consider the life blossoming in the other room, rising as a result of your care. By the time you are finished, rest assured in the knowledge your loaf will be waiting for you.

Dress, dry your hair, and check upon your masterpiece. Perfect, beautiful, mounding within the bowl. Ancient, perfect peace.

Taking your fist, you gently punch it down. That air escaping is your problems, hissing away into the atmosphere. You are free!

Split your dough in half, shape and place in your pans. Or perhaps in your relief you wish to play, and braid your loaves instead? You are free now from your tormentors, enjoy yourself! Relax while you watch your life-giving creation rise again, breathing, just breathing in the knowledge that you are safe, and all is well

As your loaves bake, think about how delighted your family will be to awaken to the aroma of fresh-baked bread, as you stretch out on the couch with your favorite book, calmly glancing at the clock.

Pull the loaves out to cool, covering with a cloth, and go back to bed, knowing you have worked away your demons and can now truly rest, knowing that your family will have not only a fresh healthy treat in the morning, but knowing that everything is going to be okay.

It really is.