The best things in life...
This season has the tendency to bring so much clutter into our lives. And it comes in all forms—it’s almost as if we’re spiritually in hibernation mode & all the trappings of “turning in for the winter” spill into every area of our life.
From material items, food, social obligations, work commitments, family gatherings, difficult relationships feel more difficult, simple relationships begin to feel difficult...the clutter seems to be coming in from every direction.
While minimalism may not be feasible for most of us, simplicity is totally worth it—when it comes to doing the work of keeping the clutter at bay. I've personally felt the weight of the seasonal "clutter" and it's been hugely important for me to embrace the moments that feel simple & that allow me to breathe into the beauty of the holidays, rather than to crumble under the pressure of it all.
I wanted to share with you some of the intentions that have blossomed out of my need to "de-clutter" all of the areas of my life...not just my closet (because--let's be SERIOUS here...that shit needs to be ran through!)
1. Reserve "sacred time" during your week.
The dark hours can make the days seem so much shorter this time of year, yet there is so much more to accomplish! Gone are the lazy summer days, and the holiday hustle & bustle is upon us. Whatever you do--DON'T replace your "sacred time" with activities that drain your holiday spirit. Your "sacred time" may look and feel a bit different, and that's OK. So long as it still feels "sacred", still fills your cup, still gives you a moment of peace with spirit and still allows your to have a period of rest. For me, this looks like an extra 30 minutes being spent in the bath, rather than being spent wrapping gifts. It also looks like watching holiday movies in the evenings after dinner with the kids before they go sleep, while I quietly take time to do some physical de-cluttering. It's looks like turning down last minute invitations to social gatherings, sending the children for sleepovers with family members & keeping my headphones in while at the grocery store..."sacred" is subjective, and we all have control over what we allow to be "sacred" or "stressful" & we are NOT reserving time for the latter.
2. Keep it "real".
What I really mean, is not allowing the pressures of spending all of your extra time & money to take over your reality. Keeping it "real" requires settings boundaries for our Self, big time. The fantasies of having it all & being the "Holiday Hero" can consume us (yes, pun intended!). Being true to myself looks like a healthy budget, healthy boundaries & honoring my emotional limitations. It's also about practicality, thoughtfulness & self-compassion. One of the ways we are keeping it real this holiday is being real about the material & emotional baggage (mostly toys, old clothing & random non-sense) we no longer need to hold onto. This is the literal clutter that keeps our living spaces and social spaces feeling overwhelmingly lived in. Don't need it. don't want it, going to do something about it.
3. Focusing on intentional "input" and "output".
It's the season of giving, and sometimes when our world is cluttered, we tend to lose focus on what & how much we have to offer. My meditation practice has gone totally out the window this holiday season--not even going to lie. As much as my meditation group has been part of my "sacred time" practice, it is also one the times when I feel released from obligations. No input, no output--just be. This area of your life is probably not in balance, one way or the other. There are some of us that are overly concerned with what we receive, while just as many of us are worried about what we are giving. What would balance in this area of your life look like in terms of relationship obligations, career obligations, family dynamics or finances? Maybe intentional eating becomes a little more of a tight squeeze for you this season--what would intentional input look like for you? This includes limiting things like caffeine and alcohol--even though the spirits are ever flowing! I have also noticed how important it has been for us to turn of the TV and turn on the music, or to read a magazine or book, or do a simple art project with the kids. TV is mindless, and though it may give you "sacred time" to relax, it is still noise being added to the clutter of your life. Moderation is not easy what so ever this season. This is the time to start making steps towards new years resolutions, if that is something that motivates & inspires you.
4. Donate more (& do more) than you buy this holiday season.
Community organizations. non-profits, emergency housing shelters, church groups....there are so many places looking to support those in need this season. Our culture this holiday season revolves around a couple of paradoxical ideas: 1) Charity 2) Consumption. One of the ways we try to balance these pressures is relieving ourselves from items and more "literal clutter" before our friends and family spoil us (and by us, I mean our children.) We are blessed that our family is able to provide such magical holidays for our family, but it's important for us that our children grow up understanding that it's important to be an active member of their community and that not all families will be having multiple Christmas's, like they do. We are also intentional about events that create memories around this time of year as well. Christmas lights, pictures with Santa, the decorating of the tree, making homemade ornaments and Christmas music galore. There are so many experiential gifts that we like to offer as well. My real goal here is not to have a million times more stuff going into the new year that will inevitably have to go during "Spring Cleaning" lol