Last night I met with the Simple Living Discussion Group. They are a group of folks that gather every month to talk about living a more simplified life. In this case, simple living does not mean minimalist but it does mean letting go of the extraneous stuff. We work through how to let go and how to make room for the things and experiences they do want in their lives.
But last night, something stuck out in the discussion. Have you ever had a moment when all of your thoughts over several days just come together? I had one of THOSE moments. We were talking about barriers to simple living. The things that get in the way of implementing the goals you have created for yourself. For instance, your goal may be to clear the dining room table to be able to eat dinner there. Or, you may have a goal to leave work at 5pm instead of staying a few extra hours. The barriers are the things that get between you and making your goal a reality.
In the case of the dining room table, barriers may include:
- not setting aside time for the project (ie working on it at the end of the day when you are tired and run down and you just don’t feel like doing it)
- not knowing where to start, feeling overwhelmed.
- not having a plan for the stuff that’s on the table. For instance, you have to make a decision on each individual item.
- worry about what you might find or having to let go of items.
- fear that it is going to take too long
Wow! That’s a lot of barriers and what if other barriers creep up in the process?
First of all, it is helpful to identify as many barriers as you can ahead of time. Think about all the ‘What If’s’ that could impede your progress no matter how far fetched they are and then think about what you will do when they appear.
I asked the group this same question,
“What barriers could appear when you are working on your project and what are you going to do?”
One of the participants said, “Tell myself, ‘It’s OK.’” This is her mantra. The thing that she repeats when she feels that barriers like perfection and overwhelm start to creep in.
That was simple. Here is how she said it,
It’s okay if I start my project and don’t finish it today.
It’s okay if I only work for 15 minutes because that is the time I have available.
It’s okay if I don’t find the perfect place to donate this item to.
This is when the ‘Ah-ha’ moment set in for me. I needed to tell myself, “It’s okay.” Getting and staying organized is a process. It is an ongoing experience. Just like you, I have spaces that frustrate me, that are not in the shape I would like them to be. I have things I am holding on to that I should probably let go of and my routines could be improved or tweaked.
This month, I have been working along with others in the March to Simple Living on Facebook and this month, I was not in charge of the daily assignments. Our task was to pick 4 areas to work on and work on each area for 1 week of the month. This week, I picked a craft/storage area that I have been meaning to get to that has been frustrating me. But, I have been avoiding it. Why? The items there were already decided on months (I mean MONTHS) ago as things we were getting rid of. But I was holding on to the idea that I would sell the items or give them to a friend or donate them to a really worthy cause but still they just sat in the corner. I couldn’t let them go. I needed to tell myself, “It’s okay.”
It’s okay if I don’t sell the computer, we were only going to get a small amount for it anyway.
It’s okay to let the Cabbage Patch Doll go, I am not playing with it and neither are my children.
It’s okay if most of the items are donated because they no longer bring me joy.
It’s okay to let them go.
Is there an area in your life that you need to tell yourself, “It’s okay?” Share in the comments below.
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