Declutter your mind

Declutter your mind

 

We spent a month decluttering our external environment. This month we’re starting the internal declutter.

First challenge is to FILTER YOUR INFORMATION. Diminish the meaningless and often harmful chatter. Mindfulness is about awareness. It’s not just about sitting in meditation for twenty minutes a day. It’s about being aware of every action, every reaction… every thought.

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We begin this journey by becoming aware of the chatter—the information we absorb.

  • Is it positive?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What are the ripple effects of those feelings in your life? For example, does watching the news make you fearful?
  • What will you gain from switching off to negative or meaningless information online?
  • What will you lose?
  • What are your trigger points?—Those moments in the day where you find yourself surfing sites online that don’t nourish your spirit?
  • Can you consciously use those trigger points to add information to your life that will nourish your mind and spirit?

Think about it.

Don’t think about Kim Kardashian, or ISIL, or the cute kitten video that’s going viral at the moment…

Think about the information you consume and how you can use it to help change your life this year.

Be mindful of information.

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FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

Okay, January is over (but not forgotten… so keep decluttering!)

This month… your Travel Light challenge is… filter your information. 

Studies have shown that your typical social media user consumes 285 pieces of content daily, which equates to an eye-opening 54,000 words, and, for the truly active, as many as 1,000 clickable links. Everyone is bombarded by the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data a day.

Each day we take in 5 times more information than we did in 1986.

Most of it’s meaningless. Much of it is negative. And each piece of media and information has an impact on how we think and feel.

It shapes our world.

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This month we will take care and be aware of what we’re reading, watching and absorbing. Don’t click on the links that take you into a world of violence. Don’t spend your time on things that are superficial or inane. Use your time online wisely… Search out positive images, videos and stories. Or turn off and read books.

Inspire yourself. Motivate. Learn. Be mindful. 

You will be amazed at the difference a month makes when you commit to consuming positive rather than negative media.

Change your habits & your life will change 

Change your habits & your life will change 

January was about decluttering your environment. Clutter drains your energy. It’s baggage you don’t need. Travel light.

I spent the final week of January howling. Why? Because decluttering your external environment impacts your internal world. I don’t mean tossing some old makeup and shoes out. I really went in deep (opened boxes) and memories, that had been stored for years. I let go of years and years of STUFF… It left me feeling raw and strangely free. Who would’ve thought decluttering could do that?

These boxes were full… now they're gone.
These boxes were full… now they’re gone.

How did you go? Didn’t quite declutter as much as you’d like? No problem. The good news is this month you’ll continue decluttering. In fact you’ll continue tossing and cleaning and clearing your clutter ALL YEAR. Habits take time, so while we’ll focus on a new healthy habit each month, we’ll incorporate that new habit into our lives for the whole of 2015.

By the end of 2015 you’ll not only have 12 new habits, but also a very different mindset and life.

Not sure why I overlooked all of this in the past.
Not sure why I overlooked all of this in the past.
Decluttering my emotions

Decluttering my emotions

January is nearly over, but I’m still tearing the house apart. I keep finding more areas to declutter. In my last blog I talked about going in deep. Really question why you keep certain things.

Hit the discomfort zone and declutter there.

There’s a very good reason for this.

It’s not just your external world that you’re decluttering… it’s internal too.

We feel good when we clean our space.

We feel even better when we declutter.

But when we really address the baggage we have stored away… we address the emotional baggage that goes with it.

The emotional response can be quite overwhelming.

I’ve always had things neatly stored, both in my home and internally. This week I’ve ripped the lid off everything and thrown, tossed, faced and finally… let go.

I have cried. Boy have I cried. I’ve been surprised by the waves of emotions that have swamped me at times, for all sorts of things.

The passing of time.

The mistakes that I’ve made.

People I’ve lost.

The end of my first marriage.

The areas of my life I still haven’t healed, haven’t mastered… or simply haven’t addressed.

As my past came out of boxes, it came out of other places as well. A great aunt told me mind-blowing family secrets. My parents told me things that had never been voiced before. Generations of pain and secrecy have been released.

And healing has begun.

I opened boxes and I found letters and cards from my first husband. I cried for a lost love, eight years after it died. I’ve been able to place a few of these letters away for each of my sons. It’s their history now. And it’s a lovely history. It was a beautiful romance. It just died. I cried not because I held out hope but because enough time has passed now and I can finally see how wonderful that love was. That’s a healing.

I have laughed, and cried, and even felt like I was going to throw up. And as each bag of stuff gets tossed in the bin, there is space, both in this house, and inside me, that I haven’t felt before.

These boxes were full… now they're gone.
These boxes were full… now they’re gone.

I lay in bed last night and I could feel the space. I also feel raw, but I feel clear, and energized… and there is space.

SPACE.

I’m travelling light.

Sign up to my newsletter for more tips on decluttering your internal and external world. And find out what February has in store for us.

Travel Light with me this year.

 

One week to go!

One week to go!

We’re on the home stretch! Hopefully by now you’ve achieved some major decluttering. I know I have. But I’ve also discovered, there’s no point scratching the surface with this exercise.

Go in deep.

There’s always more to do. There’s always more to let go of.

I’m a good declutterer… but this month I’ve taken it to a new and often uncomfortable level. I’m challenging myself by clearing and tossing things I’ve overlooked in the past. I don’t need these things but I’m scared of letting go!

And it’s during this feeling of discomfort that we have the opportunity to embrace change.

This month I’ve embraced the discomfort and thrown things out anyway. Gone, cleared.

This is where the space for change is created.

I clear my wardrobe about three times a year. I always thought I was good at it… but something has shifted for me this month. A couple of days ago, I tackled my wardrobe again. The results were this:

Not sure why I overlooked all of this in the past.
Not sure why I overlooked all of this in the past.

I’ve cleared three quarters of it. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I don’t wear it.

I want something different in my life.

Not clothes. Not things. Something richer than that. I want to travel light.

And to do that… one must let go of the baggage.

How are you going this month with letting go?

Childhood baggage: let it go!

Childhood baggage: let it go!

We’re over halfway there in our major decluttering month.

January is not just about cleaning the house. It’s about shaking up the energy around us—starting the year by getting the universe to take notice. You can desire change… but unless you actively put it into action, nothing will happen.

By decluttering constantly this month, we’re shouting out, “I want change… I am changing.”

We are taking consistent steps towards forming a new and healthy habit—the ability to let go.

I’ve been decluttering for months now, but really gone in hard recently. This month I’ve been away from home so taken my decluttering to a new and often uncomfortable level.

Remnants of my past...
Remnants of my past…

I’ve cleared the things I’ve had stored at my mother’s house for years. There were:

  • Boxes of childhood toys and books
  • Some clothes I’d kept
  • Boxes that I’d had sent back here from overseas
  • Boxes of baby treasures that I’d left here when I went travelling with my son
  • Schoolbooks, letters, old love letters and diaries
  • Years of things I thought were important
My toys! All gone.
My toys! All gone.

Some things were easy to toss. I got my sons to look at my toys and choose one each for any future granddaughter I might have. They didn’t seem that enthused and said all the toys looked creepy.

ME: “No, they’re vintage now.”

SON 1: “They look like they’ll come to life tonight and stab us.”

ME: “They’ve been here for years.”

SON 2: “Yeah locked in a box. But they’re out now. Watch out.”

Later my two clowns were seen leaving on a friend’s car.

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So the toys were easy to throw. The majority was a little uncomfortable… I knew I had to let go but still… it was bittersweet.

Letting go of some things was really tough. But let go I did, because unless we let go of our baggage, how will we Travel Light? And it’s when we travel light that we feel, experience and receive all that life has to offer.

She's staying with me for now.
She’s staying with me for now.

Did I let go of everything? No. I couldn’t part with Raggedy Ann, or my half-written romance stories from when I was young. Or the romance story I wrote for school with the note from the teacher: “Interesting ideas but you should lay off the melodrama.”

I also kept this patchwork dress my great-grandmother made me when I was 5. Irreplaceable.
I also kept this patchwork dress my great-grandmother made me when I was 5. Irreplaceable.

 

There’s one last thing I need to toss. I’ll share that with you later and get your advice.

How’s your decluttering going?

Goodbye vintage clothes… sob!

Goodbye vintage clothes… sob!

I have a collection of vintage clothes. I used to wear them all the time and figured when I got too old for them, I’d pass them onto my daughter.

Then life gave me four sons.

So I clung to them for a few more years, hoping my best friend had a daughter. She understands a great vintage piece. She lugs around a collection ten times the size of mine. It’s a phenomenal collection of clothes that she figured would one day be passed onto her daughter.

But life also handed her a male child.

So being daughter-free, with no one to pass our vintage creations on to, we recently had to decide

  1. Do we save them for when we’re over seventy and can safely wear them again? (Make a choice now… will be eccentric ole broads with pink hair who ride bikes and wear vintage dresses?)
  2. Do we save them in the hope that one of us will have a granddaughter?

Or do they go?

I love my vintage dresses. I had such a wonderful time wearing them. I looked fabulous in them. It’s only now, in retrospect, that I see how truly great I looked.

But it’s time to let go.

What are you holding onto you stuff for? And is it worth it?

 

Four boxes of stuff: Working out what’s really important.

Four boxes of stuff: Working out what’s really important.

My ex-hubster just sold his house. I still had some things stored in his garage, so spent an afternoon clearing them out. It was an interesting experience.

Stored on a high shelf were four medium sized boxes filled with things that I hadn’t seen for years. They were from my “Japan life.”

When I left Japan, I moved to Austria. I went through the stuff that had built up in my Tokyo apartment (positively minimal by today’s standards) and shipped a box of things to Vienna.

These were the things I thought I couldn’t live without.

I’d settled into an apartment owned by my in-laws by the time the box arrived in Vienna. Six-months later, I moved to London. I packed up my things, added a few more treasures from the Vienna stay, and stored the boxes at the in-laws’ house. I figured I’d get them soon.

Years passed.

I visited Vienna but kept telling myself I’d get those boxes later. My life was so transient. I had nowhere to put them.

Fifteen years after I left Tokyo, I had the boxes shipped to my new house in Sydney.

I didn’t have time to open them. I stored them in the garage.

More time passed. My marriage ended. I moved a few times. The shape of my family changed. And then recently my ex put our old home on the market.

And I found myself in his garage going through the things I couldn’t live without… but clearly had.

Four boxes of STUFF. Four boxes of things and bits and pieces and books and memorabilia. And I realised, none of it meant anything to me any more.

I spent the afternoon searching through those four boxes looking for one thing. The final letter my grandmother ever sent me. I knew it was there. I’d placed it in one box after her death.

I searched and searched. I began to panic as each box was emptied and nothing important could be found. I barely glanced at most of the stuff. The one thing that was important was missing.

Finally I found it. The letter was tucked into the back of an old address book. The paper is so fragile now, the ink faded. I sobbed as I read it. She’d died while I was overseas. The one thing she’d left for me disappeared, taken by other family members. This letter is what I have now.

I could still hear her voice, her laugh as she wrote it, pretending to scold me over my previous letter to her. “I’m sure we brought the wrong baby home from the hospital when we got you. But don’t worry, we love you anyway.”

And signing off… “You are my first thought in the morning, my last thought at night. I love you.”

There are things… and then there are things. That letter is a treasure to me. It is the one thing I’m keeping from four boxes of stuff. It has made me re-evaluate what things are important. What things I hold dear.

There are very few things really.

 

Make a habit of letting go

Make a habit of letting go

I’ve had a wonderful day. My desktop is clear (proof attached) and I spent the morning on the beach meditating and doing yoga while my boys surfed. I swam in crystal clear water. Bliss! I got some work done, went for another walk on the beach, had dinner with friends… Nothing felt rushed. Does life get better than that?

I love the decluttering phase of this program. It’s not always easy for me, but it’s habitual now. I’ve been doing it for years and really feel it when the clutter builds up. The negative energy swamps me. So I regularly declutter. Not just in January but throughout the year. (My mum is the ultimate declutterer—it’s hereditary)

The reason we’re starting small is because this needs to be a habit, not just a tri-annual event that overwhelms you. If you habitually clear the clutter, then energy flows easily in your life.

There will always be areas of your life that are less cluttered than others.

My bathroom is never cluttered.

Over the past few years my beauty routine has become very low maintenance. I’m 45… There’s not a cream in the world that will change that. I wouldn’t want it to. I’m happy to age—many people don’t have the opportunity.

But I’m also embracing chemical free—so I use oils like jojoba and coconut oil for everything: cleanser, moisturiser, and my hair. I have the makeup I use regularly and the makeup I use on a night out… and that’s it. I tossed everything out years ago.

  • I clear my wardrobe at least three times a year. (I admit to keeping a pair of size two jeans that I wore on the plane to New York thirteen-years ago.)
  • I clear my clothes drawers every few months.
  • I just tossed out more shoes.
  • I just tossed all my costume jewellery.
  • I recently got rid of two hundred books.
  • I make my sons declutter their rooms regularly. (They bitch and moan but admit the energy does feel different afterwards.)

Decluttering is a regular occurrence in my home. The more I let go of, the more I want to let go of.

But there will always be areas of your life that are more cluttered than others.

My desktop is one such area. I’m so swamped with work that organising my computer usually happens in-between projects.

Another area I struggle with is “the past”… my history. I’m a student of history, but my attachment to history means I lug crap around because it’s irreplaceable… but I’m also the only person who cares about it.

This January… with the support of this group… I’m letting go of my history. My past. Deep breath!

In the meantime… here are a few more decluttering ideas:

  • Choose one drawer, anywhere in the house. Clear that one draw.
  • Choose another drawer, in the bathroom.
  • Clean out your car, including the boot (trunk). (I do this one every couple of weeks while I wait for the boys to finish jujitsu)
  • Your makeup bag.
  • Your freezer.
  • Defriend some people on Facebook. Would you have coffee with them all? C’mon!

Let me know how you go.

 

 

How to see a ghost 101

How to see a ghost 101

Have you ever been somewhere and everyone was talking about the time they saw a ghost? Were you left feeling haunted by your lack of experience in this matter? Here are five sure-fire ways to get a ghostly experience under your belt, so you are never left out again.

  1. Hang out where ghosts hang out. Visit haunted houses. Stay in old hotels. Ghosts tend to linger where they die so although graveyards are scary, you won’t run into many ghosts there. You’re better of walking around a hospital at night.
  2. Don’t sleep for three days. Exhaustions breaks down your psychic barriers and you’ll be more susceptible to psychic occurrence. I make sure I get enough sleep or I start seeing everyone’s auras and it’s disconcerting. Reminds me of the time my drink was spiked at a party—not pleasant.
  3. Don’t just expect to see a ghost. You might hear or sense a ghost instead. Ghostly visitations often occur via electrical devices going haywire, or things being moved from where you thought you put them. Often you’ll dismiss a message from spirit and put it down to exhaustion, especially if you’ve been practising #2.
  4. Have you ever heard a voice that seems to come from inside your head and sounds like a chipmunk? Yep, that’s Spirit. Spirit won’t speak in full sentences, but you might hear your name or some random words being barked out.
  5. To see a ghost, it helps if you believe in them. Although I have heard of a number of sceptics who have seen a ghost, it’s rare. Most non-believers will experience a ghostly visitor but put it down to exhaustion.

Usually, ghosts will appear when you least expect, whether you believe in them or not. As unnerving as the experience can be, I’ve never met a ghost who was actually scary.

 

For those of you who would prefer to meet their ghosts in the pages of a book, check out my novel Hamlet’s Ghost.

Good luck with the ghost hunting.