Stuff for the new life....wait! What Life?
By now, it’s like…you don’t need to tell me! I get it!
Yep far more comes up in the purging process then we’d ever imagine. Bottom line: It’s actually not only about the stuff at all. Because what comes up the most, is fear. Not like, “Carrie and the bucket of blood,” kind of fear, no it’s an “Oh s**t, what am I actually doing this for?” Or, “I can’t face this right now.”
Surprise! It’s not only the decision about what leaves and what goes forward in your life, it’s WHAT IS THAT LIFE?
So, here’s the deal, you wouldn’t have even started the process if you knew, in that deep place, that you wanted a change. You just weren’t sure what it was and now it’s staring you in the face!
Yay! (Oops did I say that out loud?). Yep guess I did. I know, it’s like I tricked you.
Often we live the way we do because in the end it’s as simple as just not having a better idea.
Yeah, now you know that almost all purging starts with a quiet wish to change something. Often in these totally unpredictable times, it’s just trying to do something that one actually has immediate control over when everything seems so out of control.
Nevertheless, in the end the real question that eventually surfaces is, “How do I, seriously, want to spend this next chapter of my life?”
Just remember, encoded (often encrypted) in everything you own is the original wish at the time of purchase and with it, often the memory of void it was also supposed to fill. As these begin to resurface one by one, item by item and void by void, the stuff that once just took up space, is suddenly re-triggering the creativity that allows you to see a very real snapshot of who you are.
Such was the case with a private letter I got from a couple who, in the process of boxing up things, said that the process had spurred on one of the very best conversations they’d had in a very long time.
As they sorted and made decisions about the stuff that would not go forward in their lives, they began to notice that more and more stuff was going into the trash bags than was staying. Finally they began to look around and realize that so little of what they’d accumulated had anything to do with the life they actually wanted but never verbalized it to each other. Each was somehow afraid of hurting the other’s feelings.
While working on the first organizational book, we’d received letters from so many folks (mainly couples) accounting the same story. One couple said, “We just continued to pack things quietly while both of us individually were thinking the same thing: “What if none of this stuff really means anything? How do I say this to someone who might suddenly think I’m not happy with my life with them?”
Another gal told us a similar story she’d had with a neighbor and best friend who had noticed that far more boxes were marked “Donation” rather than “Keep.” He finally said, “Wait, you have so little left, are you thinking of moving or something?”
She replied to her friend, “I just wanted to see how little I needed to be happy and just kept going until I began to realize that it’s notstuffI crave, it’s new experiences.”
Soon the conversation began to shift to the neighbor asking, “Well, what about me?”
The gal thought for a while and then said to her neighbor, “You know, it’s been great having you as a neighbor. You’re very happy with your choices to live in your home and be part of this community and I think that’s great and I thank you for sharing the experience with me through your eyes. It’s just that this place doesn’t feel like home to me, the way it does to you. I’m sorry.”
In truth we often do try to live the lives we think we’re supposed to and more often than not end up vicariously borrowing others lives and adapting them as our own without even realizing it. We even start buying what they do, eating what they eat, falling into their routine…because often it’s easier to emulate a life versus creating one for ourselves.
Yet, part of the reinvention process, is also understanding full well that as we grow we also outgrow. As we begin to change our dynamic our creativity begins to kick in as the quiet soul begins to come out for a stroll more frequently.
The conversations between ourself and our heart begin to register more profoundly than (often the same) conversations we’re having with the people around us.
Our values shift. We learn more. We experience more as we test-drive the social dynamic of where we are. One of the hardest things for many to accept is that while we may have had a history with some people, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will have a future with them.
As for the first young couple who had spent days together looking at their life through the lens of their stuff one of them writes: “I began to realize that this exercise was telling us more about where we are, who we thought we’d be, who we’d tried to be, but not who we’re goingto be. I finally said to my husband, ‘What are we really doing here? Are we really happy here?”
You see, as the story unfolded, it seemed that this couple has bought their bungalow and over time beautifully restored it and now that it was complete they were looking to purge and furnish the place in a style that befitted the newly restored bungalow. It’s just that it really didn’t suite either of THEM. Yet neither had the courage to say anything after all their combined hard work. Well finally, as they got down to the last of the purging process and their combined creativity was now at full volume, the husband suddenly said, “I have a brilliant I idea!”
Seems they put their heads together and remembered a newlywed young couple who had approached them during the course of the restoration process and had said to them that they were hoping to do the very same thing once they could save enough. But their goal was to turn their investment into an Air B&B. Well sure enough, they all got together with combined creatively, they all worked out a plan whereby the newlyweds would take over the bungalow immediately and turn it into a B&B listing and both would share the profits.
The letter received from them (through my website) said how grateful they were that I’d helped them through the purging process and had articulated the kind of journey they wanted to now experience. Actually I’d done nothing. It was they who had the courage to take physical action and then listen closely to their respective creative hearts.
Her last line to me was something to the effect that as she pressed “send” she and her husband were pulling out of the driveway ready to embark on a new phase of their lives. They will travel across America and she will blog about it as they now go in search of the next property with Air B&B potential.
So in the act of purging, both the gal with the neighbor, and the couple with the bungalow had reactivated their inherent personal creativity. In the course of exploring future possibilities instead of rehashing or trying to retrofit the past, they had re-chosen a brand new way of life that felt far more authentic to their respective lives.
As you continue this phase of purging you may be so thrilled with the results that you’ll be quite content to stay where you are --but now in a brand new way. However, don’t be surprised if there are a few of you who in the process come up with an entirely new lifestyle concept that could completely change the trajectory of your life.
In my next post; Phase Seven of the Purging Process, we’ll talk more about how to redirect the noise from a worried brain, to the quiet heart that’s always steady and full of creative solutions if we’ll only listen.
We can do it!
PS: If you have a story you’d like to share with me please do so through my website. I will never use names and will alter the scenarios just enough to protect privacy.