Saturday, September 15, 2012


Minimalism is not about cutting off your hair, living amongst white walls, or creating flavorless and lifeless experiences. Clutter is actually the culprit in making these things- so much stuff and nothing important to do with them. These things collect dust and make it hard to understand and see what's really important to you today.  I’ve been ruminating and worrying about decluttering all week.  I thought about what my family would think and worried about whether I’d miss having a room full of stuff.  Let’s be honest here.  I have dermatillomania (a kind of OCD) and have been fighting to stay present.  I worried without taking action, so I must push today and take the next action steps.
There are articles and blogs out there that say living a life with awareness is better than sitting in meditation.  While I understand and agree that being meditative in everyday life is important, sitting down in formal practice is absolutely imperative.

To sit in solitude is to watch your fears and hesitations dance before you, so they can be recognized when they manifest in the everyday.  It is where you condition the mind and being.  It’s where skills and reflexes are cultivated for the application into the real world.  Solitude and quiet are keys to winning.  
Here’s an example and possible exercise:
Imagine standing on the edge of sandy beach near the water break. You're waiting for the cold tide to come and wrap around your ankles. As it approaches, you breathe calmly and naturally.  Observe how the body reacts to the brisk temperature as the water surrounds your feet and ankles. It will pass as it always does and is designed to do. Stay focused on the present moment and pay attention to your body's attempts to protect itself. With this awareness, you’re able to tell the body to relax because there is no real danger. The images in your mind and unnecessary adrenaline fade away. Their jobs are to greet you and exit again. Once the wave begins to pull away and let you go, continue to breathe and watch as a new wave comes crashing in at a different height and speed. There is no danger or reason to protect yourself.  Just lean into the discomfort and understand that emotions will come and go just like the waves on a beach.  These fears come from nowhere and don’t exist in the real world or the present moment.
Sitting in meditation is a school.  It is the training ground you use to recognize your doubt, ego, compulsions and perfectionism.  Everyone has them and this is where you condition yourself to stay present when your mind begins to wander away from awareness.
When people tell you to stay cool, it really means “stay present”.  When you’re present and calm, real action steps will be taken to live the life you need.
Round 2 decluttering coming soon!

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