Two years ago, after looking closely at the list of my monthly expenses, my boyfriend turned to me and asked: "Do you want to move in with me?"
He had just finished building a tiny home, 150 square feet to be exact.
This question evoked a vast philosophical inquiry about … everything. How could two very autonomous characters possibly make it in such a small space? We are both introverts, requiring a lot of solitude to recharge. I can go days without talking to anyone. He has been a wild firehorse all his life, traveling the world on his own, from the Amazon to Southeast Asia to Paris and back. Multiple times. I’m a legal alien from the North, and God knows I worked hard for my liberation. Moving into a tiny home together did not feel like liberation to me. More like a huge compromise I was not sure I was willing to make.
And then there was the good girl voice that didn’t want to ruin it for him. I knew I would bring my lady fluff with me: white fake sheepskin rugs and altars and golden candleholders. Not exactly his style.
And in the back of my mind there was that little fearful voice that said, "What if this would ruin us?"
Did I just hear you say: “NO FREAKIN WAY I could do that!”?
Although he and I have some major values in common – like the leave-no-trace lifestyle – and our financial goals are pretty similar (I’m getting there…) and we value freedom and travel and time over the usual hamster wheel consumerism lifestyle, there are two things that are missing in our tiny home – and both of them are pretty obvious.
The first one is space. Alone time. These last four months have been a true test since cafes, friends’ homes and travel have not been an option. There is no default “time-out” space, unless you go for a walk. If you need to make a private phone call you can go sit in your car. Or, if you need to catch up on some sleep, you can always pitch a tent in the back yard (which he did!).
But, it’s all about perspective. We don’t call it shelter-in-place, we call it snuggle-in-place. Much better.
And then, in the 150-sq. ft. home there’s also no room for clutter. So, if you have minimal space and very little stuff, what DO you have? Why would anyone want to live this way?
Well, life works in mysterious ways. I have learned that life is a constant dance of negotiation and compromise. If I have a dream like, for example, I want to be in a fulfilling, long-term relationship, or I want to live debt-free, or I want to get paid for what I love doing, then I need to be willing to MAKE ROOM FOR IT. Often these dreams look like doing the unimaginable, therefore we have to show we are serious. In my case, I reduced my belongings, stopped living beyond my means and now, two years later, I have all those things above.
So, what is on your bucket list? How can you make room for the life that is waiting for you?
3 TIPS TO GET STARTED ON LIVING LIGHT
You don’t need to move into a tiny home. Maybe it just means decluttering, letting go of stuff that is just sitting there unused. You need a certain level of curiosity and an out-of-the box mentality about what it would be like to live without this stuff. Otherwise it won’t work.
Like any major undertaking, decluttering requires some prep, and that's where we start. Here are three steps to get into the right mindset to begin living light.
Get very honest with yourself. You can leave all judgment out of it and simply observe. What’s really going on underneath the clutter? It did not just appear there one day. It appeared slowly. You want to identify your CLUTTER PATTERN. You can uncover it by investigating your beliefs. You want to re-visit your childhood home and identify expressions or behaviors you witnessed, things your parents or even your baby-sitter repeated, such as:
"My father emptied and re-used the same garbage bag for many weeks, taping up the holes until he could repair it no more."
Herein lies a possible underlying, limiting belief: "There is not enough."
Dig deep within this one. In my LIVING LIGHT declutter course that’s what we do. We leave no stone unturned. The result? You are no longer operating based on an unconscious belief. By exposing these hidden mechanisms you are FREE to make different choices based on the present moment.
Attitude is everything… so pick a good one. – Wayne Dyer
The tricky thing is that clutter weighs us down and it’s more difficult to change our mood if we are encumbered by all the crap sitting around. Did you ever realize that objects have their own vibration? You know, things emanate qualities that impact our space. So, if you have stuff around your house that belongs to another era of your life, to the person you USED to be, guess what? Your home is filled with that, and there’s less room for you to stretch your invisible wings and live in the present.
How do we shift our attitude? How do we rise above the heaviness of it all, so our old tricks and excuses no longer have power over us? Here’s one way:
A. Find your vision. There’s no point of decluttering without one. Put aside some time to visualize your ideal life. What things do you really want to accomplish? What kind of life do you want that you can proudly call your own?
B. Shake your body. This may sound a bit weird, but trust me. It works. So, go ahead and shake your whole body. Your cheeks, your head, your hands, your torso, your hips and legs. Shake your unlived life. Feel the energy and the light move through you.
C. Use your voice. Clear and loud. If you were given an opportunity to put up one massive billboard along a major freeway, what would it say? If you had one message that could save your life and the life of others, what would it be? Repeat that often throughout the day, all day, every day.
This meditation will integrate all the three steps - enjoy!
Connect with others. Share what you are doing. Even if you live with others who are not into getting rid of stuff, tell them what you are up to. Don’t try to convince them they should do it, too. But do ask for support. Share your goals and ask them to hold you accountable by checking in with you about your progress.
I’m going to leave you with a challenge. Find an empty paper or trash bag. Go around your house and pick out things that are screaming your name to be let go. These items are ready to leave your house. They are items you are not using and that have no meaning. It’s like getting a haircut. You are just letting go of the dead ends so that you can grow healthier and more alive. Once your bag is full and you cannot fit one more thing in it, take it to your local donation center or to the trash, depending on the items you chose. Most importantly, make sure the bag of stuff leaves your house and does not just sit in your car for weeks. Follow through is another big aspect of successfully rewiring ourselves, so make sure you finish what you start!
Please do post a picture of your bag in the comments below! In order to leave a comment, you need to first log in (see the box on the upper-right corner of this page).
That's all for now. Know that it takes commitment and continued practice to declutter. It is NOT about making things pretty and organized. It’s about getting REAL. It’s about being with the discomfort that arises when we realize why we have accumulated so much. But this is the way we re-program our brains and recharge our bodies so we can live a wholesome life – a life we feel good about leaving behind when it's all said and done.