Travelling Light Through Life
The uncluttering movement is gaining momentum because we are all weighed down by stuff. What was a fringe movement has become mainstream and there’s advice on how to unclutter your house or simplify your life everywhere.
Yet simplifying or decluttering is still so hard. The urge to collect, buy and hoard is hard-wired into us. After all, who knows when hard times will come?
But we all know that attitude is irrational. We all know that simplifying, reducing and removing would improve our lives. Yet still we struggle to shed things that no longer serve us, or never have.
My cupboards are overflowing. Sometimes the thought of all the stuff our family of five has accumulated during our seven years in Australia makes me physically sick.
When I think about all those things piled up in bags, behind cupboard doors and in the dusty garage I find it hard to breathe. Then I want to run away. I fantasize about hiring a skip and putting everything in it.
I sometimes think the only way I can get rid of everything and be free of it is to move house.
I make inroads every now and then by collecting a garbage bag of stuff to take to the charity shop. I clear out just enough to stop an avalanche of clutter from suffocating me.
But physical objects aren’t the only things we find it hard to let go of. It took me a while but I sold my blog Successful Blogging because, although it helped me achieve many dreams, it ended up holding me back from others.
Since then I’ve started many creative and business ideas and dropped them all because they were making my life more complicated, not better.
That’s freed up my time to go back to university this year and train to be a teacher. It’s a qualification that will allow me to move towards my goal of working with NGOS, the vulnerable, the needy.
So this week I want to keep it simple and remind us all that although letting go of things, whether they are physical objects, creative endeavors, business ideas, relationships or jobs can be hard but it can also lighten our load.
Letting go can give us back the mindset we need to travel lightly and the freedom we need to travel more.
I’ll leave you with a brilliant quote by Thich Nhat Hanh (who inspired my mantra) from his book Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice For Our Busy Lives:
“Sit down and take an inventory of your life. If there are things you have been hanging on to that are not useful and deprive you of your freedom, find the courage to let them go. An overloaded boat is easily capsized by wind and waves. Lighten your load and your boat will travel more quickly and safely. Then you can offer the precious gift of freedom and space to yourself and loved ones, but only if it is truly there in your own heart.”
Want more quotes or book recommendations?
If you like this quote you can find more quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh in 5000 Words and Five Books on Mindfulness.
If you want to read a life changing book see 10 Books That Will Change Your Life.
My Travel News!
I’m visiting Bali this week (check out the photos on Instagram) and will be back soon to share my stories here.
In the meantime let’s take an inventory of our lives as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, and find the courage to let go so that our boat can sail away unhindered.
Do you travelling light through life? If not what’s weighing you down?
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I feel this too. So much STUFF. But I am accepting that I will tackle it when I can; not putting extra pressure on myself to do it NOW (even though that’s what I want to do). Congratulations on your teaching training, I’m so pleased for you. And thank you for always being so open and honest through your blog. I always enjoy reading it Annabel.
Thank you! Yes, I’m with you on not doing it now. But it’s got to be done sometime :)
Great post, Annabel. I often think that as humans, we seek to replicate the ‘clutter’ we feel inside, on the outside. If you’re feeling ‘messy’, or overloaded, I think there’s a tendency to make your physical environment match your emotional world. So when you ‘get rid of stuff’, you create space in your head too.
And congrats on the study – what a fab goal!
That’s a great insight. So true.
Hello Annabel, I’ve done a fair amount of clearing out last term and it feels good. I love to pass things on to be useful to others. Loathe throwing things out!! Next though is a pile of old electronics… and then…. the dreaded garage. It does feel liberating to lighten up.
Yes it’s always best if you can find a happy new home for something :) Good luck with it all. You do get rewarded for all the work of clearing up with more physical – and mental – space!
Thanks Annabel, I’ve scrolled back to come to this post, but it is resonating with me today, this week, lately. I also need to declutter, lighten the load, and sit back and take stock. I wrote something similar about this on my blog this week. It seems that I am not the only one, which certainly helps. I’m off for my morning walk now. I am glad I stopped by and read your post. Have a great week.
The lightening never ends does it!
Thanks for sharing this post. We certainly need to declutter periodically and take stock, in order to drop what is holding us back and pick up, what guarantees our progress.