As published in the August 2013 issue of Soulwoman eMagazine www.soulwomansanctuary.com
When you create the opportunity to turn your life upside down and shake everything out, what you’re left with isn’t emptiness. What you’re left with are the parts of you that can’t be separated from who you are on a soul level. What’s left are your truth and authenticity.
Two years ago I considered myself to be content. I was living in my half million dollar Los Angeles condo, driving my fancy convertible, working a glamorous job and earning a six figure salary. I was so preoccupied with collecting labels, money, men, material possessions, status and power that I never stopped to consider what it was I was passionate about or ask myself if my lifestyle would continue to make me happy into the future as I got to be 40, 50, 60, 70 years old. I just lived in a state of ego driven contentment with the status quo. Fortunately, two years and some life-altering lessons, teachers, mentors and adventures later, all of that has changed.
My transformation began with an overwhelming urge to start purging my belongings. I started making weekly trips to goodwill with years and years worth of things I’d accumulated. I began distancing myself from the myriad of superficial attachments to lackluster relationships, designer purses, sunglasses, beautiful clothes and painful high heeled shoes. Thanks to some very special people, over time, I traded these attachments for ones to travel, genuine relationships and new kinds of conversations. I became acquainted with my latent dreams and passions; things I’d never paid much attention to before. I began to realize I’d never felt a sense of true fulfillment and I started to see the glimmer of importance in that and seek it out for the first time. I started turning down fancy dinners and professional obligations for camping and kayaking on beautiful lakes. I cancelled plans to spend more time at home in quiet reflection and contemplation. I was in the process of simplifying as a means to…what end? I didn’t know at the time. I didn’t know, but before that point, I’d never even asked myself that kind of question…to what end? Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that interesting that I never once thought, well, where is this all going? Where do I max out? With that question, I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a big change.
It took me two years of downsizing and simplifying to uproot and get to the beginning of my new life. I have finally landed in a place where I get to live for my passions and work every day toward fulfilling my dreams. It has been the most challenging and emotional thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. I have created freedom, new life and new opportunities for myself and my existence has become so simple. I live in a small town in Oregon, three blocks from the beach and my rent is dirt cheap. My bike is my only means of transportation and it is liberating! I wait tables at an oceanfront restaurant where I look at the water all day and come home to write. I am LOVING my life in a way I never even thought was possible until fate intervened two years ago. These days I am light and free, creative and spontaneous.
Finding simplicity takes cutting through layers of accumulation and nonsense. It begins with clearing away the literal and figurative clutter that surrounds you. Maybe it’s so hard because, in order to enjoy a simple life, you have to really be happy with who you are as a person and make peace with all the hard stuff. But I’m here telling you it’s worth it; that there is a lot to be said for ease. In fact, I’ve learned that flexibility and freedom are where I find real power. In flexibility and freedom, in simplicity and ease, we can catch glimpses of ourselves in a natural state. It’s like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning when your face is bare, without the makeup and worries of the day. It’s the same looking at our lives in those moments of time where there are no commitments, distractions or bookends.
The more I de-clutter my life, the more beauty and joy I find in the simple things. Instead of wandering the mall buying clothes and makeup and purses, I wander along the beach or along the street admiring the water, gardens and sunshine. I find beauty in the rain and the moon where I just didn’t see it before. I no longer rest my happiness in things or superficial relationships. I have become someone focused on the value and beauty of the things right in front of me; things I already possess. I’m happy and truly content here and now and in this moment, regardless of the things that surround me or take up space in my orb.