Two months before Christmas, I made a horrible mistake.
I started reading several books about minimalism, intentionalism, mindfulness and using the power of less to add more to your life. This recipe for disaster had me not only dragging my heels when the rest of the world was out shopping and spreading transactional cheer, but also considering the stuff we already had and finding reasons to discard & donate.
Only two trips and two Volvo-loads of stuff later, I returned home to find our stuff had multiplied.
Because, like….Christmas hits us like a tidal wave every single year. I used to run and hide, but now I charge ahead, knowing I’ll get bowled over anyway. It is a no-win scenario because in the past, we have been known to walk into Christmas with loose intentions, and way-too-high expectations. There is some kind of sick victory in loosing the battle, truly believing I’m winning (I believe that is called denial). Needless to say, everyone got what they wanted because I’m a sucker (and guilt monger) for disappointment. It’s not a bratty kid thing, I definitely think my kids understand the concept of gratitude. It’s just that there’s something missing from it all.
The more I think about it, the more I believe it’s a moment of pause that each of us is lacking. And in “pausing” when you are getting, getting, getting, and then maybe expressing gratitude, (i.e. taking a breather from screens: another out-of-control form of over indulgence for my family), etc–you tend to generate the kind of awareness that causes a natural assessment of consumption. And, according to all of these books I’ve plowed through–when you become aware of consuming, it spreads to all areas of your life: Self care, clearing clutter (and not just stuff, but people and jobs that no longer serve you), mental health, emotional well-being, diet and exercise….in other words, leading you towards the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of: A life of purpose–discovered through the process of letting go.
And what comes next? You guessed it: When we begin living a life that is in alignment with exactly who we strive to be–happiness is the end result.
I don’t know about you, but I’m double fisting that Kool-Aid and making an extra batch to send in the kids’ school lunches. This very clear and linear road to success has me just about throwing things out the window and I’m trying not to second guess my propensity to set us all up for failure.
Even though all of this information would have been nice to have long before Christmas, you know the So Called Mom way: Better late than never.
And in achieving this higher state of awareness, all I need to do is convince the other seven kids (plus Pippin, who is already skeptical) to hop on board.
Any tips & tricks you have on getting minimal and intentional in a big family are welcome!
In the meantime, here are the books that have exorcized my demons:
Make Space by Regina Wong
Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
The Mindful Day by Laurie J. Cameron
I hope you join us on this trip to minimal-ville. We have a long road ahead of us and an uncertain road map!
Hitch a ride, we’re just getting started!
So Called Mom