Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Camino Lessons in Minimalism

One lesson I learned from the Camino was just how few possessions it takes to make a person happy.

Walking for 6 weeks
with nothing but what you can carry on your back 
makes you aware of the difference between "wants" and "needs." 

 Wearing the same skirt every day for 6 weeks 
reminds you that appearances are deceiving
 - that instead of looking at what a person is wearing, 
we should be looking into their eyes and into their hearts.

I read on a minimalist website today that anything we get rid of, 
we can replace for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes 
from our current location. 

That is pretty eye-opening. 
Think about it. 
Look around the room and make a list of all the things you are keeping "just in case." 
 How much space do those things take up? 
How much energy to maintain them?
 If they were gone, would you really miss them? 

If you had to replace each item because you TRULY needed it, 
what would it cost you? 
 Almost always it's under $20. 
Almost always it would take less than 20 minutes.
 This theory likely works 99% of the time for 99% of all items and 99% of all people. 

The advantages have begun to outweigh the fear for me.

I live in a house that was built in the 1940s. 
I have a VERY small closet, by modern standards. 
I was having difficulty seeing my clothes 
and getting them in and out of the closet, 
they were jammed in so tightly. 
 So one day last week, in frustration, 
I did the deed.

I took out each and every item. 

First I asked, "Have I worn this in the past year?" 
 If not, it went away.

I asked, "Does this still fit me?" 
 Many items were too small, and I've been waiting "just in case" I lose weight. 
 I faced the fact that I've gone through menopause, t
hat genetically, women in my family tend to put on a few extra pounds after menopause, 
and I wasn't ever going to be 18 again. 
 Those items went away also.

I asked, "Do I NEED three pair of black jeans?" 
 Extra items went away.

I don't really like giving things to Goodwill. 
I feel they get items free, 
then charge way too much money for those items. 
Goodwill is supposed to be for poor people
 - but even I can hardly afford to shop there anymore. 
So I just put all my give-away items on clothes hangers 
and hung them out on the tree in my front yard. 
 They quickly disappeared, taken by people who needed them.

Children's rooms today can be absolutely overwhelming! 
 When I was a kid, I had a small collection of toys.
 One of my granddaughters can't even walk into her bedroom. 
It makes me sad to see. 
What must her MIND look like if her environment is so cluttered? 
How can she sleep well?
How can she even know what the hell is IN there?

About once each year, I go over and help her shovel it out,
but good habits take practice 
and I'm not there every day to enforce de-cluttering.

I'm planning on continuing the purge in my own house.
 I did it a few years back when I first was diagnosed with MCS 
and had to live in my car for a time. 
But over the years, I've accumulated more and more 'stuff."

Getting rid of these items cleared my mind, freed up space, 
and took a lot of weight off my shoulders. It's feeling better and better.

Have you walked the Camino? 
If so, you know what I'm talking about. 
You know how to live with only enough possessions to make up 10% of your body weight. 
Maybe it's time to ask yourself, 
"What are you holding on to just in case?"

Buen Camino!

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