Allowing space

On the holiday yesterday I was reflecting a bit on the notion of space.

I learned through some reading (and probably a podcast as well) about a Japanese concept called “Yutori” and it caught my attention. It describes a notion of spaciousness. It’s leaving time between appointments so you can get there early and look around. It is allowing time for meditation or mindfully and slowly engaging in a quiet practice of some kind.

I really love this notion. The more I learn about this concept, the more I realize I have been actively trying to embody this notion in my daily life. From the desire for a more minimalist space to my conscious efforts to increase my meditative practices, I am pursuing this desire for Yutori. 

Photo taken from the Coastal walk between Cremyll and Kingsand (Cornwall) in England

As I allow for more spaciousness in my life, my creativity seems to open to ideas I might not have considered before. My days “resist” too much scheduling, but invite just the right amount of activity and rest to feel more integrated. 

Though I am far from perfecting this notion, the concept and its appeal for me is driving me toward my next venture. I can feel that, as much as I occasionally feel I must accelerate things. Somehow I firmly trust that giving the spaciousness enough soil, air and water, I cultivate an amazing garden of inner richness. 

Where and when do you find spaciousness in your life? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

What if you sat down for 5 minutes?

What would happen if you sat down to breathe for 5 minutes?

Nothing else, just focus on the breath. For only 5 minutes, or even 3.

Even though the groceries are not yet put away.

Even though you feel like it’s a waste of time.

Even though your brain feels like you are driven like a motor.

Even though you have a list a mile long and you are a very busy and important person.

Even though your parents may have told you that idle time was wasted time. 

Even though there is disaster in the world. Even if you really want to check your facebook feed.

Even though you have a conference call in half an hour and you really *should* prepare for that.

Even though your boss may think you are inefficient because you did not respond to his email within 10 minutes.

Watch your breath for 5 min

***

Would the world fall apart? If you paused?

Or would you listen to yourself, hear your thoughts, hear your breathing, feel your body?

Would you be able to start grounding yourself?

Would you access the wisdom that you already have inside you?

***

Don’t take my word for it.

If you stop, breathe for 3-5 minutes, give yourself a pause, and notice, and it does not make you feel any better, no need to repeat.

But if you are finding that you stay busy to shut out those voices in your head, or to deny the wisdom in your body, I believe you are missing the point of life.

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

What are your habits?

Hi Friends,

This morning I awoke after going to bed early and getting a nice, juicy 10 hours of sleep. I had dream fragments on my mind, so wrote them down in my journal before I forgot them. Whenever I sleep more than 8 hours, I seem to dream so vividly. Clearly my subconscious is doing some important work, and I am allowing plenty of space for that to happen.

I woke up with a sense of possibility, now that my sabbatical is officially over, and October has begun. While part of me hoped to have my venture more defined and certain by now, an equal part of me knew I needed to have plenty of spaciousness and time for incubation in my life.

After a year of writing nearly daily, I realize that I can create any habit which I really care to develop. That gives me a lot of confidence for the habits I need to adopt as a self-employed person. Aristotle said that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.”

As I sit to work on my plan for the next 3 months, it occurs to me to ask myself and also you:

What are your habits? Which habits serve you? 

Which habits to you intend to keep?

Which new habits to you want to begin?

Which old habits are you ready to release?

happy october

Minimalism

I have a growing in interest in the minimalism movement, which probably began when I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  In that spirit, I will try to make this a minimalist post. Though I suppose if it were haiku, it would be even more artfully minimalist (a goal for a future post).

Empty closet

Brooke Castillo has had a good amount to say about minimalism as well, and her podcast episode on minimalism is one I have enjoyed multiple times because it appeals to me on so many levels. Full disclosure: if you visit me my home, you will see that minimalism is an aspiration but not yet a lifestyle for me. I include my empty closet and my “outside the closet” photos in full disclosure here. Brooke describes a year-long trip that she took with her family in which they sold everything they owned, except what would fit into a foot locker and what they could take in their van. “Excess stuff weighs us down and causes us to have to make too many decisions.” (summarized) I really identify with this, as I think unnecessary clutter creates distractions that make us feel more busy than we actually are. In losing ~16 pounds this past year, I feel that process required me to de-clutter some of the old ideas in my mind.

I spent a lot of time this Spring and Summer going through the initial stages of the KonMari method, primarily working on the clothing portion of that de-cluttering process. I did not follow her exact process but instead started by taking everything out of my closet on April 9th and only putting back what sparks joy. I still have much to do in order to make progress toward this goal. One thing that I noticed was that I suffered much less decision fatigue while trying to get dressed in the morning. Last year I spent time trying to upgrade my wardrobe because I wanted to dress for the “next level” in my corporate job, and I had a lot of presentations to give, so I wanted to look sharp. This year, I find that I am donating many items, because I realize certain items I acquired do not fit my true style or my personality.

Outside the closet.jpg

KonMari describes our need to hang onto things as arising from an attachment to the past or a fear of the future. Amen, sister. I hope to return to this down-sizing and de-cluttering of so many things I no longer need, and are in fact weighing me down in indecision. I live an abundant life and do not need to keep things that no longer serve me. By letting go of my past and realizing I have limited control over my future, I have experienced so much more freedom to live a good life. It is a process, but one that is worth pursuing. I will return to this process again now that the weather is getting brisk again and I am less tempted by the outdoors to neglect the inner spaces.

May you, my faithful reader, minimize what does not work in your life, so you have abundant space for what brings you joy.