I’ve read a couple of articles this week online (what on earth did we do before the interweb?) that have resonated with me deeply, sent me into a contemplative mood and generally realigned my thinking. When you are open to new possibilities and suggestions, the answers come, when you are closed down, judgemental and think the whole world is against you; it is. One thing I have learned, if I take a deep breath and stop, the answers come to me a lot easier than if I worry over them.
“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.” This was on Twitter this week, and I laughed when I saw it. I used to be a compulsive worrier and fidget. Now I know when I get restless, I know need to stop and listen. I am not paying attention to something that needs to be heard. As I have got older, I am starting to slowly recognise the signs when things are not right in my world. Sometimes I need a brick round my head before I will act on them, but I am at least seeing them now.
Being afraid of what will happen when you don’t do something, is a big thing for me too. Often, my inaction will result in a far worse situation that I need to extricate myself from, had I listened to the pebble at my window instead of waiting for a brick, it would have saved a lot of heartache. But then, as I said the other day, sometimes you need the extreme heartache to realise your true potential and grow. Grow up, grow out the situation, grow strong. ‘Grow’ has many meanings as we travel down our bumpy life paths.
The worst thing, bar none, to happen in my life was my separation. The divorce was easy, the end of the marriage was awful. While I hate the word ‘divorce’, for many it reads failure, because marriages change and grow – but they also stop. Mine unfortunately stopped with a bump. I’ve said before, I had decided it was over, but I hadn’t put my plans into place, I didn’t have any money or anywhere to go; but had I left when I first decided it was unrecoverable, would I be here today in Australia? Probably not, I would be in a completely different life. But when I needed it most, a better job came along, with a £11k pay rise; when I needed it most my sister gave me a room and place in her house for as long as I needed it. I say sister, she is Canadian, we’re not related, but we might as well be. Like many people in this multi-social-networking-age I owe her a phone call, a hug, and probably an apology. I’ve been so wrapped up in my life, I’ve been severely disconnected from hers.
So while I didn’t leave when I could have saved myself the heartache of finding out my ex had been unfaithful and lied like a cheap Japanese watch; when it was time to and I was ready for me to start out on this new journey, life pushed me along it. This past month I have looked into myself and closed a lot of doors on things I no longer need to fret over. I’ve filed a lot of things away, chalked it up to experience and moved on. Moving on means leaving things behind. Leaving things behind means letting go. Letting go means saying goodbye.
When DG and I moved from the UK, we both had to cull our possessions to the absolute minimum of things we could ship over to here. Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I need it? If we answered yes to two, preferably all three, questions it came with us. If we could buy a replacement, it didn’t come along with us. I culled my books mercilessly; culled my clothes; culled my things. I ended up with a series of objects (or bibelots as Georgie would call them) that I truly love, remind me of special people and I am proud to have out on display. Listening to the radio last weekend, we heard ‘By Design’, a programme on ABC Radio National. There was a guest on that was very proud to have a minimalist apartment, but have his collections in storage. Talk about an oxymoron. Why pay for something to be kept for you, that you love, but you never get to see, unless you go visit it? Surely if you love it, you should place it in proud view and honour it? Which is why the majority of people need less stuff, not more.
Buying into the consumerism and attainment of things to give you a better life, is, (forgive me), bollocks. You can’t take anything with you, it weighs you down, it suffocates you and if you get to the point where you need to rent storage space you simply have too much stuff. Your belongings should enhance your life, not stifle it. Some of the deepest moments of clarity I’ve had in my life is when I recognise that I am enough, just me.
I don’t need a £700 Mulberry handbag, but I chose to buy one on my way out of Heathrow, every time I use it, I love the smell of the leather, love the feel of it in my hand and love that I can get everything but the kitchen sink in it. I also love that, yes it was an impulse buy, but I will still be using it in 20, 30 or even 40 years from now, so is a real investment piece. I don’t need an iPod and an iPhone, but engraved on the back of my iPod is ‘I worked hard for this’. Even when it no longer works, I will keep it, to remind me that I had to save to buy it. My belongings now reflect me. If you came in and looked at them, you would get a sense of who I am. I sit here in the study, and I have my family and friends around me. Downstairs in the living room, I have my friends and family around me.
Less truly is more, you don’t need anything to make your life better. You have to love yourself first, no one else can love you if you don’t love yourself; what discord and unhappiness is happening in your life now, is a reflection of what is happening in you now. I go to Bikram Yoga because when I am in the middle of camel, doing a deep backward bend, breathing through the pain and discomfort, I know I can achieve anything else that day. I go because I am putting my self at the top of my list. I am taking care of me, so I can take care of others. My husband, my friends, my family have all rallied round me over the past month, reinforcing that I am OK. Now I need to give back, but I can’t give what I don’t have.
Life after separation, divorce, depression, bereavement, bullying, whatever you are facing now? It will be hard, but if you come from a place of love and take care of yourself first, you can get through anything. Listen to the stillness inside you, go outside and sit under a tree and just be. You will find the answers there, not in an object someone is advertising to make your life complete. Your life is complete.