The moon rise in the Dubai desert -Image by Melbourne Girl
I spend a lot of time talking to myself. I am a great conversationalist with a million ideas, but sometimes it gets so noisey in there it makes it hard to hear what I’m really saying. Sound familiar?
When we began this year I shared with you my plan for 2015 The Year of Living Bravely, and since that time, although the journey began long ago, I have been taking small steps every day to get me closer to this reality. When I looked at the insurmountable piles of ‘things’ that my life had accumulated, I didn’t know where to begin. When I saw how many things I was attached to, I had to force myself to ask hard questions and determine what that stuff really meant to me or how it enriched my life. Even the smallest challenge, like jumping into the pool, was a big deal for me. And so with each day I have taken on new challenges, big and small, all in the process of becoming more aware and in control.
I had the opportunity last week to talk to a group of other Nuffnang bloggers about my time in Dubai and what I loved about it. While there are so many things I can say about the incredible adventures on offer, the food or the sumptuous malls, I found what I really wanted to share was a moment that happened in my mind.
In one singular moment as I stood in the Dubai desert, I watched the sun setting in front of me as the moon rose behind me. Connected, together filling the sky with fire and the warmth of its reflected glow. The expansiveness of our world, our universe and just how small yet integral we are, washed over me like a wave. All of the minutia of our daily lives, the irritations and the stresses fall away in an instant under the eye of those two great forces. And suddenly I see that the door to the cage we create for ourselves had always been open, you just need to walk through it.
Seeing the multitude of pins, and quotes appearing on FB and Twitter, I get the very real sense that we are all sitting in our self created cages, staring out through the bars at those we think are somehow magically on the other side. Those that have what we wish we did; more time, better wardrobes, Pinnable lives. The more time we spend watching these edited realities with their Valencia filters, the further away our release seems to be. I am yet to meet someone who does not suffer from some degree of life envy of another, no matter where that may stem from.
While I stood bathed in the amber glow of the Dubai sunset I listened to the ‘me’ I always chat with; the one who has always said, “You create your own realities”. For once, there was a silence, a peace and tranquility that let that often said phrase stand alone in its simple glory. The only thing that is truly within ourselves to change, the catalyst from which everything springs, is ourselves. That shifting of a mindset, that penny that must drop and suddenly you realise, you had the power all along.
(image via Pinterest)
I think I need to stay home and not leave the house for the next two weeks.
I’ve never been a big follower of star signs, the universe etc… I mean, I enjoy the odd well timed meme as much as the next person, but these sorts of signs are not the type I regularly seek out or consult. But I have to say, the last few months have me questioning this.
I believe that you make your own luck, that seeing the silver lining is the way to go, and you should always have your eyes open. Then fate comes along and does these tricky things and says, “Ha ha! Try to ignore that one!” It’s got me checking out all kinds of new sources of information especially this evening after this whole Mercury in Retrograde decided to play with me.
I thought I’d spend the last day of the school holidays doing something really great, taking my girls and their friends to the zoo. A lovely serene day was had until I got to the car and discovered a parking ticket. Damn it! My own fault for not realising this was a paid parking area. Right, I shake it off, put of some appropriate Taylor Swift for them to all sing along to and head off down the road. Not more than 15 minutes later, we are seriously sideswiped by a learner driver who has taken off a large piece of my car and ruined four panels! Again, I’m looking on the bright side that no one was injured, but I certainly don’t need the extra hassle. Now I’m feeling a bit gun shy and wondering what else I shouldn’t do these next two weeks.
This kind of paranoia goes against my nature. The idea of waiting for planets to move to the right bits of the sky before I can change my hair / buy something / make a decision etc.. I’m the kind of woman who likes to just get things done in the most snappy way possible. Then I find out that as a Virgo my ruling planet is Mercury, (clearly I haven’t been paying attention). So that should stuff the whole thing up. But honestly, I just can’t handle that thought. The idea that some measly planet and it’s whims giveth and taketh away, is too much for a control freak like me. (Seriously, I love planets though) I refuse to let this beat me, I have to much to get done and too many things to win at!
As tempting as the thought sounds, I’m not going to wrap myself in bubble wrap for the next while (new fashion statement anyone?); but I am interested to see how this plays out. I’m also very interested to know what your experience with this sort of thing has been. Are you a big believer in signs and how far do you take that? Is it “batten down the hatches” at your place right now?
In spite of all this, tonight I am continuing on with my new evening routine of productivity; packing more boxes for this decluttering, making appointments, making decisions and choosing to rule this destiny with the proverbial iron fist.
I feel like should start making this into tee shirts though.
While going through the multitude of pieces I am culling from my wardrobe today, I had an interesting thought about my clothes and their personalities.
Everything in our wardrobes has a personality, take that blue velvet dress for example. She is for romantic evenings, dinner dates and impressing with elegant ease. She doesn’t shout, but she likes to be noticed. She is simple, yet luxurious. In stark contrast are things like the very functional denim jeans, a loyal friend that is ready to go out at any time, whether that be to the grocery store, to a party or to bail you out of jail. The friend everyone needs.
So I began to think, what if we looked at the contents of our wardrobes as we do at our friends? Are there relationships that just aren’t working anymore? Perhaps there are creatures in there with those negative personalities that always bring you down. The ones who tell you you’re not quite special enough, or you’d be ok if you lost a few kilos. The sneaky ones that sit quietly until you need them, then they turn around and stab you in the back with their overly clingy fabrics and bad hemlines. No one needs mean girls in their wardrobe.
Decluttering with clarity can be the hardest thing when emotion is involved, especially when it comes to memories, but just like the girl friend from high school who once held your hair back, they are now just poking you on facebook. They aren’t actually serving any enriching purpose in your life right now.
A lot of the ‘personalities’ I’m clearing from my closet are actually lovely. They’ve been there for the tea parties and shopping outings, but there are now so many friends, the conversation has become so loud that it gives me a headache. Time to clear the deck.
I don’t want to see new and inspiring pieces “hang out” with the negative in my closet, or their purpose will be drowned out in the noise. Instead, I’m looking at this task with a more creative set of eyes, forming positive new friendships between old pieces, letting go of those who just aren’t cutting it at this party. I want friends living in there who always make me look my best, help me out when I’m in a hurry and make me feel like a million bucks.
If you look at your closet right now, I’ll be you could find at least five “negative” culprits in there. Start weeding them out and make room for more positivity in your wardrobe, and the rest will begin to follow.
Have you got Mean Girls in your closet?
As vintage lovers, we spend much of our time looking backwards.
Backwards into the history of pieces we love, romantic, nostalgic versions of the past. We live for a great part, in our memories. It is habit forming and perhaps not the best of activities for those wanting to bring about change in their lives.
During my usual Pinterest rounds, I came across this;
It was then that the penny dropped. I have stopped looking back.
So much of my past has defined me as I’ve gone forward in life. The words in your head, the things people have said you are or are not, the mistakes you’ve made and those chances you wish you’d taken. One of the sayings I hate most in life is “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” Which to me translates as, “You made things this way now you have to put up with it, forever!”
Nope. That is about as defeatist as you can get.
How about remembering who is master of their own destiny, the only one who has the power to change anything, the one who has the power to change by starting with their own mind. This is why I believe we need to be much more cautious in looking backwards.
Instead it is time to use your imagination, tap into your creativity and imagine a future where things are as you wish them. Begin from the point that is now, with all the lessons you’ve learnt, the skills and talents you have, and then start to build.
As I’ve been going through this massive process of culling all my belongings, I’ve become very aware just how much stuff holds a type of security for me. Reminders in memories of things I haven’t yet achieved, projects left unfinished stop me from moving on to new goals. What a waste of space and a waste of a perfectly promise filled future; that is why it is suddenly so easy to let it all go.
2015 is my Year of Living Bravely, of moving forward and taking new adventures that have so far only lived in my mind. There are no do-overs, and looking backwards will only keep you behind the starting line.
Let’s change our habit together, stop looking over our shoulders and instead, out at the sky.
As I stood looking at it all prior to Christmas, I realised something, that light bulb went off. I don’t actually need to declutter. Clearly, the “definition of insanity is doing the same things time and time again and expecting a different result”. What I actually needed was drastic action, an apocalypse of the domestic kind. The kind that can only happen when something monumental shifts in your mind and in your heart. Perhaps following a comprehensive room by room de-cluttering, the type you do when you are moving houses would come in handy.
Either that or you get completely jack of the crap.
While I am only in the first throws of this process, it is moving along at a screaming pace, with the intent to be complete by the end of January when school goes back. All the thoughts and ideas that have come to mind while my hands are at work, are things I want to share with you. Some of these tips you may have read before, others may be totally new to you. Either way, if this helps you on your own personal journey to clear out the crap, I want to know!
The First Step
Know why you want to declutter or minimise.
- Is your stuff stressing you out? Is it causing arguments, yelling, tension, wasted time?
- How often can’t you find things?
- How much money are you wasting on things you don’t need or looking after all the excess you have?
Really, ask yourself these questions because when you get tired or your resolves starts to break, you only need to be reminded of the truth here.
My personal answers are ‘yes’ to all of the above. The biggest factor is the amount of time I spend looking after stuff, both mine and the rest of the family’s. And it drives me fricken nuts! Collecting vintage has been a wonderful pastime, but when you consider how much time it takes to restore, clean, mend etc.. Then add two primary school kids into the mix, everything becomes a burden and the beauty fades.
Like every year, this year seems to have taken place at warp speed. Barely a moment to pause and reflect, barely a moment to take stock of where life is taking you.
Over the last month I have stopped to ask myself one question; are you headed to where you want to be? And it seems so many of you are asking the same question.
Every day I am again on Pinterest, seeking things that excite and invigorate my creative self. It is when I see so many of the quotes I’ve pinned being liked and shared around with gusto, that I realise we are all in the same boat. The boat that is trying to stay the course, to avoid the rocks and to often even find the map in the first place.
Do you remember where you were going, or has your map become dusty and torn, missing the ‘X’ your soul so deeply needs.
How easy it is to distract ourselves from what really matters, from finding ways to express ourselves or from having the bravery to express it in the first place. This is the 2015 I want us to have. I want us to find that part of ourselves that makes us better, that inspires and changes others for the better. That energises and fulfils us. That we have silenced for fear, for insecurity or for simply not knowing how.
Maybe it seems odd to you that as a lifestyle blogger, these are the things I care about; but truly it is at the heart of it all. I blog because I need to create. I blog so I can talk to you through all these different ways, about the things I find joy in and hope to share with you. I blog to find those who can expand my understanding of the world, my perspective and my appreciation of what we have. I blog to find others who give a damn.
There is strength in numbers you see, and the more we join our thoughts and experiences across this little corner of cyber space, the braver we become.
I lost my bravery for a while there. I began to think that no one actually cared beyond a pretty picture or a nice new dress. That everything I wrote or thought would only open me up to criticisms, barbs and antagonism. I forgot about all of the times you did care, that those of you who have been here from the beginning, understood the story and it helped you to tell your own.
Here, red lipstick is not just another fashion statement; it is a red badge of courage in a sea of grey. Here, the travel story of an afternoon in a Middle Eastern souk is not just another log, it is my hearts song. Everything I write for you, photograph for you and even hope to humbly share my skills through, is an act of bravery. It comes from a place that is uniquely me; my authentic self who believes in romance, dreams and the impossible.
And this is what 2015 will be for us. It is the year of living bravely, in which we shall take this journey together and find your long buried treasure map.