When You Ask A Question, Do You Really Want An Answer?

A couple of posts ago I asked, “To move or not to move? That is always the question.”  Well, I got my answer: looks like we’re moving. Where? To Texas, but not in the same place as my kids and grandkids. We’ll be about 4 hours away, and that’s better than 12!

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My answer came in the form of a promotion for my husband. It’s really great! I’m so excited for him – and me.

It’s really one of those God-orchestrated things where you can’t believe how it all works out so nicely. Not to say that there won’t be challenges and difficulties, but you can’t doubt the rightness of it.

All my minimizing, weeding out, and decluttering is so worth it right now! There are things here and there that I’m getting rid of but for the most part, I can say, “This is what is going with us.” And, it’s not much.

I feel like the past two years has been setting me up for this move…

but…

there are still emotions. The untangling of my heart from this place, loosening of my fingers from around memories.

Also, holding my breath to see if my friendships can stand the test of distance. Fearing they won’t, praying that they will.

Change. Yuk!

Adventure. Yay!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that conflicting emotions that battle inside of me won’t kill me and after the dust has settled I usually find that they can live together and both be right at the same time.

On a side note: I’m thinking about starting a vlog in conjunction with this blog. Would you like to see me and hear me and let me show you where I’m going? Let me know!

Thanks for being patient with me dear reader!

Peace,

Jill

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Natural Light, Fika & the #weekoflagom

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So, I’m still torturing all my Instagram followers with #weekoflagom. And again, I’m not really sorry because I’m sure there are some kindred spirits out there!

There are 2 things that I naturally do which I have found to be a Swedish characteristic and practice. One is a love of natural light and the other is the midmorning and/or afternoon snack.

I’ll confess to you that I really don’t care for the winter. Even though my heritage is Scottish and from what I understand it’s really rainy and cloudy there and one would think that cloudiness wouldn’t be a problem for me, I am actually really affected by lack of sunlight. It makes me depressed and it’s hard to get started when there’s a cloudy day which makes it feel like the morning all day.

So, when you come to my house, you’ll find that if I have curtains at all, they are thrown open all day. My walls are painted light colors in an effort to brighten up my house. And according to the book, the Swedes are all about natural light.

The second thing I have in common with the Swedes is the need for a snack or fika. Fika is actually, “taking a break for coffee and enjoying a small treat.” And most importantly, “It’s a moment to relax and “umgas” – hang out together and catch up with family and friends.” All you need is a snack (usually a cinnamon roll), a hot drink (usually coffee) and take some time to stop, relax and enjoy the small moments in life. What a wonderful idea!

I am having a fikasugen (a strong desire or craving for a fika)!

I need a fika right now!

I am going to have a fikapaus (to stop what you are doing and enjoy a fika)!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Peace,

Jill

Insomnia, Swedes and the #week of lagom

I’ve been posting on Instagram using the hastag #weekoflagom. People are probably getting sick of it by now. But, I’m finding the book and the idea of lagom (the Swedish idea of “not too little, not too much”) to be inline with minimalism and my personal vibe. So, I’ve been throwing up some ideas that I’ve come across on Instagram. And I want to share some ideas here with you.

Swedes are obviously very serious about their sleep. I am finding that sleep eludes me. Some say it’s my age, some say it’s menopause, whatever it is I just can’t get enough sleep. So, I’m reading this book hoping that something will help me. Here are some things according to the book that the Swedes do to help them sleep:

  • Go au naturel – sleep in only underwear or in the nude (Yeah, probably not going to be something I do. I’m a prudish Southerner by birth).
  • Use 2 duvets or comforters instead of one. That way you won’t have to fight if you sleep with a blanket hog. You can be in control of your temperature and comfort. (I kinda like this idea.)
  • Make sure your bedroom is clutter free and clean. Avoid busy patterns. Use calm, comforting colors. (I have already done this in my bedroom and it REALLY helps!)
  • Create darkness – (Not something that I try to do, but probably should.)
  • Prepare yourself for physically and mentally for sleep. Don’t expect to just jump into the bed and fall asleep in seconds. (Well, my husband does that, why can’t I?) Here are some things to do to prepare yourself for bed:
  • Read (Ok, I can do that.)
  • Listen to calm music (Alright, that’s possible.)
  • Knit (Haha! That would make me stress out! It frustrates me that I can’t knit!)
  • Paint (No. I would have to clean up after and I’m trying to relax not create more work for myself.)
  • Cuddle up with family or pets (Yeah, that’s kinda nice.)
  • Take a walk (Maybe, but I find that kinda gets me wound up.)
  • Take a warm bath (Now, that’s my kind of relaxation!)

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Well, no life-changing ideas are jumping out of the pages of the book. Do you have any drug-free cures for insomnia that you can share?

Peace & Sleep,

Jill

Review of Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

In my journey toward minimalism, I came across this sweet, little book, “Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living A Balanced, Happy Life.”

(Click on the image to be taken to Amazon.)

It’s a cute book and I would recommend that you read it if you’re interested in minimalism.

The author draws on her experience living in Sweden among the Swedish people and explains the concept of Lagom as being the idea that something is “just right.”

She extends this idea that is ingrained in the Swedish psyche into everyday living to relationships to how to interact in the wider world.

It’s filled with drawings and photographs, recipes and craft ideas. It’s a great, little book.

I keep saying, “little” and “cute” because it is. It’s a small and pretty book.

Niki talks about decluttering and decorating your home, the Lagom way. “Not too little, not too much.” And she doesn’t limit the decluttered and balanced life to just the home. She gives ideas on how to bring simplicity and “Lagom” to holidays and events.

She even brings in other Swedish ideas, such as Fredagsmys or “Cozy Friday” where the family gets together after a long week doing something like watching TV and relaxing.

There’s a large part of the book devoted to following the Swedes example of getting outside and enjoying nature. Something I think we could all do more of.

So, yeah, I really recommend this book if you’re needing more balance, moderation and simplicity in your life. If you’ve made that a New Year’s resolution, then get this book to inspire you!

Peace,

Jill

I’m Not The Only One! Death Cleaning

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My father-in-law sent me a Washington Post article on “Death Cleaning.” I was so excited to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s important to clear out unwanted things and get your s@#%* in order before you “bite the big one.”

According to Margareta Magnusson I’m about 10 years too early. She suggests starting at 65 years old.

But really, the Swedes embrace the concept of “dostadning” which comes from the Swedish words for death and cleaning. It’s basically what I’ve been talking about: gettting rid of unwanted things so your family doesn’t have to deal with it and getting your affairs in order.

The article quotes Karin Olosfdotter, Swedish Ambassador, who says that her parents are “death cleaning” as well as their friends and she thinks it almost a “biological” thing to do.

It’s funny because I have run across my people in my own age range and most of them are doing it and if not, they want to or are thinking about it. So, I think it could be a biological thing. A lot of people don’t do it because it’s so hard, though.

We should come up with a word for death cleaning here in the US. I think I have. It’s called “getting your s@#* together.”

I’ll have to get Magnusson’s book when it becomes available in the US in January.

I’m glad I’m not alone and this whole throwing out experience wasn’t actually a mental breakdown.

This day after Halloween might be a good time to start “death cleaning.” What do you think?

Peace,

Jill

#nofilterneeded

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My last post was about my addiction to the feeling new things bring. Thanks for the comments and responses. It’s nice to know it’s not just me, I’m not the only one.

I was scrolling through my twitter feed today and someone tweeted something to the effect of, “Stop discarding and start living.”

That’s the challenge isn’t it?

Discarding, downsizing and organizing can become addictive as much as buying new things.  It’s easy to get caught up in the eddy of the process and never really start living.

The challenge is to find the same enjoyment in living that we’ve found in getting new things or throwing old things out.

 

As I mentioned before, I see a lot of people come to minimalism after a crisis, as a way to sort through their lives and find peace and meaning. Minimalism isn’t the peace and meaning but a process to filter out the things that are blocking, interrupting, taking up too much of our time and space so that we can enjoy our lives.

The challenge is to move from the process to the living.

It’s not as easy as you would think, especially if you’ve lived life with pain and hurt. Maybe you didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol or sex or other popular addictions to numb the pain, maybe you collected, purged, hoarded, lived austerely. Anything that kept your attention away from hurt.

However, if you’ve come this far and rid yourself of the distraction and you’re left with yourself, the temptation is to go back, stay in the eddy of process where you were safe and it felt good.

The unfiltered, undistracted life is a little raw and real.

All the stuff and activity kept us cushioned and padded from the hurt.

To live without the padding takes time. Like when air hits a scrape, it stings, we recoil but the more you expose it to the air the less it hurts in time.

It takes time to learn to enjoy life’s flavor without all the condiments. The footage without all the CG. The photos without the filters.

Life with #nofilterneeded is a wonderful goal, can we get there? Is it possible?

I’m going to try.

How about you?

Peace,

Jill

 

Minimalism vs The Addiction

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Here’s how it is for me – I like to get new things but I don’t particularly like to shop.

I don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the bargain. That’s not my thing.

I just like the feeling of getting something new. It’s the feeling I’m attracted to, not necessarily the item.

So, you know, dear reader, that I spent months discarding, decluttering and reorganizing my life. I’ve got my clothes closet dealt with. I’ve got my house decorating settled. Towels, linens, kitchen tools, memorabilia, storage, well, just everything is fine. It was hard work. It was emotional work.

And now there’s really nothing I need to buy.

Oh, there is still a desire to shop because I like that feeling of having something new.

To be honest, that feeling is an addiction.

Occasionally I’ll get an urge to buy something new. It grows until I’m jonesing for that feeling. My mind starts running through my whole house trying to find something that I can justify replacing. I’ll resort to really stupid reasons to buy something new. “The coffee maker is dirty, I need a new one.”

Or I’ll get that itch that I’m bored with my clothes and I need something new. “Yes, I have a pair of black shoes, but I need a pair with a millimeter more heel. Don’t you understand?”

Then I get real practical. I’ll say, “I need a new organizing bin or rack or something that will “help” me. I really need another organizing tool, don’t I?” Nope.

“How about office supplies, I need new post-it notes and paper clips, right?” Nope. “But my paper clips are just silver, I think I need blue ones and post-it notes to match. Matching office supplies will help me be more organized, right?” Nope. Just stop!

“Isn’t there anything I can buy? I need a fix!”

But minimalism has messed me up. I can’t get a fix!

Because now when I think of buying something new I get a flashback of all those bags of items that I discarded. Bag after bag, box after box of junk that I didn’t need. I remember having all my clothes spread out all over my room and carefully deciding which ones bring me joy and which ones don’t. I love all my clothes and the beautiful relief of having  a spacious closet. I can actually go in it now without feeling anxious. I don’t want to ruin that so I find that when I thinking of buying something I remember that relief and joy and I think, “Whatever I buy will probably throw off my balance” so I don’t buy anything.

It doesn’t affect just my clothes, but my whole house. I think about the overwhelming burden of clutter and the weight that is now gone of not having to find a place to put it all and clean it all. Oh, I don’t want that again.

So, I find myself not buying anything.

But the craving for that feeling of getting something new is still there.

It’s frustrating. I have an itch I can’t scratch.

 

If someone else asked me what to do, I’d say, “Go do something you enjoy like hiking or your hobby or spending time with loved ones.”

But you know, honestly, those things don’t take that feeling away. It just gives me a reason to shop: I need new hiking boots, a new tool for my hobby, a new dish to put the potato salad in that I’m taking to the pot luck dinner.

It’s a modern day addiction fed by advertising that is everywhere and the stores that are so convenient that it’s crazy. These stores give you an experience, make you feel good just by walking in them and walking out with that delicious feeling of having something new. “Where shopping is a pleasure.” “It’s my pleasure to serve you.” The stores exist just to make me happy! Right?

I’m sorry but walking in the park is not quite the same. It’s good, but not the same.

So, I hate to leave you hanging, dear reader. I have no solution.

Maybe it really is like what I’ve heard drug addicts say, “You never really lose the taste and desire for heroin, you just learn to fight it.”

Got any advice?

Peace,

Jill