I recently was on vacation (and spa-ing) in Bali. It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunity. I will admit to hoping for some life-altering experience a la Eat Pray Love. And while maybe it wasn’t “everyone has a little love affair an Bali” and there was no visit to a medicine man, and certainly no Javier Bardem, it was truly a wonderful experience. I walked around in awe, that I was in fact in Bali!!!! Bali was one of those places, someday, if I ever, wouldn’t it be nice.. and yet… there I was, in Bali! As I told people back home, it was “everything I wanted it to be and EXACTLY what I needed.” I had a lot of down time, and unprecedented levels of Zen, and really got to do a lot of soul searching (in and around plenty of fun, and shopping and spa-in, of course!)
As I was faced with my last night and few hours in Bali, I decided that there was life Pre-Bali and life Post-Bali. That I did have a little bit of a personal and spiritual journey, and I was faced with returning to my life, and I could return home to “normal” or I could return home to something changes in habits, behaviors and thought patterns. That was the soul-searching I had done. I decided then and there that I could leave the past in the past, or more specifically, I could leave it all in Bali. And I did. I adopted a little spa ritual, similar to that at Mii Amo as part of their Full Moon and New Moon ritual. Maybe someday in a separate blog I will go in that. But I came back from Bali and immediately went in to “change mode”
I am a big change person – its what I do at work – change management, process redesign, transformation initiatives. I also believe in symbolic gestures of change just as much as actual changes themselves. For instance, when I want a change or want to shake things up, I may go and by a new palette of make-up and change my look entirely, or I may switch signature perfume scents, or in more drastic moments, gone in to my hair stylist and have gone completely changed from blonde to brunette and back, with a little red along the way. So “change mode” post Bali, was that I went on a decluttering bender, as in Throw out Fifty Things.
But Throw out Fifty Things – is not flirting with change. It is symbolic change, and also be-careful-what-you-wish-for-cause-you-just-might-get-it kind of change. Long before the Kondo method of organization and devotees of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, there was Throw out Fifty Things, by Gail Blanke. The idea that clutter in our physical reality leads to a clutter state of mind. There is a Zen to be found in organization and post-Bali, i was definitely looking to continue the Zen.
And before you say, – I just threw out 50 catalogs in the mail – its not that easy. Each category is one thing. So you threw out 50 times of just that one item. So you can imagine, by the time you throw out 50 unique and discrete things, you are really on to something. You can’t tackle something physical with our getting in to the mental:
- For instance, I had a closet in my office with a bunch of stuff. I was avoiding it. I didn’t even want to start going through all the stuff for fear of what I might find. But in the end, in my 50 things bender, I did. I gained more space, which symbolically represented an opportunity for new and better things to come in to my life. But more than that the energy changed. Before there was stale and stagnate energy. But by pulling everything out and looking throw it and removing things to trash and organizing the rest before it putting it back. Now the space is organized, its feel lighten and energetically different. I don’t walk into the closet cringing, or feeling weighed down by the fact I need to get around to organizing and cleaning this. Its done. Its a weight lifted.
- Or consider, I had a number of books on Make-Up artistry back when I considered a career change in that direction. I ultimately didn’t pursue that due to schedule incompatibilities, but the books remained, in plain sight. While I loved them, they simultaneously mocked me wit what I wasn’t doing. So the books (yes, 1 thing despite the fact there were several) went off to be donated. And now every time I look at the book shelf they were on, I am not reminded of something I ultimately didn’t pursue. Its freeing.
- And so it was with clothes and other items. If I looked in the closet and saw things I wasn’t wearing, and felt bad I wasn’t wearing. Or things I co no longer fit in to and felt bad because I wanted to fit in to them and that was “someday” and someday had come and gone. And now they are gone.
What is left is anything that 1) makes me feel good 2) adds value and 3) aligns with the life I envision for myself. And there is something powerful about that. And if you still need convincing, at the end of this, I had a cleaned up, organized and pleasing home office, and I have had some of my best creativity in business plans and work as well as prolific writing since.
Now, full disclosure, throwing out 50 mental things is tougher, its not as easy to symbolically throw out a metal item like you can something physical. And you are often dealing with ingrained thought patterns, behaviors and habits. I feel like it smore that you are deleting the thought, pattern or behavior, and you need to override that and reprogram new and different behavior, thoughts and habits. So, I am working on that.
But you can truly kick start any change with a little organization, cleaning and de-cluttering and that can most definitely get your Zen going, and that is Spa Inspired Living! And to confirm that, as I sat outside on a Sunday morning, Day 2 of my bender, I was drinking my coffee when I heard a neighbor get out of care and say to someone – no lie “ Clean your room. You will be liberated and organized. It will change y our life.” She gets it!