Lüfta ~ the practice of opening the windows in the morning to let the old air out and the new air in!
It’s February and here I am writing up January. Oops. The depths of winter have certainly hit their peak, short days, dark mornings (with the odd spectacular sunrise) rain, ice and snow.
Some months do seem to need more days or weeks to come their natural end before the new one begins. Heck maybe even some years need more years. I definitely need this year to get to where I thought I’d be last year! So this extended January, well it was a month of tilting. The only peaceful option in our house was to move with what was necessary while a flu ran its course in which no one was spared!
My monthly focus quickly shifted from ‘detox’ to ‘cleanse’. The former sounded far too harsh for the way I try to approach life. In my mind I knew I wanted to explore why I seem to be lacking in confidence and why I can’t quite find the energy to feel as vigorous as I’d like but I didn’t want to do that under a negative guise.
In a way I feel a bit directionless. I am certainly on a path but the reality is I’m no longer working with a long term plan or goal. Contrary to what people often think spending a year or so out of the normal constraints was in fact more ordered than navigating this period of time in my life! On the road we we going somewhere – travelling.
Let me break that down a little (indulge me it’s been a bit of a breakthrough month and also sometimes we have to look back to go forward). Grab a cuppa.
One day a few years ago I decided to live a little more simply and slower. I dreamed of getting our lives down to one suitcase each while at the same time minimising the be-jesus out of our lives. This eventually enabled us to be able to afford to take some time out to travel. And also, thankfully, to prevent what I was sure was my husband heading towards burning out. (burn out – I’ve been to that place in my late 20’s, still there are scars, it’s also something I am hearing more of around the traps, you?)
During those years of preparing to take this time out (and discovering minimalism) I was like an excited kid! WOW. Do you know how many interesting people there are out there doing and thinking about such things? My world got bigger overnight. It was as if I’d found my way home. YES! I roared with gusto as I punched the air ‘the more of less’ – I GET it. I want it. I’m on it. And so I did! Get it that is.
I spent the best part of a few years ‘decluttering’ notions about life, people, expectations and of course also things. I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder so the things ‘bit’ was more about letting go of the excess we had collected during the course of having children. And of course the stuff that was no longer part of the life I was living – read: high heel boots (they found a new owner)!
And most of you will know that we did in fact manage to buy ‘ourselves’ some time out. With a combination of long service leave and selling up we ended up in a campervan chugging our way around Europe. Of course we are a bit madder than most. Selling up and taking the risk of leaving our jobs gave us the chance to try something new, to create a challenge not simply a luxury, which, as you also know, we did.
We returned to our long held dream of creating a European life. We set sail or more appropriately boarded a plane with one way tickets, our backpacks, a thirst for adventure and pockets full of hope.
That was a big plan and it took some years to arrive at. But we are here! For sure we’re here after spending the past four years walking towards it. And during that time to be able check in and out, to connect with this newfound world of people with their writing and doing absolutely enriched my life. It helped me to steer my ship. Along the way I met fellow ‘journey-women’ who made it feel normal and even important to want excitement and wildness in life, no matter our age.
The thing about being a journey-woman is that we move. From one year to the next we are often in a different place. Not necessarily a different physical place but a dream, and life space. To journey is be on the ride and to feel and to do the work required to expand. It calls us. In my mind expanding is only possible when we leave behind what is no longer necessary – declutter if you will. It is too hard to move forward with a heavy back – something will give (better that it’s not our soul ladies).
The biggest cleanse for me this month was not to drink the gallons of water I had hoped (eek I failed miserably, maybe this next month) but it was to let go of the circles in which I was keeping a foot in.
I remember when I started blogging I initially found it overwhelming – so many blogging circles. I kept with it because I found a joy in writing that I’d neither experienced nor explored before.
Unexpectedly, I also make friends – life long friends. I learnt so much about myself and life from the mutual sharing, found some courage and even a little conviction in my voice as I pushed myself to become a contributor rather than a consumer. I soon learnt that to find my sweet spot in this new online world I couldn’t be in many blogging circles, the expectation was too great. I would have to accept that I would never grow a big audience because it wasn’t me to follow everyone and I definitely couldn’t interact in the capacity that the professionals do, nor do the marketing or write in the informative style. The reality was and still is that I couldn’t live a slow and peaceful life if I was to (try to) become a blog/brand builder. It’s not my calling, nor where my personality or talents lie.
So I plugged away until I arrived here … a quiet journal, a place to come and write without waking the next day with a vulnerability or overwhelmed hangover. And also over at Slower Family Travels, my blog with its shit giving purpose. It’s still evolving. And maybe I’ve also learnt a little about grammer (maybe)! The to and too, the your and you’re ;). Ha ha I don’t give too many shits obvs. otherwise I’d have given up a long time ago – although I must say I do edit more these days.
Instagram. I’ve found a great joy in the daily lives of friends and the fellow journey-women and men whose tribe I’ve become a part of. But it was there where I have felt my foot was still lingering without purpose in some circles. Circles that I no longer felt a part of. A friend recently posted … ‘when you’re Marie Kondo’ing your life – give some consideration to your feeds’.
I will admit to never reading or watching MK. I hear she is lovely but I’m more of the don’t buy storage, just buy less stuff camp. Also I’ve been on the ‘what sparks joy’ journey. I absolutely understand we all come into creating space with different needs from different places. I do get a bit exhausted by the MKing (minimalism tagging) and then the re-buying. I do hope that the conversation about the environmental and societal values around mass consumption follow this trend.
Back to the MK’ing of the feed. It’s a hard conversation to have because it does honestly feel bad to unfollow people who are ‘real’ people. I admit to feeling hurt by people who have unfollowed me especially when I thought there was a connection. But in life one does need to be able to let go and understand that seasons change, people change. And sometimes there is no connection, you can’t guess where people are at. Thus, I ‘decluttered’ my feed. After some walking in the woods I realised that I needed to clear some space … to take my foot out of some doors and to let them close.
It was surprisingly easy once I started. You see I need to find some direction this month. I don’t have any ‘things’ to declutter so I removed myself from the stories of those who are travelling in a different direction to me. Yes I am a minimalist but my minimalism is not about the athletics of my house, rather the way in which I live my life. I’m still on that same journey of choosing a life that creates more with less but it looks a different to the one I first started writing about. I have different hurdles to jump and new challenges to overcome.
This cleanse has been on my ‘to do’ list for many, many months. I just didn’t have the courage to do it. Was it worth it? Wholeheartedly, yes. When you close doors it is easier to skip forward, you’re lighter. It is the acceptance stage of the grief process. I feel less burdened having let go of the ambitions of others. Others whose ambitions created a conflict in me because their path is not in harmony with mine, perhaps it once was. Rather than worry about what I may miss, or time spent internally debating what I’ve seen or read, or following when we don’t ever see each other I feel more able to open my eyes wider and am excited about new possibilities, new doors. And to be honest the older I get and the older my children get – head space is at premium.
As you know I come from the gut instinct or ‘feel your way’ kind of mould. Sometimes I worry that maybe I’m a bit reckless – driven by my almost blind optimism and trust that everything will be alright. Again, with the getting older thing – it has me doubting and I find myself questioning this usual approach of mine. Why do I feel this lack of confidence, this fear? (I do miss the fearless gypsy in me. I need to find a new direction for her to fly.
Did I uncover anything in new space I crafted for myself by attending to what I knew needed cleansing? Yes, I think I did. I need to open my world again, to seek a new adventure. Basically that is my speak for a new plan to work towards. Here I sit in the freedom of this life we worked and dreamed of creating. I’m no longer in search of a simpler life, nor dreaming of travelling around in a campervan that’s been part of my lived story, I’m done telling it – but now where? I need new inspiration, new goals and mentors to propel me forward. I need new work to do! It’s the modus operandi of the journey-woman type. Onward.
I started my Dutch class this month and I decided that I also want to learn Italian. Blame this youtube clip above. Italian has been the language of my heart and dreams since I can remember. You may remember I took a Spanish last year which was great and honestly gave me the insight into the ‘how’ of learn a language (it doesn’t come easy to me). I took that class because it seemed like the more practical language … but if I’m going to learn a language shouldn’t it be my love language?!? Plus I’m walking to Rome. Ok and if you’re a soft romantic lover type like me here is another….
I have also developed an interest in European politics … there is a lot going on here. To be honest politics is not something that has thrilled me in the past but learning about the ‘project’ that is the European Union absolutely fascinates me. Right now I feel like I have a front row seat in history (and you know I love history). I want to know more. I’m finally taking the step towards beginning my (online) masters next month! YAY! (I think). I hope to be able to create work that matters to the future of society and the planet. Hopefully I can relate my coursework to EU policy and programs. Oh to be in my 20’s with these hopes and all the years ahead of me. Maybe I’m a late bloomer 😉
Yes it does seem a bit like when I discovered minimalism – so many ideas and people to learn from. But it is direction baby! AND a bigger world to expand in … right from where I am.
I’m still on a long walk – mi camino – my life.
And what I love is that all the good stuff is coming with me and I’m reminded of some good stuff I’d forgotten.
I feel an incredible sense of gratitude and great admiration, love and attachment the journey-women I’ve met along my life’s path … yes I’m looking at you. I adore knowing and seeing you as do your thing and continue to inspire and support me as I shed my cocoon (again).
My camino to Rome for One Girl is a side project that I can step in and out of. Joyfully, it exists without pressure and expectations.
We’ve had some lovely visits with old friends this month and many games have been played – good old fashioned fun. Have you played Kahoot, I imagine the teachers have.
My book – well once again perhaps my book is the one I continue to write by living it! Perhaps I’m not yet ready and it’s not the time to be a novelist. We’ll see.
And lastly food: this IQS veggie paleo loaf! An oldie but oh what a goodie. Like an old mate coming to lunch. A keeper of memories. Reminding me of the times I snacked while sitting on a rock to take a break along the hiking trails in the National Parks of NSW.
Yes, back then when I when I threw myself into living a creative life and opened my world to try new things, go back to old loves and to see what else was out there. Yes that’s quite some emotional security right there in that humble loaf. Why have I left it so long to indulge in a slice!?
As I tread this period and face this period of low confidence it strikes me that perhaps I need to step into the very basics of what I need. The things that create emotional security. Security is perhaps the best medicine for fear.
So that is me this month – it’s about security.
- Securing my mood by cutting out the sugar and paying closer attention to my nutrition (I suspect the hormones of my age are playing with me).
- Securing my mind by choosing the path of expansion and learning new things rather than hanging around in conversations and feeds where I no longer fit and am not myself (and maybe a little less Netflixing).
- Securing my soul by lacing up the kids and my hiking boots as we head for a week of ‘off grid’ in Ireland.
- And lastly, spirit security by writing here and working on my Slower Family travels project and reminding myself that it all matters. Creating our own story matters. BEING awake in our own story matters.
Yes the basics. Building armour, SECURITY with the basics.
Buen Camino dear friends! I’ll try to catch up on Feb at the end of Feb. Sorry I’ve been MIA on SM I’ll catch your stories, emails and Ap’s soon my fellow journey-peep’s.