by: Jessica Rickman
As Spring begins to nip at our still frosty heels, I can’t help but ponder all the wonderful things that new growth, new life, and a new season will bring. While this includes daydreaming of a beach vacation or camping trip, I also always look forward to that annual spring clean. For me, I’m always ready to let go of some of my material weight and purge my life of all things unnecessary to unburden and organize.
As an early to rise individual, I generally have already unrolled my yoga mat and completed my sun salutations before my husband has finished his cup of coffee. While I have always been one to get up and get going as soon as my feet hit the floor, I haven’t always had the peace I currently have that accompanies it. For years as a wife and mother, I would wake and immediately let out of sigh of agitation at the things that, through the eyes of exhaustion, weren’t so clear the night before, but now suddenly with the morning sunlight seemed to be in full focus. Toys, dishes…lots of things just sitting around. I would literally shake my head and wonder “Who uses all of this STUFF?”. I would spend at least half of my morning putting all the “things” back where they belong, and it was only then that I would be able to release the tension I immediately acquired upon waking and be able to start my day.
Luckily for me, I stumbled upon a book of techniques by the name of Konmari in the Home that would eradicate all the nonsense I was experiencing in my life and began to implement a foundation of peace in our home, cultivating an atmosphere where I would be able to gain so much more from my morning yoga practice. It began with a purge of all things that didn’t bring joy into my life or the lives of my family. In the beginning, it was met with resistance by my family because these were their “things,” and everyone identifies with the importance of their “things.” Then, as we began to let go of some of these material possessions that were bogging us down, the purge gained serious momentum within our household.
What we learned is that all this “stuff” was keeping us from learning who we were and what we were made of. An old, outgrown baseball bat wasn’t an identifier of what type of baseball player my son was, but instead just a reminder of 5 seasons ago how it sat and collected dust in the closet. Instead, we could let it go and focus on the growth he’s gained as a player. I also found that for my children, when I took away some of the endless options of toys they could play with, the result would be less frustration and a more concise ability to make a choice of what toy, activity, or craft they desired in that moment. For a child who has acquired 15 baby dolls or 25 sets of building blocks, there comes an overwhelming sense of frustration when trying to decide which one they want to give their attention to at any given time. So instead, we decided to take time and pick the ones they loved and played with the most often, and found new homes for the rest where they could give joy another little boy or girl who perhaps doesn’t have access to as many toys. It was there that the process took on a whole new meaning for our children, and we didn’t stop there.
As we moved into each room of the house, I vividly recall thinking “Why do we have 30 mismatched plates? We don’t even have that much silverware for goodness sakes.” I don’t recall there ever being a time that we entertained 30 guests at any given time, nor do I recall how I acquired 15 black camisole tank tops in a variety of sizes. Do you see where I’m going with this? We were overflowing with things we not only didn’t need, but never used. Sometimes we would literally sit and laugh over what we had accrued over time. Our level of awareness was fine-tuned to the fact that half of the stuff we had, we didn’t use, and a large portion of things we did use needed some serious attention. After the course of several weeks, we were left with all the things that continued to spark joy in lives and all the things that were holding up the corners of the home. The rest was donated, gifted, or sent to recycle, which gave us an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. We could enjoy one another’s presence without our minds feeling cluttered, and gained confidence from knowing that the “things” didn’t make us who we are, but instead held us back from our full potential as a family.
With this change in lifestyle, my yoga practice took on a new direction. The shelf that was once filled to the max with things I hadn’t used in years, would now be home to a modest collection of essential yoga mats and blocks for myself and my children, who have now joined me in my morning and evening flows. With the reduction of unnecessary items in the home, I no longer must clear a space for my yoga practice and I am now able to introduce my most prized possessions to the yoga world. Beyond that, we have acquired so much more space physically and mentally, making it easy to take last minute trips here and there, play sports and adventure outdoors without much advanced preparation. If I wake on a Saturday morning and we want to set out on a hike, we can do that because I know exactly where to find everything we need and nothing we don’t. And in the meantime, you can catch me most other mornings on my mat with a newly refreshed take on “things” and enjoying every moment. Namasté.
Jessica is a wife to one and a mother to 3 magical roots. She has embarked on a journey to experience life through living and to share with others all the wonderful things that make her soul sing via her blog, The Braided Root.