Surrounding Ourselves With the Things We Love
I’ve always been the type of person who likes to surround myself with beautiful things. Now, I know that there are some people out there who advocate for living a minimal lifestyle but, just a heads-up, I am NOT one of those people. Nope. I always over pack when I travel. I don't deprive myself of the knickknacks that strike my fancy. And I always seem to have everything that I need right there at my fingertips. But, at the same time, I am very mindful of each thing that I use and each item that I collect because I am someone who values quality over just monetary value.
We hear so much talk about the value of living minimally, so it's no surprise that my take on the matter is bit more radical. After all, I am talking about more stuff rather than less. Having said that, a simplified life does not necessarily need to equal a minimal one, and that's because the true meaning of simplicity is not in how much or how little stuff you have (although for some people it can be defined in this way). Instead, simplicity means having clarity of mind and, therefore, doing everything and having everything through the lens of love and mindful intention. And while I may talk about the concept of surrounding ourselves with the stuff we love, the point is not to opt for just any stuff but, rather, mindful and purposeful stuff. Consequently, it's not about the quantity of stuff that you own but, rather, the quality and meaning it holds for you personally in your life.
Now, I also know that there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding, and I am always very mindful of not crossing that line myself. As such, pretty much everything that I own has to fulfill some kind of purpose for me, whether it’s a practical purpose, or simply something that brings me joy. And while I sometimes forget to let go of some of the stuff I’ve collected over the years, I do try to make some sort of effort to declutter once in a while (because doing it every day is not really realistic) so that I can successfully determine what still inspires me versus what I feel no longer serves its purpose.
At the end of the day, it is not really the stuff that matters but, rather, the feeling that the stuff inspires within you. That is why I have beautiful and inspiring images staring me right in the face, positioned right to the right of my computer screen. That is why I have inspirational sayings as art work strategically positioned throughout my space. That is why I have beautiful crystals arranged in sacred geometrical layouts on my coffee table. That is why I have mini twinkly lights draped around my office (to inspire the mood). And that is why I have candles, salt lamps, and my favorite books carefully placed where I can see them. However, none of this is about perfection or creating a perfect magazine look (as you can see in the picture above, this is my working office, which I like to think of as "organized chaos"). But if the things that surround you make you feel productive and inspired, that is what matters most. Remember, this isn't about impressing anyone else; it is about making yourself feel good.
Of course there are also practical things that I like to keep nearby. Like my sticky notes, for example, that I use for jotting down all of my brilliant ideas, from figuring out world peace to a reminder to buy eggs. ;-) My yoga mat that is just a few steps away from me for when I am ready to stop, drop, and roll. And my office drawers that are always well stocked to heed my every office need, including basic stuff like paper and pens, staples, batteries, and so on.
To be clear, I never define myself by my stuff; no, not at all. But, I'm not going to lie, I sure do like my stuff there and available for me when I need and want it. I am not a minimalist, no, no. In fact, I am a self-admitted stasher. But I do not stash out of fear of lack or to hoard for a rainy day; I simply do it out of convenience. I love the idea of having what I need when I need it. And if I can make that happen, then I figure, why not? But I am also very careful not to go overboard, realizing when too much is too much. It is definitely a careful balance, but somehow I manage to maintain it.
One thing that we must keep in mind is that our environment plays a big roll in not only affecting our mood, but also inspiring our will. And so, when we surround ourselves with the things that exemplify our joy the most, we are then more motivated to do our best. Conversely, when our environment is cluttered with the things that no longer matter or serve us, our mental energy gets drained and we start to procrastinate. Now, often these effects are subtle and unnoticed but this is exactly why so many people fail to correlate their environment with how they feel.
And so, I challenge you today to pick a room in your house and start going through the items that surround you. Maybe it’s a painting on the wall or a salad bowl that someone once gave you that has no meaning for you personally. Maybe it’s a worn out pillow or blanket that has seen its better days, but you’ve just been too lazy to throw it out. Maybe you have a pile of magazines or newspapers that no longer inspire you. Take a look at your surroundings with a fresh perspective and I will guarantee that you will not only recognize the clutter that needs to be cleared, but you will also recognize how much of your stuff really holds no meaning for you anymore. Now, you don’t have to throw everything out and start from scratch. Simply be a little bit more mindful of the tangible feelings that you assign to the items that surround you. That way when the time comes to replace some of them, at least you will know where to start.