24/02/2013

Journeying with instinct

journeying

It’s been a while.

I’ve suffered a little performance anxiety.

I’ve received many beautiful, heartfelt emails in response to the little pieces I’ve been writing here at Inner Wild Therapy. Wonderful people baring themselves to me. My response was to feel uncertain.

I didn’t like the cloudy, unformed sense of influence over others that floated up around me as my writing journey on Inner Wild Therapy continued. And so I paused.

I stopped.

In the time between then and now I’ve realized the very last kind of someone I want to be is a someone who advises others directly about their lives. It’s just not me.

Instead I’ve been writing my {third} novel, The Wild Folk.

I’m smitten by the characters in this story. Now I’m done with getting what they want to say into a book, they push and poke at my back to get them out in the world. I’ve sent my manuscript to Canongate.

I’ve decided that if The Wild Folk is not for Canongate I’m going to indie publish on Kindle.

I’ve just figured out how to put my Beef Casserole for the Dog’s Soul stories on Kindle and have revamped my Bibiliopet website with a new, wham-bam template so am up with that. Yo.

Thank you for continuing to walk with Inner Wild Therapy now and again even when I’ve been absent. I notice from my site stats a lot of dearhearts have been visiting and that makes me feel like everyone is watching and judging me so I freeze up like a bunny supported and appreciated. {hug}

Ah, I love Inner Wild Therapy. I’m not exactly sure what it is but it is. And that is good.

We shall journey with instinct.

 

* Image courtesy of Kelly Louise Judd of Swan Bones Theatre. See more of her art in her Etsy shop.

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12/01/2011

How feathered is your nest this winter?

OK, it’s been nearly two months now that I’ve been like a coiled spring ready to unleash massive de-cluttering energy on a storage cupboard and the dastardly drawers of papers.

I am so ready. Primed, even. Excited. For even more emotional support there has been the turn of the year – a seemingly made-to-measure time for this kind of purging.

I’ve occasionally become a tsunami tidal wave of pent-up decluttering energy by re-reading motivational decluttering hand-holding posts from wonderful Miss Minimalist and Mnmlist (Leo Babauta). And yet my tidal wave is stuck at its peak, not washing all over the cupboard and papers drawers.

Why?

I realize now that as I’ve stripped away a lot of things over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself more susceptible to natural forces. In the sweet vulnerability of less, I am more in tune with natural daily and seasonal rhythms. And more affected by them.

My trapped tidal wave of tension comes, I think, from two opposing forces: 1) an intellectual and emotional desire and need to purge, de-clutter, create new spaces  and 2) a forceful, primal urge that I think we all have towards storing supplies, bundling up and feathering our nests during winter.

You don’t need to read Children of the Forest to know this is a powerful force.

The urge to feather our nests for winter. We bundle our bodies up with layers and layers of clothing, scarves, thermal socks, wooly hats, sheepskin coats to protect from the cold and meanwhile we also surround ourselves with all kinds of clutter in a primordial need to cosset ourselves and cozy our home.

If you were an Inuit (perhaps you are – hello!) you’d be wanting to fill that igloo up with warm materials as much as possible. And so in wintertime there’s a natural inclination towards bundling up which opposes an intellectual and emotional need to declutter for the (humankind created) calender new year.

Some of us, well me anyway, have strong bear and/or hedgehog hibernation inclinations and oh gosh, this is challenging to work against no matter how psyched we are to CLEAR EVERYTHING OUT for the New Year, take advantage of the timing to STRIP AWAY UNNECESSARY and OUTMODED people, possessions and passing whims, CLEAR THE DECKS for the arrival of new, unlimited opportunities and ways of being in the new year.

Perhaps the solution is to put yet another sweater on and work fast, like squirrels do between snowstorms. And be pleased that we have so many feathers in our nests – so many, in fact, we don’t need as much. Let’s remember there are many others with tattered nests who could use some of our nesting materials. That helps me to share my store of winter supplies, maybe it helps you too.

Image Birds Nest, Fine Art Photograph borrowed from Judy Stalus. Visit her Etsy shop to buy Judy’s stunning fine art prints.

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15/12/2010

Powerful healing for you, here and now

I met someone a few months ago. An extraordinary person. Her name is Jackie Stewart and she is one of those divine people who seem to have a magical connection to cosmic threads and who uses this gift to help others.

Jackie helps people like you and me heal emotionally and live our life’s purpose, harnessing potent flower and crystal essences to do so. As we think, “how can I be more fully in alignment with my true self and what I’m really here for?” Jackie helps us re-align with our soul’s purpose.

I had a flower essence consultation with Jackie recently and am so grateful for how she has facilitated deep, gentle healing with me first by listening and then by applying her knowledge of the human psyche and flower essences to create an individual combination of essences for me.

Knowing what a wonderful, wise and wild woman she is, I asked Jackie if she might write a guest post for Inner Wild Therapy. Her response – the guest post she has so kindly and beautifully written below – resonated so deeply with me that I after I read it with a lump in my throat and then re-read it with tears of relief and healing running down my face I rather selfishly held it close to me for two weeks before managing to share it with you!

I am a Child of Moss. And you are a Child of ……?

“When we were little children we played without planning, we invented, created, imagined and laughed. We followed our joy and did as we pleased. Way back before anyone told us we couldn’t or shouldn’t; before we noticed what other people thought.

What did you imagine? …… What did you create? …… What did you play?

If we cast our minds back to childhood we find lost parts of ourselves. Like Hansel and Gretel we scattered trails of crumbs for our adult selves to follow. A crumb of creativity here, a crumb of crazy invention there, a crumb of joy here, a crumb of possibility there.

Following the crumbs leads us back to more of our true selves; our unfettered authenticity.

Last summer I revisited the landscape of my childhood on the West Coast of Scotland. My grief about leaving it overwhelmed me and I howled to the trees and the sea. I grieved the loss of the land I will always love and the child I had almost forgotten.

Revisiting that landscape carried me back to a childhood of nature and creativity. The mossy woods where I made dens in upturned tree trunks, climbed trees and hid on Sunday afternoons until I knew it was too late to go to Sunday school. The hills where I unearthed adders from stones, tried to catch fish in lochans and rolled in the heather. The fields where I followed bottles down burns until they bobbed in the sea where I guddled in rock pools and called to the seals.

When I wasn’t playing outside I read books, drew pictures, invented imaginary worlds and made things. I was transfixed by the Antiques Roadshow and dreamt that my handmade boxes, doll’s clothes, perfumed envelopes and storybooks would become heirlooms for people in the future.

Every birthday and Christmas I asked for drawing paper. I drew people and flowers; they seem easier to draw, more beautiful to capture than anything else. It’s the same now: people and flowers inspire my work – together people and flowers are my work. These childhood joy-crumbs have become the passions of adulthood – the very essence of what I put out into the world.

Last year while I wandered through bog and hill my childhood felt close enough to touch and a rhyme emerged in my head.

I am a child of moss, bog and scree..I am a child of woodland and tree… I am a child of waves crashing free… I am a child that was borne of the sea.

I’d forgotten how much that wild child was still inside me wanting to play outside. I’d forgotten about the need for solitude that wild places have hewn in my soul. I come from somewhere so wild, remote and devoid of human touch that I carry that same solitude within. I’d underestimated how much I need space and silence.

I hadn’t realised why chaos, loudness, crowds and clutter are so cacophonous to me until I stood there in calm, open stillness. I saw myself with a new understanding. Space and silence are part of my very nature; without both I feel like I am suffocating. Many times I’d felt the suffocation but hadn’t quite realised why.

Remote landscapes shaped me, solitude defines me and my creativity flows from quiet spaces within. Now I live in a different landscape but my inner compass still points west. When I feel out of sorts I walk westwards, following the crumbs for glimpses of wild and the sound of silence.

If you look back into your childhood you’ll find the crumbs you scattered. Be gentle and curious but you better be quick. Leave it too long and you might not be able to see them anymore.

So close your eyes. Journey back to a time in your childhood when you were really happy. Doing something you loved. Where were you? Was anyone else with you? What was the weather like? What were you wearing? Who was your best friend? Your worst enemy? How did you feel? Call back the atmosphere of this time and allow the details to emerge in your awareness. Call these memories into your heart and find the golden thread that links the Then-You to the Now-You. Breathe deep into the reconnection and remembering.

Your inner child wants you to remember the child you were so that you can be the adult you were always meant to be. Creative. Wild. Joyful. Free.”

- written by Jackie Stewart, Flowerspirit. You might like to connect with Jackie yourself – you will find her lovely gentleness on Twitter @JSFlowerspirit and of course on her website: Flowerspirit.

Images of Puck’s Glen, Argyll, Scotland borrowed from photographer, Jason Smalley. See more of Jason’s breath-taking nature photography at www.jasonsmalley.co.uk. You can even purchase his images which exemplify his ethos of ‘connecting to nature through the craft of photography’ at Wildscape at Redbubble.

Jason and Jackie also create an artful and powerful newsletter, Essence of Wild – have a look and enjoy.

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29/11/2010

More money? No thanks

From Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non Conformity – the most beautiful sharp-intake-of-breath-inducing statement I’ve read so far this week:


I’ve had a good year and don’t need any more money. I’m extremely fortunate, grateful, and even blessed to be able to write for a living and tour the world meeting fun people. Even though I’m an entrepreneur myself and don’t think there’s anything wrong with making money, I always try to be conscious of how much money I need and how much is just extra.

Read the rest of the wise one’s words in context in his post from Anchorage, Alaska.

Image – original charcoal drawing “I don’t know where I am going …” part of a series of works by Lee Tracy

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17/11/2010

What does your desk say about you?

Desk – Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Are you nomadic, without need of a desk? Or do you like your desk to be cluttered with inspiration? Do you use piles of papers as walls of protection?

Why are you the way you are?

This lovely short film is a gentle glimpse into the fascinating psychology of the desk as used by humans.

[Much as I love paperweights - like those glass ones from the 1970's - I've never had one. What's the point of putting something on a pile of paper when you are not in a windy place? But ah, now I see in this little film it is for those of us who love little scraps of paper all willy-nilly everywhere. You will see a bird one in actual use - stopping delicate little newspaper cuttings from blowing about! And I suppose also pleasing the fancy of its owner.]

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13/05/2010

What no television?

Maybe if TVs still looked like they did in the 1960′s I might still have one.

No. Maybe if television still ran the kinds of shows as it did then, and in black and white, I would not have felt an urge to “get rid” of our TV.

Getting rid of your television is a big deal.

Stripping away unnecessary furniture and clutter from your home is all well and good. But television’s phenomenal power over us is so subtle I think most people don’t even think of a television set as a piece of furniture. In fact, even I buy into the idea that those super-slim, wall-hung plasma screens are like art on your wall.

And yet getting rid of my television set has been the absolute, far and away, single most stupendously rewarding aspect of embracing my inner minimalist, my purist spirit, my inner wildness.

Adopting a simplifying attitude to your life, de-cluttering your home and stripping away unnecessary material things in your environment gets talked about a lot, because those things are obvious. But as a personal development attitude the concept of minimalism covers much more, including simplifying what you’re exposing your Self to in the bigger picture. And that includes media.

So I ditched television, I listen to one or two radio stations, read one paper once a week and go where instinct leads me on the world wide web.

I feel I have my life back. After several years of not having a TV I feel I’ve already gained millions of minutes that add up to years that would otherwise have been spent watching other people doing stuff. Now I wonder how I managed to do anything at all when I had a TV.

I first thought of becoming TV-free about 8 years ago. This was when I lived in New Zealand where the quality of TV shows is excellent. You get the best American, Australian and British shows plus great local content.

What I didn’t like was my slavish addiction to it. I found it difficult to turn the damn thing off. It was nice escapism. It was company. It kept me constantly ‘entertained’. I felt ‘connected’ to characters in sitcoms and series.

I stopped watching the news – I had read something about detaching from a desire to keep track of the international news media’s negative take on everything. Then I read an article about how TV is like having a stranger in the room who can pretty much say whatever they like. I muted the volume on every ad break – I couldn’t stand the intrusion of commercial hype. (And I was an advertising creative at the time!)

The whole TV abcess burst for me when I became a parent. I didn’t want my child to be a TV zombie. I wanted her to be a child. I wanted her to live life, not watch it. Simple.

So I only switched the TV on while she was sleeping. And then I kept forgetting to switch it on, not least because I became more appreciative of quiet. I can see now that this was a weaning period.

But actually picking up the TV and giving it to charity was an ambition beyond me until we moved countries. I was very attached to my television set. I had had it for years. Buying it was somehow a modern adult rite of passage. But we moved. It stayed, at the local charity shop – and I was so relieved.

I decided not to buy another TV in our new home and see how that went. That was about 3 years ago.

By now I’m used to the horrified expressions on people’s faces when they ask me if I saw the news last night or some other thing on the TV and I say ‘no, I don’t have a TV’. (People talk a lot about what they’ve seen other people do or say on TV!)

I really wish there were more people who didn’t have a TV. I would feel a lot less weird. People are kinda threatened by the idea of someone not having a TV. Yeah, I am dangerous – I have no telly, so there!

Now, please don’t think I’m some kind of guru because I managed to pull out the mass media IV cord and give up TV. I do still occasionally watch TV shows on BBC iPlayer. But since 6 weeks can go by without my having watched any moving picture I have to be prepared for things like sobbing over a scene with Kenneth Branagh in Wallander (which previously wouldn’t have affected me so dramatically) and being scared rigid by Damages because the effect of these dramas is magnified for me.

If you’re beginning to question having a TV, hold my hand and just get rid of it. You will not regret it for a moment. You will feel free. You may have to ride out some withdrawal symptoms, but it’s worth it. And you don’t have to go cold turkey on it. You will revel in your new active, selective viewing. And not accidentally scheduling your life around what time your favorite TV show comes on.

I’m sure there are loads of articles online that outline the benefits of unplugging from broadcast media – you get more stuff done, connect with your family more, talk more, are not mainlined into believing what other people believe, you’re not vulnerable to sophisticated advertising messages, whatever … and the drawbacks do include people thinking you’re a freak, because let’s face it, you are a freak if you don’t have a TV.

Quite apart from all the usual criticisms directed at TV nowadays, desensitizing us to violence and all the rest, as well as being persuaded to buy goods and services we didn’t even realize we wanted so badly before the ad came on, the thing I find poignant about TV is the empty streets and parks of our neighbourhood in the evening, the flickering of TV screens in every living room and people sitting staring.

Not out for an evening constitutional, not meeting each other, not talking to each other No. Sitting in little boxes staring at a piece of furniture in the corner. I find it really sad. But I guess the powers that be are real happy about this state of affairs.

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27/04/2010

Expectant families fall into costly trap

So you have a baby on the way. How exciting!

I wonder, have you made a list of all the equipment you’ll need? All the things you must have to help baby feel comfortable and you feel organised and ready?

OK, here’s what to do.

Take a deep breath and tear that stupid list UP!

It’s a trap, I tell you. A trap expertly laid which preys on your desire to be a good parent. It’ll cost you financially and it’ll cost your family emotionally too.

When I was pregnant I got myself into a right lather over my list of things I needed to get. Cot – which kind? Sheets, clothes, hats, nappies (which ones?!) towels, cloths, baby mat, toys, mobile, monitor… it just went on and on, gaining extra items from every baby website I visited. The list grew longer and longer – kind of like in preparation for how long the  till receipt was going to be at my local giant baby goods store.

The equipment list became some kind of test. It seemed to represent my level of preparedness for motherhood. Somehow it felt like the more things I had on that list, the more equipment I had, the better mother I would be.

During one visit to my midwife I told her my concerns about “all this equipment I need to get” I thrust The List at her saying, “I’m worried I haven’t got everything on here and is there anything I’ve missed?”

My midwife, who had helped birth thousands of babies, smiled gracefully and without so much as a glance at The List said, “Babies only need one piece of equipment: arms to hold them”.

OMG what a relief! ‘Arms to hold them’. Em, What? Oh, OK.

But then, panic – “what about a COT?”

“Baby in the bed” she said – firmly – and that was the end of the whole equipment discussion.

Not knowing then the whole baby-in-the-bed furore, I went with my wise midwife’s advice about this and many other things – much to the benefit of myself and my baby.

So if you have a list like mine – tear it up. No, really, give yourself a break. Take the pressure off. Don’t start cluttering up your home with a whole pile of stuff that will only come between you and your baby. Don’t think it’s helping you be prepared. It’s actually having the opposite effect because you’ll be relying on “things” and “stuff” to be ‘prepared’ instead of preparing yourself and having confidence in yourself.

No matter what people say to you – you do NOT need all that stuff when you have a baby. In no way does it represent your ability to be a good mother or father. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most baby equipment is designed to replace you as a parent. All of this equipment, this stuff, somehow comes between you and your baby and creates distance. (More about that another time perhaps.)

Babies need you – their mommy and/or daddy. The most important equipment they need is someone to love them and protect them. It follows that that includes your breasts, your arms, your songs, attention, whisperings and laughter.

In fact, having seen an amazing mum who was born without arms, you don’t even need arms to be a loving parent.

I was prompted to write this post today after seeing an advertisement for the Scottish Baby Show at the SECC in Glasgow at the weekend. An event which yes, celebrates the delight and joy of having a baby and that is a beautiful thing to bask in.

But it also brings together lots of people wanting to suck the cash right out of the pockets of expectant parents. This is relatively easy to do by playing on our natural, human “will I be a good enough parent?” fears.

‘Only with this £1,500 pram’ they say. ‘Only with this factory-produced formula, plus all the sterlising kit you need to go with it’. ‘Only if baby sleeps through the night and you’ll need a baby monitor because, of course, they also need their own bed which you’ll need to buy for £200 plus mattress plus sheets and of course a bumper.’

Does it not just make you feel insecure thinking about it?

There is a gigantic baby goods industry* built around making ludicrous amounts of money from new parents – and, like people grieving or going through other life-changing events, new parents are extremely vulnerable to the refined sales pitch.

Take the pressure off yourself. Don’t fall for the commercial hype. Don’t let ‘the baby experts’ attempts to “educate” you undermine your confidence in yourself as a parent. Just get what you want, not what some company tells you need. All the other stuff distracts baby from you, and you from baby. Make like a primitive human. Be more to your baby by having less.

All your baby wants is you.

*OMG I just googled “value of baby industry US” and the first thing that popped up was “baby FOOD [so only commercially-prepared baby FOOD] globally worth $37.6 BILLION by 2014 so am just too scared to re-google to get the ZILLION dollar amount of total value of the baby goods market in the US and UK – you do it….

Image borrowed from Mary Bogdan from her series, “Re-parenting the Inner Child”. (A subject close to my heart which I’ll be discussing soon.)

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22/04/2010

Accelerating fast from car-less to car-free

Like many others, I’ve had to change gears from driving anywhere I want to go to being car-less. And quickly shifting up to fifth gear to feel car-free, rather than car-less.

It’s been a hard road my friend, I won’t lie to you.

Having had the dangerous thought last year that perhaps part of my stripping away unnecessary things in my life might possibly include my car – how irrational a thought that seemed at the time – the universe has responded by wrenching that car right out of my hands.

It started with not being able to afford to fill the petrol tank. Then putting repairs on to my credit card. Next, rationing petrol and journeys. Consciously not using the car, walking instead of driving. And so now, the end of the road.

A few weeks ago my car received, not an MOT certificate, but its Death certificate. The cost of repairs needed for a new MOT exceeded the value of the car.

Today my car was towed-away. The kindly vehicle wrecker, John, who took it away pressed a £20 note into my palm in sympathy.

Really, he could have charged me for taking it away because in active protest at being scrapped my car had set off its immobilizer – for the first time ever. Its flashing hazard warning lights and shrill screams of alarm going on and on, and even John not able to switch the immobilizer off, were like an external manifestation of my own tiny internal cries.

£20 for a beautiful, vintage Mercedes Elegance 180C. £20 compensation for my bubble of mobile independence and protection being burst.

I took the cash. He took the car. We walked to the local shop and used the money to buy ice-lollies, sucking them in the fresh air and sunshine.

I feel really vulnerable not having a car. But I like it. I am just another soul washed and rinsed by the recession and, like so many of us, queerly but resiliently appreciating the living-more-simply-changes a lack of funds has brought.

I feel inexplicably, wildly, excited about the prospect of living without a car.I am liking the idea of leaping on and off buses. And communing with all kinds of people on public transport instead of locked in my isolated, safe metal space. Walking and noticing things, talking with people, waiting at bus stops, hearing birds singing…

But oh my car, my dear car!

I have never lived without a car.

It’s a scary thing, especially with a child and a giant dog and um, 3 cats. Plus, I’ve almost always had beautiful cars. I love cars. As a teenager I drove two Triumph Spitfires. I drove a black, vintage 1952 Citroen Traction Avant Light 15 as my everyday car for years and years in my Thirties. I’ve had 4×4’s and oh my darling silver Subaru Legacy stationwagon with its faux walnut dash … sigh … it’s over for now.

Wait a minute! I love cars, can I just say it again? I like vans too. I love the perceived freedom they give us, the style and grace they afford us, they sheer pleasure of driving, a leather-wrapped steering wheel in my hands, and a wide, open road ahead. I love going on adventures in cars, just driving and seeing where you end up.

But it’s over, for now. And I am glad. I feel strangely relieved of a burden. How very odd.

I have just ordered our economy-bulk, multi-journey bus tickets for a full month online. Our tickets to ride will be here soon and oh, wait – another benefit – I shall regress to when I was a school girl with my school bus pass!

If you’re interested in living without a car, make it easier for yourself by reading how others have made it a wonderful experience – like lovely RowdyKitten, Tammy Strobel, with her Simply Car-free book.

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12/04/2010

Borrowing beauty – how libraries help us embrace transience

I used to want to capture beautiful things and keep them close. I used to be sad that flowers died. I used to cling on to good memories. I used to have huge bookshelves groaning with books.

I don’t know why it has taken me so many self-help books, and traumatic experiences, to get to grips with the joy of experiencing fleeting loveliness – feeling the beauty deeply and effortlessly, letting it go – trusting that the world is brimming with beautifulness ready to be noticed.

Borrowing beauty in experiences, people, giving, seeing, feeling is a natural human state. Modern marketing seems to have divorced us from this state by creating artificial desires and offering attempts to fulfil them. By creating insecurities in us (the marketing ‘problem’) and seeming to provide self-actualisation in various shades (the marketing ‘solution’).

I don’t believe we are meant to hold tight. I do believe we might hold dear, however. Time is of no consequence; a moment of deep appreciation is a gift more rare than years of remembering the beautiful thing is there with you in the other room somewhere.

It is a lovely way to live. I think of the word ‘transience’. Previously I would have felt transience was a melancholy state. Now I rejoice in transience. We are all transient here, everything is. The secret is to embrace that and allow the pureness of being in the now to overwhelm us for that moment.

So it is after this lengthy somewhat tangential introduction that I mention the luscious beauty that is the new cover designs by Klaus Haapaniemi for two well-loved Patrick Suskind novels. I can look and look at these illustrations and — is it because of the www which allows me to see these covers whenever I want? — not need to possess them even while I love them.

As I said, I used to need to own books. Collect and imprison them in huge bookshelves. I don’t have that need any more.

Years ago a friend of mine was baffled by my buying books instead of borrowing them from the local library. I was baffled by his read-and-return attitude. I thought him superficial. Now I see he was wise.

After several years of borrowing books of all kinds from local libraries I find the library a magical infinite universe of books. I can even pre-order new books, order others and it’s all free so you can gorge yourself with anything – take a pile of books out, maybe only read one, take them back.

I think most people don’t realise how luxurious, how decadently indulgent, libraries make reading.

I can read volumes of reference and non-fiction books and not pay for them and float about in fiction from any era, not simply choose favorites chosen by a particular book store chain or independent book shop.

I do feel slightly uncomfortable about my love affair with libraries (and librarians, who are always lovely!) because I am also a novelist and of course if people don’t buy books, well, em, what then dear reader?

Image borrowed from Penguin Books/Klaus Haapaniemi. Thank you for making the world more beautiful.

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08/04/2010

Domestic archaeology <————– finding your buried treasures

[Have I just coined a new phrase? "Domestic archaeology" - I like it.]

Everyone loves finding treasure; it’s primal. It’s even more rewarding when it’s treasure you made yourself and forgot about. You mainly forgot about it because it was buried among the masses of stuff you have in your home. Dig through that stuff and you’ll find your very own buried treasures.

One of the sublime joys of decluttering is that when you declutter you simultaneously reframe all the things you have collected in your home. You look at everything with a fresh perspective and see it differently.

When you go through all your belongings, deciding what to keep and what to, ahem, ‘pay forward’ to the local charity shop or bin, you don’t just get a rush of feeling lighter by having less, you love the things you keep even more. You appreciate them. When you decide they can stay, they are the ‘chosen’ things, they are intrinsically allocated a higher status.

Like the little watercolor painting above, for example, which I made of my cat Mr Smoochy back in 1996. (I only know that because I cleverly wrote the date in the painting!) I found it in a tiny sketchpad in a box of books and papers.

I do not know why I am loving this little watercolor so much it now has pride of place in my kitchen. I suspect it has less to do with the fact that my Mr Smoochy died ages ago and much more to do with honoring something pretty that I made in a moment of whimsy – yikes, 14 years ago.

Now I look at it all the time and get little pangs of pure loveliness.

Out of my (fewer) piles of ephemera comes my little piece of art treasure.

Yeah, go through your boxes and see what beautiful things you’ve made in the past. Dig them out of the dark and enjoy them in the space and light you’ll create decluttering.

Image made by me.

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