SoulSpacing the rest of your life

Here’s what’s going on with our group… we are in week 7 and we are almost all “behind schedule” and overwhelmed.  Doing such an enormous project (not one room but our entire home) so quickly (8 weeks!) may not have been the best idea.

Xorin was so gracious to agree to be interviewed for our group.  He was incredible… so warm and full of excellent advice.  You can listen to it here.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt huge internal resistance about tackling any more projects or areas in my home.  As recommended, I saved what will be the toughest space for last, building up successes as motivation, and now I don’t want to do it at all.  This particular space is full of personal and sentimental items… old cards and letters and photos.  Every time I go in this space, I look around, feel overwhelmed, and leave.  One day this week, I took one drawer of old photos to look through… and after several hours of sorting and reviewing them, ended up putting them all back where I got them.

I’ve been feeling terrible about myself because of it.  Why can’t I manage to finish what I started?

Listening to the call…  I had an aha moment.  Keeping the process small, soulspacing one room at a time, and doing each phase until you FEEL you are finished (no timelines) would be much easier… and definitely more fun.  Feeling the energy of that completed space would be motivation to move forward with another room.  Of course! Here I am trying to purge the entire house at once, running around like crazy from garage to kitchen to bedroom closet, reimagining spaces and getting them all confused.  And no room is completely through the process.

Xorin said that our environment is constantly shifting and changing, as is our life, so this process is an ongoing and evolving one.  Things shift and change with time and that’s perfectly ok.

So I’m going to begin again in a much more laid-back fashion.  There will be no rush.  I’ll be in each phase and completely surrender to it, letting what feels right lead me forward.  First, I will stop thinking so much about it!

windchimeIn the interview, Xorin also said that in looking back at his career, he sought projects with passion and creativity and excitement as his goal.  He stumbled upon something that he loves and it was a natural progression and journey.

That sounds so much better than me sitting in my house and trying to dream up what’s next for me. Getting out there and just trying things is the way to go. And no pressure… just because one thing didn’t fill me with inspiration and gratitude doesn’t mean there isn’t something else.

And I also love that he’s ok with being in a pause right now to see what’s next. I am so impressed with how in touch he is with himself, his needs, and his goals.

relaxThis past week or two, I have let myself slow down more than I have in years.  I have let myself lay on the couch and read a book or sit outside in our new sunroom and journal or just stare at the trees.  I spent an entire day with the only to-do being visiting my sister and her new baby.

I must say, I honestly can’t remember what I was filling my days with before! I know there was never enough time and I felt hugely rushed.  But what was I actually doing? I can see why Mr. B was always wondering how I wasn’t feeling like I have so much free time during weekdays when my daughter is at school.

Of course it feels freeing to release physical objects that no longer serve us and to reimagine how to use that empty space.  But these non-physical things are also clutter: fear of being judged, anxiety about success or failure, worry about being accepted, unfinished projects, too many obligations, exhaustion, feeling we are too much or too little, reluctance to let go, toxic relationships, guilt, regret… you get the idea.  We need to peacefully let these things go too.

And so I am facing some of these now.  I am resting.  I am forgiving myself.  I am accepting where I am right now.  I have been decluttering my house and my schedule, but I also need to focus on decluttering my emotions and heart.  And so I also have set an intention that going forward, each and every action should bring forth meaning, peace, growth, or joy.  Most of the time, I can create those feelings inside myself by mindfully participating in daily tasks with wonder and gratitude.  I am asking myself how I want to feel, what I want each occasion to be like for each participant, and what goals it serves.  I am asking myself repeatedly, “Am I speaking and behaving how I wish to be? Is this who I am wanting to become?”

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13 Responses to SoulSpacing the rest of your life

  1. What a great insight you’ve had! I agree that the unfinished emotional business of our lives can hang around and plague us much as clutter does. Reading your post, I think you ought to give yourself permission to keep things that are emotionally significant to you. There is nothing wrong with deciding to keep all the photos in a drawer. Maybe there is something else you want to do with that last and most difficult space. You could move those special photos to a new space, and put something in the drawer that you use more often. I was only peripheral to the group, but I did manage to do a few small things. I talked about my feelings of lack of ownership of our house, and my husband let me bring an Ansel Adams print from Boulder and hang it up near my desk there. I love that change. I also threw away a sad and faded poster in Boulder, moved a couple of photos family members have taken to new walls, and hung up a rug. I discarded a few things that I was keeping for no good reason. I have not had the time to work on this project, but I really need to make the time, some day. This Saturday I will be in Boulder the entire day! I am flying to Phoenix very early Sunday, but I am fairly well prepared for that journey and I would like to spend an hour or two de-cluttering and cleaning before I leave.

  2. Naomi says:

    I’m so glad you implemented what you wanted from the project. Hanging a rug on the wall sounds like an awesome idea. I think you are right… I’ll just keep those things in one place for another day and focus on what I can do now. 🙂

  3. Amy Putkonen says:

    Hi Naomi,

    What an amazing post. Wow. I so love your writing and I hope that you will take a moment and let it sink that you are an amazing writer. What I love so much when I read your posts is how real you are about everything. No one cares that the photos are still in the drawer – only you. I am not saying that to say that we don’t care about it but to say that we tend to give things importance that just isn’t true. I know that you’ve done a lot, and it is fun to read Suzannah’s comment too! There are a lot of quiet ones in the group that are making changes that we have no idea about. I just love how this work reverberates out again and again. First, with Xorin writing the book in the first place and then again by each of us who is sharing it in our own personal ways.

    My last two weeks have mirrored yours – I have done NOTHING to forward this project. I haven’t even opened my little cleaning app that helps me do some of the regular cleaning tasks. Nothing. But, unlike Xorin, who is well-versed in the “breathe” phases, I felt guilty about it instead of just putting my feet up like you did in your lovely picture. Kudos.

    I have decided to do the same as you – I am going to take March off and then, in April, I am going to focus on one room at a time like Xorin suggested. My kitchen has been half done for way too long now so my first room to finish is my kitchen. It is mostly done. It just needs to be completed. This excites me. And giving it plenty of TIME before I officially start should help me to build up some of that creative tension that is so required to charge into a big project like that.
    Amy Putkonen recently posted…SoulSpace: An Interview with Author, Xorin BalbesMy Profile

  4. Hallelujah for rest! Naomi, as soon as I read the sentence about being laid back and surrendering, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Congratulations on taking things more sweetly and slowly, savoring the time you have. I love hearing about this (and I love that photo of the light through the colored glass).
    Harmony Harrisonh recently posted…So What IS the Blue Dog’s Name? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!My Profile

  5. Elda says:

    Your photos are so reflective of what you are writing about here with ‘resting’. I LOVE the photo of the sun shining through those gorgeous pieces you have hanging in your porch. BREATHTAKINGLY beautiful!!!
    Elda recently posted…4 Easy Steps To Break Free From Having Our Buttons PushedMy Profile

  6. Naomi says:

    Thank you, Elda!

  7. Naomi says:

    Isn’t it funny how someone else can easily lead us where we didn’t even know we wanted to go? I also seem to need another person’s permission to rest, but then I’m relieved too! Giving ourselves permission is a huge step.

  8. Naomi says:

    Amy, thank you for the writing compliments! That’s so kind of you. xoxo

  9. What a wonderful post about your process Naomi. It’s clear you’ve gained so much from this SoulSpace work besides just a home you’re happier with. You found patterns within yourself; work arounds that feel good and promising; an openness to explore; and a way of honoring where you are in the moment. Congratulations! I’m celebrating you and truly hope you take more time to put your feet up and let yourself enjoy your life.
    Deborah Weber recently posted…Finding the Beauty in FebruaryMy Profile

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  12. Bette Brooks says:

    Hello, Naomi! I have just begun reading SoulSpace and then today found you! How wonderful to have a companion writing so eloquently and honestly about the process as you experience it! I am newly retired and find that I am looking at my home in an entirely different way–and some things that were comfortable previously no longer fit. So I am beginning with Assess and am already excited for what my home can become for me and for those I love. Please continue to share your insights! They make for welcome reading.

  13. Naomi says:

    Hi Bette! I’m so happy to meet you here. Yes, the SoulSpace process is a welcome change to decluttering, don’t you think? I recommend doing it slowly. Thank you so much for visiting, reading, and commenting!

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