Over the last few years I have experienced on many occasions the emptiness of not feeling. It always sneaks up on me, I never expect it until one day I realise that I have not been happy in a long time. It seems to be happening more often than ever before and I keep having to work on fixing my feelings.
The annoying thing about feelings is that there is no on/off switch for the good or the bad. They are connected, therefore if you are, or if I am in a lot of pain and whirled up in the business of the everyday I forget to feel my emotions. I push them aside think I do not have the time for this right not, or this is not the place to process/ think this. This is fair enough it does happen but it is important to still put in time at some point to process those emotions and feelings. Yet even though I know it, heard it, read it, preached it, I still forget to do it. Oh the amount of times that I shoved my feelings in a bottle and out of sight is impressive. Especially since I am very familiar with the side effects.
As I said above positive and negative feelings are connected, and we all want the positive feelings because they are nice. The negative ones are just that negative, they require a lot of energy, managing, and processing and sometime we chose to not do that. Now is the point where side effects kick in. Now if you shove your negative feelings in a bottle all the positive feelings are dragged along with it.
It takes me months to realise that I am not feeling anything. Like actual months. It is not until I notice that when someone makes me laugh my face hurts that I realise that I have not laughed in a long time. That is usually my freaking out point of aghhhh I do not feel anything. I am heartless, my heart is frozen cold, etc. Now realising that there is a problem is half the battle but actually sorting it out takes a while, and a lot more effort. Once you disable your feelings to turn them back on you have to go back in time and find when you have turned them off. Then you need to figure out why? You have to go through all of that and look at them and feel them again. You also need to process them not just feel them which is even more effort, only then do you start feeling again. Once you process the negative feelings the positive ones comeback and you enjoy life again. You see the reason why you are here? What it is that you love? All those things which are important to you.
I have just been through that process because yet again I chose to run from pain instead of process it. Which ended with me being numb and not managing my life very well for a few months. Thankfully I have great friends who spoke some truth into my life and shook me awake. I finally started seeing beauty again. That is one of my core values and it is directly connected to my feelings. I am so thankful that I can feel again! Therefore I would encourage you to do the same and look after your emotions and process and feel them, just do not let them be in charge.
It is funny how at each point in life you think your life is crazy busy, yet as it moves on and you enter into a new season and looking back you think it was easier before? It happens to me every time yet just thinking about it I guess we get used to our routines and learn to fit in all our needs into such craziness, then when a season changes your schedule looks differently and suddenly all the things you need get lost in the chaos of life and before you know it, you are sitting in bed crying for no reason. Thank God that he put people with different perspective into my life. Turns out that getting some sleep, tasty food and quality time was all I need to feel me again!
Yet this made me rethink some other of my habits, and in my pursuit of a simpler lifestyle I started looking at minimalism and zero waste. I feel like I got a little obsessed with it! I decided to combine these changes together.
The reason why I decided to start a minimalist lifestyle was because I have looked around me and with my life being as busy as it is I do not have the time to make all those little pointless decisions and waste my energy and time tidying and maintaining a ridiculous amount of possessions. I have moved flats recently and seeing how may things I managed to accumulate over the last four years is overwhelming.
In the light of these realisations and decisions I have spent the last month slowly evaluating my things and how I use them. I created four piles and have been going through my things sorting them out into such. They are: keep, sell, donate, bin/recycle. I decided to be quite ruthless especially with things I keep because they were gifts or memorabilia. I have journaled through my whole life, and have enough memories to keep, I do not need things to remind me of those. My living room is the first to benefit from this change. It is only filled with things I love, use regularly or have a purpose. It is a big open space with no clutter. Every time I go in it I am happy. My bedroom is getting there. I am focusing on it just being my bedroom and not my ‘everything’ room. It is a lot easier since I work all the time. I am also getting into the habit of tiding things up straight away, I read somewhere; “If it takes less than 2 minutes just do it now!” I have been trying to live by it since. This is great because it means that there is hardly any tiding I need to do, there is just the regular cleaning like the bathroom, and kitchen, a bit of dusting and floors. This as you can imagine gave me a lot more free time and a much nicer and more relaxed place to live in.
I am sure I have mentioned this at some point, I am a costume maker and when I was studying I needed to learn about the history of costume. The thing is, clothes are affected by lifestyle, political, religious, and environmental issues. Therefore in that I had to look how people lived. People never had so much stuff as they do today. They lived in a mindset buy it once and fix it. I love that approach. They idea that I am buying things for the rest of my life has hugely changed my perspective on what I consume and buy. It also has completely changed how much I am willing to spend. As a result I do a lot more research about each product that I buy, and look closer at the materials it is made from, etc.. Buying things for the rest of my life is so freeing, I only have to make a decision about buying that things once. I have found this process in itself very liberating. If I love something, it is of high quality and I know I will use it regularly then I buy it. If it does not fill in those three criteria, then I wait until I find the thing which does, because if I lived so long without it then it will not make that much difference if I will wait longer.
Though I am still in the transition process, you become a minimalist when you decided that you are a minimalist. Therefore just changing my mindset has given me a lot of freedom and my life is much more relaxed. There is a lot of other issues which I feel it fixes, which would have to be a completely different post. I would definitely say that it is for everyone, I would encourage everyone to try it and see how liberating it is. The way to happiness is not through having more stuff and the newest latest thing, but by having more time to spend with your loved ones and doing the things you love. When you are dying you will never say I am so glad I bought that phone, or had such a big house, those things are fleeting. You will remember the people you had in your life and the experiences you had together.
Majority of my time is spent wondering about what if? Recently I have been thinking or rather wishing that life would be simpler. Though simultaneously I have also been thinking that I want a fun exciting diverse job which involves travelling which is most certainly the opposite of simplicity. None the less there is a dream of a simple life inside me. What would happen if suddenly the internet would crash for a day or a week? Would the world just give up? Or would be fight for it? Would we realise that these little decided in our pockets are nothing comparing to the beauty of life. Would we actually notice each other? Talk on the bus? Help the people in need? See our families? Spend our free time doing productive things instead of wasting endless hours scrolling through Facebook?
From my own experience having no internet, though extremely painful was also very freeing. Few years ago I moved flat and it took a week to connect my flat to the internet! It was rather frustrating as I had college work to do, but I also was quite productive. I read several books as there was nothing else for me to do. I felt more at peace in a sense as in the back of my mind I heard a little voice telling me I have research to do.
I have an internal battle within me, part of me want to ditch this whole social media thing and spend all the free time I will gain doing things I love. The other part of me sees what a great ressource this is. My compromise is to minimalise the time I spend on social media and cut out sites which I do not find inspirational (Facebook). Though I do not cut it out fully I have been very strict with unfollowing people who annoy me and hiding things I don’t want to see. I am making sure that the time I do spend on social media has a positive impact on my life, I want it to be a tool and not a ruler over my life!
Yesterday I had a day of mindfulness. Me and my friends needed some time out from life. We decided to take a trip to Loch Lomond, and we were not disappointed. It was beautiful and peaceful. We walked quite a lot, partially tearing through bushes as we stepped off the path. The slips and soggy feet were totally worth it, feeling close to nature and spending time next to water and trees really is soul food. The weather was as good as you can expect in Scotland, it only threatened to rain twice! After our three hour walk we were so hungry. Thankfully we thought this through and brought a BBQ! Therefore after great time around nature we then had a delicious BBQ and by the way food tastes so much better when you are outside! It was a great and peaceful day, thought I was totally knackered after it was totally worth it!
What makes you tick? For me it is beauty! Therefore I need to look for it everyday! If I miss a day or I am to busy the lack of beautiful things in my life makes me unproductive and useless. This is Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow, it is an absolutely stunning building. The architecture is so intricate and beautiful! I love looking at it, because it reminds me that even in the time of full industrial revolution people still cared about beauty and art and they put on a massive international exhibition in Glasgow to raise the funds for this gallery. It makes me so proud of this city! I see it more and more now that people are starting to pay more attention to beauty and simplicity of life. It makes me happy, because for me this is a sign that there is good in this world! When art looses its value in our hearts then so does all kind of craftsmanship and are we living then or just existing? These are just my daily musings as I walk past this beautiful gallery!
Stratford-Upon-Avon is stunning!