A new look at old habits
There are so many things I'm bad at. Sometimes I can, with varying degrees of success, push them into the background and allow my virtues to shine. But it's a short lived panacea, because the spiders in the tangled webs of my bad habits come and bite me where it hurts.
And there's something else. Living in a small space is a revelation. All the things that you are really horrible at will come and shove a triple magnifying mirror in your face and will say,"SEE? You do indeed really suck at (choose your poison). Just like you always thought."
For me, it's organization and paperwork. Without going into any unnecessary detail, let's just say the efforts I have made in fifty two years to improve myself in either of these areas have usually ended up in anxiety, tears, and more clutter and confusion.
But maybe it's just a matter of perspective. Because by facing the things I am not great at, my small living space is actually doing me a huge favor. And as I have continued to write this blog, to simplify it and to straighten out my thoughts enough that I can present them logically to you, there have been some other changes going on.
My closets are getting more organized. I've gone through the Tammy Strobel inspired eliminate-what-you-don't need process. My personal book shelf has twelve books on it- all reference. Fiction and anything else without pictures are relegated to my new Kindl. I have no clothes I have not worn in the last year, save one black dress. I don't own any magazines anymore. I got rid of my Martha Stewart Living 1992-2003 collection once and for all - I cut out the pictures and recipes I liked and put those items into two scrap books. I use strictly on line resources for creative inspiration. No more trees sacrificing their lives so that I can see yet another well-laid out kitchen.
As for that other elephant in my emotional room, paperwork, I have started taking it on in a way that will not make my heart race. If I start some kind of paperwork task but feel anxiety coming on, I stop. Period. And go back to it later. But I make sure I do go back to it. One day I will organize the paper pile and separate out the things that need attention. The next day I will make holes to be able to file things in binders. And the next day I will put them in the binders. I have found that if I try to do all those tasks at once, I get so frazzled that things get misfiled. So I break it up over a few days. What's the harm in that, really?
All of this has led to me being able to take on more and more simplification. I am stunned to find out how much better I feel whenever I simplify and bring fresh light into a tangled corner of my life. My perspective has changed. I know I never want it to go back to how it was. No more piles of stuff I don't need - ever. Living a frugal lifestyle has shown me the true value of the things we have in our possession.
As I eliminate things that are not essential from my life, I am becoming more sure of not only my personal style, but of what kind of art and ceramics I want to put out into the world: art and ceramics that bring joy, not confusion. Clean, beautiful pieces that speak of elegance and clarity.
It's extending to other areas as well. While I have always been very conscious of eating well (a prerequisite for teaching culinary classes here at my B&B), I am making dietary changes. Simpler foods. Loads of fresh vegetables. Less meat. Less gluten. I don't want a million things in my cupboard - that eventually get picked through and thrown away because the dates expired. I want a few choice good things. Delicious things. Healthy things. Katie Tallo is helping me on this part of my journey, keeping me motivated to be as healthy as I can through choice.
So you see, having your weakness pointed out to you by circumstance is really the Universe giving you a huge chance to change your perspective. And your life.