Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Paring Down To Go Minimalist

Not quite this minimalist yet but maybe one day…

Lately I have been trying to go minimalist to simplify my life. It’s been something of a challenge as I have loads of things I don’t need yet feel some level of attachment to still. So I am culling the easiest items first beginning with anything I’ve not used or thought about in years or never liked anyway. In fact I got rid of two and a half garbage bags so far of things for charity. Much of what I have culled is perfectly usable or in decent/superb shape and what isn’t I threw out for the garbage or recycling. I feel really proud of myself for tackling my excess clutter. It makes me feel lighter emotionally once I’ve managed to clear out a few things that I never actually used. Fortunately, I haven’t got a compulsive hoarding problem or my job would be far more monumental!

A good reason for going toward minimalist living is it’s easier to clean if you don’t have loads of things in your way to move in order to clean. Presently, I have to move lots of items if I want to dust a surface or wipe it clean. It makes the task a lot harder than it needs to be. In the last month or two I have felt myself desiring less material items and more space so that means a bit of effort now for less later. It feels nice not having so many knick knacks and objects that were for all intensive purposes clutter. I highly recommend minimalism to you if you’re seeking a simpler existence and find yourself regarding material items less favourably than you once did. The only caveat is you will need to have your mind in line with the lifestyle or it won’t feel appropriate for you. Also, if you are a compulsive hoarder or pack rat minimalism likely isn’t for you!

I have a ways to go before I can call myself a minimalist but I’m going in the right direction anyway.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

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Divine Offering

divine offering .. BY DUIRWAIGH STUDIOS

“There is no one in the universe more dear to us than ourselves. The mind may travel in a thousand directions, but it will find no one else more beloved. The moment you see how important it is to love yourself, you will stop making others suffer.” Thich Nhat Hanh


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Organized Chaos

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla (Photo credit: Oatsandsugar)

As I continue my Spring cleaning I am getting outside more to work on the yard. It seems that there is a sort of momentum that has come about as a result of my cleaning efforts. Even my dad is beginning to assess what he needs to hold on to or get rid of. I never imagined Spring cleaning could develop into a part of my daily life. For a long time I existed in clutter and dirt but once I started cleaning it’s been impossible to go back. There has been a steady development from decluttering to actually managing to turn to smaller details. It used to be so hard to clean because of all the clutter but as I have gotten rid of so much it’s become easier to keep the ball rolling so to speak. A clean and tidy space sounds like no big deal but it is a da*n miracle in my house. My mother was a compulsive hoarder when she was still alive so housework was nearly impossible. Now I can think about cleaning without wondering how on earth I will manage it because there’s so much stuff in the way. It just feels so liberating! Unless you have lived with a compulsive hoarder for years you may not fully appreciate the gravity of my experience and feelings. It’s hard to convey the utter despair, frustration and lethargy that can descend in such an atmosphere of over cluttering and dirt. Just moving about is hard because of everything that is in the way. Now I am actually able to move about easily and see the surface of things again! I can even clean them!

There are still areas of my home needing decluttering and cleaning but I can identify them now whereas before everything was requiring decluttering and cleaning! Before I thought in terms of what areas were clean and how might I keep them that way in such an environment of disorganization and chaos. So I am truly grateful these days for having the energy to continue my efforts in decluttering and cleaning. These are simple things but so important to your wellness. Have you ever noticed the effects a dirty, cluttered room has on your mood or energy levels? It literally can zap your good mood and energy if you have to stay in it any length of time. Just imagine living like that for years! I had no control over anything as a child so I developed an eating disorder. For 15 years I either starved or deprived myself of food to stay very underweight. A part of the reason I did that was to feel like I had some kind of power in my life. My parents were quite neglectful so didn’t consider my low weight an issue. Thankfully, I am in a healthier state these days.

Spring cleaning has brought about a sense of calm and peace in my life never present before. I really delight in the simple  things. A clean bathroom or dust free shelf is enough to give me a feeling of balance. When I look about and see order and organization after so many awful years of disaster I smile inwardly. Not feeling a sense of shame when someone unexpectedly shows up for a visit is worth its weight in gold. Life can be hard but keeping a Zen-like environment can be extremely helpful for bringing that sense of calm and peace I mentioned earlier. Attending to one’s living space is not about impressing others but to reflect the respect you have for yourself. I realize lots of people clean for other reasons but to me it is a measure of how much I respect myself. If I leave my living space to get cluttered and dirty I feel that means I don’t value myself very much. I’m sure there are a number of interpretations one could find that are positive but for me dirt and clutter is a negative thing.

How do you view clutter and dirt in your living space? Is it something you can live with or do you need to keep things more in order?

©Anya, 2013.


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Proud of Myself

Too cute!!! 🙂

Wow, I am proud of myself today! I finally cleaned up a spot in my dining room that had become unsightly and in need of cleaning. My parents both keep stuff in inappropriate places but since my mom’s dead it’s just my dad to deal with, thus it’s not as bad. So my dad had been keeping five snow shovels in the corner of our dining room year round for the past who knows how long (years). Anyway, I got sick of seeing that corner with the unsightly snow shovels and fishing rods there not being attended to. Ultimately I managed to negotiate with my dad to only keep two inside and have the other three in our garden shed. It’s progress. Now there’s the fishing rods and two snow shovels and a few other things I’d rather throw out but it’s an improvement. I swept up the dust and mopped before putting the aforementioned objects back in a tidier manner.

Then I saw that in my living room in an area I usually neglect there were dead ant bodies on the carpet in a layer of dust! I have no idea how they ended up in that area because there’s nothing attractive for them there as far as I can tell. It kind of dismayed me too because my dad and I don’t kill the ants we just let them roam freely (they’re small black ants-possibly carpenter but unsure- there aren’t many of them). So seeing dead ants lying in dust was just unsettling. Normally the ants stay in the kitchen but will go to other rooms too. The majority stay in the kitchen though. I don’t kill them because they aren’t really hurting anyone (there are not very many) and my dad doesn’t kill them because he just sees them as God‘s creatures. We both have religious reasons for leaving them be but different religions, LOL! The funny thing is my dad won’t kill bugs but eats animals. I don’t.

I am feeling much better since cleaning that spot I mentioned in our dining area and the coat closet yesterday. Honestly, I’ve cleaned and tidied/decluttered more in the past month or so than the past couple of years! This is a very good Spring Cleaning year for me. I have really ‘stepped up to the plate’. Yay me! lol

The weather is really nice out today. I might go outside and try to enjoy it before the day is over and I realize I spent it inside cleaning.

©Natalya, 2013.

Awareness With an Aw!

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Awareness With an Aw!

Very cute mouse/mole? with Thich Nhat Hanh quote 🙂 Picture is from facebook page “Effortless Peace”.


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What It’s Like to Have Three Near-Death Experiences

I have to share this because it reminded me so much of my 3 NDE I had-all at the age of 18. Being an Atheist from childhood I had no frame of reference in my belief system to consider my experiences as having anything to do with “God”. To me, God means a Universal Source, rather than a man with a white beard in the sky. Incidentally, I didn’t see “God” as a person during my suicide attempts, nor white pearly gates. Unsurprisingly, or perhaps surprisingly, I was even more convinced there was nothing beyond this life. Well fast forward a few years and an interesting thing had happened to me. Suddenly I was receiving messages before sleep that were full of worldly wisdom. No, I’m quite sure I wasn’t schizophrenic or psychotic at the time. It happened regularly before falling asleep, these transmissions of information to my brain. Everything transmitted to me was about the universal nature of our consciousness and other pearls of wisdom. You can be certain I kept my mouth shut on this as I didn’t fancy being locked up in a psych ward or on anti-psychotics. Anyhow, to make a long story short I went from being an Atheist to Agnostic, then finally Buddhist(Zen mainly). I don’t share my story often because I do have a fear of being medicated for my beliefs. Perhaps I am worrying over nothing but the experiences I had could very well be misconstrued to fit me into a state of pathology. Hopefully you don’t all think I’m totally ‘off my rocker’ now!

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4975/What-Its-Like-to-Have-3-NearDeath-Experiences.html

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.