You might say I’ve been doing my fair share of soul-searching lately. I suppose that is the natural progression of what happens when you’ve minimized everything you own and no longer have any distractions. (Fair warning.)
Ho hum … what to do? Watch TV? Minimized the cable. Read a book? Haven’t been to the library recently. Organize the shelves? There’s nothing to organize. And no shelves. Search my Soul? I guess it’s the only option. So, here goes …
Today, I finished trudging through all of my red-flagged emails early. My Mom invited my kids over to bake Valentine’s Day Cookies. I had a free afternoon. And, contrary to common weather patterns here in the Great North, it was sunny. And warm(-ish). So, I bundled up, put on some walking shoes, and set out for the beach.
As I stepped out in the parking lot, laced up my sneakers, and took a deep breath, I was reminded of how my best friend and I used to go running here when we were in high school. Back when we were young. And fit. Not so much a soul-searching experience as, well … a Madonna dance party in the car on the way there, a brief run out past the bluffs, and hours of heart-to-heart gossip about our latest heart throbs. All good for the soul, I suppose. And much better for the body than sitting at my desk all day. In my mind, we ran this beach every day. For exercise. Which means, I must have done it once or twice, decided the big E (exercise) and I are mutually exclusive terms, and called it a day. But I was definitely in better shape back then. Must have been exercise by osmosis.
This is deep, I know. That’s what happens when I go looking for my soul. I have to get all of the fluff out of the way first. Then, I get about half way down the frigid Pacific Northwest beach–as the sun sets behind the bluff–leaving me on the dark side of the earth, and realize that my soul is still waiting for me on that deserted island. In the SOUTH Pacific.
But, here I am. Alone with the peaceful silence of an empty beach. In February. I can’t help but miss my husband and kids, wishing that they were here with me. But then I remember that my family and silence are mutually exclusive terms.
So, I return to the original goal of the Soul Search. Much easier in theory than in practice … but I’m determined to focus on this statement that I read in my new book by Cheryl Richardson. She says “When we’re ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, we miss the only real experience we can ever have: the one that’s happening right now in this moment.”
And that, my friends, has been the goal of my minimization efforts … to peel back the layers of my life … to give away the material goods that cloud my clarity. To minimize the unnecessary and redundant tasks that consume my time. I don’t want to spend my days thinking about how I’m going to clean the house or tackle the laundry before company arrives. I don’t want to spend my weekends organizing toys under my kids’ beds while missing out on the deep, soul-enriching experiences of life. I don’t want my work stress to overflow into the precious few hours I get to spend with my family in the evenings.
I just want simplicity. Clarity. Time and space and energy to live in the moment.
A wise woman once told me that she never does anything that doesn’t bring her joy. That’s where I want to be. That’s my revised goal for February. Minimizing anything and everything that does not bring me joy. (Because you know I’m not getting chickens anymore, right?)