The Crap, The Cull, The Cleanse – The Broad Place

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The Crap, The Cull, The Cleanse

When it comes to evolution, we can go kicking and screaming, or gracefully flow with it. I’ve done a lot of kicking and screaming in my time, so it’s been an exploration for me of not saying no before I figure out if it could be a yes. This has resulted in my beginning to relish change. As much as I used to hate it, I now love it. Change for me is to shift, wriggle and sweat into an upgrade. Once you become open to change of all kinds, it’s remarkable what happens. All of a sudden, everything is potentially possible. And you stop owning the feelings, the process, the changes. It’s just stuff going on.

I recently started having deep feelings of the need to cull almost everything I own. My friend Jo did this last year before moving to New York, and honestly, it looked gruelling and unpleasant. All your crap you can’t sell or even give away, isn’t cleansing, it’s depressing. But the end result is utterly liberating. So I wasn’t having any delusions on how hard something like this is. But in my constant research of living a high grade life, I really wanted to continue auditing and editing out everything that wasn’t giving me joy. I’ve done this with conversations, media, employment, relationships, but there’s still so much detail unturned.

 And materialism is a struggle for me. I love beautiful things. We make beautiful things we sell. Yet I want to own them and not have them own me. So I’m constantly tweaking and pondering the ‘things’ in my life. And I don’t want ‘oh there’s a plain mug I’ll make my tea in this morning’ but ‘god damn it I love that tea cup so much, with its hand made imperfections and memories of Arran standing with me when I saw it in Tokyo and carefully packing it and unwrapping it happy to find it not broken, and now drinking from it in my garden, I love it so much and my affinity with it now is so deep I want to be it, me and the tea cup one’ kind of cups. And only those. I want to resonate with every little thing if it’s going to be in my life.

So of course I’m thinking about this. About about how all our stuff, mine and Arran’s mashed together in our house. What what if we got rid of it. Last year we cleansed over 70% of our wardrobes, and donated everything to charity. I committed to only black, navy and white (aside from one burgundy coat) and man it felt GOOD. Clean, simple, elegant clothes only, all the clothes that made me feel amazing. No shitty stuff to paw through each day in a dressing frenzy. But now I look in my wardrobe, and all this other stuff has accumulated. Or the stuff from a year ago has a little tear, or a stain, and is just hanging out taking up space. So what’s next?

All all this thinking attracts stories, as the universe obviously is encouraging me to delve deeper. The universe is clearly trying to give me tiny signals in story form. People with only 12 items of clothing but the best items. People who live with only one pair of sheets, they take them off the bed, wash them, pop them back on, sleep in them again. Until they wear out and then they buy another. Duh. Well we have 4 sets, one gorgeous, one average, one that’s itchy and I hate, and another set I didn’t even know we had. WTF??? People that travel constantly and live out of one or two suitcases. At first I think ‘preposterous, I would die! No residence!! add “. Yet Arran and I travel 3-4 months of each year and manage just fine. I mean I can’t even wear all that I bring each trip!! Marley is my constant inspiration (our 9 year old) as she can travel for a month with one tiny back pack. 2 pairs of board shorts, 1 pair of pants, 1 jumper, 2 tees and I have to beg her to pack underpants. She takes 1 book, some pencils a notebook and  1 soft toy. That’s it. ‘The rest is stupid and unnecessary mum’ she says.

 We live(d) in an expensive 4 bedroom rental FILLED with stuff. So when I got itchy feet to move to somewhere surrounded by nature, and found the perfect little cottage, with a huge garden, near to the beach, I just felt so compelled to move there. Tiny hitch, it’s fully furnished. The new cottage comes with nice furniture mind you. But also zero storage. Little head height cupboards the width of my shoulders for wardrobes. So I cajoled Arran into this ‘really fun’ idea of culling everything down to a few boxes. EVERYTHING going bar the bare necessities and things we love. Shifting from a 4 bedroom into a 2 bedroom proves challenging. Getting rid of 90% of everything you own is another story.

It sounded so romantic, and cute, and fun and adventurous. I think I used the word ‘adventurous’ a lot in my pitch to Arran.

And to be honest, it’s been hell. A depressing, sloth, filthy, I-can’t-go-on kind of hell. There is something so depressing about acknowledging that I had to work so freaking hard to acquire all this ‘stuff’ that I can’t even give away, as everyone else has enough ‘stuff’ themselves. Do you know how many people I have offered our Cuisinart gelato maker too – who have replied, ‘f%&k that we already have one we don’t use’???? Too many people is how many. I watched It’s Complicated and thought Alec Baldwin looked like he was having so much fun eating lavender ice-cream at home that I thought I could make it at home too. I wasn’t the only one.

 Going to the tip with a van full of stuff charity doesn’t even want, and tossing it onto piles and piles of stuff other people don’t want was enough to almost reduce me to tears. Thinking about all the years when Marley was a toddler and I worked so, so hard to earn money to acquire stuff I didn’t need, that’s now not worth a dime, has rocked me to my core. The victim story I told myself, about the expensive dinner/dress/handbag I ‘deserved’ it as I was working so very hard haunts me. It’s all I can do to hold it together truth be told when I look back. And look back I must as it is ALL UP IN MY GRILL with this move. 

The other side of the coin, (thank god there always is one), is that this has been the most cathartic, life changing experience ever. I am incredibly grateful to be doing something I adore now with The Broad Place, where I feel I am truly making a small difference in the world, or at least trying to, and I’m not working my arse off for the sake of ‘getting ahead’ and paying off credit cards and acquiring more things. I’m so appreciative that I have my priorities ironed out with my daughter and family. That I work passionately and ferociously, and still always put them first. And now I don’t ever want to unconsciously consume objects for the sake of it. I love our new tiny home, where I am so close to my daughters room and lounge room that I can hear her and the dog breath in the night. I love opening my wardrobe (after I think, shit, I actually now ‘having nothing to wear’) and seeing a tightly edited collection of things that make me feel wonderful when I wear them. I love not having to reach back past crappy mugs in the morning to get my favourite ones to make my coffee. It’s like being on holiday lying on someone else’s lovely lounge, and sitting in their outdoor furniture to watch the sun rise. It’s liberating and freeing and I am luxuriating in the knowledge that at any time we can wipe the slate clean and start again. We have an immense amount of work to still do back in the train wreck of our last house, that is still awaiting new tenants and has the stuff we’re unsure what to do with tumble weeding around. But I know that this pain, the grit and sweat of it will be short lived. And I am more determined than ever to experiment, and try the tough stuff, and get it wrong and also get it right, in this lifetime. Because the next move will be a challenge, as we’ll literally have very little stuff. No furniture, fridge, plates, toaster, kettle, lounge and so on. Which Arran keeps reminding me with a grimace…I figure we’ll deal with that ‘adventure’ when it arrives…

We are simply vessels of consciousness, picking up on the signals of nature. Nature’s always trying to communicate to us subtly, perhaps try this/go there/do this. It’s really all down to this; can we be open and brave enough to explore that?

 Jac x

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