Ryan to me (jokingly): “ You’re a wellness coach? What are you doing here?”
Me to Ryan (humbly and bashfully): “I am here because I see the tremendous value in minimalism and creating space in my life…and I wanted to meet you two in person, silly!”
This was part of the short and light conversation I had with one of the minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus, last year after their talk in Calgary. The concept of minimalism is, ironically, multifaceted- everything from those who have chosen to literally live with a chair, a toothbrush, and a pair of shoes (I’m kidding) to tiny houses to those taking a serious look at people in their lives who are creating clutter and heaviness.
The way I see it minimalism is about clarity as a whole.
It’s about removing negative energy in ANY form from my life that is keeping me stuck. Stuck in old story. Stuck in unhealthy relationships. Stuck in a pile of garbage (not a hoarder, quite the opposite). STUCK! If this sounds like a path you are on, then read on to find out more about what to do about it! If not, please humour me and quit reading. Too much information is also clutter.
Here are 5 tips to help you out on your journey to a cleaner, lighter life!
1. Subtract ‘energy vampires’ so you can add ‘energy fairies’. You know who these people are. They are the ones that add no value to your life and some may even just suck the life right out of you. You don’t have to go on a giant crappy-friendship genocide (please don’t do that), just consider the people that are in your life already, what you admire about them, and make the choice of spending more time in their energy. Then more of those energy fairies will just float into your life because of your vibes, man.
2. Start with 5 minutes a day where you do NOTHING. Yeah. I said it. Nothing. It’s a concept that seems to be a hard sell these days. Especially if we are still very much attached to the old story of ‘doing nothing equates to some form of laziness’. Time to pitch that one out of the window. Here’s why: it’s simply not. That is straight-up fear-based thinking that is causing more and more people to feel burned out. Ever get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went? Ever feel like you never have time for you and that you are burning the candle at both ends? Five lousy minutes. That’s all. The best time, if that’s all you have, is first thing in the morning before children, bosses, emails have had a chance to climb onto your already full plate. And for those of you who have a hard time wrapping your brain around doing nothing, take comfort in the fact that doing nothing is doing something!
3. Life changing magic of getting rid of your physical crap. I opened this blog with a conversation I had a year ago with the minimalists. Their heart-centred message is about wayyyyy more than grandma’s doilies, it’s about deciding that you literally need more space in your life for the things that truly matter. Interestingly enough, the title of this tip is a rip-off of Marie Kondo’s best selling book by a similar name. What truly matters to you- the ugly greyhound statue or the room that could be created in its place to spend more time with your kids playing board games there instead? The huge pile of bills and papers and books on your table or the lovely dinner you could have on that table to bond more with your spouse or maybe yo’ bad self. At the end of the day, get the stuff out that doesn’t bring you jollies and keep only the stuff that does.
4. Life changing magic of getting rid of your emotional crap. Consider talking it out, doing a brain dump in your journal or on a post-it. If you don’t have a journal, please consider getting one. It is a very effective tool to help you purge all the clutter swimming around in your mind. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy that you write in the journal. In fact, much of it will be downright ugly, but you’re owning it now so that it doesn’ t continue to run the show. And don’t hold back. I’m talking Linda-Blair-in-the-exorcist level of ‘not holding back’. Get it out! It doesn’t serve you, right? So, quit arguing for your limitations, you.
Shifting energies here a little: another tool you can use is Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as ‘tapping’) to help you process your emotional distress around certain issues. I’ve done it many times in the past to get rid of emotional clutter that has built up and it has worked!
5. Wait your turn. Create space in your communication skills by letting someone else finish what they are saying. I once heard that the average person lasts about 17 seconds before they feel compelled to jump in when someone else is talking. Have you ever been in a ‘conversation’ where the other person talks right over you? Have you been Mr. or Mrs. Overtalker? Allowing the other person to speak before you do not only shows them respect and makes them feel heard, but you also give them a chance to air their perspective, perhaps changing the way you share yours. “We were born with one mouth and two ears” so that we could practice listening more than speaking. And if you do end up cutting them off, simply acknowledge being a “rudypants”, apologize, and invite them to finish. Whammy!
All of this takes practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you stumble. We all do! Present company most definitely included! Whether you chose to do one thing or all 5 things or nothing at all, the very fact that you made it to this WORD means you are showing up for yourself. Congratulations! You are on your way to living a lighter, cleaner life!
Yours in self-care,
Me with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus