Those close to me already know the changes that are happening in our home. There has been so much going on over here that I thought I better share some of my new found joy with all of you. In January, I was having spring cleaning fever. While searching the Internet for organization/storage ideas I stumbled on Becomingminimalist.com. The blogpost said “you don’t need a bigger house, you need less stuff” I was almost embarrassed that I had never thought of that before. I figured with our growing family it was just the next step for us to get something bigger to house us all. We were totally bursting at the seams of our 2500 square foot twin home with all of our belongings. I read the Blogs “start here” articles and decided I would get rid of a few things we didn’t need to clear up some space for other things. What happened next has been mind blowing for Keith and I. Our lives have completely changed. Getting rid of things felt sol good that I didn’t stop there. Having empty space in the closets was a miracle. The more we threw out or donated the better we felt and the clearer our minds have been. All the sudden we had all this emotional space in our lives to focus on things that really mattered. I started reading everything I could on simplifying my life and have made many changes. Every day I learn something new. I want everyone to know how freeing and exhilarating it is to not think about and maintain “stuff” all day. I can’t really backtrack on all the things I have learned, but I have decided I will start writing them down. If you are seeking for joy, peace, or more time in your life, I promise you that simplifying your life will make a huge difference and help you find the things you seek. I can’t begin to tell you how much has changed. My marriage is stronger in so many ways (that will be another post for another day) my kids are happier, and I have free time. I have never felt so much joy in my life. Plus I have made over $1000 selling things I didn’t need or use. This is a tidbit of what I learned yesterday. My mind is racing with things I want to write down, but I had to start somewhere….
So here is what I learned about today. “Becoming as a Little Child.”
One thing I have learned through simplifying my life is that children see the world through simple eyes. They don’t want for anything but love and attention. They don’t need things, or even care about them. They only start to care about things because we tell them they are important, and we get excited for them when they have things, and earn things. And we bribe them with things until they think those things are important because we have been talking about them for so long. I have felt awful for throwing consumerism in their little faces, telling them things are important, getting upset at them for “breaking someTHING” and spoiling them with things they didn’t need or even ask for. I did all of this thinking that things were going to make them happy. The world told me it would, and I believed them. What I never realized was they were already happy. I feel terrible that I now need them to unlearn everything I have taught them about being a consumer. I watched a couple videos of Easter Sunday from 2010 today, our son Logan was 4 and our daughter Dylan was 2. Keith and I were doing our best to give them the “perfect” Easter. We bought presents they didn’t ask for, candy they didn’t need, and all throughout the video we stopped them from enjoying the little piece of candy they were fixated on because they weren’t looking for the rest of it. We couldn’t let them enjoy each moment because we were too excited for them to find all the Easter prizes hidden throughout the room. Then to top it all off, we kept telling Dylan to stop eating all the candy. What mixed signals we gave all throughout the video…”Look at all this candy for YOU,” “hurry and find it so you can fill YOUR bag and see how MUCH you have,” “Don’t eat it,” “Come over here and look for more candy.” etc. Logan was finding eggs for Dylan, filling her bag and showing her every detail he found. Keith and I were so busy worrying that they hadn’t found all (the Easter Bunny) hid for them that we didn’t even notice or point out how sweet it was of him to treat her that way. We didn’t encourage that behavior at all. Instead we ignored it and encouraged him to find MORE candy for HIS Easter bag. Had I watched this video 3 months ago I wouldn’t have noticed anything other than their tiny cute faces and sweet innocent voices. But Keith and I were both disgusted at our behavior tonight as we watched the videos. Knowing what I know now, this is how it should have gone.
*There shouldn’t have been so much…not even half of what we did. Maybe 10 percent of what we did. We overwhelmed them with all of it. *We should have started with a prayer. *We should have put the camera on a stand and ignored it while we participated in every moment. *There should have been a purpose to all of it. There is a reason we have Easter, and how we celebrated definitely didn’t honor that. *My “How did the Easter bunny do” question should have been replaced with questions that weren’t there to stroke my ego. I should have been asking “how do you feel?” “What are you most excited about?” “Why are Eggs a symbol on Easter?” “How many jelly beans can you eat in 10 seconds?” *Instead of saying “Pick up the egg and put it in the basket” I should have said “you are making music, it does rattle when you shake it.” then I should have grabbed an egg and made candy music with my 2 year old.
*We should have addressed Logan’s Christlike behavior.
*If there was something that I expected to happen, they should have known beforehand. They were so little and innocent. How was Dylan supposed to know not to eat all the candy before breakfast…after all I told her it was for her.
I clearly missed every real moment that Easter Sunday. I was trying so hard to “create” the perfect Easter with things and presents that I missed the moment to celebrate Easter with my kids. And they missed out too!I believe a part of “Becoming as a Little Child” means to declutter our lives and see what is right in front of us. To enjoy life and the beauty of it in every moment. We need to retrain ourselves to look at life through a child’s eyes. Only then will we see what is really important. And it is definitely not a bag full of Easter eggs.
*****I wrote this as an e-mail to family members in February 2015. I have been learning so many things while simplifying my life that I wanted to spread the good word! People should know how amazing this is. I had no idea and am lucky I stumbled on the concept. Less really is more. I have written more e-mails that I will turn into blog posts in days to come.