The dream was always the same. There was a plane or a boat or a train that I was trying to catch. I was running late. I would be trying to race up an escalator or set of stairs in a busy, crowded public place. I had bags. Lots of bags. Not beautiful suitcases with leather luggage tags. Flimsy plastic grocery store bags filled with clothes and shoes, books and loose papers. The handles of the bags would start tearing, and things would start falling out to leave a trail of stuff behind me.
People were staring. Some snickered. I could hear them thinking ” wow, she needs to get it together.” Then I would realize I was not going to make it in time. More dread. Then I would wake up.
Even remembering that dream I get that sinking feeling in my stomach. It was a reflection of where I was at that time in my life. Stuff was spewing everywhere. Too much of many things and too little of the things that really mattered.
I thought more was better. I thought if I had the right stuff I’d be happy. With each step of success in life, I’d move to a home with a little more space. Then more stuff would trickle in to fill it. As the stuff increased so did the frequency of the dream.
The stuff was a distraction, acquiring it, (yes, I called it retail therapy for a while) caring for it, paying for it and then having room for it. It kept me from even considering what was underneath the desire for and beliefs about the stuff. Finally, at some point, I had the clarity to see what was happening.
I realized the desire for stuff was usually a call for time to sit still and be with some feeling that I was trying to push away. It was a desire for my own attention, compassion and care. When I dug deeper, I discovered I yearned for the simple life I’d had in my first home. You’ve heard the phrase, keep it simple stupid. I knew I was not stupid for wanting simple.
It’s taken many steps to get back to simplicity. I’ve had to ask myself many times “What role does this stuff play in my life? Is it sentimental? Necessary? Or is it to soothe some temporary discomfort or give me the illusion of security? Over and over again I have thrown things away and given them to others who might need or appreciate them.
I have not had that dream in a very long time. For me simple is smart. With this most recent move, less stuff means I have the room to give myself what I really need. When I do that, I have more to give others. That is a real win-win.
Is there something in your life that could get simpler to give you some more room for what matters? I’d love to hear what smart simple you might be considering?
The simple life is waiting for you.
ps. I’ve found the first step to simplicity is clarity. Clarity comes when the body and mind are calm and connected. How about some yoga for that?
Do you have 5 minutes? Everyone has 5 minutes. I have a friend who has an intense 6-minute daily yoga practice that he swears by. Truly what is holding you back from investing 5-minutes to start your day with clarity? You’ll be on your way to simple.
Adriene is here to help with her free YouTube 5-Minute Morning Yoga video.