Aaaand I’m back!!!

Day 16 of my 30-day LightLiving simplifying-minimizing-decluttering challenge!

Lots of good stuff, clarity, new plans!


Today’s Five Releases:

1. Makeup brush

2. White Buddha tank

3. Green Ganesh tank

4. Basket I made

5. Vibrams with a hole in the soles

 

Keeps:

1. Red Buddha tank

2. Patagonia Geode necklace

(Going to focus more on the letting go as I’m planning to start traveling again – watch the video!)

Happy LightLiving!

Hiatus

May 4, 2013

I’m taking a Hiatus from vlogging for a few days. Why? Because:

I’ve run out of room.

I’m halfway through a 30-day decluttering/minimizing challenge and my hard drive is so full that I can no longer download the videos from my camera.

Oh, the irony!!!*

This is like the chubbly 'before' picture...

This is like the chubbly ‘before’ picture… still working my way towards minimalism!

So I’m in the process of transferring all my thousands of photos and videos to my terrabyte external drive…which is over halfway full.

I’ve been trying to manually transfer photos in batches the last few weeks, organizing them in the old labelled folder system (hey, I was on PCs from age 12 to 32 – 20 years!) and right this second iPhoto says I still have…11,656 photos and videos to go. *sigh*

With 11,656 photos to go (I think I started around 15,000) this manual thing is gonna take waaay too long.

So I’m gonna figure out how to do this the right, simple, easy way! And I’ll let you know (if you ALREADY know, you can leave me a message in the comments – help a sister out!). From a few seconds of checking with Guru Googleji it looks like I might just be able to drag-n-drop my iPhoto Library on to the eternal… but I want to have some on my computer too, and I don’t want to always have to have my eternal drive plugged in.

I was thinking about this topic earlier: I didn’t get the souped-up speakers or the extra hard drive because I allowed the men I was asking for advice to talk me out of it. “You don’t need that much storage!” “You can add memory!” “You can get some good speakers!” Wrong on #1, that’s really implausible on #2, and #3, As a nomad/aspiring minimalist I really don’t like to have to have things plugged into my computer – external hard drives OR speakers.

So, next time, I’m going big and getting my computer tricked out EXACTLY how I want it! Considering I spend hardly anything on shoes, clothing, makeup or hairstyling products, an extra grand or two once every few years on a swanky Macbook or Air seems totally reasonable to me.

I’m off to sort out the photo stuff so I can continue bringing you more videos and photos.

In the meantime check out the thunderheads we had today!

Mashed potato clouds!!!

 

*(modern Alanis definition of irony)

I’m on Day 14 in my challenge to become physically/materially lighter – enlightened, if you will!

Today I was motivated to tackle my entire wardrobe. Audit time!

I didn’t choose five things to release or three things to keep – I pretty much just went through every item of clothing I own with the question:

Do I love this?

It’s pretty easy to tell if you LOVE something. If you don’t say YES, then you don’t LOVE it. Simple.

As I mention in the video, I would love to own just three of different clothing items – three long pants, three tanks, three sweaters, three long sleeve tops, etc. I edited out about half of my wardrobe and will be keeping it in a box until the end of the challenge to see if I can do without all the things I don’t love. I’ve also got a few pairs of paints that haven’t exactly been fitting for awhile, so if they don’t fit at the end of the Challenge they’re out.

In the video I promise the story of the blue dress.

It’s 2007ish. I’m on a business trip down to San Diego with my broker boss, a rather emotionally unstable recovering heroin addict (which I had no idea about at the time I took the job with him). Crazy people love me because I’m calm and I don’t abandon them; I suppose I love crazy people because I’m inspired by their grandiose visions and it makes me feel valuable to be “needed” and to be one of the few who are capable of working with them for more than three months. I’m breaking this karmic/familial pattern right now with a much more conscious visionary person I’ve been working with… Time to be my own non-crazy visionary.

Back to the recovering heroin addict.

We were down in San Diego for a meeting to negotiate the possible sale of a $350 million dollar shopping center near Disneyland. Yes, $350 million dollars. I stood to make almost $100,000 on the deal as assistant to the broker. Our buyer was the head of General Electric Acquisitions, and their main agent had taken a liking to me. This was about six months before the 2008 Great Real Estate Bust in the US; I knew it was coming a month later when our General Electric man informed us that all of GE’s purchasing activities had been frozen. Bad, bad news.

Anyways, before the storm came, we had this high-profile meeting, everything at that point going very well for us. It was a beautiful sunny summer San Diego day. After the meeting, my boss, who was supposed to be sober at the time, decided we should celebrate with Mexican food and a few drinks. I was down, but was horribly, horrendously uncomfortable in the business suit and heels that I was wearing. Yes, a business suit and heels. I HATE HATE HATE business suits and heels. I don’t know that I will ever put either on my body ever again for the rest of my life. At this point I’m pretty sure it’s highly improbable.

Eager to ditch my suit and heels, we wandered into Old Town in San Diego and I grabbed the first cute dress I could find – the blue strapless dress in the video – and a pair of white flip flops.

What followed was about 8 hours of guacamole and tequila in Old Town and Gaslamp (Downtown) San Diego. I will be forever grateful to my friend Kan who let us crash in her living room, and even slept on the couch with me (my boss on the floor) as I was afraid my incredibly inebriated boss would try to make a move, as he’d already blatantly hinted at few times during the evening.

I don’t really drink anymore; if I do it’s just a glass of good wine here in Italy. Definitely no more tequila. After writing that story out and considering the energy that comes with that bue dress, I think it’s time to let go of it.

Good news – I made it through last night without puking! Woo hoo! Felt much better in the morning.

So for today’s keeps and releases:

Releases (all necklaces I made – either putting up for sale or gifting):

1. Lapis lazuli necklace

2. Fatima’s Eye necklace

3. Prayer Wheel necklace

4. Prayer Wheel necklace

6. Turquoise howlite necklace

Keeps:

1. Book: Barron’s Italian Verbs

2. Book: L’Italiano Perfetto

3. Panasonic Lumix camera

 

While I was cleaning out my hard drive today, trying to get enough disc space free to upload this video, I came across a PDF I’d downloaded called ‘The Soulmate Secret: Three Keys to Manifesting Your True Love.’ Speaking of soulmates, I actually really like an article I read the other day of Ram Dass’s explanation of Soulmates (“then you are left with the work to do.  And it’s the same work.   When you trade in one partner for another, you still have the same work.  You’re going to have to do it sooner or later.”)

Anyways Key #2 from the Soulmate Secret PDF: “You must let go of physical, psychic, and emotional clutter.”

Workin’ on it! (and virtual clutter too…argh!)

Happy LightLiving!

Day 10!

Things are a bit crazy here with Swamiji’s passing and the gearing up for the big weekend – they’re premiering the film about Ananda communities, called Finding Happiness, and there was already going to be a big group here for the weekend, now compounded by people flying in from all over the world for the funeral service tomorrow. Plus the Academy of Art Creativity & Consciousness has to be prepped for the visitors, along with all our marketing stuff finished…

Anyways, I’m keeping up!

Here is yesterday’s video:

And here’s today’s:

The Three Keeps:

1. Hard Tail top – I LOVE Hard Tail! Aside from Green Apple, Hard Tail make my favorite beautiful comfy yoga clothes. I would love to have a wardrobe of entirely GA & HT. I’ve had this top for a few years and it still looks great. It’s got holes that have been sewn up all over.

2. Book: La Legge dell’Attrazione e le Relazioni Affettive – The Law of Attraction and Emotional Relationships. I don’t think this book was printed in English. I found it in an Italian grocery store about a week after I was wishing I had an Abraham-Hicks book to read. AND it was on sale. Manifest!!

“Se vi abituate a cercare aspetti positivi, li troverete in voi stessi oltre che negli altri. Se siete abituati a notare gli aspetti negativi, li troverete anche in voi stessi. Non sbagliamo, quindi, quando affermiamo che chi critica gli altri non ama se stesso. Va contra la Legge. Quando vedete persone molto critiche verso gli altri, sappiate che sono individui che non si amano.”

If you’re used to looking for positive aspects, you will find them in yourself as well as in others. If you are used to noticing negative aspects, you will find those also in yourselves. We’re not mistaken, then, when we affirm that he who criticizes others doesn’t love himself. It goes against the Law. When you see people being very critical of others, you know that they are individuals who don’t love themselves.”

3. Canon camera – I love the colors of Canon. However my beat-up, sometimes-working Panasonic Lumix takes better video (minus the dust spots from Burning Man) and wide-angle shots. So until my next high-end camera purchase, I’ll keep both.

 

The Five Releases:

1. Blue gloves – handed down from a friend. Winter’s over!

2. Mystery cable – I think I came with my last camera purchase. Haven’t needed it since I bought the camera a year ago. Adios!

3. Wool skirt – Found in the attic; wore it a few times but don’t love it; throwing it back!

4. Book: Babaji – Gifted by a friend; talks more about the follower of Babaji who wrote this than actual words of Babaji. Didn’t finish it.

5. Book: The Lathe of Heaven – Great book about a man who changes the world when he dreams – but he’s the only one who notices it changing. He’s then used by a egomaniacal psychologist, whose attempts at making the world a better place always end up making it worse. An interesting commentary on reality, sanity, and courage. Highly recommended but passing it on for someone else to enjoy.

 

Thanks for joining me on my journey!!!

 

I did record a video today, but I’m unable to edit it because iMovie isn’t loading because…

My hard drive is full. Ha! Ain’t that ironic??

No, not really. It’s part of this whole clutter/hoarding pattern I have, that fear that makes me hold on. That pattern I’m working through with this challenge!

I’m starting to see that my clutter is slowly diminishing – my stack of books a few books shorter, a few less lipsticks in my toiletries bag. Slowly and surely… I’m the turtle of decluttering.

It’s almost midnight here in Italy, and I want to get in bed soon. Tomorrow I will transfer more photos to my quickly-filling terrabyte hard drive so I have enough disc space to run iMovie so I can make you more movies.

In the meantime, here are today’s lists:

Today’s Five Releases:

1. Orange Buddha statue – gift from a friend. Don’t love it, letting it go.

2. Lip balm – bought here in Assisi. I think it chaps my lips more. Out!

3. Book: The Little Flowers of St. Francis – Not even sure where I found this. St. Francis is awesome but not into reading the book. Bye!

4. Socks – another lovely gift from a friend who mailed these socks to me from KOREA! But I don’t wear socks. Gifting!

5. Hiking boots – I wore these frequently in Patagonia whilst I lived there for two months. – the rocky terrain was a bit much for my Vibrams and I was out of practice hiking. I used them so much I actually wore a hole in the bottom of the sole. Which actually isn’t all that impressive if you take into account how shoddy Argentine manufacturing is. Time to toss these.

Today’s Three Keeps:

1. Wool scarf – I wore this scarf almost every day this past winter in Italy. It’s my very favorite scarf for the following reasons: a. It matches my eyes! b. I bought it in one of the best cities ever, San Francisco! c. It’s made in Ireland, like my dad was d. it’s lambswool so it’s soft and super warm. Love it!

Love this scarf!

Love this scarf!

2. 1T External hard drive – I’m slowly transferring all (most) of my 14,000 pictures over onto it… so now I LOVE it. (please last forever, hard drive!!)

3. Typewriter messenger bag – I got this bag off of Etsy to put my laptop in. It’s got an awesome turquoise typewriter graphic over a global map. Love it.

Thanks for being on this journey with me! Two videos for you tomorrow!

– – –

Update – here’s the video!

 

Today’s Five Releases

1. Nail file from yesterday – I realized I already had a metal nail file! So no need for this pink one.

2. Black top – Here at Ananda Europa there’s an attic where everyone puts the clothing and stuff they no longer want; I found this top there. It has the Gayatri Mantra written on it, which is one of my favorites chants. But, it’s too short (the top, not the chant). Out!

3. Book: Release Your Brilliance by Simon T. Bailey – I didn’t even recognize the synchronicity of this title. RELEASE! Ha!

Random passage:

“Seek the guidance of people who can help you live your assignment. Some people pass through your life, and others come into your life. Those who pass  through will intersect with your life at a specific point in time or during a particular event. Be open to those who appear during these times. Whether or not you or they know it on a conscious level, their sole purpose is to help you reach the next level of fulfilling your Universal Assignment and releasing your brilliance.”

4. Book: El Principito by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry – I love the Little Prince. I bought this copy in Spanish in Argentina.

Random passage:

-No, pero puedo depositarlas en el banco.

-Qué quiere decir eso?

-Quiere decire que escribo en un papelito la cantidad de mis estrellas. Y después cierro el papelito, bajo llave, en un cajón. 

I just realized who I’m going to give this to – a friend is doing the Camino del Santiago next month (and I would absolutely love to go with him…). I’ll give him this book to brush up on his Spanish!

5. Business cards – I got these cards ages ago when I started blogging. Actually they’ve got the same ship that you see at the top of the page. My name isn’t the same now so time to toss them.

 

Today’s Three Keeps

1. The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall – I use this book all the time to look up stone properties while making jewelry.

2. My Life Book – Get instructions on how to make your very own Life Book here: chinabrooks.com/life-book

AND I JUST discovered her little video of us working on our life books – that’s me on the floor back in 2011, I guess, cuz I was still blonde! (I didn’t even know this video was out there. Love it).

3. Manduka Eco Travel Yoga Mat – I love this mat. Most yoga mats are made with chemical crap, and they’re too thick or heavy to travel well with, or your hands slip. I’ve been traveling with and using this mat for a year and a half now and it’s still in great condition. Highly recommended!

 

In the video I talk about the process of releasing triggering the fear of abandonment – I originally heard the idea from Eloheim – see the video on clearing clutter here. Good wisdom.

Also in the video you saw some photos in my Life Book of the Abraham-Hicks cruise to Greece – I WANT TO GO ON THIS. Feel free to buy us both tickets!

Happy LightLiving!

“One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”

-Tenzin Palmo, 1943

Clutter and confusion come down to a lack of faith, a lack of trust in something greater in yourself, a lack of belief that everything will work out perfectly for you.

Hasn’t it always worked out for you? Even when it seems something horrible happened, didn’t it have an equally beneficial flipside, of growth, learning, opening, wisdom, compassion, help from others? It has for me! And until we change our beliefs – ie whether or not the Universe is a friendly place, whether or not we’re always provided for and taken care of – we will continue to be unhappy, even if it’s just a simmering, low-grade dissatisfaction that you can’t quite explain, can’t quite put your finger on.

The Release List

1. Red dress I bought in Buenos Aires after coveting it for a few  months; I wore it once and probably won’t wear it again. Luckily I don’t do that often.

2. Thermos – I wanted it do drink yerba mate out of my gourd+bombilla but it made the water taste really metallic-y. Yuck.

3. Lipstick – Bought at Whole Foods eons ago. Before I started boycotting them.

4. Nail file – I know, lipstick and nail files are piddlly things, but I’ve stll got 26 days to go!!! Gimme a break! I also want to ditch my last remaining lipsticks I’ve been carrying around as I never wear them. It’s good to start slowly.

5. Reading lamp – bulb broken, and I don’t need it anyways since my first-edition Kindle broke and I now read on my iPod touch. Backlighting’s hard on the eyes but it’s convenient.

 

The Keep List

1. My Macbook …

2. Deodorant! (Lucky you!)

3. Nail file, handed to me today by someone who didn’t know that my old nail file is pretty much useless. Manifest!

 

I did go more utilitarian on my Keeps today for some reason, and I realized that I want to stick to the LOVES instead of the NEEDS. So I’ll go back to the LOVES  tomorrow. I get the feeling that I don’t have that many LOVES… interesting.

I do really enjoy how slow and non-threatening this process is. I always feel like I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff, and then overwhelm kicks in so I don’t even start the process.

Five things a day is so small, so easy, so doable. Not that it still doesn’t take me awhile to choose; it still does. But it feels much better. Less pressure. Less terror.

 

P.S. Here are the links from the video:

Artist Lakshmi

The Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness in Italy

Artist Sandro da Verscio

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

Today I picked my first ‘five to release’ and ‘three to keep’ in my 30-day Challenge. Oddly enough, I discovered that picking the five to release was easier than choosing the three to keep.

The Five Releases:

1. An old black purse from Target that I’d kept so I’d have a decent-looking black bag for ‘nice’ occasions. But I never go to ‘nice’ occasions anymore, and I have my tan Mandarin Duck bag that’s nice enough if I ever do.

2. A box that someone gave me to store/organize jewelry supplies. It was originally a chocolate-covered date box from Abu Dhabi. The idea’s nice but it’s cardboard so not really sturdy enough.

3. A book called The Spirit of Prophecy from the Land of Assisi Refuge and Salvation by Massimo Coppo. A friend met this pilgrim man who was traveling through Assisi and selling this self-published book; to be nice he bought a copy, but since my Italian friend doesn’t read English very well, he gave it to me.  At first I was excited by the gift, hoping it would have some profound truths, or at least some crazy ravings. But it’s not very interesting. Here’s an excerpt, picked at random:

“Well, this is what Marcello later wrote about his retreat, in a note for which some priests had pressed him, and which he first of all submitted to his confessor (who wanted it to be given the title: Fragments of a prophetic story which the Lord is accomplishing inthe land of Assisi”): “On the 15th August 1981, the feast of the Assumption, I withdrew myself for forty days, as it were into the desert, in the former barn of a farmhouse at Rocca Sant’Angelo… I wanted to imitate Jesus, Moses and St. Francis.”

See? Boring.

4. A book called Un Indovino Mi Disse (A Fortune Teller Told Me) by Tiziano Terzani. This book sounds much more interesting. I found it in a book swap box by Santa Chiara church in the Bosco di San Francesco (St. Francis’ Woods).

“Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for an entire year, Tiziano Terzani—a vastly experienced Asia correspondent—took what he called “the first step into an unknown world. . . . It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years I have ever spent: I was marked for death, and instead I was reborn.”

However, I’ve had the book since November, and though I can read Italian, it takes a bit of effort, and if I haven’t read it yet I probably won’t. So I’m going to pass it on.

5. My very favorite very comfortable pair of Teva flip flops that I absolutely love. I think I’ve had these for five years (maybe more), and though there’s an ever-growing hole in the bottom of one of them, I still kinda want to keep them, just so I have a pair of flip flops for around the house. But I’ve decided to  toss them and make room for a new pair – otherwise I never really think I NEED a new pair, as I’ve still got these disintegrating ones hanging out.

The three things I love that I’m choosing to keep:

1. A journal my friend Kalyani gave me for my birthday last month.

2. A compass and hematite necklace that I made.

3. A golden Ganesh and citrine necklace that I also made.

The keepers were harder to choose than the letting go-ofs because I really only want to keep things that I LOVE. And I realized while looking around that I have a lot of items that I’m ambivalent about.

Though I’m already having doubts about what I’m releasing – What if I need a black purse? (answer: I can borrow one from someone). What if I can’t find comfortable flip flops so far from REI? (answer: I’ll be fine even if I don’t own flip flops right now). What if it turns out I do want to read ‘Un indovino mi disse’? (answer: I can get it in English via Kindle).

I opened to a random passage in another book that I’m keeping for the moment. Here’s some poignant wisdom from Paramahansa Yogananda:

“It is rare to see a truly “free” man. Most people think they aer free, while their minds are utterly fettered by psychological chains. These are harder to get rid of than ordinary chains; for in their subtlety they are difficult even to recognize, not to speak of how to destroy them! It requires a great deal of knowledge to cut those psychological restraints.”

– from Journey to Self-Realization

How relevant.

I’m very aware of my self-imposed limits to how free I am. I’ve freed myself from a lot these past two years, but it’s a continual process of letting go. I feel that this challenge will give me a final solid push through the paper chains of my fears. At least, I hope so!

Happy LightLiving!

I’ve been a nomad for almost two years now and I still feel like I’ve got too much stuff.

It’s weighing me down and I’m ready to shift. Time to take clutter-clearing to the next level!

I’ve been stalking minimalist bloggers online for years – there’s the ‘100 Things‘ Challenge, where you try to get the items you own down to 100; there’s minimalist fashion, where you choose 33 clothing items to wear for 3 months.

But I’m gonna do it my own way.


I will also be recording a video every day to share the process with you, delving into the psychological reasons for clutter and holding on. (And you get to see all my junk!)

The video part will be especially challenged as I’ve never really vlogged, but China Mae Brooks is one of my vloggy inspirations and lately I’ve been feeling compelled to start vlogging. (Plus I’m living in Italy and it’s springtime and you should really enjoy it with me).

So that’s that.

I want to be lighter, freer, clearer.

Simplify.

Clarify.

Focus.

Freedom.

Trust.

Love lets go when fear wants to hold on.

I Choose to Let Go.