Minimalist Monday

Step 3: The Packing

Challenged…again! My challenge? I have a hard time of letting go of things. Day 3 of The Minimalist is packing. The instruction is to box up everything and then when you need something, find the box, take it out. I am just too practical — okay, LAZY — to box up everything and then when I need someone to find the box. But I’m on this quest, I adjusted this step a little…okay a lot. I started with my bedroom, specifically my closet. You may be thinking, what a wimp. This, however, was the most difficult. I love clothes…it’s a curse and I blame my mother!

This is what I started with…my closet (please, don’t judge).

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I followed the guidelines of Project 333. The strategy is to choose 33 items to use for three months. If you are interested, here are some resources with more information:

Project 333, simple is the new black.
Declutter Your Closet
Or simply perform a google search of “Project 333”. You will come up with about 216,000 results.

A word of caution: Do not…I repeat do not tell anyone of the male species the guidelines of this project and how challenging it is for you. Their response will be laughter. This will be laughter at you, not with you or beside you, but at you. I made this mistake several times before learning to just keep my mouth shut. On the other hand, most females are very sympathetic.

So, again, this was really difficult for me to make choices on what to discard or keep pieces. So, I purchased 4 bins for each season. 

3In these bins I started tossing clothing appropriate for the season designated on the bin. At this point was able to move through my closet relatively quickly. I got rid of duplicates and discarded the pieces that were worn out or items where I asked the question, “What was I thinking!”

I recently read an article mentioning a study by Princeton University. It talked how certain habits can zap your energy. On the list was clutter. Clutter appears to be my  middle name. The study recommended starting small and when you see the benefits you will have the motivation to move on. Working through my closet gave me motivation to move onto my room. I’ll save that for another post.

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I faced the beast. I conquered! This was liberating.

This challenge has also changed my shopping behavior. I don’t feel it’s a requirement now to find something to buy when I’m on a trip or tagging along with a friend who’s shopping. I realize. I have 33 items. I don’t need anything else. Also, buying something means I have to give up something else. When I retire pieces from my wardrobe, I’ll have a reason to shop and will end up with new items which I need and will fit with what I have. Then I won’t end up with nonsensical items because I was compelled to buy it.

Also, with only 33 items in my closet, getting ready in the morning is a breeze. So, this challenge is saving me money and time. 

Anyone else heard of Project 333? Have you embarked on “simple is the new black”? Interested in taking on the challenge? I would love to hear.

 Step 2: The Plan

If you define abundance in terms of feeling there is plenty, you will be rich every day of your life.
Following along with The Minimalist 21-day challenge, I began to make a plan, attempted and began to make a plan again. This has been difficult, but since I have began the journey, the results have been encouraging. I want to live my life simply and only keep in it, what’s important. It’s been hard for me to make the distinction of what is truly necessary. The Minimalist recommends making a must list. This list is to identify what you must do to achieve your why. I used their list (they did an excellent job on) and adapted it to fit me and my why. Here’s my list.

  • I must live healthy every day.

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  • I must focus on eating clean, real food.

I have been on this quest for a while and have failed as many times as I have started. A friend told me once, “It’s a process.” As everything in life it IS a process. You are only one meal away from eating healthy — no matter how many times you need to start that beginning. Just take it one meal at time.

  • I must exercise at least four times per week.

Once upon a time, I exercised faithfully. About three years ago when I started graduate school, exercising was the first thing to go as my schedule went from busy to mind-boggling busy. Since completing school, it’s been difficult getting back into the groove of exercising. I found this blog, busybugeter.com, that recommends setting up a reward system for “good behavior”. Since I love rewards, this will be my salvation! Here is the spreadsheet I made up (modeled after the blogger’s), if you’re interested.

  • I must build loving relationships every day.

Family (1)

  • I must live within my means, while contributing to savings and charity.

I recently attended a Financial Peace University course by Dave Ramsey. It completely changed the way I think about money. It has several steps to move you towards financial peace. This will continue to be a “must” for me.

  • I must live deliberately and be self-sufficient.
  • I must write every day.

As I blog, I want to improve and become a better writer.

  • I must show value to those I meet and associate with daily.

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  • I must read every day.

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  • I must listen to music every day.

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  • I must grow as an individual every day.
  • I must live passionately and cease the day.

Passion

  • I must end each day with gratitude.

As directed by The Minimalist, with this list developed; I now will answer the following questions to ensure a successful plan for this journey.

What is standing in the way of my musts?
When did I give so much meaning to my possessions?
What is truly important in my life?
Why am I discontented?
Who is the person I want to become?
How will I define my success?
How will my life improve if I own less stuff?

So far the weeding out of my possessions has brought me relief and clarity to my life. How about you? Has your journey brought you to be a minimalist? Please share any comments or tips.

Minimalist! Minimalist? “What exactly is a minimalist,” you might be asking. I came upon the term about a year ago while watching the TEDx YouTube channel (yeah, I am geeky like that , but there are some really great videos Happy face.) The topic was presented by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn. Their tagline…“A rich life with less stuff.” Since hearing the term, I have noticed people all-around of simplifying their lives. Evidently, the movement still continues and has gained momentum. People getting back to the essentials, realizing that the true meaning of life has been lost in the quest to accumulate “stuff”. I was intrigued. Several years ago, I had already begun my journey of getting back to the basics with my food source to become less dependent on commerce. So, I started raising chickens (a long story…a past blog entry). So, moving from a minimalist foodie to other areas in my life seemed logical…the next step.

Since the initial exposure of minimalism, I have found quite a few blogs about people who have embarked on the journey to reduce the clutter in their life and in turn, to have more time for the things that are most important. One such blogger took a challenge not buy anything for one year. Something I feel would be quite a feat, but somewhat worthy of a quest.

Another blog focused on wardrobes, capsule wardrobes. Referred to as Project 333, it can be found all over social media, with quite a bit of information found in YouTube and Pinterest. This too will be something I will try to explain, attempt and journal in a future post.

Back to the overall minimalist…Joshua and Ryan have a website: theminimalist.com. The website has a 21 day schedule to follow in the pursuit of becoming a minimalist. They also offer a game, if you just want to dip your toe in, and get just a little wet. One blog, bemorewithless.com laid out seven simple steps to get started. The common thread in all these blogs is the starting place…discover your why. So, I thought with my first returning blog post, I would lay it all out and get started on this life altering pursuit. Why do you want to simplify? Why do you want to de-clutter? Why do you want to be a minimalist?

Discover the “why” of becoming a minimalist. Joshua from theminimalist.com website expressed it for him:

“In time, Joshua realized most of his stuff—about 90% of it—was weighing him down, keeping him from the freedom, happiness, and fulfillment he so desperately wanted.

So he let go. Over the course of eight months, Joshua jettisoned approximately 90% of his possessions. As he let go, he began feeling freer, happier, lighter. As the external clutter was removed, so was the internal clutter: emotional clutter, mental clutter, stress, anxiety”.

So, here is my why: I have discovered the true meaning of life isn’t what you have, but who you are with…your family, friends, those that love you unconditionally. I realize that I have lost sight of the true meaning of life, getting caught up in acquiring stuff just for the sake of buying and hording. I want to rid my life of all the clutter that is weighing me down and keeping me from really attaining in life what I value most. I want my future decisions evaluated with; will this will bring me the quality of life that is important…will this bring me closer to what I value: family, relationships, self-reliance…living deliberately.

Take a look here at the 15 minute TED talk of Joshua and Ryan. See if it isn’t life changing for you too.

So, what do you think? Are you in? Ready to start getting rid of stuff and simplify???

 

Connecting to the Earth

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Below are a collection of YouTube videos about grounding or earthing. “What is earthing”, you ask? Earthing is simply connecting to the earth’s natural, negative surface charge. This is accomplished by walking bare feet on the grass, dirt or even concrete will carry the negative charge. This is such a simple practice, but can help improve your bodies health and well-being. The Earthing Research explains how this benefit comes by restoring “a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially-electrical body. Our built-in self-regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective. There are head-to-toe improvements. Better blood flow. Less pain and inflammation. More energy. Deeper sleep.”

Some can benefit greatly while others find a minimal renewal. The Earthing Research instructs further:

“Earthing transfers negatively charged free electrons into the body that are present in a virtually limitless and continuously renewed supply on the surface of the Earth.  The existence of this unseen electron “reservoir” has been established by science. Maintaining contact with the ground allows your body to naturally receive and become charged with these electrons. When thus “grounded,” any electron deficiencies and free radical excesses in the body are corrected.  A natural electrical state is restored.”

The Earthing Institute explains why this so important:

“Electrons are the ‘object of affection,’ so to speak, of positively charged free radicals, the biochemical agents that cause oxidation in the body.  Electrons are the source of antioxidant power.  We believe this influx of electrons from the ground serves to potently neutralize or quench free radicals that would otherwise steal electrons from healthy tissue, activity resulting in tissue and chronic inflammation at the basis of many common and serious diseases.”

“The eternal ground energy feeds and nurtures living things – plant and animal life – that have their roots and body parts in direct contact with the land and the sea. But we are disconnected from this energy.  We live on the planet but are not in direct physical contact with it. Modern living has increasingly separated us from Mother Earth’s great natural endowment of health-nurturing energy.  Instead of conductive leather or footwear made of hides, we wear insulating shoes with soles of plastic and rubber.  We rarely walk on the Earth barefoot anymore.  We don’t sleep on the ground as in times past.” (http://earthinginstitute.net/about-us/)

Again, here are a collection of videos that I feel illustrate how to do earthing and what are the increased health benefits by applying this practice.

If you don’t have a grounding mat or would prefer the outdoors earthing environment, here is a meditation that can walk you through the process and visualization of releasing unneeded energy and opening up to the energy of the earth, connecting and allowing its energy to flow into you to heal and support you.

So tell me…anyone else found benefit in this practice? Anyone intrigued to try it?

Heal Thyself

As this blog suggests, I have been getting back to the basics of life and this has included using natural remedies to aid in healing the body and lifting the mind. With that, my daughter and I looked to essential oils for maintaining health and healing. Recently, we signed up as wellness advocates for dōTERRA Essential Oils. I decided to go with dōTERRA oils for two reasons. First, the oils are of therapeutic-grade; so, this grade allows the essential oil (EO) to be used internally as well as topically and aromatic (and that’s just medicinally). Second, I receive a discount as a wellness advocate. So, why therapeutic-grade oils? While you may be able to find less expensive EOs, if they aren’t therapeutic-grade, they cannot be taken internally. If you are just going to use them in other applications, then it will require more product to reach the same effect of what a few drops of this grade will do. Even though therapeutic-grade is more expensive, it really is the best buy. Believe me! I know this because I’ve been there, and done that!

There are several brands out there so shop around and find what you like. And of course, if you want to check out dōTERRA, please take at look.

So now, here are few things I do with EOs.

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Here is what I used to make my crystal fabric softener.

Fabric Softener —you know those crystals that you can buy at $5 for 28 oz. Well you can make it with Epsom salts and essential oils. I found a 6 pound (96 ounces) bag of Dr. Teal Epsom Salt for $4.97. I used 6 cups of the Epsom salt and 60 drops of your favorite EO or combination. I used lime and serenity (30 drops each). It smells heavenly and works perfect. The best part is you end up with a better product for a HUGE savings! And yes, inside the jar is the lid from the store bought product Happy face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blended essential oil: Balance

 

I also love warm soaks in the tub. A 1/2 cup Epsom salt and few drops of your favorite oil turns a simple bath into the ultimate stress reliever.

 

 

 

 

Also a blended oil: DigestZen

 

For upset stomach or heartburn, I use the DigestZen blended oil. It will help alleviate an overstuffed feeling (it will really get used a lot this holiday season), to a slight upset stomach feeling and even heartburn. I am amazed at how quick it relieves the discomfort. Here is a post about its other uses from dōTERRA’s blog.

 

 

Here is a infographic that identifies the many uses for EOs, just click on the graphic and it will open up in another browser window.

doTERRA

Do you use EOs? Please share in the comments.

The Salt of the Earth

Ocean beach

Picture yourself on the beach. It’s a warm sunny day. The sun shining on your skin. The sand squishes between your toes and as you breathe in the warm ocean air you feel that heavy, fresh air fill your lungs. Ah! The salty air!

Of course, salt has been know as a great antiseptic. Growing up, if someone had a canker sore, it was doused with salt…yes painful, but it worked! Well, did you know there are actually many known health benefits to breathing in the salty air? Pure salt blocks have been used since the 19th century as an air neutralizer and providing many health benefits.

This benefit was discovered in the salt mines of Eastern Europe. Miners with bronchial afflictions found relief or were even cured of these ailments while working in the salt mines. With this discovery, salt rooms (salt blocks in rooms) were used as a therapy for children with allergies or asthma. It was found with consistent treatment, the children’s need for steroids or inhalers were reduced.

So, you may be asking: “How does it work?” Going back to Chemistry 101…okay, that’s just too long ago for me, so in recent research…salt molecule contains a positive sodium ion and a negative chloride ion. Breathing in the air of these salt rooms brings these salt molecules into the moist airways of the lungs causing a release of the negative ions. “It’s the negative ions that clear the mucus from the lung linings and improve immune response to pathogens. People with chronic respiratory conditions lack sodium chloride in their airway linings and salt therapy helps resolve this deficiency. It alleviates symptoms; helps prevent them from reoccurring, and reduce dependence on medications like nasal sprays and inhalers.”  (Latimer, J. (2013). The healing powers of — salt? Maclean’s, 126(5), 1.)

The health benefits of salt therapy are not just limited to the respiratory system. It can also benefit skin ailments and temperament. Yes! Salt can trim crankiness. Studies found it’s the negative ions released during salt therapy sessions that have reduced skin disorders such as eczema. It has also lessened headaches, loss of energy, moodiness and improved mental alertness. So, how do I sign up, right?

Well, you could travel to Vegas. One of the casinos has a salt room spa. Or there is a therapy that can be obtained at home using salt lamps. These lamps are made from a block of salt that is hollowed out to fit a small light bulb inside. The heat from the light warms the salt block and generates the negative ions to neutralize the air and provides the health benefits. It is important to note that the salt blocks are made from Himalayan salt which is considered the purest of all salt.

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These lamps give off a beautiful amber glow.

If you are interesting in trying out these lamps, I recently found them at Natural Grocers in Washington (Utah) located on Telegraph Street. They have a pretty good selection and are reasonably priced. I purchased another lamp and it was a 4-6 pound salt lamp for $19.00. In fact, this is a better price than the first one I purchased. You can also Google search “salt lamps” and find many options.

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This is a 4-6 pound salt lamp I purchased at Natural Grocers.

Do you have a salt lamp? Please comment and share your experience.

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

Your mind shapes your universe. Whatever you’re thinking about or feeling about today is creating your future. A shifting of your thoughts can shift your day and your life. There are laws of the universe…law of gravity, law of relativity, the law of cause and effect. There is also the law of attraction. This law reveals that we attract to us what we are focusing on. Everything has energy—high or low. It is this energy that attracts other energy of the same—high or low. Controlling our feelings to be positive increases these vibrations, or energy, and we will attract good things in our lives. One of the best ways to do this is to be grateful for what we have.

In a TedxUCDavis talk, Allison Ledgerwood refers to a study out of UC Davis that found study’s participants had a significant increase in happiness and health just by taking a few minutes each day to write down things they were grateful for. So the benefits of seeing the positive in life has even been documented in research.

Most of this post’s information comes from the movie The Secret. Check it out on Netflix or view it on YouTube here. It is worth your time to watch it. It is life changing…or not…it just depends what you focus on. At the very least, though, start a gratitude journal. It is amazing how your attitude will improve. And an improved attitude brings an improved life. So, yes, it’s true…your mind does shape your universe.

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