Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Do You Bring on the Road?

Yesterday's post really got me thinking about what I haul around for creature comforts and how much of that do I really need? 

My downsizing, simplifying and clutter clearing is underway. I can't say I've stopped buying altogether but I've gone a month without adding any new items to my wardrobe. Ive bought music and books, all digital, nothing that takes up room. I'm actually looking forward to digging in and clearing out, whenever I get consistent days to do so. It's not looking very promising right now, hopefully June will present some open days?!? 

I am curious, what are the creature comforts you are willing to pack along? Do you go light, or full on, depending on the activities? What things come with you no matter what? 

Of the trips I've taken since February I never leave home without: sunglasses, iPhone (which has music, which I have to have!) Kindle, fleece jacket, comfy shoes, MacBook, tea bags, essential oil blend. 

If I have the luxury of a little more space, I bring my pillow and tie dye blanket (helps make a crappy beds and/or floors more bearable), pottery mug and loose tea (which I prefer over tea bags), books, and art journal supplies. I realize the Kindle could alleviate the hardcovers but I thoroughly LOVE the feel of a page between my fingers, it's all in the aesthetics. 

I travel a great deal of the time. This is part of why I'm on a quest to simplify. As much as I go, I want to be able to clean and organize less and enjoy my time more when I am home. I know I can do without a lot, but I do feel a sense of comfort with these items along. They can make a slow day pass more enjoyable or help expand my mind and thoughts if I am stuck on a pickup for hours on end. Adding a little food and water, and a few essential clothing items, I could pull off living on the road for several months. (That is actually my goal by the time I'm 45. More on that later!)

So PLEASE share, what are the items that bring you comfort on the road? I am excited to hear and.....maybe you'll give me some ideas of what I'm missing! 

Happy Trails! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

On the road again....

One of my goals is to stick with one bag. It's a well known fact that I love bags (and shoes). It may also be well known that I'm on a mission to significantly downsize and release the majority of my possessions. My current challenge is that I am not home long enough to really tear in and clear out in the way I want to. 

Weekends have found me packing up and rolling out, which certainly feed my three tree energies (love to move, discover, explore and be on the go!) This, however, is not conducive to clutter control and organization unless the system was in place BEFORE I left the house. My system is to quicky ditch my every day weekly bag for a larger weekend bag. I need (and want) to stop doing this. I have a tote for every activity but it sticks out in my mind that it would be a whole lot handier to have an all purpose bag. And of ALL the styles I've tried, I have yet to find one that wins the "All Around" title. 

I rarely carry a purse anymore. Instead I've gotten all I need into this one. Back in 2010 on a visit to Disney World, I bought this little Dooney and Bourke wristlet. It was wayyyy more than I had ever spent on a tiny purse so I was determined to use it. This is the ONE item that I have carried with me daily, which is in an of itself a miracle since I tend to change purses, bags and totes like the weather. I have both glued and sewn it. It holds a cell phone, card organizer, lip balm, essential oil blend, Tide to go mini stick, cash, advil, receipts and sometimes change. 

This however is what I am working with presently....The things that go with me on a daily basis: bamboo utensils, re-usable towel, tea bags, journal, pens, Kindle, sunscreen and....not shown here, watercolor crayons, colored pencils, washi tape and journaling supplies. I also tote around the latest issues of both Taproot and Kinfolk magazines. (Sometimes I still like to touch pages of whatever I'm reading!)

I realize that I could downsize significantly in terms of what I pack around. This will likely be the LAST area I tackle on my minimalist journey. I am often in a place where I'm waiting on my kids, at a rodeo or a ball game or whatever and I ALWAYS want to have something to be doing! This weekend I'll be at a two day junior high rodeo event. This will give me some times to catch up on art journaling and writing. I'm working on another article submission for Amulet, THE COOLEST MAGAZINE I'VE SEEN IN A LONG TIME! I am thrilled to be included among some very talented, wise, gorgeous beings. I'll have a special post and link to share. 

I've tried a lot of totes but I am really open to suggestions so if anyone happens to have a great, all purpose bag in mind, please share in the comments below or leave a message on Facebook! My two main requirements are lots of pockets and durability. I tend to be pretty hard on bags, they get tossed in the back of a messy Subaru, thrown in a horse trailer,  drug around to various seating locations, sometimes get spilled on or in and on occasion, get slept on. 

In the meantime, I guess I'll repack. On a bright note, the clothing/closet purge that I engaged in during April has been wildly liberating. My clothes were packed in less than 5 minutes! That FEELS GREAT! I still have a ways to go but the clearing has created wonderful creativity and freedom. 

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quick Ki Preview~May 2013

Hi Friends,

May is here officially but you can't tell that by looking out the window! It's cold and blustery, all the more reason why you will not hear me complain when the temp soars above 100 this summer. I don't like heat but I despise cold, wind and dreary vistas even more.

I've had some wonderful feedback and invitations to offer decluttering services, which I am seriously contemplating. Let me just say that it would be MUCH easier to go into someone else's space and clear out because I'd have no sentimental attachments. In fact, if anyone wants to come here and make claims on anything, I'd probably be willing to let a lot more go out the door. I can't say the same about my family, they think I've lost my mind. I'm running into some serious resistance. (Little do they know what I have in store for this summer, inset evil laugh). Up next, when the time opens up for it will be to go through the rest of the kitchen cupboards, drawers, and pantry. I'll move on to the laundry room and office, Pryce's room and the shelves in the living room. Though you can't tell it by the current appearance I am LOVING the space that previous efforts have brought through. Yes, the cookbooks are still piled along the south wall but they've created space for coffee and the few to-go cups that we saved. We are down to four. One for each adult and two extra for friends that join us for Ranger Tours in the canyon. We are all about full service and hospitality.

This post however is NOT about clutter clearing and downsizing. I wanted to write about 9*Ki (one of my favorite subjects). I write about it from time to time, post about it on Facebook and offer personalized reports for clients and friends each month. It is something I use every day and refer to often for life planning as well as helping me make sense of what goes on within and around me.

The ki energy this month will officially change around the 6-7th of the month though it is common to start "tapping" into our new energetic locations right about now. The ki "flavor" changes every month, offering us opportunities, lessons, observations and discoveries. Eight earth is the guiding influence for May. Eight focuses on personal change and transformation. The symbol is that of the mountain and more specifically the core, the innermost aspect that no one sees. It is here we create, within ourselves, the changes we want to experience in the outer world. The energies, cave like, surround us and nourish us at the soul level. Collectively this is a good time to look at areas of our lives that we want to rework; habits, patterns, beliefs, and practices are all up for grabs. Have you been wanting to start an exercise program? What interests caught your eye? Perhaps you've been thinking of a new place to live or a new career that you'd like to follow up on. Now is the time to "put it out there". Since the governing element is earth, think of this month as "seed planting". Remember that the earth element tends to move more slowly than other ki energies so this is certainly a station to exercise patience within.We may not see immediate results, instead slow, steady/consistent workings are what bring desired intentions to the surface.

And for the rest of the Ki we go:

1 water: you move into the seven metal location. This is a great time to finalize plans and projects, organize, clear out excess, align energies and come to center. Take care of details (no matter how time consuming or annoying). The idea here is to "clear your desk" and create space for next month when you work directly with the energies of personal change and transformation. This is a prosperity station so its a good time for money and positive opportunities to come in!

2 earth: You'll be working in the 8 earth location for the month and 8 happens to be in the center so this month could be busier than it normally would be. With an earth/earth combination you'll want to make sure to keep moving as stagnation can creep in. Do things to challenge yourself this month;  do things to challenge yourself this month, step outside your comfort zone and get moving! Select a less than supportive habit and replace it with a positive one. Simple steps will get you where you want to be.

3 tree: time to party!!! You move into the fame and reputation area so this month will be full of movement and excitement for you. You are on stage so what you say and do will be on display for everyone. Think before you speak and act, make your words count and make sure your actions are in alignment with who you are and what you are about. Align with fire energies to highlight your passion and life purpose.

4 tree: This is your month to take a break! The water energies are usually a little more quiet though you are in your home station more this month so you'll still be on the go. Water is a conductor so use this time to clarify your plans, path, and purpose. Go with the flow, relax, unwind and rest.

5 earth: Relationships are the focus this month. The one we have with our soul and the connections we keep with others are all up for renewal, revision and or release. This is a grounded energy to work with; good for planning, sorting, organizing and working with details. Don't expect immediate results instead focus on what you can do right now. If you are in the mood for romance, this is your month!

6 metal: Get ready to move and shake! Your energies are in the 3 tree location. This is a place where you'll be able to put ideas into action. Exploration, discovery, creative ventures and boldly stepping out are all supported here. Three invites us to be bold and step outside of our comfort zones. Align with your throat chakra, it's time for your voice to be heard.

7 metal: Four tree houses your energies this month. Four fosters education, studies and philosophical approach to life. This is a good place to continue working on projects as there is much motivation available. Plans are subject to change so stay flexible (a bit of a challenge at times for those with metal elements!) Look at opportunities as adventures, ditch the to-do list and do something fun!

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's a blurrrrr

Hi Friends,

I don’t know how many blog posts I’ve started and not finished. I am doing my best to keep up with the speed of my life and right now, that seems pretty fast! The picture above is one of my favorites, taken in the subway during a recent trip to New York. I am by no means a photo expert but there was something very cool and “deep” about the blur and movement within this shot. While there is focus there is also the constant, continual motion that is ever around us. Our daily living is evolving and at times, I do not recognize my own life flow. I suppose this has something to do with being in my home ki energy stations; both one water and three tree and known for their love of quest, discoveries, experiences, and explorations.

Back in February (when I celebrate the new Ki energies each year) I created a Feng Shui based vision board. This included both visuals and written intentions corresponding to the guas. My motto for the year is “keep it light enough to travel” My focus was to release non-essential material items, to really pare down to the basics. Traveling each month has helped me “hone” my packing skills as well as streamline my possessions. After on and off efforts of de-cluttering (I still have a LONG way to go, might take a few years) I can see the results. Yesterday evening upon returning home from NYC, I was unpacked in about 15 minutes. Everything I took in the suitcase came out. This was a first, my norm is to leave the crap in the suitcase until I need it or find a time to put it away (which is usually like two weeks from when I get back).

Other than the clothes I brought along the only other things I unpacked were Yankees cap for each of the boys and one for myself. Parker got NY wristbands, Pake got a baseball, and Pryce got a Mariano Rivera Lego (goes against my no junk policy but she’s agreed to release all of her Tinkerbell fairy collection in place of her Ninja-Go items, so fair trade there.) This really made my past month of closet cleaning and excavation feel worthwhile. It gives me hope that I can get to my goal of less crap around here. I’m on my way, I just have to stick with it.

One of the things that I notice (and followed since my early feng shui training is to use the “fresh eyes” that we have when we return to our normal spaces. We expand when we travel and are away from our ordinary images and energies so when we come back we can notice things that we have, perhaps grown accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. I did come back to the same mess I left, my work is far from done but it was glorious to come back to a neat, tidy and spacious closet and bathroom. One of the places we stayed was on Wall Street. It was a very “swank” hotel, sleek and professionally designed. Once we got to our room, we were shocked, The entire space, could have easily fit in my office. There was a bed, a desk, a chair, a night stand on either side of the bed. The bathroom had a nice shower, toilet and sink. All the standard things that any hotel room has, with the exception of space! Two people could NOT be in the bathroom at the same time. Everything was there, we had all we needed but there was not a feeling of, or even the illusion of space. We brought very few clothes but what we did looked like we brought an entire closet because it was all piled up everywhere. Had we brought the kids, there would have been no place for them to “bunk up” except for the hallway and that was likely against fire code.

Let me tell you I felt like a queen last night. I have space, abundant space in fact and THIS, this very concept of having space is part of what has got be into the clutter predicament in the first place. I’ve had plenty of room for possessions, so why wouldn’t I fill it up? I believe we are naturally programmed to do this. And the more unconscious of it we are the more likely we are to “fill ‘er up”. If I lived in a tiny apartment, I’d have no choice to have less possessions. I don’t though. What I have is a spacious location that is in serious need of less objects!

Space is an interesting concept and I can see how it carries dual interpretations. I, however, am focusing on the concept of freedom, expansion and exploration. My focus is not to further accumulate, it is to allow experiences. I’ve had my time of collecting and acquiring. I know that the vital elements to life are NOT possessions, rather the connections we hold with ourselves and others. For me, possessions, items, things, stuff have filled spaces that I haven’t really wanted to look at or perhaps taken time to address? For example,  I had to face how much money I wasted on buying something I didn’t need (but at the time I’m certain I wanted it!)  This alone prevented me from coming home with a super cute NY Yankees baseball purse. I’d love to say I am done buying but I’ve figured out that is just an invitation for temptation to come my way..or for crap to breakdown. I am more “awake” to what I am purchasing and I am making a conscious effort to streamline what comes in the door. I have realized there is very, very little I actually NEED. Past the basics, the rest  is pretty much luxury.

I won’t be able to fully devote my days to clutter release. We have a BUSY May in store. It will require focus. I have a feeling it will be a blur, just like the picture. I have had to launch operation Declutter in an entirely different fashion than my normal power cleaning; the slower pace has MADE me stop and focus and really take stock of what I’ve accumulated. In feng shui our possessions reflect our lives and our lives our reflected within the possessions we store. To change our lives, we begin taking stock of what we house both internally and externally, making conscious, focused choices about what to keep and what to release. That is where I am right now. I have an idea of where I want to go from here and the experiences I wish to invite. I’ll continue to lighten the load and chronicle the experiences. I realize that not everyone may be into this “phase” that I’m writing about but it’s brought some interesting insights my way for sure. For example, I know now that I CAN walk away from a cute purse, this in and of itself is a personal victory. I’m not saying that I’ll never buy another bag, but as “former” purse shopping addict, clutter clearing maybe have helped me bust the habit. It’s still early.  I won’t get over-confident so please (you know who you are...) no sending me any links this month or next about anything I NEED! (I have girlfriends with FAB tastes!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Time to Purge

You know it's time to do a little cleaning when there's no longer room on the table to eat. Sad and....true. We've been moving at what feels to be the speed of light. I am deeply enjoying the traveling and LOVING the warmer temps but neither are conducive to home keeping, clutter control or organization. I will admit that I am a "neat freak" but I'm also prone to throwing things wherever when I don't have the energy to put items away properly. I can live in chaos for only so long and THEN, I launch a focused assault. 

This time though my goals are intention is skewed. I'm not power clearing, as the tradition has been. I'm taking a very slow, conscious, concentrated effort to DRASTICALLY reduce the amount of items that are housed in this space. Fellow dwellers have been warned. I've got bags, boxes, and a very LONG list of what is on its way out. Typically it takes a good two weeks to go through every nook and cranny of the upstairs and basement. This year it's going to take two months. My goal to become a minimalist (over time because my "gathering" tendencies are deeply ingrained). I've reached a point in my life where I'm not longer "treasure seeking" I'd rather enjoy the wonderful experiences.

The blue storage unit has been sold so all those treasures are going to need to find new homes as well. I'm not sure what the best way is to release it all? I'm not organized enough to have a garage sale and I am not good with pricing items; (since I bought them, they usually mean more to me than what they are actually worth.) I am ready to open the doors and just say, "make an offer" because I SERIOUSLY want to, have to and need to get rid of a whole lotta stuff! 

On the agenda today is to find the bottom of my house, clear off this table and reclaim precious counter space. That will be enough of a job for today. And as always, music is what I use to motivate me. I found this super awesome Spring playlist via Kinfolk magazine Thanks to Ane Brune, I may just enjoy this terrible, awful, horrible task :) 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

God is great, people are good

Trip Highlights:

Weather delay--got to stay up in the clouds for an extra 40 minutes.

Slight glitch with car rental--slight, we got the car.

Left behind backpack. This is why I believe people are good. After retracing our steps, I determined that the green backpack was back at the car rental place where we had the glitch.

Here is where faith and belief give way to trust. Getting the backpack back was out of my hands. We had most all of the cords/chargers in there, my favorite cap, books and art supplies and a pair of shoes. All replaceable but to do so would be expensive, and a real pain in the bottom.

There was a gentleman standing nearby. I described the bag and with a smile, he told me he'd been waiting for me. He handed over the backpack, I gave him a hug, my son's bank account lives another day (he who walked away from the bag will remain nameless!)

There are a lot of people, anything could've happened to that bag, but thankfully nothing did. I still believe there are good people, many, many of them are just deep down good beings. I've had the honor of meeting them.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Words for the Road

I read most all of the time. I have a Kindle and I love it but there's just something about holding pages and savoring the words that inspires me to haul the real things along. I tried to leave this new Kinfolk edition at home but I just couldn't. In my minimalist packing challenge I limited myself to two reading items. This made the cut. The other is an art journal.

I'm imagining leisurely mornings, sipping hot black coffee and reading these pages (I'm also in love with the pictures). My reality will probably be far different but this publication makes me hope otherwise.

If what we read reflects who we are and what we are about, I've found myself here and I like what I see.

Do you have a favorite publication? Or a book? I'm always on the lookout for great things to feast my eyes and mind on. Please share ideas in the comment section!