minimalism · positive thinking · whole30

On Being a Negativity Magnet and the Wardobe Capsule

Lately I’ve been feeling like I am surrounded by a lot of negativity. At work, at home, in the outside world…it seems like everyone around me has something to complain about. Which I completely can’t blame them for, because I’m probably the biggest complainer of all. Yesterday I kind of stopped and thought that maybe it’s not everyone else who is being negative. Maybe it really is just me, and I’m just drawing all that negative emotion towards me. People might feel the need to complain when they are around me. Ew.
So many wonderful things have been happening to me lately, yet I seem to be moving too quickly or focusing on the wrong stuff—to the point where I look back at a great weekend with family and friends, or a huge milestone and spiritually freeing event, and can’t really remember actually feeling joy. I know I wasn’t mad or upset, but I definitely don’t remember feeling happy either.
How terrible is that? I’m so blocked up by stress, junk food, and negative thoughts that I can’t truly find joy in the things that I am blessed to have or experience. At least I can say that it’s not for lack of trying though. I go on walks, do yoga, try to slow down and enjoy things…the one thing I haven’t focused on is my health, which is why I’m very eager and excited to get deep into this Whole30 experience.
So I did not get to do my yoga last night like I intended (Mad Men was on the DVR), but I did create my summer wardrobe capsule! I’ll have to put some before and after shots in another post, because I can’t even believe how much happier I feel looking in my closet now! I can’t believe I used to feel like I needed more clothes (constantly), when, in reality I have SO MUCH to wear. I think this whole practice will help me find things that fit my comfort and style a little better too—maybe think a little more about the quality of my clothes.

Now, if only I could pare down that massive collection of yoga pants…
house · minimalism · whole30

Body Reset with Whole30

Today is my first day of trying the Whole30 challenge. It’s 30 days of entirely unprocessed, whole foods and no dairy, grains or legumes, or generally anything else that might be inflammatory or irritating for some people. I like the idea of doing a reset on my digestive system and eating habits. I have been eating a whole lot of bad stuff pretty much since I got married, and it’s gotten to the point where my body is beginning to show physical signs of distress from these months of mistreatment. Besides, my fat jeans are slowly becoming skinny jeans on me and I feel like I could sleep for 15 hours and still be tired. Definitely time for a change.
I think the biggest issue I’ll have with this challenge is NOT putting almond milk in my coffee and NOT going into the fridge for binge-y cheesy or sweet snacks after 7 pm… My addiction to sugar is no joke.
It was a lovely weekend with friends, a sicky husband, sushi and Moscow mules, and I feel very refreshed going back to work. I’m ready to take on a new week, and gearing up for some more minimal-ising around the house. We got all the real necessities from our apartment that we’re moving out of, and into our new home. Things felt so nice and uncluttered, and then we had to go get the rest! I’m slowly unpacking the rest of the stuff and sneakily thanking the items that no longer serve us, and getting them into a “to donate” box without letting my husband see. Don’t worry, I don’t get rid of any of his stuff—I hide that for six months and then donate it if he never asks for it in that time J Tonight I’m going to try going through my closet again and working on a Summer wardrobe capsule.
One more intention for the week that I wanted to get into writing: I want to practice my yoga every day this week. At first, I told myself I would do 30 days, but I think I need a baby goal first. If it happens for seven days and continues beyond that, awesome.

What are your goals for the week?
buddhism · letting go

Assumptions and Letting Go of Perception

I think it is pretty safe to assume that everyone has at least one person with whom they don’t get along well, or someone who just rubs the wrong way. Sometimes we can pinpoint exactly the issues we might have with these people, and sometimes we can’t quite say what it is that bothers us. Since I have been getting so good at letting go of things that no longer serve me, I’m digging a little deeper into some feelings I have towards a person who is in my life currently.
I have a pretty strong emotional reaction to this person almost every time we interact, let’s call them Joe. I feel very upset after thinking about, seeing, or talking to Joe. I feel angry—to me, Joe seems materialistic, elitist, disingenuous and completely duplicitous. It doesn’t even have to be a long conversation or anything important, but I always spend the next few minutes, hours and sometimes days feeling pretty upset about it.
In Buddhism, the eightfold path proposes the use of Right Mind—in right mind, we question emotions and thoughts that come up because, let’s be honest, all the pithy little words that flow in and out of our brains all day are mostly useless to us. Me spending an hour thinking about how what a “bad” person Joe is, doesn’t get me closer to enlightenment or inner peace, nor does it make for the best use of my time. So, in keeping with “Right Mind” I have to question these assumptions that I’ve made about Joe.
Why do I perceive Joe as materialistic? At a very basic level, I think this is spawned by my own insecurities about being materialistic. I’m definitely working on it, but I do still have like ten pairs of yoga pants. And this bothers me. I am projecting my insecurities onto Joe, and it creates discomfort within me.
Why do I feel that Joe thinks he is better than me (and others)? Again, this breaks down into my own feelings of suffering, because I worry about how others perceive me. My ego tells me that I need to be the best—that I need people to perceive me as smart, pretty, successful, etc. This perception of Joe as thinking he is better than everyone else is a manifestation of my own insecurities of how I am perceived by others.
And what about my perception of Joe’s façade—why do I always feel like he is pretending to be nice? Because my ego is hurt when I am not someone’s favorite, or best friend, or whatever. If I’m not someone else’s favorite person, it brings up my aforementioned insecurity about others’ perception of me. Why am I not the best? Why don’t they like me the most? I can’t control how others perceive me, just like they can’t control how I feel about them. Joe has no control over how uncomfortable I feel around him. Maybe I also cause an emotional reaction in him.
And since I don’t want to hurt Joe in any way, I hope that by breaking down my assumptions about him and by eliminating my emotional reaction to his presence, his discomfort will ease as well.
I can’t make everyone in the world like me or act nicely towards me, but I can control my perceptions of them, and in doing this I am practicing compassion for them and for myself.

What assumptions have you made lately about a person or situation? Did it bring up a negative or painful feeling for you?
minimalism · yoga

Yoga and Minimalism

Today marks my first day of corporate yoga. I have a really wonderful co-worker who is also our instructor, and I am totally kicking myself now for not going to class sooner. On my first day at this company when I was told that yoga was offered twice a week, I said “that’s amazing! I’ll sign up right away”!
Here I am nearly two years later, taking my first class.
Really, I am not upset with myself because I’m fully aware that nobody, including me, can make me do anything before I am ready. I was born several weeks late, was told to watch Star Wars at least a hundred times before I watched it and it became my most favorite thing in the world, and I can’t tell you how many times people asked me what in the heck I was thinking declaring Religious Studies as my major. Shlee does what Shlee wants, apparently, and no amount of reason or logic can change that.
So now apparently I am ready, and I finally made it to my matt. It was wonderful and just perfectly fell into place at the right time. Since deciding on practicing minimalism, I feel like a lot of pieces are beginning to fall into place again. I feel cleaner. I am starting to feel happier. I feel like the kind of life I always picture myself living is here. It was here the whole time, but the fog has cleared and I can see where I am at.
I have to say though, that minimalism is bringing up some challenging issues. Firstly, I haven’t been able to STOP getting rid of things. When I am not going through my stuff, asking myself if it makes me happy, I am THINKING about going through my stuff and practicing the catharsis of putting it in a bag for Goodwill donation. I asked my husband just last night why we need so many bowls. We have six, we only need two.
This brings me to my next challenge: getting the husband on board. He, like the old Shlee, likes to hang onto certain things for sentimental reasons. I don’t blame him one bit, because I one hundred percent understand his hesitation in getting rid of all the random odds and ends. We have three junk drawers and three junk boxes in our home. We have designated six places for things that generally won’t be touched or thought about within the next year. I have decided that, like my yoga practice, I have to take the purging one day at a time, and practice patience with myself and especially with my Beeb.
Which leads into my last point: I am impatient. I want to have a LOT less stuff, right now. If it were just me, I could definitely just pick out a hundred items to keep and give the rest away, but seeing as I am dealing with another person’s emotions here, I need to take it slow. Also, like I mentioned before, I am in the process of losing weight so giving away everything that doesn’t fit would just be dumb.

What do you have the hardest time letting go of?
house · yoga

On the Importance of Balance

Oh boy. It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks. Just when I was starting to kind of get my stuff together—exercise, do my sun salutations, drink more water, etcetera—I catch a cold and mercury goes into retrograde or something, and everything gets thrown off. Work has been extremely busy the past couple of weeks, I had some bad days where I came home and drank straight from the bottle. The dog has been peeing in the house more, the dishes haven’t been done in forever, and we are finally moving (YAYY!) so now half of my stuff is in one place, and half in the other. I have also been eating like total crap lately, so I just really feel like a hot mess.
This is not to say that things have necessarily been going badly. In fact, things are going great at the moment; I am just not in the right mindset to enjoy all of it. That’s the thing about allowing your mental and physical health to fall to the wayside; things get out of balance and then it becomes difficult to focus on how wonderful life is. Had I continued my sun salutations every day, I would have been more present when we walked into our new home for the first time!

Having a home that’s truly ours for the first time has been so exciting and fun, and it brings up a lot of new ideas for the future. I look forward to sharing our progress on the house!