On Sundays I have digital detox, and it feels so refreshing. As it is great to be back online on Mondays 🙂 I wanted to test this habit for a long time, and at last in March I said to myself that I will run it as experiment: I will keep my Sundays free of all internet. My first Sunday was a day without social media, but then it turned into a day totally offline (with two exceptions: I answer the messenger, and take pics for IG stories which for me is a ritual of appreciating the surroundings. As long as I am not tempted to check the feed). From March into April, and now into May – I am very content with my experiment and I want to keep this habit now.
I have discovered two things so far. First, I come to notice how much information noise is created in me by internet. No wonder I am not good at listening to my voice – when I have all those other voices in my head! Staying a day offline makes me feel more centered and relaxed. Second, I discover other activities that I like but often forget when the smartphone is so near. Surfing and being on social media is such an easy choice, and unfortunately it can outcrowd other choices. When internet is not an option I discover that there are so many other things to do: that coloring book I bought last year, completing exercises in “Artist’s Way” by J. Cameron, sorting out my papers, fixing my nails… Or just reading a newspaper with a coffee cup feels like such a simple luxury, or getting lost in a book. I am not a newspaper reader, but yesterday I found out that I enjoy it too, when I am lucky to find an interesting article. The book I got lost in yesterday is “Signature of All Things” by E. Gilbert, which is so exciting to me right now that I jump forward to see what happens 🙂
This spring I felt a strong desire for some kind of detox and cleaning. After spending some weeks in Barcelona in February where I got full on impressions, restaurant food and wine, it felt like the right time for lent after carnival. I wished for simple homemade food, more vegetables, no meat, no or little alcohol and some kind of decluttering. I can say I managed to stick to that resolution without being very strict. I have had a glass of wine on week-ends, and when the meat was served I ate it without pulling a face. Still it was mostly fish and vegetables during these two months, which prompted my interest for more recipes because I discovered my fantasy on vegetables was limited)) I would still go on with little or no meat, but I don’t make into a statement and I would definitely not call me a vegetarian (I don’t want to peel off those pepperoni from my pizza when it is suddenly pizza time:)). For me it is normal to crave more light and plant-based food towards summer, but in autumn I want more fat and warm dishes, so you never know.
Another thing I felt for was decluttering of my space, especially my wardrobe. I have gone through my things and decided which to keep, which to sell or give/throw away. I am far from being a good example of KonMari method and I still chose to keep many items)) What I discovered in this process is that I don’t want to substitute the old items with the new ones like I used before. Earlier throwing away was a good reason to go shopping. Now as I had a wish to refresh my wardrobe for spring and went shopping, I noticed that I don’t want to buy stuff. I have bought enough stuff in my life and start feeling fed up with it. As a kid with poor Soviet past, I had had my period of buying many clothes, especially on sale, because in my dreams I had seen a dress like this or a skirt like that. I ended up with buying things that were not a perfect fit, with uncomfortable fabric, but I always had solutions like: “this will go if I find matching bottom/top, this can be used with a belt, and under this I can use a top so the fabric will not scratch”. It turned out that some things would be never worn, or used just once. And I blamed myself for those stupid purchases, but now I see that I needed that experience to get wiser, and I needed to feed that hunger.
I had to do my own mistakes to learn the simple wisdom: if I don’t fall in love with the thing, it’s better to wait. If it doesn’t make me feel beautiful, if it doesn’t feel like a perfect fit, if there are any doubts – it’s better to wait. And maybe, come back for it. but mostly, not. I don’t want to feel my closet with clothes that don’t work best for me, which I bought with a thought “maybe one time when I find a matching top/bottom”. No, I want less clothes, but those that I can pull out with no doubt and feel myself wonderful in. It feels like a French girl’s rule: “Few things, and they make you feel beautiful, sexy and perfect”. I want to learn that lesson from that mythical French girl. I want to keep and buy only things that give me a good feeling about myself (good-bye, skinny jeans…:)).
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” William Morris.
It is said that decluttering of physical space frees up some mental space too. This is no news, but I feel like it’s new for me. Now I feel like going through my mental inventory and look at it with the same investigating look. Is it useful? Do I need it? What does it make me feel like? I have so many thoughts, beliefs and ambitions that are there by default, installed by the society that has formed me. Now I got really curious if I need to keep all of them in order to live a good life. Are all wide-accepted truths true for me? I have always been fond of questioning the established thought patterns, and now I have a great tool of The Work by Byron Katie. Her four questions help me to investigate what thoughts I hold and if they are true for me. My favorite ones are “Is it true?” and “Can we definitely know that it is true?”.
What I came to realize is that my wish is to live a simpler life than I imagined. That some of my ambitions were borrowed and not reflecting my own desire. That many restrictions I feel are put on me only by myself. And that there is enough peace, love and wisdom inside of myself that can guide me – when I start looking for it.
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials”. Lin Yutang.
My friend said once that we develop from the simple to the complex, and from the complex to the simple. We go from the simplicity and naivety of a child to a complexity and cognitive development of a young adult. And after we collect much knowledge and get really complex in our thinking, we move towards the simplicity of the wisdom. Which is another level of simplicity than that of a child, it is more conscious and has more knowledge. This is where I find myself now – in the wish for conscious simplicity. And where are you now?