Cleaning Out Closets


I’ve been exploring minimalism more and more lately. Inspired by backpacking culture, Japanese design and generally living more lightly on the earth, I’ve been systematically sorting and culling. It’s been liberating, and I’m finding it a sweet spot of an ethos that I’m aiming to integrate more into how I live.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that minimalism and contentment with living with less is about more than the junk in my drawers. My material purging has extended to my toilette, my pantry, my spending. It’s about being more intentional  in everyday choices. What I buy, how I eat, the type of consumer I am, how I live. (As an ancillary thought to this in light of the upcoming elections, I think that we vote as much, if not more, with our spending power than we ever can at the polls).

As a parallel to this new direction, I’ve been delving more deeply into my oft-neglected yoga practice. This, and the teacher training I’m aiming to complete this year, are teaching me more about being still in my head.

This is not easy for me. Stillness isn’t one of my default settings, but I’m coming to realise that sometimes our defaults (or, at least mine) are in place not because they’re the best setting, but as a coverup for other things we’d rather not explore.

This has led to a series of unexpected detours into deserted mental corridors. Places that I’d locked up and shut down because I didn’t want to explore them to their capacity, didn’t want to see what would come from it, and really didn’t want to have to feel some of the things they contained. They’re locked up for a reason.

When it’s a Tuesday and I’ve got work/teaching/gigs/life admin etc., it’s so easy to be happily unaware of life’s residual crap, but something about these recent intentions has prompted said crap to make its way into the light.

These detours and types of mental sorting are rarely pretty. Even when I haven’t been looking, things come up that I had no idea were ever there- and really didn’t care to. But I think most things eventually rise to the top, with our without our consent. I’m astounded at the violent, tangible forces that our minds can contain, and the power of the things we hold in and bury down.  The corners of our minds go scary deep.

I’m aware of sounding preachy , woo-woo and/or shrink-ey, and I don’t want to be.

But this is the thing: more than clutter and junk, I am realising that living with intention isn’t just about cleaning out my closets. It’s cleaning out the garbage that has been content to make its home in my head for far too long.

If I can find several bags of junk to take to the Salvation Army, what other crap is happening internally, and weighing me down?

Minimalism isn’t just about living with a neutral tone wardrobe and shopping less. Despite the mental carnage of late, it’s left me lighter, clearer, and a that much more open to the things that will come.

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