On September 7, 2015 I began, with a small group of friends, an elimination cleanse foregoing processed sugar, coffee, gluten, dairy and alcohol. I paired this effort with a new meditation practice we started three months prior at water's edge at White Rock Lake. A daily practice of mindfulness opens up new worlds for what is possible with focus and clarity. You see the places where chaos is and chaos isn't. My detox started in my mind.
Eating in healthy ways has been easy--as long as I stay prepared with fresh foods and nutrient-rich options. Each morning as we sit with the rising light of day, I am called back to this work: this work of being with myself and taking a new layer of my health on. It's a thick layer, but one wanting to be less, wanting to be less-inflamed, less allergic and more energetic, nimble and capable to do all of the things I want to do. I believe it is the mindfulness that is making this possible.
About two weeks into the cleanse I started listening to the wildly popular book: Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,". I kept my distance from this topic, seemingly too challenging for me, by not reading it but listening to during my morning commute. Twenty minutes here, twenty minutes there can't hurt, right? Sure, I might try some of these things, but I am just going to dip an ear in and out, and well, it's not a bad listen.
Kondo reached me through osmosis, or hypnosis or some unexpected osis. It started three Saturdays ago with the garage. It was a deep dive cleanse: focus, resolve and move on. We hauled trash to the trash, Goodwill to the Goodwill, we categorized and purged. I didn't spend time fretting that I actually found items (many) set aside for goodwill the last time we made efforts to de-clutter. I went fast and fastidiously so. No time for sentiment. Three hours later we sprayed down the inside, revealing a concrete color I didn't know, and driving into the garage is now a pleasurable, mindful and clear experience.
This joy seeped into my house, and the next purge was with the boys' room: I completely emptied it out: to every last foot-piericing lego. We removed the large clutter-magnet shelves and told the boys to pick a small number of toys to bring back into their room. They absorbed our energy, and surprisingly for the first time there were no tears and grabbing back the treasures of their lives. We picked out a paint color together, removed the dust-gathering plantation shutters and made it a room of their own. We took four carloads to Goodwill.
In the second weekend, I scanned and de-cluttered every cabinet in the kitchen and bathrooms, categorizing collections I didn't even realize I had. We gave more away. And with Kondo's call to acknowledge the life these objects have had with us, and let them go off into the world to other places this detachment was easy. And cumulative. The more we worked the more possibility I saw for how this new way of being felt: freeing, possible and clear.
I went through all of my jewelry. Forty-three years of jewelry. I took the pieces I don't need anymore to the office and relished in watching my colleagues play and try and take. It was so joyous. And I haven't looked back.
With the help of a friend, I boxed 17 boxes of books on Art and Asia: beautiful books both from my adventures in learning and from the gifts of my parents and professors--most unseen and unopened for the last fifteen years. They have gone into the library at the museum on long-term loan. They have a new life in a new world, with new seekers of wonder.
I sold the large rug in our bedroom: a landscape for dust and a big piece we'd kept not because we loved it, but because it was, well, big. After a swift sell on a Facebook estate sale site, a darling young lady, soon-to-be married, practically skipped down the driveway as we helped her move it to her car. "It's perfect" she said. We smiled, thinking of our own expression of the same sentence when we found it just after we married almost eleven years ago. Yes, it was.
There is still more to do, but there always will be. This is a new practice, too. I will keep meditating and continuing to bring the balance of pause into each shelf and closet. And will will think twice when I stop at that estate sale down the street or as I stand looking at a silent auction item I think I can't live without. It's a new day, and I have a new living room and den, the art completely re-installed with a sensibility for less. And how fulfilling to create new attachments to less by letting the more go.