For the first time in my decluttering journey of 7 years I'm exhausted.
I'm burned out, I'm drained, I'm pooped.
After decluttering and packing my house for 15 straight days I can't think straight anymore. I lost any interest in anything and most importantly, my body is screaming at me from every cell in a fire alarm kind of way.
"What heck is going on?" I ask, moving through the day like a zombie, astonished and bewildered.
"Oh, yeah!", dawns on me by the end of the day two of complete inability to write, create, or make decisions. "It's that thing that everyone is talking about! The hitting of a wall, a total paralyses at the thought of decluttering, an overwhelming physical and mental stress from packing and moving!"
I get it now. And it's no joke.
Even for someone who loves decluttering in a jumping-out-of-my-pants can't-wait-to-do-it kind of way, 15 straight days of decision making, processing every possession, asking questions, and taking daily action has gotten to be too much for my body, mind, and brain.
Things I learned:
1. self-care is the first to go.
It's like the moment I start to lose my North is the moment I also decide that all that taking care of my body and mind thing is a total hoax and I don't really needed it because I'm somehow totally different and can function purely on sugar, will, and caffeine.
What a joke!
The only solution and the way out is Self-Awareness.
The deep questioning and then listening amidst the insanity:
What's happening in my body and mind? What's needed? What am I resisting?
Self-awareness is the condition for self-care and it's also the first thing to go when we get caught up the busyness of our projects and ToDo lists.
Feeling like I'm losing my mind, I went outside to water the grass in the backyard (say what??)
Standing there, feeling completely incapable of making any more decisions, I watch the water splash around in millions of droplets, making rainbows, and creating a refreshing breeze. I drop into the moment, surrendering to the state I no longer have the energy to fight, and suddenly a sense of relief arrives. One by one sensations of clarity and calm arise within and with every minute I'm feeling lighter and softer, the tension of the fight with myself melting away.
2. decision fatigue is a real thing.
Did you know that our ability to make decisions comes in limited quantities?
I did. That's why my sessions with clients are limited to 3 hours.
Yet the incredible blindness of human beings thinking that we're somehow different from everyone else has plagued me too.
I figured that my love for decluttering will outweigh the physical and mental limitations of all other human beings and I happily forged the path of non-stop decluttering for myself and my clients
Once again, the joke is one me.
Our brain is only capable of so many clear decisions in a day and conditions and prerequisites are many and unwavering including good nutrition, sleep, mental rest, creativity, and stimulation.
So no wonder that after 15 days packed with decision making about our own stuff, my clients' stuff, daily living with meals and bills, occasional disasters, unexpected turns of events, planning for the future, cleaning up the loose ends before we move ...my brain got fried.
I'm folding laundry, mentally fried and now numb, and I'm still making decisions: "Where do I want this? Should I fix this? Do I still love this? How many of these should I keep?"
My minds starts to spin and I realize I'm about to lose it if I have to answer another question to make another decision.
Then it hits me - this is exactly WHY I've been drawn to simplifying!
Simple living means fewer decisions! Fewer possessions mean less time spent on the everyday small stuff and more time for the things I'm actually passionate about.
Simplicity means space. Space means peaceful mind. Peaceful mind means life of meaning and purpose.
3. the power of No.
Recently a client of mine said that saying No is terrifying.
Saying No means so much more than saying Yes.
Saying No means choosing something, it means prioritizing something, it means committing to something.
I get it. It comes with consequences. But sometimes those consequences are life-saving.
As I was slowly losing and then finding my mind in the droplets of water and then in the pile of laundry, a thought came that it's time.
It's time to say No.
It came loud and clear, and fatigued from all the fighting and battling I could not chase it away. So I followed.
I picked up my yoga towel, say No to the ToDo list, and just walked to a yoga class.
Having arrived and knowing I'm in the right place I watched my mind come up with the fun thoughts like: "This is not productive", "You didn't earn this". and my favorite "You're not doing anything, so this is a waste of time".
Still tired and unable to argue I just listened. And then somewhere from within a good ol' reminder came - "We are not human doings. We are human BEINGS."
I nearly broke into tears.
When did we decide that we have to produce in order to earn rest?
In nature the flowers, trees, and animals don't do anything to earn a ray of sunshine or the droplet of rain. They just are.
A permission to be showered over me and I spent the rest of the class listening to my body for the first time in days.
As I walked home I realized that to be successful in anything in my life I have to prioritize.
My sanity, my being, my body, and my process.
I need space and time.
So as I continue to declutter and pack our house I'm chaining the rules:
Oh, and I'm taking a day off.