Quite often, I find myself in the process of editing our home. Not just physically with the rehoming of items but energetically.
If something no longer feels like it energetically fits within our space, I will move it to another space in our home or quite often rehome it altogether.
Over the years, I found myself falling in love with items, bringing them home and not loving their energy or the way they fit in our home. I would most often end up passing along that item to someone who would love it, after holding on to it for a good long while, of course. I have noticed that practicing mindfulness around what is brought into our home is an ever evolving practice that seems to ebb and flow with the seasons.
Some seasons I find myself with a stronger urge or desire to add this, change that and sometimes still, will fall into the thought trap of ‘if I have this item in my life, it will:
~ make me happy
~ make the fear have less power over me
~ make me worthy of love and affection
~ mean that I am enough’
How often we tie our stories to our physical realities?
I did just that for many years. After my last pregnancy almost nine years ago, my body held on to an extra twenty five pounds. The story I told myself at the time, was that I wasn’t good enough to lose the weight as quickly as my friends had; I wasn’t good enough because my body wasn’t ‘bouncing back.’
How did I silence that thought and stuff those emotions down? By shopping. Not just random here and there shopping but by purchasing every piece of luxury spandex workout wear I could get my hands on. I joined Facebook groups where women who also loved this luxury workout brand would share with one another, creating community and a sense of connection that in new motherhood, I so deeply craved.
I purchased pieces to silence the stories.
I purchased pieces to keep up with the new ‘friends’ I had made who had wardrobes bursting with rainbow coloured spandex.
I purchased pieces to fit in.
I purchased pieces in hopes that if people saw me wearing workout wear, they would think I was trying to lose the extra weight and would know I wasn’t happy with my body as it was.
I purchased pieces to make me feel like I was enough - to make me mean something.
That cycle of purchasing to stuff down the feelings and not have to face them continued for twenty four months, it evolved into purchasing home wares, toys for my children, more items of clothing for them than they could wear in a season and then in September of 2012, one beautifully sunny Wednesday morning, it all came crashing down.
I could no longer keep the stories buried within me. I could no longer feel the shame, to hide, or to run. I had to face those feelings, the fears, the anxiety, the emotions, the debt I had acquired - once and for all. And there begun an unravelling, a purging, a healing, a way forward.
That way for me - was ceasing ‘shopping’ altogether; turning to Essentialism and eventually aspiring Minimalism; only purchasing food and necessities for our home; getting very clear on what our children needed in their day to day lives and what I needed in mine.
As I purged, sold, donated and rehomed most of our belongings and goods that had been acquired - I found myself digging deep into the emotions and energetics of those purchases and what they meant in my life, what void purchasing those items filled and asked myself how I could heal and find new tools to handle those big emotions as they came.
The most important thing I did for me was making the decision that I could no longer allow myself to live burying my pain, that I had to face it and until I did, things like my shopping addiction, food restriction, overeating and the intense numbing and disassociation I used to survive, would remain prevalent in my life.
I knew deep down that I was being faced with a fork in the road: continue on as I was and self destruct or choose the road of uncertain newness. The road that would take a lot of willpower and none at all, to stay on. The road that would change my life and help me find myself in the process.
I chose to get very real with myself, my husband and my homeopath. I confided my secrets and traumas and committed to doing the work I knew I needed to do to heal. Utilizing homeopathy, Byron Katie’s The Work, my gym membership (as a positive tool to channel my emotions), time spent outdoors, investing my time in books once again and remembering what I loved, not just what I liked because others liked it, all saw me on a road back to myself.
I left the Facebook groups that I was a part of, the ones that made me feel less than and as if I needed to keep up to fit in. I still had my blackberry at that time and found a lot of value in subscribing to online journals centred around living with less, focusing on physical and emotional health and wellness, and really dove into everything I could utilize as a guide to my authenticity.
Six months later, my youngest son who was just shy of three at the time, had some health issues that saw us diving deeper into a holistic lifestyle. I purged our cupboards of all processed foods as a way to help his body heal and found myself fully immersed in cooking in our kitchen three to four hours a day. The time spent concocting nourishing meals, researching, learning, and of course still spending as much time as possible outdoors, reconnecting with myself and nature and my young children, helped ground me and provided an outlet for all I was feeling and experiencing that made letting go of my shopping addiction more manageable.
I utilized my husband as an accountability coach by being very honest with him about all purchases. I cancelled my credit card and chose to only use our joint account for purchases and also had to deep dive into mindfulness. Before each purchase, I would ask myself if the item I was adding into our life would bring us value; would bring us closer to paying off the debt I had incurred or move us further from it; how it would impact our life, positive or negative and really saw myself making choices on which brands/companies/corporations to support and which to leave behind.
This mindfulness and act of living intentionally spiralled into a whole new lifestyle and opened my eyes as to how I wanted to spend my days, how I longed to feel in my body and started me on the journey to understand exactly how our stories can define us.