I’ve tossed around all these words since 2014 started. The concept is exactly what I need. I need less of everything in my life right now. While the root of all these words is exactly what I need, I just don’t like the words. They haven’t been working for me.
Even if the words weren’t working for me, I needed to put action behind them. After all, they are just words. Simplifying the physical stuff around me is the easiest first step to take. The physical clutter has been weighing on me emotionally. It’s become a burden and a stresser.
Step 1 of this project to shed, to strip, to simplify was our garage. It’s collected nearly 4 years of junk. Sunday we got to work. As the garage floor emerged and the sunset, I said to my husband, “oh my god. I can breathe.” I instantly felt lighter, less stressed, and more joyful. A weight was lifted off of me.
And just like that, I found my word(s). I found exactly what I need for this next chapter in life.
I need room to breathe.
It’s that simple. I’ve been holding my breath since our world crumbled last January.
Tomorrow it will be a year since my aunt passed away. I reread the post that I wrote on that day. Rereading it shook me to my core. As I read it, I’ve realized I’ve been living in that moment, that sadness, that very fragile moment since last year. I’ve been holding my breath because an inhale or an exhale might disrupt the shell I’ve put around my heart. Deep inside I’ve put armour around my heart.
I don’t know if it was clearing out the clutter in our garage or taking a moment to refeel emotions of grief as I read my own blog post, but I feel like I’ve finally exhaled.
The sadness I feel is very real. I can’t ignore it. The grief our family has walked through in 2013 is tangible. But instead of welcoming the feelings, I’ve guard myself from them. I’ve protected myself. When my aunt died, I had to keep myself together because Christian’s dad was starting hospice care. When his dad died 13 days later, I had to keep myself together because my family needed me. I’ve been keeping myself together since those moments. I’ve cried, I’ve grieved, I’ve missed them deeply, but I’ve also guarded myself from life. The funny thing about that shield is it also keeps out the feelings of love and hope. It has protected my heart from feeling joy too. I’m ready to let that all go. I need to feel deeply again.
This next life chapter isn’t about shedding or striping or simplifying. It’s about finding room to breathe. It’s about inhaling and exhaling deeply. It’s about coming back to life. It’s about nurturing the roots that I worked so hard to establish. It’s about decluttering the physical and allowing space to exist around the emotional. The physical clutter has been suffocating, but not nearly as suffocating as holding my breath out of fear of feeling to deeply.
I don’t know what 2014 has in store for us, but I do know that I need to find my breath again. It’s time to find room to breathe.