The more I heal, the more I grow, the more life changes, the more I realise that there are more and more habits and once precious belongings that it is time to let go of.
Even though I have made a lot of changes and decluttered in the five years since my husband died – there is more to change and review – so that I and my children – can grow and blossom.
I am inspired by the strong beautiful eucalyptus trees that I see every day – they seem to be continually shedding bark.
As I release what was once protective “strips of bark” the process is usually messy. It takes a while to unravel and untangle each strand.
It feels revealing, exposing vulnerabilities and new layers of myself. Yet it also feels freeing and liberating. As each layer peels away I find shiny colourful new bark ready for new connections and more growth.
Habits that once served me well, that made me feel secure and suited my circumstances are no longer required:
- Habits of youth
- Habits of grief
- Habits of being a new young widow
- Habits of being an exhausted young mother and solo parent
- Habits of busyness
- Habits of how to be in a romantic relationship
All of these habits included common themes such as
- “cutting corners” with housework,
- eating on the run,
- projecting that I am ok and can do it all and
- “near enough is good enough’.
Now I have reached a new phase in my life – key catalysts to change have arisen.
- My physical energy has returned to “normal” levels.
- I have more emotional energy available to consider change, invest in relationships, listen to suggestions and accept help.
- My children are older (aged 8 and 9) more settled and therefore open to change. They are capable of contributing more around the house and being self sufficient.
- I have a new boyfriend who is keen to support and help me.
In every room in my house, every routine in my day and every interaction with my children and my boyfriend – I can see opportunities to shed further layers of “grey tired bark”. When we do, we will create a stronger more vibrant foundation for all of us.
We have started to make changes and it is energising! For example,
- With mixed success (ha ha) – I have asked my children to do more chores.
- Recently we repainted a photo wall in the kitchen to a new colour (from white to blue) and have started to refresh the photos to remind me and the kids what we love and cherish about life – family, friends and the magic of the outdoors. It makes me smile every time every I look at it.
- My boyfriend is helping me reassess different parts of my house and identify little improvements that can make a big difference. Eg. to hang paintings properly that were dumped on hooks eight years ago when I first moved into my home.
- I have begun to rearrange, reposition and remove ornaments, paintings and furniture. As I consider each change I find it useful to keep these two quotes in mind:
“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
― Marie Kondō,
I also consider what my late husband would think of all the changes. (I am of course still keeping key mementoes and photos of him.) Without a doubt he would want me and the kids to be evolving and growing and embracing life. Not clinging to and stagnating in the past.
He would want my children to see how a positive loving relationship works. He would want the kids to see me accepting feedback, help, ideas and working as a team.
He would say that holding onto grey messy dry layers of bark is no way to live and no way to show our children how to live. He would say “buckle up and get onto it”. Do whatever it takes it to grow stronger, brighter and more vibrant for yourself and for our children.