“Shame is the most powerful master emotion. It’s the fear
that we’re not good enough.” -Brené Brown
If you’re not familiar with the Hawkins Consciousness Scale, what I’m about to say may seem like a stretch, but please suspend your disbelief and imagine that emotions have an associated frequency which is measured on a scale from zero to1000. At 20, shame vibrates at a very low frequency. Joy – Marie Kondo’s ultimate goal – vibrates at 540.
There’s a wide gap between shame and joy and it manifests in
our lives like this: shame stops us from achieving our most heartfelt goals,
whereas joy frees us up to possibilities beyond our wildest dreams.
Moving past shame toward joy can happen relatively quickly in the decluttering and organizing process. Much depends on the willingness to allow for possibilities beyond the current reality. Even if at first this is done through imagination.
What is your vision for your ideal home? Playing with this question can be the spark that begins raising your emotion on the scale from shame toward joy.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that my son and I are moving after 13 years in the same house. We’ve begun the process of downsizing with purging. This should ensure that everything that goes into our new 700 sq ft. home aligns with the quote made famous by 19th century architect /designer/renaissance man William Morris:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Alright Mr Morris. Those are laudable ideals: I will try to rise to the challenge, but just how do we make this happen in the brief time we have to purge roughly 80% of our belongings and move the remainder into our tiny (by comparison) new home?
I have an overwhelming impulse to walk out, close the door behind me and turn my back on every last bit of it. I imagine inviting friends over to pick through and carry off everything of their choosing and to donate the remainder. It would simplify the process by saving so much time and emotional stress.
This may still happen if I run out of time, but until push comes to shove, I will do what I’ve done professionally for others. I will edit and edit again the items we will move into our new home. This includes putting all ‘like-with-like’ items together and choosing one or two favourites to keep from a grouping. Everything else will be sold, donated to charities throughout the city, or given away.
I’ve often thought of myself as selective with the items I’ve brought into our home. Wow, was I ever wrong on that note! The reality is that we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff in13 years, in addition to the stuff that came with us when we moved into this house. Although I’ve periodically made an effort to get rid of worn out, outgrown, out-dated and broken items, I absolutely cannot believe how much stuff remains!
Basically, what’s important to remember – not just for me, but for anyone going through the downsizing process – is that the luxury of space we have grown accustomed to will no longer exist to accommodate massive volumes of stuff in a much smaller home. This means that either we let go of the majority of belongings, or we continue to hold onto them and move them into our new home where they will simply take over, dominating our new space. Envisioning our new home as a ripe opportunity for a fresh start is the main impetus for letting go of stuff now. The payoff will be worth it!
Within the next month, my son and I will move from the beloved spacious 3-bedroom house we’ve lived in for the past 13 years, into a 700 sq ft condo unit. Crazy, right? Maybe so but like all moves on this scale, there are numerous reasons this is happening. Long story short, it’s long overdue and there’s no turning back.
I’m beginning to understand just how much energy the process of downsizing on this scale will take. This is one of the main reasons we’ve waited so long to make the change. Not everyone has the luxury to decide when or how this type of change will occur, so I feel grateful that we’ve made the conscious decision to do this when we have and on our terms.
The key to the success of a move on this scale hinges on the process – the ‘how’. It’s like that well-known riddle: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is ‘one bite at a time’.
That’s just how we’re approaching this whole big move: one bit(e) at a time.
While I have no problem helping others through this stress-inducing transition – in fact I thoroughly enjoy it – I have to admit that as the time draws closer to our move-out date, I am starting to wonder if we’ve made the right decision.
If you’d like to follow our journey through this challenging process, I will be posting brief progress reports as time allows.