Early morning on January 1, I boarded a plane to Mexico with my dog Lila and a backpack. In my backpack were mostly art supplies, a few clothes, and several months' worth of vitamins. It felt ... essential and light.
Later that afternoon, she and I moved into a TINY shack with a lush garden (think banana, avocado, papaya trees), a few minutes walk to a glorious sandy beach, strolling through a sweet, sweet village.
It took less than two hours to settle the contents of my backpack onto the few shelves, create an art corner, hang my clothes in the wooden armoire - and then start making a list of “what I had to buy in order to live here.”
A blender. Some glasses. A little bit of art. A tiny vacuum cleaner (weird, I know), and definitely, definitely some solar string lights to hang from the palapa.
Then of course, more clothes from the market. Because at less than $3 a dress, I “needed” a few new dresses. And plants. Which require dirt, fertilizer, and pots.
Oh… pots. The makeshift kitchen was super sweet but I needed a few pots. And pans. And a pairing knife. A wooden cutting board, too. For sure a lime squeezer.
Then I fell in love with macramé and holly smokes, rope, beads, wooden sticks from the beach moved in with us.
This was the gateway drug and I now have four sizes of crochet hooks, quite a bit of embroidery thread, and several colors of rope.
The shack was starting to look like a mad workshop/campsite and it really was some pretty darn happy few months, my soul fed by the green, green garden.
Still, even though my possessions would no longer fit into my backpack, I felt the deep peace of having only “the necessary stuff” around me.
Cleaning the house in the morning took me less than 10 minutes and there was so much, so much time to do other things than tend objects: move more slowly, breathe more deeply. A palpable sense of Freedom came from only being surrounded by objects that served me - or delighted me.
As the months passed and the temperature started to rise, it became tough to be inside during the day. The little home was slowly turning into an oven and I knew we needed to move.
A friend offered to rent me her home for the summer and I was looking forward to a “real” kitchen, shower, a proper bedroom, ceiling fans, and a dipping pool. AND air conditioning. AND lots more room to create.
On the day of the move, I was surprised by how much stuff I packed into my car, and even though nothing really seemed superfluous, I was once again aware of how easy it is to accumulate things. And how intentional we need to be to not lose our Freedom and Peace of Mind.
Living in Mexico continues to teach me daily how little I need to be happy. How “simple” feeds my soul. Beauty, too. And how committed I am to keeping that balance of having enough things to create the life I want, but no more than that so as not to snuff out the joy.
I love the challenge and the dance it asks me to do.
A few weeks ago, from the United States, Maryn told me that she wanted to inspire more people to move towards that Freedom, that Peace of Mind. Living in a home with her family during the quarantine had given her even more awareness of the importance of Lightening Up!
She asked me what I thought of creating a mini Lighten Up! course, combined with a challenge. An invitation to support each other towards … less. Less things - more joy.
I appreciated the idea a whole lot and was thrilled to see her create it, knowing the power of making space in our lives, in our minds, having re-committed to it, even more, myself, in the last few months.
For those of you who are ready for a cleanse, a breather, a re-set, I strongly invite you to take a mini-course, and the challenge.
The space this will open in your mind, your life, and your schedule may surprise you. As well as the magic that will follow.
So here I am, all settled into a lovely home, protected from the mid-day heat and getting ready to create some more. I am so glad I brought my paints!
I wish you a peaceful, beautiful rest of today - and would love to hear from you.