I feel like I’m eating my memories. As I downsize or “smartsize” our household what frees all the stuff is to tell the stories. Like when I encountered that opposition research report I created as a nineteen year old intern in DC. (You know I love politics right? — and it is always wise to do research on one’s opponents. It is part of what keeps democracy healthy:) Anyway at the time it all felt deliciously subversive. Still kind of does. But once I told our ten year old Coleman all about my time working in our Nation’s capital I could just pull out the plastic spine and toss that report in the recycle bin.
I already enjoyed all of these experiences the first time around but now I get to savor each momento and release them: trusting that they are alive in me. There is no buffer. No box that houses them. I have to be the one who lives like she is filled up by all the goodness, challenges, and love I’ve known.
Honestly I feel so grateful as I sift through the past: vision boards, old photos, cards and well wishes. A tender box full of notes from friends and family on our wedding. Even my old Peace Corps address book — full of names and details. It is amazing the layers of life we have unearthed.
Amazing and a bit overwhelming, especially here at the end. Rich and I keep looking at each other and saying: “Let’s never do this again.” Meaning let’s never live buffered and buffeted by so much stuff that it is this exhausting to find our way out. Going forward we want to be nimble and live with a lighter footprint.
Which isn’t to say that the fierce downsize is right for everyone. I have friends who create nests padded with gorgeous fuzzy throws and layers of books and treasures which feel just right to be in. Like their whole home is their art. And I enjoyed making home art too for a season.
But every family gets to create their own culture and values to live by — a process which changes and grows over time if we let it. The important thing is to not let the relationship to the stuff trump your relationship to your own wellspring — to that inner invitation and your willingness to say yes to it.
And as I say adios to this home and prepare to receive another in its stead, some things have surprised me:
I find myself saying goodbye with a real feeling of tenderness to the flora and fauna of this micro eco-system. I have long had a fondness for the family of lizards which share my yard with me — craggy, horny-toad looking specimens that remind me of West Texas. And I find myself petting and whispering to the regal ivy plant which has shared my office with me from its perch at the top of the bookshelf.
Also I’m already craving things that I don’t even really eat now but that I know will be hard to come by in Nicaragua: like a nutella sandwich on gluten free bread. Anticipatory nostalgia.
Other surprises include yoga in my underwear. The clothing situation (living out of a suitcase and cleaning and sorting the rest of my clothes for donation) means that I have no idea where my yoga pants are at any given time. So rather than skip the midday stretch when I need it I have taken to stripping down. It’s easier that way. Honestly I think that is how the original yogis practiced anyway.
Lastly I am surprised by my insatiable desire for jumpsuits from Anthropologie. I’m sporting one in the video above from San Miguel. (Kicks happen when your retreat photographer brings out your silly side.) It seems to be all I want to pack so if you see me in nothing but Anthro jumpsuits for the next two years on Instagram, now you know why.
And with this post I sign off for a couple of weeks while we make the move. I have however set up some Vintage Bird love (including a refresher on the Summer of Meditation Challenge) for you to enjoy while I’m winging my way south. Also I’d love to stay connected on Instagram and Facebook. And I’ll have lots more fun updates regarding where we land and how this is all taking shape on the flip side. Trust me, I got a big surprise this week and I’ll be so excited to share it with you!
For now I’m off to sort through the final boxes of high school photos. The kids saw my prom photo a couple of nights ago. They said it wasn’t too cringe-worthy, which I took to be a complement. Tonight’s challenge: turn six shoe boxes of pics into one. Here we go!
PS Have you found your sweet spot between a cozy nest and freedom? Or do you feel too far in one direction (like your stuff weighs down your choices) or the other (a rigid minimalist)? I’ve been on both ends of that spectrum and would love to hear! Also what helps you find your balance? I’ve created a new post over on FB on this topic so hop over there and share your thoughts. xo
At its core this is what my 8 step FLOURISH coaching program + book is all about: designing a life which supports you, rather than feeling like you have to push, strive, and hold it all together at home, work and everywhere else. If you are interested to learn more (this online program includes one on one coaching sessions with me and a special retreat in Nicaragua October 19-23!) schedule your complementary discovery session today. I’ve now opened up slots in July… be one of my first coaching calls in Nicaragua! I’d love to share how it is going and hear what is stirring for you. A Discovery Session is simply a conversation between the two of us. We start (as I always like to) with an exploration of where “the rub” or challenge is for you currently, which could be big or small. After I help you gain some clarity vis-a-vis a current day struggle I also share those coaching and retreat details and answer any questions you have. Together we determine if working together is a good fit. They are fun and open to anyone interested in exploring the retreat and/or coaching support. Grab one today! xo Courtney
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the creator of the 8 step FLOURISH Formula Coaching program and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram (a personality map), meditation, and mindbody practices to reduce stress as well as supporting busy women who want to unlock their greatest gifts and thrive in their personal lives. For about four more days she lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Interested to learn more? You can schedule your complimentary discovery session here.
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