The last few years I have watched wistfully as people moved away: Perl’s best friend from kindergarten took off for Australia. A friend from our Montessori co-op moved to the UK. A soul sister took off for West Texas.
Each time I was around in those final days before departure and was surprised to note a stirring within myself: a little voice which seemed to chime up: “take me with you!” or “I want to pack it up and start over too!”
After a few years sitting with this desire I think I have begun to decode it. (Soul desires can be a bit opaque you know. They take time to unravel…or maybe I am just slow.)
Now that I have started to travel more (part one of the soul longing) I have realized another big piece to what I was craving in those moments: the shedding. The purging. The deep to the bones organizational overhaul which comes with a big move.
During Peace Corps, grad school and the first few years of marriage I moved 8 times in 7 years. Stressful for sure, but each move also forced me to look hard at every object in my possession and to discern if it warranted being invited into my new home.
I haven’t had to do that deep organizational dive since we bought our first house when I was pregnant with baby number 3. Who is now almost 5 years old.
It is time.
Three trips later I’m working on another trunkful of donations for a local charity.
Next up I’m tackling those sentimental items. You know the boxes of photos from Nicaragua, the slippers my Granny croqueted that really aren’t that comfortable. I’m feeling brave.
My big aha came when I realized that if I have too much stuff, the best organizational system in the world won’t keep my home free from clutter. Only I can do that with a loving, holy edit.
There is a great parallel here to creating the space in your schedule to meditate. It is going to feel really good. Like lots of smooth surfaces in your home and easy access to your favorite items.
A regular meditation practice generates the equivalent of zen clean countertops in your brain.
But first you may need to get under the cabinets, pull out all the stuff, and see what you really want to keep and lose the rest.
So let’s make some space for a new practice in your schedule and life.
Want to know the best place to start? Dirty yesses. Do you have something on your calendar you said yes to and really meant no… its ok to change your mind. You get to be human too. And truthfully you are doing nobody any favors to show up resentful or exhausted. (Yes other people can tell. And yes I have been there!)
Or simpler still look at the “hinge” points in your schedule. Where could you tuck in a 10-20 minute breather? While I’m pretty hardcore about my morning meditation after I drop the kids off at school– I’ll be honest I’m still working on the transition time before I pick them up.
Usually I’m finishing an email up to the last second and munching a snack as I throw the car in reverse. This is not life-giving. Or not as life-giving as it might be.
I’m learning to turn off the computer twenty minutes before I need to go: to tidy up my home office, put the books back on the shelf, and make a cup of tea for the road. I don’t do it every day but I sure recognize the difference when I do. (Maybe some day I’ll even add a second meditation session. Wouldn’t that be nice? for me + my kids:)
As we gear up for the summer of meditation challenge– consider this your first invitation:
If there is anything you can clean off your schedule– go for it! Or maybe you want to begin to notice those hinge points in your schedule where you might claim 10-20 minutes.
These small steps will make it that much easier to feel your way into the space to meditate.
But please don’t hurt yourself here. I’m not asking you to do a total schedule overhaul. Instead think turtle steps. Small changes can create big shifts.
Are you ready?
PS Please share this challenge with your friends + family! Social accountability is a wonderful way to move into a new practice so reach out to a buddy and see if they will join you for the Summer of Meditation Challenge which begins on June 5th! If you need some help clearing the clutter in your mind, home, or schedule or stepping through roadblocks which have blocked your meditation practice before grab a DIY Coaching session and let’s help you come up with a simple, livable plan. xo
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.
Join the Summer of Meditation Challenge Here! (psst if you signed up last year you are already on the list. We are growing our numbers. Imagine a world full of meditators + please share with a pal! xo)