Cleaning up after a party:

“Where did this come from?”   Shrug. “Doesn’t belong me.”

Those leftover things that don’t belong to you. Sometimes it’s a sweater. A cake plate. Eyeglasses. Or an umbrella or gloves – if you live in certain regions of the US. It’s probably happened in your house. It’s sure happened at our house.

Since we’ve been sheltering at home and have had zero parties, dinners, or groups, the questions about leftover items have diminished. We’ve donated lots of our clothes, books, kitchen items, etc. that we just don’t use or need.

I’m also finding more and more old ideas, phrases, and outdated thinking that no longer belong to me or that I don’t need. I’ve let go of stuff like “No pain, no gain.” “Work first, then play.” “Worrying proves you care.” “Don’t rock the boat.”

Got rid of ’em. Out. 86’d.

Cleaning Out the Closet of Old Ideas:

Periodically I still “clean out the closet” of old ideas/descriptions that don’t fit. Can you think of a shirt or top or dress that just would never fit you again but you just couldn’t get rid of it? It took up space in the closet, got dusty, it was in the way getting to what you really wanted. But it had cost so much, or it reminded you of….  Then one day either the hanger broke or the dress ripped, or you actually took it off the rack and tossed it. Finally – you got rid of it. You could see clearly what you did have. And created space for better stuff.

Same thing with ideas.

  • Get rid of “poverty thinking,” (I’ll never get out of debt; I won’t get hired for that event; I can’t afford that car).
  • Draft a new emotional budget- add more line items to the Mad, Sad, Bad, Scared list. Like: Delighted, Happy, Proud, Enthused, Excited, Courageous, Giddy, Angry, Patient, Loving, Friendly.
  • Stop trying to make everyone in your life happy. (Crazy, huh? Also impossible.)
  • Cease saying yes when your heart says no.

 Using Different Behaviors So It Works

  • Count to 10
  • Refrain from speaking until I count to 10 or take a time-out.
  • Agree to disagree.
  • Go to bed when I’m tired.
  • Eat three healthy meals a day- sitting at a table, not standing in front of the open refrigerator.
  • Take a nap.
  • Declare a moratorium on news, negative conversations.
  • Do something playful every day.
  • Ban multi-tasking.
  • Do nothing. What? Do nothing. That was the hardest. I had been personally, professionally, and culturally complimented on being a multi-tasker. If the attribute came with headaches, stomachaches, and a certain irritability, so be it. I was a grandmaster multi-tasker. When it hurt too much I began to change with baby step actions.

Start Cutbacks

I slowly reduced watching TV and checking emails, while doing my nails to just watching TV. Not quite doing nothing, but getting there.

  • Learning to say no. Repeating saying no.
  • Being willing to “Talk low, walk slow, and don’t say too much.” ~ John Wayne
  • Not responding to any devices for a set amount of time.
  • Breathing a lot easier. Finding it easier to laugh. And lots more.

What helps you toss those “things” that don’t belong?

Coming Soon blog. Lounging, the Easier Way to Do Nothing

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she’s writing to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it, and sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and anywhere there’s a Zoom mic.