Monday, February 25, 2013

Inspiration through Community & Decluttering

“We also need space for our ideas, and thoughts—a cluttered room usually leads to a cluttered mind. Say you’re sitting [on your couch]…and a truly profound thought captures your imagination…You’re deep in thought…when your gaze falls on [example of clutter]…your mind immediately takes a detour and your train of thought is lost…”

~ Francine Jay

            The above excerpt, from a newly favorite book “The Joy of Less”, perfectly describes how and why I had been creatively-stuck for months, late this last year, which I never fully understood until my lack of writing and organization, and being involved in community activities. Why you may ask?? Well, truthfully because my room was a bit cluttered; and my room is in fact my office, bedroom, herbal writing and business storage area, so you can imagine, it is hard to keep the craziness to a minimum. If there was a mess, I would let it be  believing in vain, that if I saw it I would deal with it sooner—I couldn’t be more wrong/or so I thought. After being so sick of my lack of accomplishing/concentration, and being stressed out by the subtle messes…I said enough is enough, and as part of my New Year’s resolution I decided to fix it. So once January rolled around, I slowly started going through each part of my small room, and decluttering, recycling, donating, storing and waiting on items.

            This decluttering really helped me be successful in all parts of my life again, writing, in community, work and even fun stuff! Why is doing this so important you may ask, besides the lack of finishing things….well, this fall I am planning on moving out (of my parents’ home), to be ‘out on my own’. Staying motivated enough to save money, make the major move for me, is quite hard, and to keep successfully moving along I have found being involved in my own personal, usually free/inexpensive things, have helped me see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, and show to myself, and parents, I can do it!

            So some anecdotes/explanation of this, which are well said by some simple-living quotes.

 “the secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing

 the capacity to enjoy less”~  Don Millman

            This quote I find particularly compelling because it plainly states, you’ll find happiness in less, so why try to fill the void you may have with things, and wasting time, and instead fill it with more purposeful, meaningful relationships, activities, pursuits, and whatever else you can! I know I have worked on this, which has helped me feel like I need to ‘fill something’, a lot less. Recently, I have become very involved in our local herbal guild the, NCHG, or North Country Herbalist Guild ( Also I have been attending the Minnesota Textile Centers ‘Basket Weaver’s Guild’; both of these are a day or two a month.

            Through my prioritizing my community involvement in a few things I am very passionate about, I thought I would share a quote with you that I read a while ago, which was quite moving. Someone stated that studies have been done where people being prepped for heart surgery were asked two questions, are you involved in community groups/activities, and do you have more than two close friends you spend time with often? (this is how I remember the story going). Those who answered no to both questions, were substantially less successful in surviving the surgery.

            To take this idea further, here are several excerpts from my all time favorite simplicity book “Less is More”, by Wanda Urbanska & Cecile Andrews. Cecile so eloquently states that, “ultimately simplicity is about knowing who you are, being clear about your values, understanding what brings true well-being”, so if you spend money, do it on something that will help, not hinder, these values and goals of yours. For example, if I want to go to an amazing herbal conference say next year, I will save a certain amount monthly (currently am), and accrue PTO from my job so it’s a double-plus! So if people are connected, these “relationships with others are at the heart of happiness…they’re happier, healthier and live longer” (Cecile Andrews), and evidence has been found that “companionship…contributes more to well-being than does income”, states the Yale political science professor, and author, Robert E. Lane. These two really hit home for me, I know I’d rather be happier VERSUS super financially well-off, but having few meaningful relationships!

            Lastly, if you really have a rough day, like I can working at a grocery store, so not buying anything, especially food, let alone very healthy food is hard! So when I am having a battle in my head of “to buy or not to buy”, I remember this hilarious but perfectly true/stated quote:

We think we have to have too much and worry about how we’re going to get it and getting it, and going into debt for it. Rather than doing without…I’m sure it would lead to a simpler life if we didn’t have to worry about the things we didn’t have”

~ Rosalynn Carter (Less is More book)
            As a final note: my blog shall be moving in a slightly different direction, in a broadening of sorts. Now all who are reading this I hope you have heard of the “father of Medicine”—Hippocrates. My reasoning as to why he has inspired, and assisted me in my ‘simplicity’ endeavor, is because of his most famous/quoted-saying “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”. Which explains why I will be including not just herbal medicine, recipes, adventures and conference information, but (as you have noticed) topics such as: food and ferment making, traditional food and in-season dishes; simplicity and inspiration; natural beauty; eco-friendly cleaning; crafts; resources; environmental; preserving and canning…to name most of them.
      And lastly as my best friend’s tumbler recently posted, a very perfect idea for me…


NOTE: soon to come is a blog literally on de-cluttering, and organizing! Can’t wait to show the before and after progress in pictures.


-“Less is More” book, by: Cecile Andrews, & Wanda Urbanska



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