Remember when I wrote about the Emotional Brain Training program that I’ve been working on lately? The program is essentially a course in taking 2-minute meditations throughout the day to evaluate our emotional state and using easy tools to improve or enhance those states, with the underlying assumption that we have different parts of our brain that get triggered by different scenarios.
Another program has come into my life in that past week in the form of a book called Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer. This book is from 2009 and I originally discovered it when I was at the San Francisco World Veg Festival last October. At the time, I remember flipping through this book and the salesperson telling me that it was very good, but ultimately selecting another book that has since been forgotten. I can even see the Clutter Busting book in this picture I snapped of the booth:
I must not have been in the right place to buy this book at the time, but I kept thinking about it afterwards and was able to track down the book weeks later, ever after forgetting the title and author. I’m not one to believe in fate, but I do believe in the order of the universe and that there is meaning and opportunity around us when we are in the right place to discover it.
So, once I contacted the right people who could tell me which book it was that I had flipped through at the Festival and was now calling my name, I bought it on Amazon. You are expecting me to say I read it cover to cover the very same night I received it, aren’t you? Nope, that’s not what happened. The book then sat in my reading basket for months. I didn’t even pick it up to thumb through it again. It was as if I knew what it was going to say and I wasn’t ready to hear it yet.
Finally, last week, I was ready. I picked up this book and did end up reading it cover to cover and, again, cover to cover, in the matter of about 5 days. Truly, I am not exaggerating when I say that my life started to change when I was reading this book. It was as if it were written for me in words that were comforting and direct. I even e-mailed the author simply to tell him how brilliant he is (he e-mailed me back the very same day to say thank you).
Although the book takes the form of examples, advice and guidance for how to remove clutter from your home, it is ultimately a book about taking advantage of life and getting rid of things, people, ideas, beliefs, habits, etc. that are weighing you down and holding you back from living in the moment. While I did end up de-cluttering my house and making 4+ trips to Goodwill, I made the connection to other parts of my life immediately, including my habit to use food to comfort myself and my tendency to overeat during periods of stress.
The combination of working on my self-esteem, being aware of my emotions, loosening my tight grip of anxiety and perfectionism in my life, letting go of things that no longer serve me is affecting every single part of my life. It is scary and sometimes brings me to tears when I feel the emptiness of things and thoughts I have let go, but it is also about renewal, vibrancy and living a life that I want for myself. My tears of fear now turn to tears of joy.
The night before last, I wasn’t hungry so I did not eat dinner. I did not starve. Yesterday, I was hungry after dinner so I made a delicious peanut butter soft-serve and enjoyed every bite. On Saturday, I yearned for fresh, fresh food so I made a raw salad with spiraled vegetables and a very simple dressing of avocado blended with tomato and cilantro:
Cilantro Tomato Dressing
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup fresh tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup coconut vinegar
Combine ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Add more vinegar if necessary to blend.
This was the simplest salad with just the spiralized vegetables with the dressing:
My appetite came back yesterday so I made a bigger salad that included sweet potato, chopped walnuts, romaine, crumbled tempeh, kiwi and more spiralized veggies:
These past few weeks since I have been getting back in touch with my emotions have been among the happiest and most peaceful I can remember. The tools have always been there, it was up to me to use them. Ultimately, I am grateful for the inner strength I am building and the ability to recognize the great things in my life and feel like I can thrive.
Are you thriving? If yes, please share your tools. If not, why not? I’m sending you hugs and warm thoughts for your journey.