In the “Living Lean and Green” workshop I facilitated yesterday, we explored what it means to work hard at meeting your needs of today without compromising your ability to meet your needs in the future.

Taking a look at what you Want (and don’t want!), what you Needs (the basics – food clothing and shelter) and what you Have (blessings, credentials, talents) can reveal some insight into what you have on your plate and why. The big picture tools necessary for a values realignment as the foundation for decluttering your life can uncover revelations and affirmations.

One of the tools is to make quick decisions about releasing stuff when you are cleaning up and cleaning out a space, a project or a relationship. Decide in 3 seconds to keep, donate or throw away a tangible item – trust your gut feelings! Ideally it has to be memorable, useful and/or beautiful – 2 out of 3 – to be a keeper. Sometimes an item, especially if it was a gift, can be so memorable and NOT so beautiful or useful but the memorable element of the item trumps the 2 out of 3 rule. Perhaps the gift was given with abundant sincerity, the back story is intriguing or the 1000% right thing to do is to keep it.

For sure it is way more complicated than the 2 out of 3 rule to make decisions for tasks, projects, committees and other work/home responsibilities. And certainly no “declutter recipe” can take into account all the interesting and challenging variables in working to reevaluate, redefine or release a friendship. That’s a different workshop – we’d need days 🙂

But what if it really is that easy – to release a friendship that you once viewed as valuable by whatever measure seemed right at the time? The gut check, the quick comparison to your values, and an instant answer to “Do I want or need this friendship?” assessment can serve to clarify and refine a decision with laser focus. Is the friendship memorable, useful and/or beautiful? A sincere, meaningful, intriguing gift? Or a convenience, an afterthought or an impulse buy? Hmmm….Ah, getting deep on this Day of Love!

In the end, perhaps everything has an expiration date, a timeline for its usefulness…even a well-intended gift can lose meaning or memory, purpose or pleasure.  The best gifts I have ever received have been invisible – time, care, unconditional support – or handmade with intentional love and careful thought. Simple gifts, lasting beyond their shelf date.

‘Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free

‘Tis a gift to come ’round where we ought to be

And when we are in a place just right

We will be in the valley of love and delight

When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed

To turn, to turn will be our delight

And by turning, turning we come ’round right.

~”Simple Gifts”, Shaker Song, 1848 (Gratitude to the Girl Scouts at Camp Northwoods in Mason, WI for teaching me this Simple Song and the Simple Dance)

Have a Nothing New Valentine’s Day! ~Kristin


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