On De-clutttering Your Mind + Space: Let The Light Shine In

Are we really what we eat? Well, not only. We are what we say. What we do. The things we don’t do … and I’ve been exploring ways to shift my mindset outside of food. Do you think of your overall health as more than what you eat, or do you find yourself constantly hung up on the next meal or bite? 

I know, for the recipe lady who cooks and annoyingly reminds her small but faithful audience, “eat the rainbow, feel like a rainbow!” - real food is not the only thing I’m pushing these days. Food and cooking will do wonders for you, there’s no doubt, but a life of thinking health is the exclusive result of food, cooking and exercise is antiquated - and I don’t wanna carry old beliefs around like yesterday’s fashions. Although I will always love the comfort of track suits and the freedom of wearing a 90’s-esque babydoll dress when I’m PMS’ing and bloated. Two outdated fashions I consider my forever friends. 

I digress. 

Ever feel like your brain is a little jumbled and it’s hard to make changes? A little anxious? I know. Me too. I also know my best health as a human being is when I feel like I have space to be me, but sometimes it takes a swift kick in the a$$ to get going. Taking small, realistic, actionable steps this past weekend helped motivate me to move forward and it meant thinking about a lot more than food. It actually meant stepping out of my kitchen.

My mind and home were in serious need of a major shift. I was too down on myself to keep going further down the rabbit hole of down … I was finally angry at myself for being stuck. I said it, I was stuck. Stuck in my brain. Gross. Get me out. Know the feeling? 

Sick of being stuck, on Saturday morning I decided to wake and make a list. Scary … Um, yeah.

I realized thinking about everything I wanted to do, everything I had been feeling, holding it in my brain and continually putting it ALL off was WAY MORE DAUNTING than writing it down and ACTUALLY TAKING SOME ACTION.

I decided I’d start with 5 things and turn my phone off so I wouldn’t get sidetracked. Manageable, right? Yes, quite so without distractions and interruptions. 

  1. Gather clothes and donate

  2. Grocery shop

  3. Shred paperwork

  4. Clean apartment

  5. Do something creative and non-food related

None of the above seemed like a big deal once I wrote it down. Floating in my mind after a summer of weekends out of town, birthday gatherings, late nights with Luke Cage as I laid in avoidance town - aka my couch … the things I wanted to do seemed a lot bigger than they actually were. My mental health was questionable and not even an unlimited supply of hugs could fix it, nor could green juice - it was up to me. 

As humans, feeling like poo can happen when we're unorganized, unsettled and cluttered. How are we supposed to move forward when we're weighted down with stuff and thoughts? Physical items and unspoken feelings can truly result in us feeling disconnected from ourselves and others - it's true. 

I was sleeping in my apartment, but not LIVING there. My mind was on all of these things while I worked, Netflix numbed and over-socialized to avoid … making … the … to … do … list …  

Do you feel me? Do you relate? If so, keep reading.  

After I accomplished items 1-4 on the aforementioned list, I took a break with a turkey wrap, corn chips, cucumbers, salsa and a glass of mandarin orange seltzer - followed by 2 squares of dark chocolate - to be exact. I was riding high on cloud nine and Dave Matthews Band when I looked around, took a deep breath and realized I felt physically lighter in my space. 

I walked in to the kitchen, did the dishes, put away my cleaning supplies and proceeded to walk over to my writing desk. Item #5 awaited my attention. 

As I stepped into my living room I could see the sun flooding my green carpet, the ceramic bird perched on my windowsill covered in a subtle shine - the walls glowing with hope. The sun, quite perfectly, enveloped the desk. That very sunlight was the reason I put the desk in my living room begin with - so light could shine on me as I write while spreading a little more light in the world. At least that was my intention 6 years ago.

The writing desk where I have not written in quite some time, was quite beat up. The sunlight it sat in became, instead, a poison that bathed the desk itself. I could see the looming dust, nail polish stains, nail polish remover paint burns. The placemat I bought in Nice, covering a few of the marks but not all of them. The rim of dust that sat on the periphery of the placemat, sure to form a perfect square were I to remove said placemat from its strategic placement. 

It was easier to ignore my desk than deal with it. Easier to ignore than deal with writing everything that has been on my heart and in my mind. In the last 6 months, I’d clean my living room and avoid the desk. 

I couldn’t remember the last time I sat there. My moment of reckoning would be inescapable if I approached it, cleaned it and then wrote. By not confronting the desk I could keep making excuses to go to a coffee shop and write but never to completion because it’s too loud. I could continue to sit on the couch with my laptop and not commit to writing because I’d doze instead, of course. That ... couch … so … soft … 

It was an uninspiring piece of faux-wood, that desk, and I was living in excuse town with a one way ticket to not getting $hit done ever. Because what’s inspiring about a jenky desk covered in a film of dirt and stains? Um, not much.

In the spirit of doing something with my hands (hi, my name is Tina and I love to craft and draw) and confronting #5 on my list - I took out my crafting glue, paper cutter, and a book of 365 inspiring quotes that had been sitting on my library shelf.

In that moment I decided I was going to give my desk new life by affixing to it the words of others, you know, in hopes of getting inspired again. In hopes of writing, remembering I’m allowed to dream and make things because we forget. Our mind tells us that’s the way it is, life is life and other things are more important than caring about our creativity, our physical and mental health.

We live in a state of placing excuses and the needs of others well ahead of our own. Don’t lie, you know you do too … 

Are you avoiding something lately? Your creativity? A closet? Your kitchen? The proverbial monsters under your bed? Be honest. I just told you about my broke a$$ desk, dust, claims to write and issues with avoidance.

The greatest lesson I learned from substitute teaching 5 year olds is that, at one point, we were all curious, wanted more and created things. We made semi-terrible art, wrote about flying snakes and dreamed of cars with human legs that walked on clouds high up in the sky. Didn’t you? I did.

We grow up and stop caring for this very part of ourselves. We get bogged down.

Well, not me, not anymore. 
And not you, if I can help it. 

So, make your list. What’s on your mind? Write down 5 things you haven’t done in your home but you know you need to do. Then, you know what? I WANT YOU TO DO THEM!

You’ll feel better if you do something you’ve wanted to do and get it done. Maybe it’s a phone call you’re putting off? Cleaning the pantry or swapping out your summer for fall clothes? A letter to a friend, mailing an unsent card or writing one to someone you love just because? 

Your best health waits on the other side of motivating yourself to move forward. 

Mentally, Saturday's exercise was raw. I said no to plans. I chose me. Upon completing the desk, I washed the glue off my hands, sat in my robe and stared into space for a little while. Sunday morning rolled around and I wrote. Then Monday morning came - and I wrote some more.

What’s on your mind? What’s in your heart? 

Despacito, love bugs.

Little by little you can make any change you wish, mind and body. 

Will the process be perfect, of course not, duh. Spoiler alert: nothing is ever perfect. But doing something and choosing to begin is way better than doing nothing at all.