Leprechauns & Tornadoes

One thing that definitely does not relate to simplicity is lying awake at night and running through things in your mind over and over. It’s after 3:30AM and I woke from a strange dream – I was living in impoverished conditions. My husband was gone and I was 4B4CCD6B-718D-4812-B64B-195834CB355Dcrying over a photo of an Irish claddagh ring (we both have one). I’d gotten word that someone I knew from long ago had died, and I was watching the large autumn-hued trees in front of our house sway violently with a coming storm. I felt melancholy and was fearing a tornado at the same time (which I inevitably dream when I am overwhelmed by something in life). Then three leprechauns forced in the front door to take my son with them (we don’t have a son) but I was left crying as they dragged him through the front door with tales of Irish shenanigans and drinking, which I knew in my heart were lies and that I would not see him again.

Fast forward to the dog scratching and chewing her foot under the bed and I’m awake, rubbing my eyes and thinking back over this crazy dream. What does it mean?

I am a firm believer that our dreams are a subconscious way of working things out in our minds as we rest and our bodies repair. Not in the way that folks look things up in “dream books” to find out that if you dream of your teeth falling out then “money is coming” or other silly notions that don’t make any sense or have any relevance to what’s happening in your real life and mind. No, I mean unpacking the elements of a dream specifically related to what’s happening in your own life. What things could represent, what is bothering you, why, and how to resolve it.

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While very clearly there seems to be a fear, or threat, of things being taken away from me – I find it funny that I have been contemplating another deep purge of items in our home. However, truly, I don’t have a huge attachment to things, so I know that I am not worried about losing “stuff.” I know that I am not fearing losing my family for any reason, so that is out. So what am I losing? Or what have I lost that I am mourning in my life?  Time.  I have also been feeling overwhelm and chaos, as well, in my schedule, in our home (there are a lot of projects being worked on, decisions to be made, upcoming purchases of construction materials…)

I have been wrestling with my age. I have never cared before, but reached a landmark this year that suddenly has me thinking (totally uninvited) of mortality, and noticing changes, more aches and pains, the dryness of my skin, the battle of – do I keep coloring my hair? (I’m so tired of it and it seems like one more unneeded expense) – the fear of time slipping away… the more I think about this dream, the more I’m pretty sure this is it. Things are changing. We’re not getting any younger. My youth is being dragged away and I am in the Autumn of my life.  Worry about the chaos – and will I ever overcome it in this lifetime? – as I watch those trees sway and fear the storm that’s coming.

Yes. This sounds a lot more like what’s going on in my psyche, and not really about tornadoes and leprechauns… so I lay here, and pray, before falling back to sleep. Giving over my worries, my weariness, and my aches and pains, to my Father in Heaven. And I feel better knowing that there’s a lot more left in this girl. Lots of plans, lots of dreams (real-life ones!) and so much more to explore and to offer in my life.

Glad I woke from this seemingly nonsensical dream so I could begin to discern how to use it to my advantage in my waking hours.

For now, back to my prayer time and (hopefully) back to sleep before the alarm goes off in one hour. Good night, and sweet dreams!

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Everything With A Place

For those of you who are born organizers this is likely your favorite part of simple living. Some of you, in fact, may be ready for this “final” step to minimalism right now… Having everything in its place. Ahhh… the ultimate goal! I will humbly admit that I am not there yet. I’m still languishing somewhere around the minimize your possessions mark. But I’ve got big dreams and I have a vision of what this will be for my home and family.

I am well-aware of the freeing sense of well-being and peace that having a place for everything  could bring for each of us. Who among us has not looked at the interior of an Amish or Mennonite home, practical homestead, Swedish lifestyle, or a bare-bones Japanese high-rise capsule apartment, each having everything in its own place. These folks have learned to adapt to their needs with few possessions and a logical place for every one that they do have. Each item can be readily found when it is needed and goes back to its designated spot until its next use.

Oh, how often I have uttered the words, “Where is my..? Have you seen the…? Don’t we have a (fill in the blank) …somewhere!??” If only I had it “all together” and everything in its place. My ultimate goal is to live efficiently. I dream of clear spaces and a simple system for finding what I need, when I need it.

Right now I am still just trying to get rid of what I don’t need, before I start to think I need it!

For me, everything in its place conjures up visions of my in-law’s garage – with Sharpie marker outlined tools, all in their proper place, on a pegboard. This is almost comical to me because I know that my husband did this in his younger days while still living at home. (He does exhibit a bit of OCD tendencies!) But at this time in our life, our garage certainly does not have any such organization. (Truth be told, feel free to apply those previous questions about “don’t we have one?” here!)

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So, when I get there, I’m hoping that having everything in its place will generate the peaceful surroundings I dream of. Creating more margin in my days by caring for less items, no longer searching for what I need, knowing what I’m running out of, and living happily with far less stress for myself and my family.

pexels-photo-909256.jpegI may giggle at the marker-outlined hand tools, but wouldn’t it be nice to grab that set of pliers, use them, and then toss them right back on the board all within a handful of moments?  Instead of giving it considerable thought for 20 minutes before moving four boxes to find an actual tool box, then rifling through it to realize it’s the wrong one… Moving more boxes, other tools, recyclables (that didn’t make it out the last time the truck came because you were disorganized, busy, and forgetful) and still you cannot find either one of the pliers you know should be there?

S – Spend less.

I – Identify your priorities.

M – Minimize possessions.

P – Plan ahead.

L – Let go.

E – Everything with a place.

Here’s to praying that with time and effort we can each, eventually, reach that place of peace, comfort, and ease of organization in our own homes, workplaces, and lives. I am dreaming this for you, as well as for myself, my friend. We are all in this struggle together.

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