On the last few days of my trip, as I contemplated my return to the ‘real world’, I realized what a truly special gift I had been given. For these 10 days, I was transported out of my everyday world. Work and home responsibilities were carrying on without me, and, due to infrequent internet access, I spent far less time and energy on email and Facebook. I was virtually (and literally) on an island far away from my everyday routine.
I was reminded of a show I used to watch called ‘Clean Sweep’. The premise of the show was that a couple submits a desperate plea for help to overcome extreme clutter in their home. The star of the show, Peter Walsh, an organizer extraordinaire, comes in to save the day – take this excessively overcrowded space and transform it.
The process was this: remove everything from the room (they quite literally took everything outside) and place it on one of three tarps: Keep, Donate and Trash. Only the Keep items were allowed back in the house, and only those that would fit on the tarp. Tough choices had to be made.
I realized that my Ireland trip was an opportunity to make a Clean Sweep in my life. I spent 10 days free of all my routines and habits and there was no reason I had to resume right where I left off. I could take this chance to look at how I typically spend my days and decide what to Keep, Donate and Trash, making purposeful decisions and not simply falling into old habits.
Take a look at what you and your family do in a typical day or week. Are there things that feed a chaotic, hectic lifestyle that you can put on the ‘Trash’ tarp? Are there some things you can ‘Donate’ – they’re still good/fun/useful, but no longer need to be a priority in your life? Think of the crowded, busy days of your life, and imagine paring them all down to what fits on one tarp instead of three. Can you picture this peaceful, focused existence? Mine is a work in progress, but I’m excited about the journey!