Yesterday, as I carted home yet another piece of my mother’s furniture. I had to admit to myself that I am not doing very well in Simplifyingthe simplifying department!  When the calendar turned over, and 2017 began, I placed the intention to begin downsizing and simplifying front and center in my mind.  I had begun to feel the weight of the stuff I still carried with me, and I knew it was time.  Now, with only 3 short months until the next turn of the calendar year,  I am keenly aware that I’ve fallen short of my own expectations.

Reflecting on this situation today, I am reminded that while progress may not be evident on the outside, the intentions we hold work behind the scenes in our unconscious even when we are not working in the world. In truth, this is an essential part of the process of real and lasting change. An idea arises. We grab it, take a look at it, consider its merits and then decide whether to hold on to it or toss it aside. If we hold on to it, then we must either begin preparations to act or act. If we do not, the idea will keep reappearing until we let go of it or do it. Stating our intention is only the first step in a very long process that brings about the final outcome. This is the nature of change or transformation.


To effect change we must let our ideas sink down and become anchored within us. Then the wheels of progress will be set in motion. An idea in the mind must find support in the heart in order for the will to push it forward.  When we stall out it is because we are unconsciously blocking our forward motion. We are, in essence, sabotaging our own success.  Unless we become aware of the block and work through it, we will remain stuck. We will not be able to bring our ideas and intentions into the concrete world.

SimplifyMy intention was and still is a good one.  I did not bring it into the physical world, however, because unconsciously I was avoiding the pain of letting go. In order to shed the excess in my world, I must face layers and layers of loss. Simplifying is often more about our willingness to grieve and let go than it is the time and effort to psychically sort and toss.

In my home, I am surrounded by things of the past; my children’s belongings still buried in closets, unfinished projects awaiting my attention, boxes of my mother’s belongings, and so much more. It’s so much easier to push ahead into the future than to bury the past.  But, when we avoid letting go, we end up carrying weighty baggage that clutters our interior landscape as much as our exterior one. In time, life begins to feel overwhelming, frantic and/or unmanageable.


The past year has not been wasted. Holding the intention allowed me and my psyche to lay the groundwork, to prepare myself for the grieving process. There is no value in beating ourselves up over unaccomplished intentions. It’s not only a diversion from the real issue, but a waste of time and energy.  Instead, I choose to bring the attention into my awareness more and more frequently. As I hold it loosely and turn toward it, my unconscious continues to set the stage for action.

This may sound like a whole lot of unnecessary psycho-babble to you, but it is important to understand that there is much going on within us that is outside of our conscious awareness. When we use it to our advantage, instead of our destruction, we step into the flow of life rather than fighting against it, or ourselves.

Has an idea come into your mind, perhaps again and again,
calling for your attention and intention?

© Dorothy Sander 2017

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4 Replies to “SIMPLIFYING & DOWNSIZING ~ Getting Real!”

  1. Your title says simplifying and downsizing – with good intention. When we moved last year, my husband and I got rid of 1/3 of our stuff and a significant amount of furniture wouldn’t fit into with our open-concept new space. Since then, my aunt died, and my sisters and I have cleared out and sold her home, each of us claiming some special objects.

    Your post made me think that in all of the hullaballoo we were not able to fully grieve the loss of Aunt Ruthie who has passed from being a centerpiece of our lives to now being an ancestor. However, before I beat myself up too much, I think we were actively grieving her loss little by little in the long decline brought on by age and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Your post helped me clarify my feelings about the events of the last year or so – getting real. Thanks, Dorothy.

    1. You’ve had some year, Marian! There is only so much our poor little psyches can take in the processing arena. We have to be able to keep going and if our heart breaks wide open it becomes more difficult. Time is our friend. We grieve as we are able. I did not grieve nearly as much as I expected when my mother died, but her going was rather long and drawn out. So like your dear Aunt Ruthie, we grieved her bit by bit so the actual end was not as harsh. We do the best we can, and I hope you continue to think twice about beating yourself up about anything. You are a shining star in this world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Dorothy

  2. Sometimes, the grief I feel for a family member, the past, or myself disappears when I address the buried things around me: books I don’t read, my children’s old toys, damaged furniture that just needs to be fixed. I discovered a large plastic box in my bedroom filled with papers from two houses ago.

    I started a process about 5 years ago of downsizing my stuff and preparing my own estate. I’m doing much better in some areas of that than others. And there are setbacks, too. I can’t decide how to ship my mother’s Christmas decorations to my children, for one.

    So, thank you, Dorothy Sander! What a great reminder for me to move ahead with all my plans for downsizing.

    1. It’s a back and forth process, isn’t it, Christy. You let go, you grieve, you let go, you feel freer because the grieving has gone with it and vice versa. You’re proactive efforts are an ongoing inspiration to me. Thank you for that. Shipping is always a problem, especially if it’s a large item, or breakable. Might you drive them out? Give you a chance to see the country! West coast, right?

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