Having a break from your regular life, by going away, gives you perspective. It gives you a chance to miss (or not) your friends, pets and family and your belongings.  When you return – you look differently at things and people, because you realize that you didn’t miss it/them or perhaps they were all you thought about (your bed, your lover, your dog).

I am getting my house ready to sell, so we are having to get rid of a lot of things – and I have found it so much easier to get rid of things, following my distance from them.  I realize that I don’t need these things that I have not thought about in weeks.

I began a strategy a few years ago of keeping a small laundry basket in the back of my closet.  When I found a piece of clothing that I didn’t like any more, I put it in the basket. When the basket was full, I put it in a garbage bag in the basement.  If I don’t go looking for any of the things in that bag in 6 months, I take it to Goodwill.  If I find myself revisiting (weight gain/loss or a party etc), I’d take out that piece of clothing and tied the bag back up again!

This two-step process has been helpful with my kids toys too, as they grow – I notice what they are not playing with, and I take it to the basement.  If they don’t ask for it or wonder about it, for 6 months, off it goes. This year, I have actively involved them in the process of parring down their belongings, because we are going to be moving to a smaller house when this place sells and because it’s easier to keep less stuff tidy!

When I was in Peru, we had a conversation about the importance of jettisoning the things (and if possible the people) that don’t bring you joy.  I have definitely noticed my tolerance level for bad behavior from people, especially those who are new to me, has dropped since I disentangled myself from someone who was verbally abusive.  I will not live in that situation and I will not tolerate it.  Being around angry people who blame you, being around people who complain – yet do nothing to address the situation, being around people who behave badly and blame it on others or their pain, are not people who I want to surround myself with any more. As a mother, I also feel it’s vital to live my values – to act in accordance with what I say and believe is important.

The last few days, while my kids were with their father, I have spent time with friends, back here in Cleveland, catching up on fall plans, summer romances and summer travels.  We sat on the grass at Blossom and shared delicious homemade potato salad and dips and tequila from Mexico. A few days later, I sat on the patio with a bunch of girlfriends as we prepared to say good bye to a mutual friend.  I told them this is my new plan – to get rid of things/people that don’t bring me joy.  One of my friends said that seemed rather lofty, and why should so much of my life bring me joy. So I talked about how I see things.

When I separated from my husband and re-established MY-self again, I realized that I had spent years being an unhappy person, with occasional periods of happiness in the last few years of my marriage.  What I have now returned to is my usual self – a happy person with occasional periods of unhappiness.  When I open my email, or receive a text message/email, I am excited – someone is reaching out to me.  If it doesn’t make me feel that way, I am un-subscribing, blocking the sender, un-friending that person.  Life’s too short, baby.

When I got to the yoga studio last night, there was a rose waiting for me.  I assumed it was from my beloved friend who teaches the earlier class… but it was not.  I asked the usual suspects, but no one ‘fessed up.  So, today, as I write, in my less cluttered home, and look at this beautiful dusty pink rose, I am filled with joy.  My kids return to me for a week, the sun is shining and someone…  is thinking about me!

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Copyright 2015, Tamsin Astor, YogaBrained LLC.