Less Is More

So, every new year, like many, I set an intention. My intention for 2012 didn’t actually come to me until I was well into the year because I basically lacked the integrity needed around setting a single intention that I would commit to for the entire year. The year got going and I found myself busy as usual, packing in everything. I was still intention-less, or unintentional. I began to notice in my everyday conversations with friends and family a constant theme, ‘there’s no time’, & ‘I’m too busy’. I was not an exception. What do you mean, you/I don’t have time? This is an excuse, plain & simple. We navigate our lives and make time for what we want. Everything is a choice. Everything. Its interesting how when one wants something to happen, time will miraculously appear. Before I share what my focus will be this year, I’ll share with you what I intended last year…

Last year, I decided that this was going to be the year to create more abundance. Not focusing on what I have, but how to create more space, which ultimately creates more time. To me abundance boils down to time. Not just as a unit of measurement, but quality time. Like the kind where every little moment counts. I got to this intention from my experience of what I learned and how I felt from 2011. For those of you who don’t know me, I was a ‘yes’ girl back then. I said yes to taking on more: teaching, new job opportunities, hobbies, you name it, I wanted to do it, & I for the most part, not only did it, but I killed it. I taught a packed schedule, managed a business; I was on the go all the time. My life functioned from my Blackberry. I was so scheduled that even my personal yoga practice had a dedicated time slot or else I wouldn’t do it. Like Pavlov’s dog, my phone vibrated, I ran to pick it up to see who was calling, or what the next thing was on my plate that day. At the end of every day, I was spent. I would actually pride myself in the fact that I could fall asleep easily, when really I was so exhausted that I would slip into a deep sleep coma until the time I needed to wake the next day. (Good thing for alarm clocks). No bueno.

My Pavlov’s dog, Cesar, a.k.a. ‘Cesardo’, or ‘Tedarto’

That summer, I bought a hammock and installed it in my backyard. I laid in the hammock when I had time, but I began to notice it was a weekly event. I stared at it more from my kitchen window than I was actually in it. I did not like what I had created. I realized that my hammock is more than a place to rest. It reminded me that in order to make it even possible to lay in it, I would have to create space in my life. Staring at my hammock from my kitchen window was not helping me create more time. It was just reminding me that everything in my life that I had invited in was happening really fast. Days were flying by. I traveled a bunch, but mostly to teach workshops. I hadn’t been back to visit my family & friends in Seattle in a couple years. I allowed my life to be dictated by things and deadlines. It was time to make a change.

How? I pondered, procrastinated, meditated, procrastinated some more. Finally, I set an intention of how I wanted to create an abundance of time every day moving forward. In order to do so, I knew I had to let a lot of things go and put into practice learning how to say ‘no’ more, so I could say ‘yes’ to myself and the things I wanted in my life that truly feed me. One day while washing dishes, staring out my window, pretending I was laying in my hammock, my mind was flooded with sweet childhood memories of growing up in Florida.

Hammock-asana with my homie, Ethan

Hammock-asana with my homie, Ethan

Summer days felt long and were steamy-hot. I played outside all day with my siblings and friends: building forts, swimming in the ocean, daily ‘missions’ in the orange groves; the world was truly my oyster. I would think about how there was so much time in a day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a month, so many months in a season. Summer couldn’t finish fast enough for me to get back to school. At a time where I felt tortured by the abundance of time, I also realized I was really present then as a child to the moment I was living in– no wonder the days took forever to finish. Now, as an adult who succeeded in creating a busy lifestyle, I really wanted to get back to having longer days, more time for whatever I needed and wanted to do, and most important to me, have the time to do absolutely nothing. I wanted to lay in my hammock.

Childhood fun circa 1984

Here’s how I started…
I first began by organizing my time by doing simple things like consolidating my errands to a weekly event. I set a measurable goal of laying in my hammock 1 hour a day, i.e. ‘hammock-asana’. If I could get into the hammock that day, I knew that I had succeeded.

Next, let the purging begin…
Closets were purged of excess. I did this cool thing that I think I learned from a guest I saw on Oprah years ago, I think. Anyway, when I wore something in my closet, it was rehung up with the hanger in reverse. After 2 months, the clothes that were hanging in the original position were clearly the ones I didn’t wear, I tossed into a pile to let go. Now when I look in my closet, I see copious amounts of wall that used to be covered up by clothing and space in between what’s hanging up.
I also had a ridiculous amount of yoga wear– to the point where I could actually divide my closet into categories for the seasons & sub-categories depending on style of yoga. Ridiculous, I know. (Damn you lululemon! Why do you have to make pants that don’t slide off your butt when you bend over, or give you camel-toe?!). My dresser drawers now glide shut, my closet has enough, (though I can part with more. Stay tuned for closet purge part deaux). This motivated me to do more…

I went through every nook & cranny of my home, room by room, closet by closet, letting go of things that were taking up space. If I hadn’t touched it in 3 months, out it went. Every day, I would place the things I was purging into a pile in my basement. I rediscovered things like a karaoke machine that my sister said I just had to have for my college graduation. To her defense, we did have a rockin’ good time with it at the mercy of our captive audience family… for like 6 hours- no joke! Poor guys. 🙂 I learned that the more stuff I had, the more time was robbed tending to the maintenance of them. Not a way I want to spend my time.

We began a weekly local food co-op home delivery service, scaling quite a bit back on the regular farmer’s market & Whole Paycheck run that usually would end up being upwards of a 2 hr process, (drive to & from, plus cruising the aisles to hunt and gather). Now, every Thursday, I look forward to the beautiful organic, local, & seasonal bounty that arrives at my front door and the 2 extra hours per week I get back. Now I can take the time I gained back and invest it into cooking more- another passion of mine. Sweet.

Some of my creations gifted from the garden & co-op delivery

Taking the time to cook food is more meaningful. I notice things like the tastes and texture, how my mouth salivates when I chew. The smells. Its an amazing process and going slow, like real slow from start to finish, makes me get more present.

Though I personally only watched the tube for the local news, cooking shows, movies, even with the t.v. in the room turned off, it still felt like a tempting energetic magnet. After lobbying my soccer fiend husband to cancel cable, (go Barcelona!), we cut the Comcast cord. Now we’ve been cable-less for a good 7 months & it is awesome. We not only have extra funds to tuck away, we also aren’t wasting any time sitting in front of a mind-less box. We didn’t stop with the t.v…

The yard was next. We planted only fruits, herbs, & veggies that were Georgia natives & from the zone we lived in. That meant we still indulged in our love of playing in the dirt, but we weren’t wasting our time & resources growing things that were high maintenance or were what we hoped would grow– essentially taking away time. (I have accepted the fact I can’t grow avocados. Sniff, sniff).

My garden

I also took a long deep look at who I was surrounding myself with. This was a huge one and not an easy one. I let go of toxic relationships and situations that lacked the mutual support necessary in having a healthy relationship. I was putting in energy to create resolve in situations  where resolve was a not a reciprocal goal. I made some changes and ‘cleaned house’. The result: more time to invest in those whom I want to share my life with as well as make myself a priority again.

As a result of letting go, I made it to my hammock- almost every day. (Yes, there were days it didn’t happen for sure). But, the effort I put forth into the practice of creating abundance is invaluable and keeps me present to what I want to create in my life.

So, that was last year in a nutshell. I’m not really done with creating more abundance as it will always be something that demands concerted effort. That said, I am more practiced at creating abundance and I am committed to carving out time for my intention this year… to be more vulnerable… Sharing through writing, making mistakes, (lessons in disguise), and allowing myself to be full-on supported by those I love and love me. Please share what your intention is this year in the comments below. Here’s to a happy, prosperous, and vulnerable new year! Salud!

 

8 Responses to “Less Is More”

  1. brian says:

    What’s a camel toe? Any who, Isabella I love your blog! You have such a kind energy and it really comes through in your writing. I am definitely going to up my effort to not waste food. . . A true crime to humanity! I do my best but if you are going to eat local, fresh food you have to carefully calculate portion size when buying your groceries. Go green! Go organic! Camel toe? You girls are funny!

    Side bar: is anyone one else blown away by parallel universes and string theory?

    Peace,

    Brian

    • Isabelle says:

      Oh man, you will just have to look that up! 🙂 Thanks for reading this. Happy health & longevity to you. Salud! xxxx

  2. Amy Pellerito says:

    I am so happy you found a way to put camel-toe into a blog. Makes me giggle. Great post, Izza.

  3. Gwen says:

    Great post! I think if people realized how beautiful they really are when they share something positive about which they are passionate, more people might do it more often!
    My intention for 2013 is to trust myself. I was inspired by the Marianne Williamson quote about our deepest fear – that by liberating ourselves we give permission to those around us to do the same.

  4. Leah says:

    Love this, “…practice learning how to say ‘no’ more, so I could say ‘yes’ to myself and the things I wanted in my life…”

    That’s been something I’ve been meditating on for a while. Why do I want to be so damn busy all the time? It’s stressful, takes away from my relationships, saps my energy, and drains my willpower. And that’s when I learned it’s important to grow my “Not to do” list longer than my “to do” list!

  5. What a great writeup! Thanks for sharing a little of yourself, it is really good perspective (and pretty darn funny).

    -cq