It’s that time for us, folks. Ever since we decided we weren’t moving to Japan to teach English, we decided that maybe a change of scenery is really what we need. So, we are moving! Still within Ottawa, of course; but this time we are moving out of the basement, away from the trolls, and living with the birds on a sunnier tenth floor. Perks – it’s by the canal; Pat and I’s favourite place in all of Ottawa.
Moving can be especially hard. When you get the boxes needed and are finally ready to pack up and go, suddenly you are faced with two years worth of shit that you have to face. This has happened before, and in a very worse way. STORY TIME!! Before this basement flat, Pat and I (stupidly) signed a lease that was infested with cockroaches. We didn’t know until we spent the first night there. Long story short, we were able to break the lease and move out. For about a month, we were house-less (but not homeless of course! Shout-out to Pat’s grandma and mom for hosting us). At the time of getting the fuck out of that place, Pat and I had to face a lot of our stuff head on – all of my stuff from when I lived with my university roommate, as well as his stuff. Changing the boxes was tedious (apparently roaches like corrugated cardboard so we needed to get new ones) as well has stressful. We had to decide what to keep, and what to throw out with no time for processing. In the end, we succeeded into narrowing down our supply and luckily landing this basement. Honestly, thanks to the cockroach place, we would have never found this place.
So now, we have grown tired of the basement, and have decided to upgrade because why not? We deserve it. This time around, I have a little but of an advantage when it comes to packing up. I recently read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven’t heard about it or read it, Kondo blissfully teaches us her Kon Mari method of cleaning and decluttering. It starts with the aspect of joy and if the things that you have spark joy – and if not, you discard it. Her main idea comes from being surrounded by things you truly care about, allowing yourself to take care of them enough to never have to clean again. She also touches on how your environment affects your mental health, and how your mental health reflects your environment. A happy mind is a happy home and vice versa.
So – what’s my point here? Throughout my reading of her novel, I’ve been applying some of her methods – carefully processing my material things and feeling joy at the thought that something that I love is coming with me to my new home. Also, after reading this book, I feel that it is easier to let go and discard items that you don’t really need. Things like clothes that I haven’t worn in over a year to my flute – once a well played instrument in my high school days, now could belong to an aspiring musician once I donate it. Things are easier to pack away into boxes, and hopefully will be easy to unpack. We’ll also be moving less boxes which will be easier for us and our movers as well.
This leaves me with one final thought – The practice of mindfulness in our age of materialism. I find Kondo’s work very compelling because not only does she acknowledge that humans are materialistic creatures, but she also brings us back towards ourselves, our happiness, and our health without judgement. It’s a mindful practice – it very much allows us to stop and really have a conversation with ourselves; especially our past and present reflected in our belongings. Lately, I’ve been having this conversation with myself. The process of moving forces me to establish a relationship with my past self and my present self, and let some of that go. That baggage is acknowledged, and released without judgement. Throughout this processes, I feel lighter and happy that I’ve honoured this time.
Honouring life’s processes, no matter how stressful can be difficult. Change can be difficult. But as we are faced with these situations, and the more mindful we become in how we deal with them, can translate into so many parts of our lives; allowing us to always do better and become freer.