It is so hard to clear your mind, or at least, my mind. It never fails - four minutes in, my mind starts to wander. One minute I'm focused on breathing and the next, I'm thinking about pizza. Or last night's True Blood. Whatever. (But seriously, can we talk about that? I've always been a big Bill/Sookie fan, but after the whole "Billith" debacle, I just don't know. I don't buy Sookie and Eric together, either. There's so much to wrap up with only one episode left!)
It takes some time to realize I've drifted and to make myself come back to the mantra. By then, I feel like I've wasted precious minutes. Minutes that, had I just focused, could have meant the difference between a ho-hum existence and enlightenment, right? Or is it not that easy?
It hasn't been all bad, though. I definitely feel a lot calmer and better equipped to handle the stresses that life throws at me. I've even had a few moments where I felt like I was asleep, even though I was wide awake. I'm no expert, but it think those moments are the ones I'm supposed to notice.
One other thing I've noticed is a difference in my desire to shop. On the days I meditate, I'm happy with all I have; I'm grateful. On the days I don't, I get a little stressed and squirrelly, and then I want to self-medicate with a little online shopping. I start to convince myself that I absolutely cannot live without a new pair of jeans or that my daughter needs a new toy, even though my closet is overflowing and she's perfectly happy playing with the newspaper.
I know this comes from childhood. My mom liked to shop, so after she got done with work, we would bond over a trip to the mall and food court Chinese. If I was bored, my dad would take me on a midnight run to the 24-hour Walmart.
When I started college, I dealt with the stress of my new, adult life with a new wardrobe (and an eating disorder, but that's another story for another time). When my parents got divorced, I consoled myself with new dresses and costume jewelry. When I moved out of my mom's house, I found items from all of these excursions still hanging in my closet, still with tags.
This is not good. I don't want my daughter growing up believing that happiness comes from things and that purchasing cures all ills. But in order to prevent that, I have to cut the problem off at the source, and the source is me.
What is Project 333 (http://theproject333.com)? A very simple explanation is that it is a opportunity to try living with less. You choose 33 clothing items (not including pajamas or workout clothes) and mix and match them, and only them, for three months - a season. Then, you do it all over again, introducing new items for that season and removing others. The idea is that you develop a capsule wardrobe and live by your signature style instead of following trends that don't work for you (and cause you to spend money). When you do buy items, they will not only be of higher quality because they have to last, but they will work with everything you have. And you will wear them, then. Gone are the days of buying that hot pink peasant top and never wearing it because it doesn't fit with your lifestyle.
Take a look at the sad state of my closet. It's a mess.
I counted 157 items in there, not including things in drawers or in the laundry. I know I have more than 165, but let's just say I only gave 165: that means I'm going to be cutting my closet down by 80%! I'm a little scared, but I know it is for the best. If I can live with only 33 items (and I know I can! How silly is it to ever say that?), then I can resist the pull of purchasing something I don't need.
I plan to start the project tomorrow and will post more about the experience then!