It started with decluttering and letting go of what was not me—a “just one” simple act that started more than twenty years ago. I was an actress trying to be the best actress I could possibly be and searching for the best systems to be that best version of myself. And then I “stumbled upon” these four words and a system that ended up taking on a life of its own.
Truth.Love.Meaning.Purpose. Touching everything with a fine-toothed comb and using that criteria to evaluate everything in my life.
I started with just one drawer—organizing makeup and letting go of lipsticks that didn’t look quite good on me and made me look like a clown. Then, I moved on to letting go of clothes that weren’t a perfect fit in many ways, and then, I let go of old love letters, goals, past careers, even old photos that I didn’t like.
However, we were not in the digital age YET, so ripping up photos meant there were not going to be copies sitting somewhere buried in a hard drive.
Now … more than twenty years later, I’m doing the same thing again.
I have switched photo systems over these past twenty years—from Picassa to photos in my iPad and iPhone to Dropbox back to Photos on my iMac.
And then I realized, Oy vey!
I’m cluttered up.
Again. Again. Again.
How did this happen?
When you are not vigilant about what is coming in, and it keeps on accumulating—without your touching it—it’s so simple and easy for clutter to be born.
With photos, I kept on reorganizing my photos neatly into Events, Groups, Categories, but when I was traveling for my book launch last year, I traveled to seven cities in seven weeks and took lots of photos from those trips …
Then, I launched my new website and began taking lots of photos of beautiful scenic backgrounds that I could use for word swag to post my quotes … and then, I got the iPhone 6s+ that took super cool photos, and I kept on clicking away without giving any thought to the time it would take for me to declutter all these unnecessary photos.
I remember way back when I had a Kodak film camera where you could only shoot either 12, 24 or 36 photos—I never would shoot 2-3 photos of one “scene.” If somebody was closing their eyes in one picture—too bad because you wouldn’t know until you had the film developed. Okay, now I’m dating myself. But you get the ‘picture’!
Now I have all these sunset photos because, inasmuch as possible these days, I take walking breaks to the beach to watch the sun as it’s going down. I never used to do this before I met that special someone, but now I love watching the ocean waves crashing onto the shore, and now I love watching the sun slowly going down every single day.
There’s something meditative and soothing about witnessing nature. I also now seek out hummingbirds to see them flitting to and fro, or squirrels putting away their treats up on a tree somewhere.
So … back to photos.
For me now, the photos represent a goal that I wish to activate. Using the photos for a blog post to share with you all. About travel. About crashing waves I can hear from way up above.
About sunsets that come and go every single day, variations that will never ever look exactly the same as the day before.
This has taught me. That moment is here and now. And will never ever be again. That’s probably why I try to capture them every single day. They all look so different.
Yet, those photos of me—the ones that I didn’t like and I thought were bad—I’m sure you’re all curious. What was bad about that photo or photos? Did I not like the way I looked? I’m not quite sure.
As I write this, I realize more often than not, the emotion or thought connected to that thing we are trying to let go of is what we are actually decluttering. Yes, you could physically declutter something, but that feeling or thought remains if you don’t fully process it.
I mean, if you unconsciously let go of something without really paying that much attention to it, that feeling or thought you were trying to declutter will stay with you, even twenty years later.
Powerful, isn’t it?
So, the mere act of decluttering “just one” category of items such as photos could be a lifelong journey, if you don’t get to the root cause of why you are having a difficult time letting go.
If you’re following my train of thought and you’re not confused just yet—is this about photos or decluttering or sunsets or nature? You will have noticed that I am, by virtue of my sharing with you, vulnerably giving myself permission to let go of all the bad photos, and even sunset photos that I never posted to share with you—because that time has come and passed, and that time is no longer here.
Sure, I can use #tbt Throwback Thursday to share with you all but there’s only 52 Thursdays in one year, which means I better pare down those “throwback photos” to only 52. And, I honestly don’t feel like doing that – because I know more sunsets are coming, even today, and more hummingbirds will cross my path, or more bad photos will come my way.
So, I choose today to let go of all the past sunset photos that I didn’t use and choose instead to be in the moment of today, trusting that beautiful sunset photos witnessed in the moment today are more precious than the photos of the past.
Let go, June.
All of them.
I’m scared. Okaaaaay… I’m doing it.
Goodbye sunsets, squirrels, and waves crashing upon the shore … until tomorrow.beach, behindtheclutter, clutter, declutter, inspiration, letgo, lettinggo, lifestyle, memorabilia, memories, organize, photos, santamonica, selfhelp, simplify, spirituality, sunsets, truthlovemeaningpurpose