Arriving back in Orange County, California a little over 3 weeks ago from a year long global giving adventure, has been a whirlwind. I am finding my footing back in 1st world luxuries of hot showers, running and potable tap water, flushable toilets, real beds…you get the point! In addition, I have moved back into my condo and, after living out of my backpack for over a year through 25 countries, I am also overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have. How is it that at some point before I left I felt that I truly needed all of these things? So much so that I boxed them up for safe keeping while I was away!

As I have begun to reorganize my daily life here, unpacking box after box, I really got to thinking about all of the things in our lives that we may be holding on to and do not need. Each time I rediscover something I felt the need to hang onto before leaving, I ask myself,

“Do I really need this?”
“Does this bring me joy?”

If the answer is “No” then I take a deep breath and let it go!

Sometimes we become emotionally attached to “things” in our lives that we really do not need and that do not serve us. While this activity of unpacking my life has been mostly of physical items, it can also be applied to those emotional, non-tangible things that each one of us, in some form, needlessly carries around with us. Sefl-talk (positive or negative), finances, health, relationships with friends, family, or your partner, and so many other things. The thing is, when these negative non-tangible things cross our mental paths, the same set of questions also work…

“Do I really need this?”
“Does this bring me joy?”

If the answer is “Yes” then hold those things near, but if the answer is “No” them get rid of them. This is especially true with negative self-talk or bad relationships. You deserve to be treated well both by yourself and the others you choose to spend your time with. You deserve to be happy and have an abundance of joy in your life. Do not carry around this emotional stuff. It can become more heavy than physical stuff!

While traveling, I lived simply. I learned to let go of the things that I did not need, could not control, did not serve a purpose, or did not bring me joy. That bulky pair of hiking pants I don’t need anymore – given to a worker at the volunteer site! That rude girl also working on the project who made me feel left-out and was constantly rude to me? – left her to her own devices and made my own amazing plans to do and see things! It is amazing how much lighter my pack and my soul felt as I shed these needless and negative things along the way.

The same thing can be true tor each of us right here and right now regardless of whether we are living out of a backpack in a third world country or in a mansion overlooking the ocean. Each of us can carry less!

So I challenge you! For the next week, focus on these two simple questions.

“Do I really need this?”
“Does this bring me joy?”

Then…Declutter! Divide the needed from the needless! Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative! Choose joy!

Womennetwork

Women Network is the proud producer of California Women’s Conference, the largest two-day women’s conference in the nation. The 28-year-old tradition of this historical event brings together people from all walks of life including internationally known speakers and A-list celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Gayle King, and more. The Conference is also a marketplace of ideas with exhibits, networking opportunities and panel discussions.