Sky or Screen? : The Power of Perspective

 

Sky or Screen
 

 

You're probably well aware that your perspective -- or point of view -- matters a great deal. Whether you're positive or negative, happy or sad, focused on the details or eyeing the big picture, looking up or looking down -- everything around you is impacting what you see and think and do. But, as aware of this as you might be, most of us forget about this. We're in whatever place or attitude or frame of mind that we're in and we forget that, oftentimes, our perspective is something that we've chosen. 

 

This concept was brought sharply into focus (quite literally!) the other day while I was looking out the window at some pretty, fluffy clouds. One second I was looking at the sky and, a second later, my eyes shifted their focus and I was looking at the little black grid of the window's screen, with the sky blurry in the background. (See my attempt at a recreating this moment in the image above.)

 

If you can, go to a window with a screen right now and try it. Focus on the screen, and the sky'll go blurry. Focus on the sky, and the blurred screen can almost be ignored. 

 

You do this with your eyes all the time, giving attention to something close or far away and blurring the opposite perspective. And guess what? You do this with your mind, too. All the time. And, just like the screen / sky example, you probably don't think about it much. If something's on your screen (say, a butterfly landed there), it'll grab your attention. If the sky's a startling blue or a worrisome gray, your eyes'll be drawn to that. You look at what's most noteworthy to you at the moment and ignore the rest. 

 

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you were to see everything all at once, your brain would be overstimulated, and you'd probably go a bit crazy. But, when it comes to more abstract things -- say, a positive mindset vs. negative mindset -- it's important to be aware of not only what you're looking at, but also what you're not looking at. And, even more importantly, to think about whether you're looking at is the right thing or if it's actually helpful. 

 

For example, if you're trying to figure out what the weather's like, looking at the screen isn't particularly useful. Likewise, if you want to know if the screen could use a good cleaning, looking at the sky won't give you the info you need. This week, I want to think about what the sky / screen is in your life right now. 

  • What are you focusing intently on? What is your current screen? Your sky?

  • Is what you're focusing on the right thing to look at right now?
    (Key words: right now. This doesn't have to be forever.)

  • What would you see if you shifted your focus? Would this view be more or less useful?

 

There're no right or wrong answers to these questions. They're just a few prompts to inspire you to pay attention to what you're looking at in order to contemplate whether what you're paying attention to is actually what you should be paying attention to. Your perspective is often up to you, and you often (almost always!) have the power to shift it if you want to. But you can only shift it if you're aware of it. Awareness is the first step, so, this week, pay attention. Look out your window. Notice your screen. Notice your sky.  

 

PPGTL-Footer Love-Self-Footer Find-Self-Footer Stickers-Footer


 

 


Springtime Simplifying, Sorting, + Selling!

 

Spark Joy

 

Last week at a baby shower I saw some women I hadn't seen in nearly a decade. While talking about organizing the baby's new clothes, someone brought up my organization skills. One girl exclaimed, "I only went to your house once, but I still think about your closet all the time! All your clothes arranged by color!" and another chimed in, "Oh my god! Yes! I remember you opening your make-up drawer and seeing all of your eyeshadows organized in perfect rows!" I beamed with pride, picturing my still-organized closet, my current make-up drawer with shadows still in a row.

I've been an organized person for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I was always sorting and re-organizing and decluttering in my room (perhaps as a result of the excessive amount of stuff I continuously accumulated!), and to this day I'm still one of the most organized people I know. Everything has a proper place, and everything is put in that place.

But, despite everything having a proper place, I still don't feel quite right about my possessions. While recently revisiting Marie Kondō's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it occurred to me why this is. I might have a proper place for everything, but everything's proper place isn't necessarily with me. So many of the things I own have served me well, and so I keep them. I'm starting to realize, though, that organized possessions are not the same as purposeful possessions. As Kondō's wrote: 

“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

It's that, right there, that I'm finally realizing. There are a great many things in my organized little apartment that no longer serve a purpose for me. And, silly as this sounds, I have a sense of guilt that comes from hanging on to them, and it leaves me feeling uneasy and unsettled. Unlike most people, who feel guilty about giving things of value away, I'm the opposite: I feel guilty for hanging onto things (especially beautiful, valuable things) that I no longer use.  

Because some of my things have brought me such joy or beauty in the past, I keep them. But, aside from a few extra special things, I know I would feel better if I set these things free, giving someone else to enjoy and experience them. I've thought about this many times, but followed those thoughts with excuses ("ugh, it'll take so much time to sort through!" or "I don't even know how I would sell these things!"). This time, I'm listening to what my heart is telling me -- let these things go -- and taking action. 

This is definitely a work in progress, but here's what I've done over the past week or so to simplify, sort, and sell! 

 


FIRST: SIMPLIFY

 

Tiffany Heart Links
Heartfelt Tiffany Heart Links

First, I decided I needed to simplify this process. If I were to just look at my whole apartment and try to sort and sell it all, I would be so overwhelmed that I would give up. I decided to try a bit of an odd approach: I sat down on the couch and thought, "Where should I begin?" The first thought that came to my mind was the one I would tackle. It happened to be jewelry. I have a lot of beautiful, meaningful jewelry. But here's the thing: I rarely wear jewelry. I'm not quite sure why, but that's the way it is. So it makes sense to start there, to simplify the overwhelming task of reflecting and sorting all of my possessions by homing in on the one thing that has a lot of value, just not to me.

No one who doesn't wear jewelry should have a drawer full of it. Just thinking about the pieces I have loved, the meaningful moments behind them, and imagining someone else getting a similar kind of joy makes it easy to let these beauties go. In this first stage, the simplifying part, I spent a lot of time thinking about Kondō's well-known question, "Does it spark joy?" but also adding, "Will this spark joy in someone else?" 

Simplifying your life isn't just about getting rid of the things that no longer have a purpose for you; it's also about considering how these things might be useful to someone else. 

 

SECOND: SORT

 

Juicy Charm Bracelet
Fun Juicy Couture Charm Bracelet

After choosing the area on which to focus first -- jewelry -- I moved onto the sorting part. I pulled it all out, Kondō-style, and went through, piece by piece. When it comes to jewelry, I could probably let it all go and be just fine, but I decided to hang on to a few pieces that were especially meaningful to me, or that I do, on rare occasions, actually wear. Those went into the KEEP pile. The next pile -- DONATE -- I filled with pieces that were either too well-loved to sell or that had little to no value (I'm looking at you, Forever 21 necklaces!). And, finally, the most beloved and beautiful pieces that were no longer serving a purpose with me went into the SELL pile. Everything in this pile was something I'd still love and wear, if I were the kind of person that wore jewelry. Everything in this pile was something I could look at and answer "yes!" to the question, "Would this spark joy in someone else's life?" 

(I'm not going to lie: this sorting business wasn't easy, particularly when determining what to KEEP and what to SELL. All of the pieces I decided to sell are valuable, not only in a monetary sense, but also in an emotional sense. But I determined that, if something had once brought me such joy, it would be a wonderful thing to put that joy back out into the world and allow someone else to experience it, rather than trapping it in a drawer for years. With that thought it mind, it made me actually feel good to list these items for sale.)

 

THIRD: SELL

 

Tiffany Happy
Happy Little Tiffany Charm

In her book, Kondō writes: “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest." After going through all of my jewelry and the sorting process, I was left not only with a few meaningful items that spoke to my heart (however cheesy that sounds...), but also a whole bunch of pieces I really believe will speak to someone else's heart. I don't believe that items can actually take on emotions -- joy, pain, etc. -- but I do feel like there's something interesting about purchasing an item that you know brought someone else joy. 

To me, it's the added bonus that comes with buying a used thing. It was discarded by someone else because it had fulfilled its purpose with that person, but it arrived where you are so it could be purposeful for you. You get the tangible thing, of course, but also the knowledge that someone else loved this thing, too. It's a bit out there, maybe, but I think there's something to it. It's why we love antiques, why we consider something a relative owned to be of more value than it really is, etc. There's a meaning, a history, behind a used item that you just don't get with something brand new from a store. 

So, last week, I photographed, researched, and posted the joy-sparking jewelry on my Etsy shop. Every time I sell a piece, I feel a bit of excitement for the person who is about to receive it. Packing it up and shipping it off to a new home is an oddly comforting act, a kind of gift-giving feeling. It feels good for me, and I'm hoping it feels just as good for those opening their new-to-them items. If you want to see what's still for sale, check it out here

 

This whole process has been an eye-opening and revitalizing experience. Many of these items I thought I would never part with, but knowing that they are going to a new home, to a place where they will hopefully be loved and worn, rather than sitting idly in a drawer, sparks a joy in me that is much different (and better!) from the joy I get from the items I possess. If you're thinking of doing some spring cleaning or organizing, I highly recommend it! 

 

PS - I'm also still running a MAJOR sale in my Etsy shop to make way for some new things. Pins, stickers, and e-books are up to 50% off! Check it out here

 

 

 

PPGTL-Footer Love-Self-Footer Find-Self-Footer Stickers-Footer


 

 


A Life-Changing Question + Why You Need to Ask It

 

Heavier or Lighter

 

This week I picked up a book that's been on my shelf for ages. I walk by it daily, but it was only this week that it actually grabbed my attention. And I'm so glad that it did. The book, Right Riches For You, is usually the kind of self-help book I stay away from. For one, the topic -- money -- is one of my least favorites, and, for another, the cover reminds me of some old school motivational book (complete with wispy flowers and '90s Word Art) that people who aren't fans of the self-improvement space usually envision when they hear the words "self-help." But, at this particularly turbulent financial time in my life, I thought to myself, Why not? and pulled it down off the shelf. 

If you struggle with money, this book is an invaluable resource of information on how to change your attitude about money. Most of us (myself included!) are thinking completely the wrong way about money, and it's that limited kind of thinking that causes us to struggle with it. I took so many wonderful gems of inspiration from that book that I'll probably dedicate an entire post just to its insights. But, before I get into all of that, I just had to share with you one of the most important things I learned from the book. 

 

HEAVIER OR LIGHTER? 

The book begins by asking you what you think about when you hear that word "money." You're then asked to review that list, asking yourself the following question about the items on the list: Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? It's a simple question, and one I've undoubtedly heard before, but for some reason it clicked with me this time around and I started thinking about it not only in relation to money, but in relation to everything

It turns out that this simple question is pretty darn powerful. Whenever I asked myself this question over the course of the past week, my decisions became so much clearer. Essentially, this question is the similar to asking yourself, Deep down, is this the right choice to be making? The only difference is that the question Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? comes with a very physical, instantaneous reaction that is much harder to dismiss, ignore, or excuse. And that makes it incredibly powerful. 

Perhaps it's just me, but as I went about the week, using this question as a guide, answers to questions became surprisingly clear. When you ask this question -- rather that something like Is this a good idea? -- the body (or at least my body) has an immediate reaction. There's an instinctual vibe that seemed to occur every time I asked myself Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? It was never confusing. Whenever I asked the question, into my mind would instantly pop the word heavier or lighter

Heavier / lighter isn't a judgment; it's a feeling. It gets right to the heart of what's right, and tells you instantaneously. Even if something is hard -- for example, ending a relationship -- you'll know if it's right or wrong by whether or not it makes you feel heavier or lighter. A breakup might be painful -- we even have the term "heavy heart" -- but, if it's the right choice for you, you'll ultimately feel lighter having done it. 

 

THE CHOICE TO CHOOSE

Knowing and paying attention to the heavy / light dichotomy doesn't mean you'll necessarily choose what makes you feel lighter at all times. After all, we often make "bad" choices when we know they're no good for us. For example, you might have a negative, draining friend, but, even though you know his or her absence would make you feel lighter, you still remain friends. This might not be the right choice, but it's an understandable one. There could be a variety of reasons why you continue to socialize with this particular individual, and that's okay. What's not okay is when you allow heavy situations to happen without your consent. 

In order to give consent to a situation, you have to know whether it makes you feel heavier or lighter. Once you have that information it is then up to you to consciously choose what you do with it. You give yourself the choice to choose. You might be thinking, Oh, but I always have the choice! But, if you're not asking this question first, you're not always actively choosing. Most of spend a great deal of time operating on autopilot, not actively making choices. 

Whether or not something makes you feel heavier or lighter is never unclear (or, at least, it hasn't been for me this past week), but it can be confusing, at times, to know what to do with that information once you have it. If I determine that something or someone makes me feel heavier, I can choose to ignore it, try to rationalize why it's worth carrying around the extra heaviness. But, regardless of what action I choose to take, I cannot deny that I had that initial gut reaction. 

 

DISMANTLING DISTRACTION

The idea of a gut reaction, or an instinct, certainly isn't anything new, but what I do think is new is how easily it is to ignore these things -- and the Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? question -- in our modern age. Most of us are constantly bombarded with distractions. There is so much to look at that sometimes we forget to ask that question and, more importantly, take note of its answer. 

When distraction abound, that gut instinct -- whether it's about people or a job or an event or thing -- either goes unheard or is quickly and easily avoided. Compounding this our ever-increasing exposure to people all over the world. With access to information and people spanning the globe, we can often examples or information rationalize whatever choices we make. Regardless of whether or not the choices are good or bad, lighter or heavier, if you see others making them, it becomes more and more difficult to tune into your own inner voice, the one that will quickly tell you heavy or light if asked. 

Rather than listening to our instincts, it's becoming our standard to look things up before tuning in. After all, if you're unsure about what to do, it's useful to conduct a quick Google search to see if anyone else has had a similar experience. We look to others for advice and information. This, in and of itself, certainly isn't a bad thing. Information can be useful and essential to making good, positive choices, but, I'm starting to realize: in all of the information, the instinct often gets overlooked.  

When surrounded by a multitude of choices, as more and more opportunities continue to arise (many of which as a result of the Internet's rise), it is challenging to pay attention, let alone to pay attention well enough to determine what's best for you. And that's why it's so important to ask: Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? Often the answers are clear -- we know that murder is going to make you feel heavier, that spending time with a friend you love and admire will make you feel lighter -- but this question is particularly useful when the answers aren't so clearcut. 

 

SUIT UP FOR SOME SURPRISE

Even after asking this question for just a short while, I've experienced firsthand just how powerful it is. And, I've discovered that it has an added bonus: it will surprise you. Things you might complain about or feel ambivalent toward might actually be things that make you feel lighter. Things you don't claim to love might not actually be heavy. Likewise, the "good" things don't always lighten your load. For example, something might be really fun and enjoyable in the moment, but if it's morally wrong, it's likely to cause a lot of heaviness in your life. 

Though this idea -- that a single question can have such a positive impact on your life -- might sound strange, give it a try this week and see how it feels and see what you learn. You don't even have to make any changes to your life. All you have to do is ask yourself, as often as you can and in reference to as many aspects of your life as you can, does this make me feel heavier or lighter?

 


(Side note: Isn't it funny how, when you start thinking about certain concepts, they start to appear in your life in unexpected ways? This week I came across a new song by Linkin Park (featuring Kiiara), "Heavy," and it couldn't have been more perfect. I've been listening to it on repeat all week, feeling more and more inspired each day to let go of all the heavy things that've been dragging me down.)

 

PPGTL-Footer Love-Self-Footer Find-Self-Footer Stickers-Footer