Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I decide what gets left behind

After reading a blog yesterday of someone who owns a minimal amount of possessions, I got the urge to tackle a couple of boxes that have been looming over my mind recently: the personal history/keepsake boxes. I have almost two Rubbermaid tubs of things that I have kept since I was little--my "Special Stuff" bins. I have read of people who feel a weight lifted off of them as they learn to let go of the mementos that have been cluttering their living space and mind space. 

As I was going through the children's books, toys, journals, and reminders, I thought it was less effective to save something just because I had grown up with it: "I read this book as a kid." I was something that someone else produced that I interacted with. It was just a moment in my history. Then I came to a box in which I had put my dad's dog tags and his father's dog tags. I thought that those held more weight than others things I had previously chosen to save. These tags represent a choice that my family made to serve. They were dedicated and selfless in their decision. Just thinking about their hard work made me reverence those tags. 

I came to this conclusion: I'd rather save things that represent what I did rather than what I used. I realized that I am the editor of the physical trail of my life. I get to decide what my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren get to witness about my life. 

I have scanned many things, and I will scan two large stacks of journals I set aside, but I do not have to keep my childhood books, old Christmas ornaments, or those mate cups I got in Argentina. There are going to be many more objects I come into contact with, and I don't have to keep those either. 

I feel like 100 years ago, since people didn't own as many things as they do today, possessions held more weight: "This was their family Bible for generations," etc. Wouldn't my kids want one or two of my possessions, rather than two- or three hundred?

What about you? What is the difference for you as to whether something is worthy to "pass down" or not?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kickstart to Introspection

I decided to watch a movie one day that had been floating around on Netflix. It's called Wake Up. It's about a young guy who all of a sudden is able to see angels, spirits, and demons. He goes on a three-year journey to figure out what it all means and what he should do with this gift that seems like a curse. After talking with scientists, mystics, friends, and philosophers, Jonas takes a vision quest on a Native American reservation in the Pacific Northwest. He fasts for multiple days and stays within a safe circle in the middle of a forest. While driving back home and at the end of the movie, he seems to "get it." There is clarity and confidence in his speech and personality, and he doesn't seem to be plagued anymore by his problem. It was an enlightening experience, personal revelation.

I highly recommended this movie to my family and friends. The next day, my parents wanted to watch it. I watched it with them, trying to figure out what the secret was to his revelation. My parents enjoyed the movie. After it ended, I went in my room and started to cry, not knowing what for. There was a connection I had to this man's experience, and I wanted to have it for myself. I felt a distinct Spirit in my chest, different from other times. It felt like an indicator of a new journey.

Since then, I have had multiple experiences with this new Spirit, which is actually just the old Spirit that I've experienced scores of times. Now is the designated time to continue on this path and come closer to finding my true and specific purpose. I have the time and the opportunity right now. I just wish I could avoid the regular world for a few weeks and work it out in one sitting, but I know it won't happen like that. Many drops of water make up a deep well. It is not deposited all at once.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I read in Leo Babauta's minimalism blog, "List 4 essential things in your life, do these first."

I haven't finalized my list yet, but here are some dreams I have or before I die. Hopefully I will accomplish these in the next ten years.

In no particular order:

  • Learn how to serve others/volunteer for an extended time
  • Work/volunteer at a living history museum and learn pioneer/homesteading skills
  • Travel soon for more than a week
  • Sing regularly
  • Go to Peru
  • Visit Amish country
  • Have an enlightening experience
  • Learn ceramics
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Walk the pioneer trek
  • Sleep overnight on a train
  • Go to Argentina again
  • Learn more carpentry skills
  • Visit the Amish in Pennsylvania
  • Live full-time in a trailer
  • Go to the Himalayas

Many of these dreams involve traveling. I want to learn more about the world in which I live and learn more about myself in the process. I want to come back and know more of what I want to do and have the confidence to do it. There is more to my life. I must be the one in charge.

And for your listening pleasure, here is "Dreams" by Brandi Carlile

Chapter Two: The Realization

I have lived a fairly sheltered life. I have grown up in comfort and have every necessary thing available to me. My parents paid for my college, my car, my insurance, and my rent. I am currently living under their roof, but soon I will not.

I have wanted to be married for a while now. I have gotten disheartened about having a future relationship because there hasn't been much activity in the "boy department." However, I know I will marry one day and that I will have children.

One day, I was praying to the Lord for my future husband and children. I wanted it to happen sometime fairly soon. I was telling the Lord that I would teach my kids what I know and so on, until I realized that I felt I didn't know that much. Granted, almost everyone is not ready for marriage and kids, but I felt like now was not the time for me. In order to be a successful mother and wife, I need to know who I am first. I need to be confident in the abilities I have and also have an awesome relationship with the Lord so that when trials come, I will have a connection to higher strength. It's not that I don't have these things right now. I just felt I needed to mature a little more before starting this next big leg of my journey.

When I realized that this was not the time to have a family, I realized that the time I have now is my preparation time. Now is the time for me to become who I will be when I get married. On my wedding day, I will not instantly change into a selfless, giving person for my husband. Those traits need to be cultivated now.

With this in mind, I have begun my more specified journey into my specific purpose as an individual.

Chapter One: Work Uncertainty

I ultimately got my job from the Lord. 

I went to San Diego for more college after receiving my bachelor's. My degree was in Spanish. I went to San Diego for Spanish translation. I tried to live in San Diego after completing my certificate program. I got a full-time job at a car dealership. It was my first real job. However, they let me go right before 90 days. My boss said he didn't think I was enjoying the work. I wanted to plead with him to let me keep my job like I have pleaded with my boyfriend for him to stay when it was really the best thing to let him go. I guess it's a fear of discomfort.

Anyway, without money, I tried to live on credit in San Diego. It doesn't work. I moved home in April 2012 right before my sister's wedding in California. When we came back from the wedding, I didn't know how to get a job. I didn't have much experience, though I've had many short odd jobs. 

I took the Career Workshop from the LDS Employment Center. Most of all, they gave me confidence. The main thing I learned from the workshop was to network with people I know. After trying for a while, I finally sent out a mass email to all my contacts asking them for resources. I got a call from my parent's church friend who knew the executive director for a small non-profit. I got hired.

This job has been just what I needed. I am able to put the skills I already have to good use for the benefit of the organization. But it is challenging enough for me to learn new things: receptionist skills, time management, customer service, prioritizing, deadlines, accountability, the importance of reports and reporting, company hierarchy, communication, and courtesy.

But this job might be ending soon. We're not getting enough money in. We hired a consultant with not much non-profit experience to expand the program and try to get more money in. He told me on Friday that he's taking a job that starts before his consultant contract ends. This spells bad news for our fundraising efforts. I might not have a job past the end of March.

And that doesn't bother me that much.

Because I've been feeling a call. A call to get things done.