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Walking Into Fall a Bit Lighter - My Journey with Minimalism & Processing Grief

Easing Into Autumn

The forest outside my camper is piling up quickly with multicolored leaves. It looks so cozy in there, a blanket of love from the canopy from above. This place has been such a wonderful home for us this summer. We were shy and wary of our weekender neighbors, but after a few months of getting to know them it turned into a family sort of feeling living here. Living isolated in a cabin for three years was such an interesting experience, yet now I feel grateful to be able to integrate with people again and live so close to others. We have about 80 neighbors here, many of them gone during the week. The campground comes alive on the weekends though I expect it to drizzle out soon here.

Our destiny has us leaving the Midwest around mid-October and then we’ll be taking our home down to the Southwest again. It has been three years since we’ve lived in our winter home, and it was necessary for us to come back to Wisconsin to be able to return to the desert again. Facing Wisconsin winters for me is like facing my shadow side. It is hard to face the parts of me that feel hurt and broken, frozen and bitter, and it is a lot of hard emotional work for me to ease through these feelings.

Living in a house and having to care for it caused me to face much of my unresolved trauma from my childhood and young adult years. Reflecting back on my adult life, I have always felt happiest and at peace with myself when living alternatively, whether that was in a tent, a car, an off grid cabin, or a camper, though this looming feeling of dread ran as an undertow underneath the happiness. I knew I had things to face if I were to actually live a happy life, and I worked through these things mentally, but not on the other levels of my life. Houses and homes (be it whatever they are) to me are the reflection of my inner self, and each one up until this point has taught me lessons and things I must let go of. I found it concerning that most of the places I’ve lived had a poor quality of living, whether it was a house filled with mold or having to live bare bones with only survival necessities. The mold in the home was a reflection of mold living within my inner self. Something, a belief or way of being, was causing me to repeatedly move into moldy situations.

Reflecting on My Shadow Side

This year was a map of me of walking through my forest of shadows and things that were hard to face. I felt them looming while living in the cabin & I processed them mentally while I enjoyed being the only person in my world. This year I had to face every single one of my shadows and decide how I was going to move forward in my life. It was a tough year emotionally for me. I could either stay stuck and looping, or face the hard things. My life became so overwhelming because so much sat stagnant and unresolved within me. I felt like I failed myself and my dreams because everything was at a standstill. And… I think I had too many dreams I was trying to fulfill at the same time and they were taking up space. It was like looking at a beautifully planted vegetable garden overgrown with tall weeds, like it was neglected for years.

My ways of coping with the hard things in life have always been collecting items and using the internet. This is what I did in my childhood, my room always looking like a mismatched hoard nest. Instead of facing my problems, I decided to collect things for my future so I was prepared and look up things on the internet so I could be self sufficient without having to rely on outside resources. When I was in college, I was feeling alright and balanced but felt curious to try weed. I don’t regret trying it or using it because it expanded my awareness and allowed me to try new things - though the habit of smoking everyday consumed me and my relationship. The combination of these three habits had me looping in a negative cycle and bypassing the problems in my life. Doing these three things also had me attracting more people and situations that were toxic and triggering to me, which also consumed my life. All of this was a sign to stop doing what I knew was bad (my habits) and to start facing the shadows. So, I quit smoking, got off the internet, and started going through my collections.

I know that the Universe and my higher self love me unconditionally. I know that my prayers are being answered, and that the things I set intentions for are coming true; it’s a belief and a knowing. I feel their love & guidance everyday. Yet love can sometimes look like tough love, and no matter how much I prayed or asked for help spiritually, nothing would change because it was I that had to save myself from my overwhelm and inner mold. Of course, I was never alone and the angels would let me know they were walking with me when I’d find feathers along my morning walks, though every day I had to face one hard thing after another. I felt abandoned and always prayed for betterment in my life, but really… since the spirit world is invisible they really can’t do anything for me on a physical level!

Experiencing Release From Downsizing

Once Austin and I decided to buy a camper and actually did it, that is when the true work began in my physical world. I had so many outdated things, beliefs, emotions, and thoughts running my life through my subconscious mind and it was like living in hell. Austin was recovering from surgery when we moved, so I had to face it all on my own. Austin doesn’t have a problem collecting things - I do. This could be an old thing from my lineage. You know how people had to live differently from going through the Great Depression? That mentality was with me. The whole, “Oh, better keep this because I don’t know when I’ll need it!” or a prepper mentality, to keep things and stock up for emergencies. Although the cabin was a place to practice homesteading, I was not doing it for the fun of it, I was doing it to prepare for the end of the world! To me, that is scarcity mindset and is in conflict with my spiritual beliefs of everything will always be provided for me in the present moment. We also live in a day and age where the items on the planet seem to be infinite, whether new or used, so there is no way there could ever be a shortage of things. We are all taken care of now by the will of our own creations of stuff.

Moving my life from that cabin and giving away my 20+ houseplants, four chickens, goldfish and snails, art supplies and countless other items; selling all of my furniture and kitchen accessories, the chest freezer, old hobbies, farmer’s market stand, clothes, and who knows what else at this point - showed me that I didn’t really need any of that at all. I feel so much lighter without it. We went from a 30x15 storage unit to a 14x15 unit that holds mostly equipment for work and off season sports gear (though I do have some sentimental things still). Much of what we sold we were hanging onto emotionally. We traded our trusty car in for a newer truck and I sold my dad’s blue truck. Both were sentimental, our car was our home and took us on so many adventures but left us sputtering oil all over the engine bay. The truck was the last thing I had of my dad’s and it too started having too many problems for us to hang onto it. Austin sold his motorcycle, and I traded in all of my instruments and upgraded the ones that matter to me.

To add more clearing of my subconscious mind, I decided to declutter my digital space and the projects I was working on. This was utterly unbelievable. I deleted 100 blog posts, 200 YouTube videos, 700 Instagram posts, all of my extra email accounts, 1TB+ off my hard drives, extra bank accounts, and so much more I can’t even remember right now. I realized I was living in a total illusion and had a false sense of self I was trying to fit into. Somewhere along the lines I got lost in “trying to be somebody” and be a content creator that I forgot what following my heart felt like. All of that illusion had to go, so what remains on Adventures Across is what is still true to me and my journey. Since my heart wasn’t in it, I decided to let go of my dreams of being a full time author/artist and just keep it as a hobby. My e-commerce store got deleted with all my products and I deleted several book manuscripts that just didn’t align with who I wanted to become. I discontinued some of my self published books that would never see a journey fulfilled, sort of like the seedlings that dampened off in the spring from having too much watering. I am still going to write books and make art, though it will be for myself and my own personal joy. If others want to buy my creations… that is so great and I’d be excited to share, though it isn’t my goal to make a living from such things.

As I got rid of all of my belongings, I felt so much grief that I had left unprocessed from the death of my father and the hardships I went through. New grief came as I realized what I’d become and how I lost my true self in such a mess. Grief of pushing “Move to Trash” most of the work I did for the last four years or so. Grief of burning all of my journals & business cards because keeping them wouldn’t serve me. It wasn’t all a waste, I learned so much about self publishing and the internet world that will be valuable for me moving forward. I realized that if I were to be an author that actually sold books… I needed to hold a higher self esteem of myself, become stronger, get off a pedestal, and mature a bit. And most importantly, put myself and loving myself first over trying to master marketing and sell 1,000’s of books just to keep my bills paid. (Of which, never even happened).

Tough Love and Hard Truths

Another hard lesson I learned this year was that to make it anywhere on our planet, and to make a passionate dream come true, hard work is necessary and it has to be done. Austin was always good at working hard and working for what he wanted. I was always good at dreaming and making perfect plans of action and fulfilling the spiritual side of it. That is why the two of us work so well together, because we help the other fulfill the side they need help with. Now that I am a part of the business, I had to accept that a hard day’s work pays off and is fulfilling. I used to resist work like that because I believed that people shouldn’t have to suffer to make a living or a life. It was painful to watch my parents go through that, though instead of trying to make my life better I decided to lower my standards of living and just make less money. After living in so many moldy situations, I realize this mentality too was moldy and keeping me from living a healthy life. Although the work Austin and I do can be physically challenging, I enjoy it and always feel appreciated by our clients when the day’s work is done. The work is simple and fulfilling, and for once my BBA has a purpose and fulfills the intention I had when I got it - to have a business. The two of us can bring in enough money to live a stable and healthy life, and one where we can live in two locations, travel often, and have the quality of life we desire.

Nothing that I wanted in my life could be given to me, no matter how hard my life has been. It was up to me to earn it and give myself the life I wanted to live. I think the pandemic brought out the victim in everyone to face. We can either decide to stay stuck in victim mentality and to continue looping in our shadows, or we can face this part of us with love, even if it is tough love, and get ourselves out of our own messes. We are all responsible for our lives and all have free will to make choices. All of my shadows reminded me of these truths, and even though they were hard to face, I am glad I did.

The Mind is a Forest

Just as the forest tends to itself in various ways, whether it is sowing new life from acorns fallen or burning to the ground to have complete rebirth, we too can experience these natural occurrences in our lives. A gardener tends to their garden in various ways as well, one of the most important being pulling weeds and invasive species from the garden. Our subconscious mind is kind of like the garden, and our conscious mind is the gardener. The garden will do what it will naturally depending on what seeds or programs are in the soil. The programs within our subconscious minds come from our upbringings and can even go as far as past lives or other things our souls have experienced. In order to have balanced and beautiful lives in this lifetime, we must tend to the garden and pull the weeds from time to time. For me, my garden was much overgrown with weeds that I could hardly see what I had planted years ago. The weeds were things like arguments with people of the past, outdated beliefs, and bad habits. I’d find my mind looping and looping all kinds of negativity even though my present life was pretty calm and balanced. My mind was making me feel unbalanced and creating negative emotions. Once I pulled the weeds out of my garden and burned some of the other patches, I was left with certain dreams of mine fulfilled (being able to be a full time nomad and financially support myself), and bare fertile ground for planting something new (which I have no idea what that is at this point).

At the end of the day, I took some seeds I squirreled away whilst leading prairie seed collecting workshops a few years ago. My intention was to plant them in a blank space on my homestead to grow into a new prairie. For obvious reasons, I will not be doing that… but decided instead to make a seed mix and scatter them in the grassy section of the campground. There’s a new prairie emerging there with bee-balm and phlox and horsemint, perhaps… more wildflowers would like to join in! It was sort of an ending and closing to a dream I once had that may never be fulfilled, and planting seeds for a new future not only for me, but for the future inhabitants of this campground. Since I plan on living here again next year, I figured that I’d get to see the prairie I planted anyway, even though it may not flower for a few years. I can still tend to the plants if I see them popping up, and who knows? I could live here longer than I think. Simplicity and harmony seems to be the solution for me, and those two things are here in this lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on minimalism and downsizing your life? Do you think that your home and the things you own are a reflection of your subconscious mind? How are you caring for your heart, dreams, and self? And would you like me to write some blog posts about minimalism and ways to simplify your life, from my experiences of downsizing? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

I want to introduce you to our camper Stella soon, I am waiting for some more decorative & organizational things to arrive in the mail that are replacing old and mismatched things in here. Once it is complete, I will share pictures and how we are living in a 143 sqft space and downsized from 1,000 sqft from the cabin :) Surprisingly, it is no big deal for us.

Sending you so much love and happy autumn!


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