I recently heard the word “lifeways,” in reference to indigenous ways of living in harmony with the natural world.
Something in it really struck me and reignited my desire to live in lifeways, in ways that are nourishing for me and the natural world.
Now I’m applying it to this huge process Dave and I are in—
We have been prepping our house for sale and sifting, sorting, packing, and moving our belongings to Port Townsend, Washington State… We just got back from a trip and our house is in the process of being sold. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that this part is quick and easy!
As we’ve been in this process, I am aware that there are ways of moving, just like there are ways of living. Some of the ways are more in harmony with the natural environment and some not. Since we humans are part of this natural environment, too, it’s also about how we can stay in harmony with ourselves in the midst of this uprooting, chaotic process.
Below are some MovingWays that have really help me—because even in the midst of 18-hour work days and LONG driving days, we can always practice!
I LOVE this word! Look at the etymology—it’s all about being IN joy. We have a choice, every day, every evening, every morning, every moment to be IN joy. Why not enjoy the process? It’s certainly happening, full force…
Here are a few ways I’ve been doing this as I pack:
As I sift, sort, pack, and let go, I remember the joy I had from items, and feel it in the moment as much as possible, regardless of what I decide to do with it…
Marie Kondo’s “Does it spark joy?” helps with the letting-go phase as you sort and pack. If it sparks, keep it; if not, let it go. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for me as too many things spark joy! So, I practice feeling the spark and letting things go anyway…
Another one that has been really powerful for us is letting things go and imagining how that item will bring others joy (lots on Craiglist for free and Goodwill).
In fact, that’s what’s so awesome about putting things on Free Craigslist—you actually get to meet the people that you are gifting the item to, and they are so HAPPY to receive it. We gave away an old video camera and the young man in his late twenties that came to get it told us how thrilled he was—he remembered his parents videoing him and his siblings as they were growing up. And he just got engaged and wanted this to film his children. SWEET!
Time—Chronos AND Kairos
Plan enough Chronos (linear) time! Everything takes longer than you think!
We had a 5-year plan to make this move, but we didn’t really start working on the house until the dining room wallpaper removal and painting 2 years ago. Then at 1 year, everything got more real and we started in earnest, beginning to go through things, too. But we still didn’t plan enough for all the repair work we would need to hire out, and that made things really stressful at the last minute!
Planning enough time also means you can work on recycling, gifting, and selling your belongings instead of throwing them away! This way we don’t create more waste that our natural world has to try to manage. With enough time, you can go through files and recycle or reuse the old paper, giving away the binders, reclaiming the paper clips, etc. With enough time, you can find a home for all that extra yarn or cloth in the attic… We weren’t perfect at this, but we did a LOT, and it felt so good to not just contribute more garbage to our struggling earth.
If you have the Chronos time, try Marie Kondo’s way of sorting before you pack—spread everything from a like-category out in one place so you can see it all while you are making decisions about what to keep (for example, all your shoes, all your summer clothes, all your kitchen jars 😊).
If you simply don’t have enough Chronos time, you can draw on Kairos time in these two ways:
- Let Kairos time draw you into a project when the moment feels right and trust that process.
- Use the linear allotment of time available and within that structure, give yourself Kairos time to flow within that structure, to commune/be with each project, each item, each belonging that has afforded you this way of living.
Both kinds of time are necessary for not feeling overly rushed—play with them to weave a sense of wholeness in the process.
Be in Abundance
Neither Dave or I feel abundant about money most of the time. We choose to work part-time so that we can spend more time doing things we love to do, but this also means that most of the time, we have to be careful with how we spend.
In this moving process, we have both been giving away things that cost a lot. We originally thought we would sell them, but when it came time, we just didn’t have time, so we gave them away.
We totally didn’t expect it, but we’ve noticed that by giving away something that would otherwise be really expensive to buy to someone who couldn’t have afforded it, we not only receive the gift of their joy, but we feel more abundant!
Dave recently donated a very expensive racing bike, and I gave away a harmonium. The act of giving these away helped us realize that we actually have enough—enough to be able to give! We have abundance. This helps us be in our abundance—and that feels yummy!
You don’t have to be a singer to make sound—and we’ve been making a lot of it lately! Sometimes, we sit down at the dining room table and before we say our metta-prayer grace, we let whatever sounds need to come through out. Sometimes it’s low growls; at other times, squeaky-sounding energy, or even a long, airy sigh.
It’s a way to voice what is happening inside. We’ve been so busy, working, repairing, tracking, taking care of so many things that some feelings haven’t had a chance to be totally felt. Giving voice to this helps them to move up and out and thus feels complete and released. (This is Full Voice work.)
It’s also fun to sound together! It creates connection (more on that next!).
We’re also singing together more—little made-up ditties, or little songs. Choosing words that express the reality we are living and give us hope—like There is work to be done, which also acknowledges that we are in it together or The only way through is through, which needs no explanation(!)—or words that help us remember ourselves, like Endless boundless gratitude, which gives thanks for the food we are about to eat.
We are doing this moving thing together. It’s really easy, when stressed, for me (as a Self-Preservation One) to sit back into myself and get all independent and self-sufficient. I can clamp down my emotions and just get into doing mode, not wanting interruptions of any kind, even a touch… Dave has his own version of this, too.
What we’ve found, though, is that we need to go against these personality patterns. We need to consciously reach out and stay connected–via touch and words. We need to remind each other, over and over again, that we are in this together, that we are supported, that we don’t have to do it alone.
No matter how adult we think we are, there is this little inner child part that really needs this support and thrives with it. If we ignore this part of ourselves, we get more stressed, more withdrawn, more moody and anxious… it’s no fun! But reaching out to each other calms this all down and makes the process possible.
I had someone ask me recently if we were sitting together on the flight home after taking a weeklong UHaul moving trip to our new home. I said, of course! She was surprised to hear we feel closer than ever to each other because of this practice of intentionally staying connected.
Sleep, Eat & Move as Well as You Can!
We prioritize getting as much sleep as we can given each day’s schedule. Dave was actually sleeping on a friend’s couch as I wrote this since we were locked out of our home for an openhouse and showings all afternoon.
Eating well looks different depending on the day. We brought a cooler in the moving truck so we could bring easy noshing food for the trip. At a supermarket in North Dakota, we got a broccoli salad that was too sweet, but it was green and fresh! And I got a quart of uncooked pickles. For the trip, I brought wakame and a container I could hydrate it in so that we could add greens to our hotel egg breakfasts, as well as my own GF homemade bread.
Sometimes eating well means going out to eat and getting a meal made for us so that we can relax and receive. In that case, it always includes eggs if it’s breakfast and a big salad for any other meal..
And we always bring our bamboo utensils and napkins so we don’t have to use extra paper, plastic, or Styrofoam, even at the hotel breakfasts. Next up is to get some lightweight natural-material, reusable plates (just ordered!).
Move your body in many different ways! Packing, carrying, repairing… it’s hard on your body! Break up the type of work you are doing–stand up, sit down, go for a walk and swing your arms and legs, lie down and relax, stretch… I bring tennis balls in a sock in the truck and use them to work out sore muscles, which really helps… Listen to your bodysoul and pay attention to what s/he needs, if not out of love and care, at least so that you can keep going without being injured!
Ask For & Receive Support!!
When I asked friends who moved 2 years ago what we needed to know, this was the biggie!
We, honestly, could not have gotten this far without the help of our friends! A group helped us load and a group unloaded us at the other end. Friends came to help stage, to check on the house, mow the lawn, and tend the gardens after we left.
We are calling out DEEP thanks to Phil and Steve H., who loaded the truck with great care, Larissa, Gregg, John, and Steve C., who helped load it, Elizabeth who spent hours breaking up boxes for recycling, Gregg who came back to mow for us, Ellen who checked in on and made the gardens look as good as they could, Cheryl who helped with the staging before and after the cleaners inadvertently rearranged things, and let us crash at her home when we couldn’t be in ours… And the unloading crew of new and old friends—Becky and John, Margie, Bill, and my parents!
Not only did receiving this support relieve the stress of trying to figure out how to do it ourselves, we felt so held, part of community, not alone, so supported. And SO GRATEFUL!
We also asked contractors to do more than they originally contracted for, and most were willing, including Ian, who even volunteered to put a fresh coat of paint on the deck of the porch and the basement stairs and came back in to put the corner-round on when the painters neglected it.
Receiving this support was AMAZINGLY nourishing and has helped us to continue on with what must be done…
Keep Your Practice Going
Whatever it is that you do to return to your center, your sense of being in Love, of okayness with the world, of contact with your deepest sense of Self, do that!!
You may need to spend less Chronos time on it to make space for the reality of all that needs to be done, but you absolutely MUST continue something to fill your well.
At first, my morning practice time got shorter. Then when the 18-hour days hit and I let go of that time, I still read something short and inspirational to help my mind, kept presence practices woven into my day going, and practiced everything mentioned above. Staying connected to that deeper wellspring is critical for staying sane and well!
I’m sure there are other MovingWays, ways of living in harmony while you are moving, but these are the ones that are top-of-mind as we continue living this process. (Final move planned for early July.)
I’d love to hear how you
have made it through
so that your moving process
was life-giving and part
of your mindful life journey!