A Contentment Reboot

Ugh. Do you know what it is time to do in my house?

Declutter. Again.

I’m overwhelmed. Again.

I’m overwhelmed, but not in the way I can be. Lately, I don’t mind it when the boys get out every. single. Playmobil. toy to create their worlds. Or when they dump out the huge bin of Legos looking for that one little piece that they need to finish their project.

These aren’t bothering me, because I know (approximately) where to put them away if I find them. It’s annoying how we start off with the best of intentions and then still end up unhappy.

I’m overwhelmed right now by the our endless collection of superhero/Star Wars/Paw Patrol costumes. Until now, all the costumes have been hanging in the Boudoir, that is, my closet on the upper level (that would be, my indulgent husband’s level.)

Honestly, it was rather cute to have all my pretty clothes hanging on the lower level in their adorable rainbow order, the husband’s on the upper level, and just to the left of his things, all those superhero costumes. It just felt kinda fun.

I guess I also thought that it would be a good way to keep the costumes in good condition. But this has also meant that every time they want one, they have to ask for it. Which, isn’t really a problem. However, these boys play superhero often enough that it has become a chore…not necessarily the getting out, but the putting back away. Since the closet isn’t accessible to them, they can’t do the putting away.

Thus, we have a Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper mask, an Obi Wan robe, a Superman costume, le Petit Prince’s scarf and much much more. all piled up on the dresser in my closet (which doubles as my recording studio) waiting to be put away. And this is not fun.

I’m going to need to let go of my little perfectionist need to keep the costumes “neat” and just let those boys do their thing. I’m thinking of a bin in the the scalawags’ room. Will the costumes get wrinkled? Maybe. But I may be also the only one who is bothered by this.

When everyone knows where something goes and can access that place, it is 50000 times more likely to end up there. Which are much better odds than the current situation, which is out of reach, only two people can access it and only one of them is bothered by the pile of un-put-away items.

Incidentally, I was only thinking about this situation because I have been faithfully doing my Ideal Life Exercise every day, and Monday’s theme was Contentment…that is, our relationship to our stuff. When the question, “What isn’t working?” came up, I immediately thought of the pile of superhero costumes in my closet. The beauty of doing the Ideal Life Exercise regularly is that it is an occasion, a moment set aside to think about the little things that are annoying us and try to figure out a new way to handle it so that it stops being a problem.

This is the essence of singing with our feet…that is, being willing to try to do things differently so that we can get closer to our Ideal Life. Yes, here I am just talking about what to do with a costume collection. But being willing to question how we do the little things is a skill that can help us examine why we do all the things we do. At its most powerful, it is a skill that can help us deal with unwelcome habits, set healthy boundaries and make better decisions.

So yes. I’m still singing with my feet. How about you?

Episode 64: The Golden Rule Rules Sing With Your Feet

In this last episode before the summer hiatus, Lily talks about this year's challenge to live out the Golden Rule and some of the hiccups that have appeared along the way.
  1. Episode 64: The Golden Rule Rules
  2. Episode 63: Foresight
  3. Episode 62: Memory
  4. Episode 61: Novelty
  5. Episode 60: How to Have Great Sex

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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