Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Great Screen Escape

It's day six of cyber-detox and so far I have managed to avoid logging onto facebook the entire time. Proud of my discipline of avoidance that releases me to partake in other non-screen activities. 

After too many weeks checking in with my local community pages, the bushfire brigade evacuation warnings and the angry fearful rants on climate change/burned traumatised koalas/latest wildlife extinction stats pervading the news feed, I called time-out.  Uni exam results are in - a triumph of perseverence and sacrifice - so now is the time to start actioning that 'to do' list I made at the end of semester. 

There is the on going mission of "travelling light" - a work in progress that started over 5 years ago when I downsized from a 2 storey 5 bedroom home with built-in cupboards in every room down to a small single storey 3 bedroom home with only 1 built-in wardrobe for 4 years, then down to a tiny 2 bedroom rural cottage not much larger than a shipping container with no wardrobes for the past 18 months. 

My decluttering campaign got a boost between each downsized relocation having to shed the unnecessary and not-so-essentials along the way that would not fit in a smaller abode. A change in financial circumstances from full time employment to university student necessitated a whole new focus on reduced spending, living thrifty, repairing broken things, repurposing items thus bringing less clutter into a small home and allowing more to leave.

 I made "Minimalism: Living A Meaningful Life" by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus my new go to Mantra. These guys gave me a blueprint(and a whole lot more than 50 reasons) to come to grips with my over cluttered life that was stopping me from being the authentic free spirited nomad I always was before a ton of stuff managed to get in the way of my dreams to live on a boat and keep travelling around the world. 

Joshua Becker figures largely in the Brave New World of minimalist thinking and living. Both Millburn and Nicodemus gave recognition to Becker as an influential mentor. As the ancient philosophers say 'when the student is ready the teacher appears'. Aside from whatever spyware algorithms Facebook employs, their bots decided to throw an advert my way in the newsfeed promoting a facebook group run by the guru of declutter himself - Joshua Becker. Probably the best $67 invested ever, I joined up lifemembership with his online decluttering course.

 I had not long moved into the 2 bedroom tiny cottage which was overflowing with stuff that had to be put in a storage shed at a cost of $85 per month. That was money I needed for food and living expenses so I made it my goal that on completion of the online course, I would have decluttered the cottage and emptied out that storage shed through sorting, selling, giving away and tossing out all the excess. 

Oh what a lovely feeling of lightness when that shed became an empty space and I no longer had to fork out all that illspent money to store stuff each month. Tis essential not to rest on one's uncluttered laurels - this is a way of life requiring vigilence and willingness to let go more in order to achieve real freedom(whilst being kinder to the planet resisting conspicuous consumption).

 I make it a task each year to spring clean and hunt down the  unnecessary, the excess, the no longer serves a purpose and send it on its way. Ideally anything I have must serve more than one purpose - a cotton sarong can be a summer garment, a shawl, a scarf, a table cloth, a privacy curtain strung across a bed bunk or car window when travelling, a head covering in a muslim country, sun/wind storm protection for face, a makeshift carrybag etc. 

So on the top of my 'escape the screen list' are a number of decluttering tasks - taking excess blankets/doonahs/winter clothes to a homeless charity in town - excess towels/sheets to the local animal rescue - and a pile of things I've decided are a firehazard that need to go to the dump. You see the last few weeks have been living on the catastrophic edge of the Pechey/Ravensbourne bushfires in South-East Queensland. Months of drought conditions in surrounding state forests, pasturelands and national parks made for an arsonist's playground on the evening of 11th November 2019 when the hellfire match was lit and plunged many high country communities into their worst nightmare. The worry, angst, horror at what fire can do to all your possessions, your farm animals, your pets, your livelihood, your very life and those you love.

The beast devoured 95% of the pastureland where I live and came within 7 metres of destroying the cottage. Hero thanks to the volunteer firemen who battled this monster for 2 long weeks before containment was achieved. The spectre of fire on your doorstop changes you and your attachment to stuff - suddenly what you own is mere tinder fuel for a fire beast and a potential hazard to being able to escape your burning domicile. This is motivation to let go more - I can see that ship on the horizon getting closer as each boxful of stuff is released to be used elsewhere in the cosmos.

 Else on my 'escape screen list' is reading non-academic books, writing postcards and letters to friends, putting photos in albums with a few captions/comments to keep those past travel memories vividly alive and to powerup the escape velocity needed for future travels.

 Birdwatching, playing basketball, Tai Chi, Tibetan Yoga, swimming, hula hooping and hiking in the forest is on the list too....and some reflective writing in this blog....check....tick👌👍...
Need some inspiration to escape the screen then try this list of 50 Suggestions..

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