Divest is my one word inspiration for 2023. I have too much stuff which makes me unhappy. Some of it is mine I confess, clothes I no longer wear, books I’ll never read again or those which I’ve not started yet, craft materials which are unloved and surplus to my current interests or for projects I’ve not started. Some of the stuff came from my parent’s homes or belonged to my husband.. I don’t need a photo enlarger which I spotted last week in the garage for example. It all gets me down.
The other thing that I would love to divest is procrastination, panic and stress.
I review how I’ve done each month, join other one worders through Caroline who hosts us all, link here https://youronewordblog.wordpress.com/2023/03/27/checking-in-3-23/
and make a plan for the following month in a follow on post.
So how did I do in March? Simply – better in some areas than others.
1 The focus was on my wardrobe. Oh dear! I managed to part with one dress I wore to a wedding 15 years ago and didn’t much like, and it’s still waiting to go to the charity shop. But I also have a small box of other things and some spare bed linen, also still waiting to go. Could do better.
2 Give away more of my surplus craft materials. I was going to visit a destash sale to see what people liked or didn’t like, in the end I had the offer of a day out with my family, more on that later, upshot was no destash sale. It occurs to me I should just book a table and go next time. I mean if I paid out good money for a table I might actually do some serious destashing.
3 To my shame I have a lot of projects I want to actually do, so the aim in March was to do one.
Hurrah, one embroidery pouch started and finished, perfect for my embroidery scissors.
4 Instead of borrowing novels ( nb note change to plan from generic books) Read at least one novel from my own shelves. Part success- I have started a novel my son lent me a year ago, and I’ve only borrowed non fiction books. But I did buy two non fiction from the withdrawn books at the library yesterday. Could have been worse, I was actually allowed to fill a bag for £1.00 , so only two wasn’t bad. Besides which books are good for the soul.Of course I am supposed to be doing one in, one out, so maybe I could part with two books, sure I must have some I don’t really need.
Divest myself of negative behaviours which cause stress. I have had more success here.
This month has been really full of nice things to do in addition to the regular craft and poetry appreciation groups, I have been to a family history group meeting, and talks on the archaeology digs on the site of Wolf Hall, home of the Seymour family, and one given on the digs that took place in Salisbury on brown field building sites, revealing the old medieval town by Time Team’s Phil Harding, now working for Wessex Archaeology.
Not my photo, copied from the U3A Facebook page.
1 All were lovely things to do, and although I forgot to record daily gratitude I was certainly really grateful for having the chance to do these things.
2 I have stayed proactive on household maintenance too. Checked the smoke alarm, and cleared away dead leaves and debris from the outside walls. There has been a lot of wind and rain this month so I am still waiting for the lawn to be fettled.
3 I have stayed off caffeine. I can’t believe how much better I am sleeping for it.
4 The weather put me off walking with awe this month, not good but I did have a big blast of awe on Saturday when my son, two grandchildren and I visited Cheddar Gorge and went deep underground.
Cheddar Cheese, maturing in the caves for a year. Very delicious, flavoursome but not over powering.
Yes I bought some, of course I did.
And an exact replica of Cheddar Man, from the mesolithic time, found during excavation of the caves. Original in the British museum.
So I had a month with no procrastination, and lots of positives to promote Good mental health. Yet, I found myself in a stressful situation on one occasion towards the end of the month and on the brink of giving myself unnecessary heart ache. I am so proud I spotted the problem thinking and dealt with it using the tools I’ve been reading about.
Briefly , I had just paid the balance on a three day craft holiday to be taken in May. I was really looking forward to two days of knitting and an all day outing to a Woollen Mill in Wales. The day after I paid I was phoned to say the holiday was cancelled due to lack of numbers. I was offered an alternative date which I declined as I had other plans for that particular month, and asked for a refund which I was told would be made in 2-3working days. Nothing to get het up about. Indeed I was busy sorting out the purchase of a new bra… A bra fitting at M&S which I actually dislike doing completely unrationally… And I suppose having bought three new bras, only divesting myself of only one old one, does not go with my one in, one out plan.
I digress. About 8pm that night, I check emails, nothing from the holiday company, my account with them just says Holiday cancelled, shows that I paid in full, nothing about a refund. I read the terms and conditions, which I had actually read when I booked it, I checked which trade bodies they belonged too, I read reviews online…. People complaining about refunds. Panic set in. Well I filled in an online form in which I said I’d had a phone call, but nothing showed on my account, please could I have a confirmation email. Now it was 9pm , and customer services were closed, obviously .
I recognised I needed to do something and fast to stop my downward spiral. I turned to the notebook I am using this year for my one word. On the first page I’ve written on a scale of one to ten, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
I gave not getting a refund a score of four.
The score for the hassle of getting a refund went up to six.
So the hassle and self induced anxiety was greater than a negative outcome. How silly is that?
Which took me to the quote I’ve been thinking about all month from the Buddha” The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, worry about the future or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly “.
And here I was anticipating troubles. The only thing I could do ; I’d done in requesting confirmation of a refund .
So what to do about this ” distorted and corrupt thinking” . So I tried the 54321 method. 5 things I can see, 4 I can hear, 3 I can touch, 2 I can smell and 1 I can taste. I thought about going in my mind to my happy place, which was Greece, none of this worked. I had a bath, I went to bed and there had an idea which actually worked. I read my morning pages from a year ago to see what I was doing then as a new widow adjusting to life. I saw myself taking financial decisions, making choices, organising work in the garden, getting out and about, joining new things. I saw myself being OK, coping, doing things.. it reminded me of good times, of being a proper grown up standing on my own two feet. I read for an hour. I slept like a log.
The following day at approximately 3 pm I had an email confirming that a refund was coming my way. I’ll know if it has in a few days time.
Whether it has or hasn’t I learned a very good lesson from the experience . Those morning pages held the answers.. They are proof that I do cope. There was a positive from this negative experience. It was worth learning. And I am wondering where I can go on holiday instead.. Won’t be with that company for sure.
So my Divest journey continues. More later this week when I draw up my plan for April.
If you made it to the end, thank you for reading .
Comments on: "Divest- March" (28)
You are doing great! Some days will be easier than others. And when you felt that spiral, you did all the right things and came out on the other side feeling better. I am sorry your trip was cancelled, but I do hope you find something else to do that will bring you joy.
You are doing so well with your divesting! be gentle with yourself on getting rid of material things – that is an ongoing process for most of us. You are taking steps, which is an excellent place to start! Also – you go to a talk with Phil Harding! I am so jealous – that sounds so cool 🙂 Also the cheddar cave sounds like such an interesting adventure!
You are doing brilliantly Cathy. There are bound to be months and tasks which do not go according to plan. I find getting rid of clothes really tricky. If they get stained or torn they go for gardening or firewood cutting but there are some which are for ‘if I run out because it has been very wet and everything is in the wash’ or ‘going to a funeral ‘ (nearly had a disater there with 2 funerals on consecutive days and was glad of my spares). I need to find replacements I really like before I get rid of them. If thw Welsh woolen Mill was the highlight of your planned trip let me know – I live quite close to the Welsh Woollen Museum and you would be welcome to come and stay with me and go there.
That is an incredibly kind offer. I’m letting the dust settle , resting and recovering. I could actually rustle up four suitable funeral outfits, only two were purchased for that purpose, one is dark navy and one black. Too many funerals recently. Good news is I took the bag today to the Barnadoes charity shop. And the book called The Power of Awe which I requested in January finally appeared this week at the library for me. Thank you so much for your kindness.
That’s a very accurate observation on the power of small issues to affect our happiness. Also, I wish courses like that would declare up front how many places they need to fill, and where your booking stands in that number. If they had 10 places and your booking was only number 2, you’d at least know there was a chance it might not come off. Can you tell I’ve had too many of that sort of thing happen to me…? Congratulations on overcoming the down-spiral ☺️
That would be such a good idea. The very Good news is the refund came through. I am very disappointed though, it was a nice trip and a step towards being more adventurous. Back to the drawing board.
Hopefully they’ll put it on another time when there’s more interest.
Lots of positives. Even the negative has its positives. I was on a really early dog walk on Saturday and you were in my thoughts as I thought I should walk with awe. So I spread my toes a little wider in my boots, breathed a little deeper and looked a little further.
That is just so lovely. Terrific news.
So many wonderful triumphs in this post.
What a useful and very pretty embroidery pouch.
Well done! Not easy dealing with those panic moments. Hope you are giving yourself lots of credit and treats. xx
Thanks. I am beginning to think that anticipation is behind my procrastination too, and I have been focusing on the wrong underlying issue.
It sounds as if you are getting lots of helpful insights.
Sounds like a very positive month. As far as divesting goes, I don’t include books in any decluttering plans; books are just different to everything else I think! Cheddar looks fabulous, the end of our time in Wiltshire is on the horizon now so I’m trying to make a list of the places we must go, I think I’ll include it. Especially if this weather doesn’t ease off!
It will be sad to see you go, but that’s the life. Try to get to Cheddar early, parking is an issue, and we were there at 10.30am. Worth it though.
Cheddar Gorge looks fascinating, Cathy! (Now I need to see if I can get some that cheese here in the states!)
But bravo to you for pausing, taking a breath, and allowing what you learned last year to help you with a would-be-crisis. That is really fantastic! XO
I had a look and sadly they don’t seem to export cave mature cheddar from Cheddar.
Awesome and I remind myself when I am struggling to let something go that someone else is going to enjoy it (maybe someone is looking for the perfect dress for an occasion and your dress from 15 years ago will be just what they are looking for!)
I appreciate that in addition to divesting yourself of physical items it is important to divest ourselves of unnecessary stress and negative thoughts/behaviors!
Thanks for your comment. I find it hard to part with things. I’m not a hoarder but as a baby boomer I learned thrift!
the trip to Cheddar Gorge looks like fun!
Don’t be too hard on yourself, Cathy. You’ve been doing well with your declutter and it’s only normal you should get anxious at the thought of having paid for a retreat, only to find it cancelled & unsure of whether you’d get a refund or not. I do hope you can another retreat to book for – one where you’ll meet lots of lovely crafters and maybe knit some more socks?
I was mainly doing it for the museum and to see how I liked being with a group for three days.I thought if I couldn’t stand it I’d be home in two hours.If I enjoyed it I planned on going further away and for longer. Oh well, that’s life.
Well done Cathy, it can be so hard to try even one soothing technique and you tried loads till you found one that worked!
I hope I remember it for next time, because I’m sure there will be one. Thank you.
What a powerful post, Cathy–how you helped yourself by way of last year’s morning pages. What a wise move. And isn’t it interesting, the different perspective when looking back? It’s like, “Hey! Listen to me there! Look how capable I am?!”
And…are you a Seymour, by any chance? (That’s my maiden name.)
Thank you. It really helped to see me dealing with things satisfactorily. No not a Seymour. I refer to Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry the 8th and her parental home.Maybe you are related to them.
Those spirals after business hours are so hard. I do love reading how you are leaning into this word. I had hoped to join you in the closet declutter this month but spent most of March with a nasty cold so I have it on my list for April. Thank you so much for sharing your process.
Thank you. Hope you feel well enough for a bit of decluttering soon.
Government policies divest me of the purchasing worth of my modest income.
Hopefully some policies benefit you and yours!