uis XIV stated that appearance was what mattered. In a presentation to others, that is what is seen. How you look. How you smell. How you walk. Talk. It takes less than a New York minute for anyone to make that assessment.
My relationship with clothing is complicated. While in high school, the ladies down the street from me who made nun's habits, taught me how to sew. I sewed everything but my underwear and shoes. I bought Italian shoes at that time. My appearance was so professional I was able to walk down the senior steps to go for lunch at my friend's house without anyone questioning or noticing that I wasn't supposed to be doing that. I looked like a substitute teacher!
I left all those lovely clothes behind when I went to University. Traded them in for bell bottom jeans and one skirt. When I lived in the dorm and ate at the dining hall, we had to dress for dinner. Looking back, that was actually good training. No one looks good in a suit if they never wear one. Trouble was, all my clothes were at my mother's house. I had a partner 'in crime.' She also had her one skirt for the evening ritual. It made it easier.
After graduation, myself and four other girls went to teach in Tokyo. On a regular basis, people had few clothes that they wore throughout the week. If they spent money on clothes, the women that is, it was to pay for costly kimonos. But they didn't seem to spend on everyday wear.
After Japan, I lived in farming villages in Israel. No money there. Farmers generally wore only the necessary clothes to get through the week. Then there was Sabboth! Clothes were simple, but dressed up for the celebration of weekly observance.
Finally, back to the States. Before leaving, I did have an art teaching job in NJ. I still didn't have my collection, but started with a low budget and bought some dresses and skirts and blouses. I pretty much wore the same clothes every week. One day, one of the students asked, "Why do you always wear the same dress when you come to teach?" I must say, that was one of the few most embarrassing moments of my career.
Through the years, I noticed just how much people's closets were stuffed with clothes. Take my mom. When she went to assisted living, we had to pare down her possessions. I couldn't believe it. She had enough clothes to open a store!
I'm a minimalist. Though not Chinese, I celebrated Spring Festival and cleaned my house. Anything not worn, broken or just not needed had to go. I filled 12 large kitchen garbage bags and one with clothes for charity. I Kirbyed the apartment. Now my house is clean, practically empty, but spacious and peaceful. No clutter. No unnecessary extras. Ready for a fresh start for the new year.
My mind is a busy mind, a creative mind. I can't think if I am surrounded by too many things. A room is an enclosed space. It's the space that is important for me. Other minimalists recommend having no more than one hundred items. I haven't quite reached that point, but I can move my entire apartment in about an hour.
When appropriate, I'll wear the 'right' clothes for the 'right' occasion and keep in mind Louis XIV's point that it is appearance which creates the 'right' impression. Otherwise, I'll stick to being light. Light in possessions. It is the outward manifestation of my inner lightness. I refuse to be buried and weighed down; no dust collecting! You may call me a lightweight! Others have. You're welcome!
My girlfriend dubbed me Dr Ruthless. She knew that because of my minimalist lifestyle I would be able to help her eliminate her clutter before she moved. All she had to do was point me in the right area and let me get to it.
This month is the Chinese Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year. I was feeling very Oriental and tore my house apart. Anything broken, not used or not worn just had to go. I filled 12 large garbage bags and one bag for charity.
Now my house feels spacious.
With a very busy mind, I have to have an uncluttered, spacious environment or I can't think. It's like not being able to hear unless you have your glasses on.
I've noticed that stuff somehow just accumulates. Sort of like getting buried in dust before dwelling in your forever resting place. I just want to be light, unburdened and clutter free in this lifetime.
We are what we eat! So, what are we feeding ourselves?
The food we eat affects our minds, our behaviors and, if you believe in it, our souls.
Most people are meat eaters. The way the animals are slaughtered causes pain and fear in the animal. As a consumer, you are incorporating that negativity into your body.
Most people are eating junk food or processed food. Studies have shown how little nutritional benefit these foods have.
So many people play violent video games and watch violent movies. These films do not have a positive affect on the psyche.
So many people spend their time in useless pursuits that do not nourish their minds.
What can be the result on our culture of all these habits?
I love Wayne Dyer. He looks like us. He talks like us. He dresses like us. Most of all, I love the way he explains his thoughts so simply.
I was listening to a video: Change your thoughts, change your life. Pay attention to your thoughts. They create your reality. What you focus on expands. If you focus on negative mind chatter, your reality will provide you with negative feedback, supporting your negativity. If you focus on positive thoughts, you will also attract what you are sending out to the universe, a positive reflection and manifestation of what is going on in your mind.
Increase your awareness.
Meditation is helpful. I do it. Not everyone can, or is willing to take the time to meditate. Everyone, though, can pay attention to what is going on in their mind. Knowing that what you focus on expands is a great motivation to keep negative thoughts out of your mind and replace the focus on more positive thoughts.
Test it for yourself.
Everything begins with a thought!
BTurning 70 has been more of a surprise than turning 50! It's amazing. I don't usually think about my past. I am not nostalgic for my hometown. In fact, this has been one of the happiest times of my life.
I live in Hollywood, Florida, close to the beach in the historic district. The houses on this side of town are each individually charming. Riding around on my bike and seeing them is like visiting friends. And friends in my immediate neighborhood, including my landlady, organized a surprise birthday party for me. Presents, flowers and good cheer made my day.
I did pause for a few minutes to feel a rush of gratitude. Flashes of where I have been, what I had been doing and with whom came to mind. Just a flash in the past; I don't dwell there. I do my best to live in the now, the present. I treasure each new day. I get up and walk around in my apartment and love it. The cats come awake and meow for their breakfast. The early morning sky looks like a classic painting. Neighborhood cats come for their morning hello. Daily hellos and coffee with neighbors. A convenient walk to the supermarket, CVS or local bodega for daily necessities, no need for a car! The center of town is only a 10 minute bike ride and the beach only half an hour.
My wish for everyone is long life. It puts everything into perspective.