Emily P. Freeman is a podcast mentor to me, although I don't personally know her. Her books and podcasts prompt me to ask myself good questions, help me reflect, encourage me to make better decisions, and inspire me to cultivate a life worth living. I highly recommend you listen to this week's episode of "The Next Right Thing" podcast called "A Soul Minimalist's Guide to Summer."
In this podcast, she quotes Joshua Becker who says "Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it."
The concept of Soul Minimalism (aka turning minimalism inward), examining our soul and asking "what do I need to let go of?" what is cluttering my mind and heart? and how can i simplify? have been questions I've been paying attention to for a couple years now. And the more I pay attention, the more clarity I find.
Emily P Freeman goes on to offer 5 suggestions for practicing soul minimalism this summer. I'll go first in sharing a few of my answers, and then I encourage you to answer them for yourself.
1. Name your summer posture
Finish this sentence- "I want this summer to be a summer of _________."
For me, I want my summer to be a Summer of Connection- to myself, to my children and husband, to God, to others. What does this look like?
Practicing staying present
More bike rides with my kids
Hiking and picnics with friends
More gardening and time outside to be still
Balanced with more alone time for myself as an introvert.
What's the name of your summer posture?
2. Create space
Emily prompts us to ask ourselves "What is invisible that will keep me from leaning into my summer posture?"
For me, it's asking "what do I need to let go of in order to lean into a summer of connection?" I need to let go of thoughts that wander into the future or the past for too long (aka rumination), and keep me from staying present in the moment. I need to let go of busyness because I can't truly stay connected if my life is full of distractions and too much on my to-do list. And I need to let go of expectations and having everything all planned out.
Next she asks the following questions that I'll let you answer for yourself...
Listen to what needs your attention, because that is what needs to be decluttered.
What is the first thing that pops into your head when asked "What needs your attention?"
4. Plan your absence
"What can I skip?" This could be an activity you've done every summer that is no longer life-giving or causes undue stress, or a mindset or expectation that is no longer serving you.
What do you need to take off your plate?
5. Plan your presence- "What would be inner-life-giving for me this summer?"
What is life-giving to your heart, soul, mind and body? What do you want to make sure you stay awake and present to this summer?
I encourage you to take the time to reflect on these questions, and then WRITE THEM DOWN and put it somewhere visible in your house. Reflect on these often, and of course feel free to change them if you need to!
I'm looking forward to hearing some of your answers if you feel like sharing!