Some of you will know that this past Saturday, 23rd April was Earth Day, a day that raises awareness about protecting our wonderful planet. To honour the occasion, I had the absolute pleasure of taking time out to enjoy a retreat with some mud-squelchy hiking, rain-serenaded forest bathing and hearty soup eating around a warming campfire. Being surrounded by the beauty of nature got me thinking about the benefits of just spending time outdoors, and how inline Mother Nature is with the principles behind the importance of organising.
The day started with a speedy school drop off, followed by a questionable route on the SatNAV and then the donning of all things rain gear related. Not the most relaxing start to a retreat so when I first sat down with my back supported by a sturdy tree, my mind was racing with the morning, the things I needed to get done that day, what was coming up in the next week that I needed to be prepared for and on and on. But what I noticed the longer I sat there was the slower my thoughts were becoming because I couldn’t help but be awed by the beauty all around me. Allowing my brain to take a break from the chaos of the day-to-day of life, and just take a moment to be present gave me a sense of inner peace and calm that had been a bit buried under all the busy-ness. Not only that but as my mind was cleared bit by bit of so many ideas and thoughts, clear and easy solutions to a few things that I had been stuck on just came to me. Clarity in the quiet. This phenomenon happens when you have an organised home, too. Being in a space where things are tidy and, in their place, allows your mind to slow down and get the much-needed rest it so desperately seeks in today’s busy world. Having these relaxing brain breaks is so important for supporting your overall mental wellbeing, and it’s right at your fingertips, in your home. Even though being in Mother Nature works somewhat differently to spending time in your organised home, they both work to support and improve your mental health.
Another similarity between Mother Earth and the fundamentals of organising that struck me as I was admiring the towering trees, the waving leaves, the rainy sky, the chirping birds and all the other wonders in the forest, is how clever Mother Nature is. Behind all the beauty, there is a basic strategy to ensure the natural world continuously works in harmony. Everything that is present in an ecosystem has a purpose, that serves something else’s purpose, in an elaborate network of connection and collaboration. There is an ingrained plan that everything follows year after year but there is also room for flexibility and adaptation. Nature has an incredible way of creating balance through the circle of life-when one thing dies, something else benefits or something else may even take its place. This is remarkably like the underlying strategy when you are keeping your home organised. All the items in your home should serve a purpose, either being something you love or something you use. Having a plan in place is also key when it comes to keeping your home in an organised state such as tackling small areas at a time, knowing where the unwanted items will go afterwards and doing little and often. Another crucial part of this game plan is the one-in, one-out concept to maintain the balance within your home like the life and death cycle of nature. So, it seems that both Mother Nature and your home have a strategy to keep things happily ticking along.
The third way that Mother Earth and organising seem to be on the same page is a bit more obscure but stick with me, and I’ll do my best to explain. It is the idea of being a conscious consumer. The natural world does a wonderful job of ensuring that everything in existence is being used, and it also minimises any waste through the circle of life. There is an inbuild balance that is created that protects the environment from being wasteful, using everything to its potential, and then absorbing things back into the ecosystem when they have come to the end of their life. Now, I’m not saying that everything in your homes needs to be used until it’s no longer suitable for use or repurposing everything you own. That’s not practical or probably even possible. But instead, you may be able to take a few actions that would help minimise waste and therefore help the environment. Firstly, you may be able to take time and make conscious decisions when you are purchasing an item such as considering where it comes from, the material it is made of and whether you really need it or love it before you buy it. You may also choose to think about what will happen to the item when you no longer want it. Will it be possible to find a new home for it or even to recycle it if that’s an option? Whether it’s Mother Nature or just you in your home, being a conscious consumer helps to prolong the life of the planet.
The final principle that I believe Mother Nature and organising have in common is freedom. If you have ever spent any time outdoors in the woods or around a campfire, you will have experienced even just a few moments of freedom; freedom from time constraints, freedom from negative emotions such as stress and overwhelm, freedom to make choices and freedom to be open to opportunities. There is something profoundly grounding about being outside in nature, a practice that basically electrically reconnects you to the earth. This connection creates the feeling of bringing things back into balance, and this often leads to an overall sense of contentment and peace. Organising your home can have this effect, too, because it lets you to feel in control, which in turn, balances your emotions. This gives you the mental space to connect with your home in positive ways and creates an overall sense of calm.
There are quite a few surprising links between Mother Nature and the key concepts behind bringing order to your home. Boosting mental wellbeing, using a plan to create a sense of balance, being a conscious consumer and freedom all play a part in both the environment and in being organised at home. Mother Earth is all about creating balance and harmony in the natural world, and organising your home can do the same.