The practice of simplifying has consumed me in the best way possible. Over the last year or so, I’ve simplified every area of my life. It’s become a magnetic pull in my cells. The only other times I felt such a strong yearning were when I felt it was time to make a baby (let’s go!). And when I knew I wanted to commit to my current partner (all in, my Love!). Very. Deep. Callings. Biggest learning? Like birth and being in love…
Simplifying is the rapture that comes after the complexity you wish you’d avoided.
HOME + STUFFS
I’ve let go of more than half of my material things. Sold it, gave it, recycled it, donated it. My old neighbourhood is rife with Free Piles in the alleys. For months my LIFE was the free pile. I let go of things I’d actually cherished. Like my grandmother’s dishes that I boxed up and hauled ‘cross country three times, but only used once a year. Alma bought those plates with food stamps during The Depression. I offered them for free on Craigslist and gave them to the person who seemed the most excited. That nice lady texted me photos of her and her hubby drinking tea with the cups and saucers. She also mentioned that she would pray for me. Thank you!
Worth noting: my son and I did about fifty transactions via Craigslist and other marketplaces. We left most items on our porch and asked people to just leave the money in the mailbox. Every person came through. Humans are good.
Also worth noting: “In case I need it,” is a racket. If you haven’t used it in over a year… considering move it on. Other people probably need it now. Just give it away.
I moved my son and me from a house with a yard into an apartment that’s walking distance to the ocean and giant Sequoias. I sold my bed frame, and just have my mattress on the floor. I gave away most of our art. I gave away all the wine glasses. Regular glasses are just fine. Vases, sacred objects, art supplies? Gifted it all. Paperwork, photos, files? Recycling bin.
My son and I (he’s a teenager) have dialed way back on buying anything brand new. It’s amazing what happens when you let your online shopping cart just sit there for a day. You come back and realize, Nope, don’t need that stuff either. If I do bring in something new, I remove something old from my closet or space.
I burned about seven years of journals. Pyre of relief, I tell you.
I cancelled my Amazon Prime membership and stopped shopping there almost completely. Not just for less consumption, but because Amazon is a major supporter of prison labour, which is part of the heinous racket of over incarcerating People of Colour. Watch Ava DuVernay’s stunning documentaryThe 13th. Also because Amazon’s founder’s phenomenal wealth would be better used to say, save the actual Amazon rainforest, or get clean drinking water to poisoned communities, rather than using that phenomenal wealth to invade life on Mars. As a small business, we’ve stopped linking my books and any products that we recommend to Amazon.
Speaking of books… Part of letting go of half of my material things included many boxes of books. Boxes of loved and well-marked books. Boxes of brand new books that I had never read but promised myself to read so I could feel more accomplished about all the books that I bought and then responsibly read. If I’m meant to read a book, I can bike over to my favourite independent bookstore and pick it up.
BEAUTY + BODY
I stopped coloring my hair—for a few reasons. Watching the hair dye spin down the drain was always guilt wracking. I can’t call myself an environmentalist and keep pouring super toxic substances into the water systems. Gaia or my vanity. I’m choosing Mother Earth. This was a “put my money where my body is” kind of decision. Also… Planet’s body = my body. Hair dye + many synthetic fragrances are proven endocrine disruptors… no bueno for hormone balance. (If you want to know more on the topic watch the documentary, Stink!)
The silver has started to filter in and I’m embracing it. This is me now and that’s that and I’m freeeeee.
I used to be the type of person who wouldn’t leave the house without her toes painted. Never chipped, I loved navy and mocha lacquer. It was a signature. Once a month, I’d flip flop down to the local mani pedi place for a treat… and feel guilty AF when I watched them use a plastic bag in the foot bath, and see pregnant technicians inhaling nail polish fumes. Done. Going on two years now of no polish, even in the summer. Life has not lost its deep meaning and I’m just as sexy.
Simplifying can be complex and time consuming. We’ve started rearranging everything in the business to focus more deeply on fewer projects. You’ll see the shifts gradually unfold, especially with the new Heart Centered Facilitator Program that’s rolling out (get on the interested list HERE! It’s incredibly useful and applicable to so many industries and communities). Focusing more on our community feels like relishing, like nourishment, like growing beautiful relationships that create change.
After almost a decade of printing day planners and Truthbomb decks, we retired ALL OF IT! Massive decision. Design, printing, shipping, warehousing and distributing printed goods is a complex business. Different provincial and state taxes, shipping returns, trying to compete with Amazon’s undercutting… it’s a lot. In the case of the day planner, we had to design them 14 months in advance of launch. That’s not how I want to live. It’s a tough business and it’s not why I’m here on the planet. There are many other eco-friendly planners out there. I do think ours was one of the most “soulful” and effective… but I can deliver that soulfulness in so many other ways.
Phasing out my printed products allowed us to end our relationship with our warehouse/fulfilment company. They were great, but what sweet relief to stop spying pick n’ pack fees and for storage space. In turn this allowed us to lighten up on HR hours on our own team. Also… bye bye packaging costs.
On the digital front… We reorganized 11 years’worth of content into a new website (!)—that took nine months. In the process, I canned dozens and dozens of writings that I no longer resonate with. Trimmed it all down to what I can still stand by in my heart. Free.
I’m not travelling for speaking gigs. Not because of any restrictions or caution. Just… simplifying. It turned out that I’m having just as intimate of an experience with an audience or team on Zoom. I miss high heels but I also let most of my shoes go so… barefoot n’ philosophical is working just fine. Hire me.
I used to paint. On canvases. Big abstracts of circles and seeds. My stuff was never that great. Maybe it could have been but I decided that being the next Rothko isn’t my dharma. So I retired. I have a vocation. Heart Centered is it. So I gave my materials to a truly talented painter, who also happens to be my best friend: Candis Hoey. It got down to this: do I want to paint for the zero people who see my work? Or do I want to spend time with the people I love? People over paint.
I’ve relaxed a lot of my efforting with relationships. This wasn’t intentional at first. It was the result of a calmer nervous system and more quiet and space in my life. That energy just flowed into… everything else. (And in full disclosure, I also fell in love and am writing a book so… I’ll call y’all back.) I’m less in touch with my friends but our actual connection time is just as deep, revealing, and fun. I also gave up being pissed off at certain people for things they’ve been doing for years and decided, “meh, just love ‘er.” Simple.
With all of this simplifying and cleansing, I feel an Inner Peace is starting to reveal itself (which, BTW, is the October theme for the Heart Centered Membership). The peace is always there. It’s a virtue of the heart. We just bury it under to-do lists and ambition.
I decided to simplify my practices and my near constant seeking. I’ve been wrestling and relaxing with my spiritual search for… lifetimes. It’s tiring.
What I’m discovering is that spirituality is a practice of simplifying all forms of clutter and noise so that you can be with what arises.
I decided to focus on ONE particular meditation practice for 21 days. Then on Day 21, I re-committed to a full three months of the same daily visualization. This has been such a beautiful experience of becoming more intimate with myself and Creation. Some days, I dial it in by rote. Other days, my heart is aflame with seeing some new dimension of courage or love within me… and the universe.
(I’m doing the Golden Blue Chalice Meditation, BTW. If it calls to you, please come into the Heart Centered Membership. We have a few practices that are kept within the community for energetic containment—keeps the “containers” of the practices clean. I produced all of the meditations in Heart Centered and for the public, with an energy healer, V.S., who has been creating the practices for us for about five years.)
I have all but stopped reading new self help content. I can’t under-state the significance of this. After years of conceptualizing that “the light is within”, I’m putting that theory to the test. Knowledge accumulation is a habit of the ego mind. Wisdom has nothing to do with methodologies or philosophy. Wisdom is a virtue. And all I need to do is make room for that light to stream into me. It’s not in another theory. It’s in my own heart centered.
This sounds like an easy simplification, but it’s actually been the most challenging––and nourishing. If I stop seeking will I lose divine favour? Will my wit or willpower atrophy? So far I’ve only become softer and more compassionate with myself and others. Fewer opinions to uphold means more space in heart, my living room and my life.
Of course, the upheaval in the world reaches into my personal life and I have to keep choosing ways to keep my life simple. I know enough to know that my inner chaos is reflected in the outer world. And as I let go of all forms of clutter and noise… I am being with what arises.
Lighten your load and you’ll see what matters most.
Work less to buy stuff to impress people that haven’t yet considered loving you unconditionally.
Live lightly on the land that keeps us alive.
Simplify to deepen.
Danielle LaPorte is an invited member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.” She is author of White Hot Truth: Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path—from one seeker to another. The Fire Starter Sessions, and The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul—the book that has been translated into 8 languages, evolved into a yearly day planner system, a top 10 iTunes app, and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators in 15 countries. Named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes, millions of visitors go to DanielleLaPorte.com every month for her daily #Truthbombs and what’s been called “the best place online for kickass spirituality.” A speaker, a poet, a painter, and a former business strategist and Washington-DC think tank exec, Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.” Her charities of choice are Eve Ensler’s VDay: a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and charity: water, setting out to bring safe drinking water to everyone in the world. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her favourite philosopher, her son. You can find her @daniellelaporte and just about everywhere on social media.