Disentangling -also known as untethering, unravelling, de-cluttering, minimizing or detaching – is, for me, being mindful of thoughts, feelings, habits, routines, things, expectations and conventions that no longer serve (or perhaps never did) and letting them go. It’s about choosing to live authentically with less clutter.
I’ve been disentangling for a few years. I’ve largely disentangled from materialism, the illusion of ownership, and from views, thoughts, practices and conventions that are non-nurturing or don’t resonate with my beliefs. It’s an on-going process: a conscious choice. It involves being aware of life’s journey, embracing change and taking on fresh perspectives. The practice of disentangling doesn’t suit everyone, but it’s certainly paved the way to a better way of life for me.
Why I chose to disentangle
I was motivated to disentangle for a number of reasons. I began to see the value of ‘less being more’. I realised that by letting go of material and mind clutter, I could make room for experiences and feelings that really matter. Why be weighed down with ‘stuff’? I also woke up to the notion that life is for living, but that our choices have an impact on other beings, this planet, and ourselves. It made me think about how I was consuming and spending money. It also reminded me that life’s most simple pleasures (walking in nature, being with loved ones, watching the sunrise, being creative…) are the most valuable.
The story so far…
My disentangling journey started, as it does for many, when I chose to give up some material stuff. I come from a family of collectors and hoarders so I inherited an appreciation of pretty, curious, interesting, funny, and some functional and not so functional objects. I understood the value in some of these things – not just the commercial value, but the practical and emotional attachment. I felt at odds, however, accumulating so much ‘stuff’. Although I didn’t have a huge amount of material possessions, what I did have felt like a heavy weight.
When I moved home in 2007, I made a conscious decision to let go of years worth of clutter. I recycled, gifted, sold and re-purposed so much stuff and yet it still felt like I had too much. Then, in 2009, while I was working on my debut novel, I really stepped up on the disentangling. I felt mobilised in such a positive way. I gifted and recycled and let go of more things. I disentangled from some work projects and situations. I also gave up television (only watching the occasional film on my laptop that I’m inspired to see).
In 2011, I disentangled from home ownership to live (if I wished) a peripatetic lifestyle, which suited my work as a writer and publisher. At the same time, I finally detached from Christmas. At this point, some people thought I’d lost the plot, but it felt totally right for me. And, I still meet with family and friends at this time, but don’t subscribe to the commercialism of the occasion.
Since then, I’ve focused on what for me is the deepest and most life-changing work: disentangling from thoughts, feelings, practices, habits, and conventions that don’t nurture or resonate with my inner truth. It’s an on-going journey, and I’m heartful of my intentions and actions.
What has changed in my life
I’ve changed. I’ve changed in so many wonderful ways. I’m happier and healthier for making conscious and harmonious choices. Disentangling has given me more freedom and I’m able to spend my time creatively doing what I love. There’s still work to do. Isn’t that always the case? But I now have a way of living that is ultimately more nurturing, ethical and meaningful. It’s a lighter way of life and I’m able to focus on what matters.
I’m still disentangling on various levels. Some people take disentangling to a point where they can fit all their physical belongings in one average bag or suitcase, and that’s absolutely fine if they are happy and comfortable with their choices. I’m certainly living with less stuff, but it doesn’t mean to say that I’m on a mission to reduce my belongings so that I can carry them all in one holdall – at least, not at this point. But, hey, things change. I’ll let you know when they do.
Ready to disentangle?
Disentangling is a conscious choice and a personal one. Work out what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. You don’t have to give up life’s comforts or everything you love. Take your time so that you make choices that truly resonate with you rather than attempting to conform to an ‘ideal’. Disentangling isn’t competitive. It shouldn’t be a chore and nor should it be approached obsessively. It’s about achieving a better, lighter and more liberating way of life and creating more time and space for what really matters.
By Carol Anne Strange
Receive my Letters…
Occasionally, I send out an email. There’s news about my writing, stories and creativity – and some free gifts, too. Subscribe free here. ☆~♡~☆