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Is it possible to declutter our lives?

Were the Desert Mothers and Fathers in the 3rd and 4th century the ultimate declutterers? They certainly lived a simple, minimalist life, only taking with them a robe, lamp and jug. If you lived in the desert, what would your 'luxury item' be? I proposed Marmite, though others at our recent Quiet Day thought a comfy chair, phone or radio might be more useful. At first we looked at what motivated us to live a simple life, what ultimate values did we want to pair back to. Some chose to write an obituary for themselves or a 3 word tagline for their life, others imagined themselves in the story of Mary and Martha.

Quiet Day guests enjoying Jacket Potatoes.

The Desert Fathers and Mothers expected to encounter wolves or demons both physically, mentally and spiritually. So we reflected on what 'wolves' or fears stopped us from living more simply. We realised that for many of us the fear of losing control, not receiving affirmation from others and missing our daily comforts were big 'wolves'.

In the last session we looked at what sparked joy in our lives, either because we loved to do it or felt it was really valuable to us. Maria Kondo suggests that we should “Choose what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of". To help us do this we imagined our life as a vase, putting the big stones in first and then the little stones around, helping us prioritise. We also thought of our life as a teapot and reflected on who and what tops us up and, conversely, drains us. Turns out we need more filling than draining, in order to have an abundance out of which to give to others.


Some quotes we looked at

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Mark Twain

“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” Fight Club

“There are two reasons we can’t let go: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” Maria Kondo

Books and resources

  • Christian Books

  • The Ruthless elimination of Hurry - John Mark Comer

  • Garden City - John Mark Comer

  • Working from a place of rest - Tony Horsfall

  • Cave, Refectory, Road - Ian Adams

  • Sabbath - Nicola Slee

  • Invitation to Retreat - Ruth Haley Barton

  • General Books

  • Goodbye to Things by Fumio Sasaki

  • A Monk’s Guide to a clean house and mind by Shoukei Matsumoto

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

  • Eat That Frog!: Get More Of The Important Things Done Today by Brian Tracy

  • Blogs

  • ​blog by Richard Frost (speaking at Treargel in May)

  • by Sarah Bickers.

Our next Quiet Day on 13th February will be about Belonging. Do you feel like you belong?

A favour we ask

At Treargel we don't have much budget for publicity but rely mostly on our lovely friends to pass on the message. So if you are willing and able, please tell people about us, link to facebook or put up a poster at the back of your church or meeting place. Contact us for posters on Quiet Days or general retreats.

Thank you so much, we really appreciate your help.

Don't forget our 20% discount until the end of March with the code 20for20.

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