July 3, 2019

How Detaching from “Things” allowed me to Live Life on my Own Terms. ~ Daniella Smith


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When I was moving out of my apartment and getting ready to move onto a boat, I realized the emotional and energetic attachment that I had for objects.

Moving aboard our 35-foot sailboat required us to get rid of literally 95 percent of our belongings. That was perfectly okay with us—we were ready for a new beginning that allowed us to live our dreams now instead of at retirement.

However, there was a challenge in getting rid of what both my husband and I had collected over our lifetimes.

I also became aware of the responsibility we take on every time we accept something into our space. We had a huge task ahead of us, sorting through every photograph, every Sharpie marker, and nightgown collected. In our drawers, closets, and cabinets I found things that I didn’t even know we had.

One by one, I had to look at every single item and make a decision about what pile it was going in. Would I be giving it away? Throwing it away? Or selling it? Things don’t just disappear when you don’t want them anymore; I couldn’t just walk away from everything.

In the process of looking at every single item to figure out what to do with it, an emotional and spiritual cleanse began. I’d made up a story about why I held on to every one of these things, and it was time to let that story go. Anything I didn’t use on a daily basis that was not critical to my life’s purpose had to go.

It was the most liberating and healing feeling to let go of all of the stories, to let go of the fear of needing something in the future, and the bottled up memories that these items held.

For the first time in my life, having all of these things would not define me or dictate my destiny.


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Since moving onto my boat, I have transformed as a human being, and the trajectory of my life seems to be on track to living the life I always dreamed of. A life that is defined by my own terms and the truth in my heart. There is nothing in my physical space that is not useful, meaningful, or in alignment with my life’s purpose. This physical truth has translated into all areas of my life—I have trimmed all of the unnecessary parts, and what is left is the pure beauty of honesty.

Tiny home living has taught me resiliency and creativity. We can do with so much less than what we have been taught. There’s something very freeing and empowering about knowing that I don’t depend on the system. I know firsthand that most of the things the system teaches us are necessary are actually wants, not needs. It has made me aware of unnecessary consumption, wastefulness, and put me in touch with repurposing.

All of the money that I don’t spend on things I spend on experiences, which I believe is what makes life worth living.

Having less means having the freedom to move, to change our lives and location, with nothing weighing us down. We can’t use “things” as excuses for why we’re not living or following our truth. The more things we have, the more things to look after and worry about. The more things we have, the more reasons we have to stay put where we are, and the more reasons we have to remain in places or situations that don’t serve our highest selves.

Not only does minimalism give us more inner peace, but it also gives us more resources, energy, and time to invest into the things that really matter to us.

One more thing I would like to share with you about living in a tiny home: it has been a blessing to our marriage. Many people thought that we wouldn’t make it, that we would suffocate in such a small space. Six years later, our relationship is more functional and loving than ever. There are many things I can attribute this to, but being on the boat is definitely one of them.

We have worked closely and creatively together to have systems and synchronization in place that give us both privacy, comfort, and organization.

Living in such a tiny space leaves us with no option but to face each other and face life. During our eight years of apartment living, arguments and disagreements usually dragged on for days before we came together to address them. We would each take one side of our apartment and live our separate lives, festering, and then feeling guilty for our inflated egos getting in the way of conflict resolution.

Here, on the boat, we don’t have that option; we are face-to-face, and physically too close to deny what is happening. Our arguments are now resolved on the same day. We choose to overcome our pride and ego quickly for practical reasons thanks to our small space.

It hasn’t always been easy, there has been a long learning curve. I also don’t think that such drastic minimalism is for everybody, but I do believe that everybody can apply some of these lessons into their own lives.

Everyone can become empowered and contribute to the restoration of the planet by living life on their own terms and consuming less.


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