Updated: Nov 11, 2021
When you hear the term “stripping life down” what does that mean to you? Do you think of that term as being more negative or positive? How does it make you feel? Uncomfortable or relieved?
My first thought of “stripping life down” is taking life back down to the basics. No extras, no technology, just the bare bones of life, survival! Right? I feel free when I think of it. Does anyone else think this way?
I have been thinking of the meaning of this term since June of 2015 when our house burned down. That was the true meaning of “stripping life down” for our family as we lost 80% of our belongings. We were just incredibly grateful that no one was injured & our animals were safe!
We had the clothes on our backs & our cars. Nothing else! We had to live in 3 different hotels & a rental house for 10 months, renting beds, couches, dishes, furniture, towels, nothing was our own. We had to start from scratch, literally.
It was one of the scariest events in my life, everything being unknown, all of our possessions were gone, the familiar aspect of life was no longer there. Every day there was something new to be learned, some good, some not so good. However, we were so grateful to still have one another that we were able to grow closer & become stronger together. Creating a bond that no one could break.
That was my second experience of “stripping life down”. My first experience with this was after my brother passed 10 years ago. It was raw, surreal, & tragic but now I can see the beauty in both experiences in so many ways. I find myself craving this way of life being “back to the basics”. It seems more meaningful & rich…
Our family just got back from a 10 day vacation in Baja California which was truly amazing! We love going down there because it is another good representation of what “stripping life down” means to all of us.
I know that may sound absurd to you because it is a vacation & we all know that vacations are “extra”, sometimes extravagant, & costly. However, for us we have decided to do it differently! 🙂
We are spoiled in our every day lives having everything we need & much more. So, when we get an opportunity to spend time with our kids, we really want to enjoy every single second. We don’t want any crazy distractions that life has to offer. This is why we have scaled our vacations back & we enjoy them so much more! 🙂
Our family is continually growing, which I love! We have 4 of our own kiddos, 1 that we have unofficially adopted & love so much, & as of this vacation we will be gaining a beautiful new daughter-in-law! 🙂 So we are a large group to pack in…which is exciting within itself! 🙂
Since we have scaled back our vacations, each person brings the bare minimum; shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits, flip-flops, & tank tops. Nothing more! Our 9-year-old daughter only brought 2 toys with her, which of course she never played with! 🙂
We don’t make many plans, or pay for any extras, we don’t stay at hotels except in route to our destination, & we don’t eat out much! Instead, we find it more adventurous to dive right into the culture that we are living in! We rent homes in their neighborhoods, shop in their local markets, & fish in their local fishing areas. Our 4 boys took a pongo (small fishing boat), out fishing so we had fresh fish to eat for the entire trip. The 4 of them caught 76 trigger fish in about 5 hours! We cooked a lot of them which were amazing, & we brought the rest home to enjoy later! 🙂
The most beautiful thing about being out of the US is that everyone leaves their phones, computers, all technology on the counter! We didn’t even check to see if there was a TV in our house! Technology was removed for 90% of our trip which was AMAZING! For 10 days we relied solely on one another to have fun & entertain each other which was more than enough! 🙂
We have done this now for several years in a row. It is something we crave in order to rejuvenate our spirit, freshen our minds, & renew our relationships. We continue to learn & grow from these moments. It is an experience that you can only learn from by being “present”.
There isn’t a price tag that you can put on times like these, they are TRULY priceless! 🙂
Here are some of the very valuable lessons we all learned from our time of “stripping life down”:
Awareness ~ We all learned to be aware of where we were, the amazing scenery, & the beautiful culture surrounding us. Being submersed in their culture showed us so many things! How hardworking they are, how grateful they are for the work that they have, the beauty, the simplicity of life. It is always a beautiful lesson watching them work, seeing their work ethic, the tools that they have, & the environment they work in. Their culture is very tight & loving which is beautiful.
Gratitude ~ Staying in this culture & this beautiful country, it makes you so grateful for everything that we have in our lives. My 9 yr old daughter shed a few tears as she watched ladies with their tiny babies, sitting on the dirty streets selling little toys. She loved the little kids that were following us asking us to buy things in their very dirty clothes. It touched her heart & she went back each time & donated any extra money she had. She was realizing once again, how much we have to be grateful for & how spoiled she is at home. There were so many opportunities to have conversations about how we live in luxury each & every day. We should never complain about the simple things in life. It was very comforting to see all of our children having heartfelt conversations about being grateful for the lives that they have had. We have already learned this as a family through the fire, however, we can become complacent so quickly. It was great for us to reconnect with that feeling!
Stillness ~ In our daily lives we are so busy that most of us never take the time to be still & quiet. It can be uncomfortable & awkward for so many of us, including me! 🙂 We had many moments of silence this trip which was very powerful! It calmed, soothed, & refreshed our souls as we sat watching the waves roll in or sat in the pool listening to the birds. It gave us much-needed time to reflect on what is important in our lives in a clear, concise way. Being still & silent is a free, but powerful tool that we all need to use more to get in touch with what we really want in our lives. I love it that we all saw the importance of this on our trip. 🙂
Communication ~ Without any technology being used, we had some good old-fashioned fun! We all had some hilarious conversations along with some serious ones too. It was enlightening to see everyone talking, laughing, story telling, & learning from one another. Everyone was sharing their time listening, interacting, shedding a few tears, but most of all communicating & being PRESENT with one another. Looking back on our trip, the incredible conversations that were had between everyone, will be some of my favorite memories of all! 🙂
Dreaming ~ We were all so in tune with each other this trip that is was a perfect time to share our dreams with one another! Dreaming is such an important aspect of your life! It helps you to grow & inspires you to reach new levels in your life! It distracts you from the negative things that life has to offer & gives you something to look forward to! We all shared what our dreams were! This was so powerful because we all now know what we are striving for & can encourage, love, & support one another along the way! Our relationships became even deeper & loving as we are all heading to the next steps in our lives. 🙂
Being Present ~ The excitement of being on vacation can be overwhelming & can cause you to rush through each day. It was important for us to slow down, take a deep breath, look around, & think about how grateful we were for that moment. When you are truly present you enjoy everything on a whole new level. Really soaking things in like; the sunsets, the scenery, the sounds, nature, love, relationships can make every experience magical! All 8 of us were very “present” this trip & the memories we pulled from it were life changing.
Problem Solving Skills ~ With every vacation comes a hick-up. We certainly had ours this trip! 🙂 My new daughter-in-law to be, had her passport, cash, & wallet, stolen 2 days before her flight home. I was so proud of our children because they stayed positive & knew that together we could find a solution to this problem! Their communication skills were AMAZING! Together over an 8 hour period of dealing with the embassy, the police department, airlines, her parents, my sons persistence paid off! He never gave up & found everything from her wallet in a tree, to her passport over 2 miles away on the beach in a bush! Even though it was an unfortunate experience, we look at it as something that brought us together & made us stronger. We are all so proud of that! It didn’t take anything away from our trip but enhanced it because of the skills we saw everyone using. We are grateful for the way they handled themselves, the encouragement, & love that they shared! 🙂
These were life changing lessons that we learned from being able to “strip life down”! I know we all feel the same way & are already looking forward to sharing more times like these together! 🙂
It is so important for us all to have those moments in life because it enhances the quality of our lives so much! We get so involved in what we have & what we are doing that we forget what is important in life. The beautiful things is that you don’t have to go on vacation to “strip life down” you can do it anytime & anywhere!
Here are 5 ways that you can “strip life down” every day in your home:
1. Limit Screen Time ~
Start by limiting everyone’s time with technology! This was the number 1 answer that I received when I asked the question, “what does stripping life down” mean to you? Technology is so amazing for the obvious reasons, however, it can be just as damaging to the quality of our lives. It can be very distracting & takes away so many different experiences that we could be having! It keeps us from being “aware” & “present” in our lives.
Technology takes away from verbally communicating with one another, being active, exploring, thinking, creating, relationship skills, etc.. You may see a few tears in the beginning if you take technology away, however, amazing things will come from this! I promise! 🙂
2. Take Inventory ~
Take inventory of all of the extras you have in your lives! Stripping life down means getting back to the basics! I know it sounds scary, but it truly is so gratifying getting back to the simplistic way of life! When our house burned down 2 years ago we lost 80% of what we had & already I have noticed how much extra stuff we have regained!
Each store that we went in at Todos Santos there were only the basics for sale, no toys or no candy! I loved it! We didn’t buy anything extra, no one asked for anything, there were no teaser items for anyone to see. It was a good lesson for me to see how we buy so many extra little things every day that we DO NOT need!
Take the time to go through your clothes & toys to see what you all really love & need. Make the decision together to donate the rest to someone in need or a charity of your choice. It will de-clutter their rooms & your house, but more importantly, it will make you all feel good giving those items to someone who really needs them! This teaches all of us that we have TOO much, & to be grateful for what we have. A lesson we can never get enough of! 🙂
3. Be Still, Silent, & Present ~
As a family take the time for silence. Maybe take a walk by the lake, or take a beautiful path. Just enjoy what the scenery has to offer, listen to the sounds of nature. Or maybe pack a picnic & lay in the grass. Just be present where you are & who you are with! You can do this anywhere & with anyone! Pitch a tent in your back yard, leave your cell phone inside the house, appreciate the stars, the cool, fresh air. Take notice to what makes you feel good & where your thoughts take you when you are still. These will usually lead you to your dreams! 🙂
4. Dream ~
Take the time to dream together. We all need to set aside time to think of what makes us really happy? What dreams do you have? I love asking my kids & husband the question “What would you do with your life if money were no option?” This is such an inspiring question because this lifts all constraints we put on ourselves due to money. When you “strip life down” you remove all of the money “stigmas”anyway. This allows you to open your mind to so many possibilities, which stem from your passions. We are supposed to follow our passions from the start! Right? Have fun thinking & dreaming. It is necessary, healthy, & powerful to dream as a family. If you all do this together I promise beautiful things will come from it. 🙂
5. Be Grateful ~
If you have been following my blog at all, you will know that I live & breathe gratitude! I haven’t always been this way, but living through several tragedies, I learned that being grateful is the key to everything in life!
It is life changing when you can take out the negativity & replace it with gratitude! Your experiences become more meaningful. The beauty in life becomes richer. You attract more to be grateful for, & you live life at a richer, more loving, level.
I really challenge you to do the same! We have so much to be thankful for on a daily basis please don’t take that for granted! I encourage you to travel somewhere that you can be reminded of all the amazing things that we have on a daily basis. That in itself is life changing! 🙂
I hope that you all enjoyed our stories of “stripping life down” & I hope that you are inspired to do the same! Life has so many possibilities & opportunities to offer us! We just need to make sure we are being aware of all of them!
I challenge you all to take some time to get back to the basics in your family. Start new traditions of spending time doing this together at least every 2 weeks. Reconnecting, sharing, communicating with one another without any distractions!
I have been forced to go back to the basics several times & now I know why. Life is about QUALITY not QUANTITY & sometimes we need that reminder! 🙂
So I challenge you to all “strip life down” with my family & I! As we get ready to send the kids back to school let’s take the time together to give what we no longer need before we get more of our school clothes, & school items.
Let’s focus daily on gratitude, being present, communication, & using less screen time! 🙂
Please let me know what your most excited about “stripping life down” with your family? How do you think it will benefit you all? I would love to hear from you! 🙂
Make sure to take the time to join in the fun & be the first to hear about what is new at The Giggling Life by Becoming An Insider! You will be happy that you did! 🙂
I know we can do it! Let’s “strip life down” together!
Much love to you all,