Paying Attention

Posted on: January 3rd, 2017 by Ruth-Ann Shantz

Project 333 – Have you heard about it? The Project 333 website has been circulating around Facebook for the last while and at first glance I was intrigued but set it aside as “not interested”, “too hard” and just not something that I would do.

Over the holidays, I heard a family member had recently decided to take the Project 333 challenge and I listened to her enthusiasm about tackling this project. A few days ago, I decided to revisit the idea and it seemed straightforward: for three months pick only 33 items to wear which include clothes, accessories, outerwear and shoes.  Not included in your total are sentimental jewelry, underwear, home lounge wear/sleepwear and athletic workout clothes. The rest of your existing items should be boxed up and put somewhere else or given away. Seems simple, right?!

Really…how many items would I need to remove to get to this magic number of 33? I decided to tackle the project by pulling everything out of its spot and begin with piles – (1) the things I love, (2) maybe I’ll think about keeping it and; (3) lets just get rid of it. With enthusiasm, I dumped my clothes from my closet, the pine box at the end of the bed, the neatly housed sweater cupboard and four other drawers.  When the sheer magnitpine-box-pictureude of clothing piled up in front of me I instantly became embarrassed and decided not to count anything. After I had completed the task I realized I had been accumulating and holding onto way too many things.

Project 333 promotes simplifying your life and living more with less.   I realized that for me, this project was not about trying to get to some magic number.  In fact, I could decide to do this project with 50 items – it didn’t really matter. This project was a wake-up call for me. I need to pay attention!!  We are creatures of habit.  Attention goes to sleep when it slips into a rut and our mind goes on autopilot.  It is impossible to create new pathways until you wake up your attention.

Here are a few things this project has taught me:

  • In performing this exercise, I realized that being able to take cloths away is a privilege that not everyone has and I need to be more aware of living with what I need.
  • Clothing in general is designed to keep us safe and protect us from the elements. Clothing also helps to form our identity. Paying attention to the true purpose of things such as clothing, can allow us to evaluate if these needs are being met. Otherwise we may simply end up accumulating with no purpose.
  • It is important to be mindful, to continually reflect on our choices and patterns of behavior to keep them in line with our values.

What I know for sure…. paying attention is about noticing, being present, exploration, discovery, and making conscious choices. Paying attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others but to do so, we must first pay attention to ourselves!



Leave a Reply