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Sunday, November 13, 2011

On the subject of things we keep...

I have a battle with clutter... not just stuff, but ideas, memories, people.   I keep things... and it might even be fair to say that I horde them.  The thing is, that like many people, I have some identity attached to things.  I have a life full of symbols.  Though I have less of the symbols now, post Katrina, than I did, and I have changed the way I keep things, I still am someone who reaches for an item to evoke a feeling, memory, place, time.  Here's the thing, though-- I believe that we all have our own particular brand of my crazy and one of the ways I keep my particular brand in check is by NOT being painfully organized.  When I allow that part of my crazy to come through, I end up being incapacitated by the slightest bit of disarray.  I cannot leave a room with the pictures not hanging straight on the wall,  I cannot just put my jewelry in the catch all tray.   Yeah... I know... bat shite crazy... so I've tended far off in the other direction where I lose hours a day to trying to find something I just put down.  And I cannot for the life of me find a happy medium.  I know that in the middle... i'm plesantly surrounded by the things that matter to me, that my art supplies are well tended but not necessarily always put away for the night.  I know that in the middle, my work clothes are clean and pressed where I can find them in the dark predawn hours that I get ready to go to work.  I know that there in the middle, I gain some control, and some of that precious time that I swear I haven't enough of.    But I have to confess that every time I finally decide, again, that I can't stand the clutter and the mess and the losing of things and the lost hours that when I begin the task of decluttering and organizing I get so caught up in the details of making things perfect that I end up positively hamstrung at the process of going forward.  And as i said, I'm attached to things, so I have a really hard time throwing out those remainder pieces of scrapbook paper that remind me of the perfect page I made, or the canvas I used the paper on...  I have a hard time throwing away clothes that I no longer wear or like or even want because I might NEED them.  And... memories... people... ideas... if I can't throw away a scrap of paper, how really am I ever going to let go of that spark in my heart that is the first boy I ever loved, who I no longer even know, no longer can recall his taste or smell or the way he said my name but darn if tht spark doesn't just make ME burn a little brighter.  
So...  I know that I'm doing myself a disservice by not battling my clutter and finding my way back to middle.  I know that if I allowed my particular brand of crazy to rear her formidable ever so perfect head and take over for a few days (okay--- weeks) that I'd be happier, more at peace with my surroundings, less anxious all the time and I'd have the hours back that I've lost to looking for things.  I know that if I went back to keeping an idea book for the projects and writing ideas in my head I'd be less bogged down in my brain with the ideas I'm afraid of losing, or the ones I can only half remember and so will never start anyway.  I'd feel less pressure to create when the ideas occur, which then sends me into a different panic because I don't have a clean square foot in any of the three rooms in which I make art and write.   I know that if I kept my calendar up to date and my checkbook balanced, I would stop being late with things that I need to take care of.  I would stop being surprised by the passing of time and wonder how, when I had five weeks to prepare for something, it is all of sudden tomorrow and I've done hardly any of what I've planned.   I know that if I treated my personal time as I treat my workday time I would find  better balance in my heart.  What I don't know is what will initially tip me over the edge of willing to be living like this to willing to face my personal crazy to get to a place where neither is the way I live.   Heh... that was more than I expected to say, but for those of you that read me regularly, you know that once I get going, I usually get caught up in it... Because I thought, really, that what I was going to write about was that what is funny, in all of this, is that the things I don't keep are the ones that cause pain.  I don't hold grudges, hang on to the hurtful things that others have said or done, or even the things that I have said or done that are hurtful  I accept that pain is a part of the process but it is a step along the way not the road that we are meant to walk.   And okay, sometimes it's a million steps along the way, but there's still plenty of other road.   I believe that we are meant to experience pain-- that the lessons it teaches are invaluable, and often unlearnable in any other fashion.  I believe that pain is an intrinsic part of being, but not an intrinsic way of being. 
Bad things happen.  Really bad things happen.  Really bad things happen when you are most vulnerable to them, or when you are least expecting them or when you have no skills for which to cope with them.  But they are still only just a moment in time.  They are still only an opportunity to learn something else, to see some other way.  And yes... I know that that is hard to see when you are down in it, or when the bad thing is something that causes not just pain but also sadness.  I know that it is sometmes easier to hold onto the yucky stuff than it is to move forward... and hey... wait a minute.... isn't that what I was just saying about my clutter and messes and disorganized life?  And um... since when did I ever choose the easy road?  So...  now that I've written my way around to the guts of what keeps me stuck, I have a clear and present choice to make: stay stuck where it is yucky but easy or do the work and get back to where things can be hard but better.   And hey... if this sounds like you, too... I have two things to say-- the Burn This Book writing workshop will walk you through the thought processes to get the junk in your heart on the page and out of your heart--- help you get back to the place where you get to CHOOSE what you keep and why.  And you can register for the workshop here and have immediate access to the whole three week curriculum.   And the second thing is that whether you join me for Burn This Book or not, perhaps you'd be willing to join me and choose something in your life it is time to live without. 
Make something beautiful with your heart and your hands,

1 comment:

Jill said...

seems like you're trying to find the balance between 'let it go' and 'let go of it already'. hard to do.