Last week was a study in contrasts. At work, I have a cart that carries all the tape and glue and notebooks I need for my job. I’ve been pretty good about keeping the top of the cart cleared off so that it is available for whatever I am working on at the moment. So it struck me as a little odd that lately it seemed to be constantly piled with donated books to review, items to be weeded, and misc. junk. What happened? We finally got our house cleaned up and have been good about keeping it that way, and now I’m cluttered at work?!
Then, on Wednesday I read a book on blending and juicing that said to try it for a week and see if you feel better. So Thursday morning I hauled out the blender and tried it out. I’ve done it every day since (green drinks actually taste better than they look!). But what I noticed is that my intake of things like popcorn balls (a personal weakness) also increased. Wait. What’s going on here?
It finally struck me that this was not a random occurrence. I was seeing a pattern that was beginning to look like one of those cartoon characters who gets pounded into the ground by a rubber mallet and just pops up somewhere else! My clutter was doing the same thing. Clutter it seems is not about stuff or diet or time or negative thinking. It’s a means of distracting ourselves from who we really are and what we really need to do.
I got a good look at this over the weekend. Whether this was green drink-induced or what, I don’t know, but I had a ton of energy and a very long to-do list. I was so overwhelmed by all that needed to be done that at first I couldn’t do anything. Finally, I got myself to focus on one thing. Focusing calmed me down. Then I did the next thing, and the next, etc. But the thought I had in the middle of my productivity was “What might I do if I wasn’t always chasing the next item on my list?” I didn’t stay there long enough to actually attempt to answer it, but I did finally recognize that the question addressed my true motivation for wanting to minimize.
Seeing my clutter suddenly pop up in other areas of my life made me realize how frightening I must find the prospect of answering my question. When all the excuses are stripped away, what, or more accurately, who is left? As I’ve said for years, awareness is your friend. I’m finding that the easiest way to deal with those unpleasant insights or fears is to just feel them, sit with them, and try not to judge them. I don’t know where the fear comes from, but then I don’t know why some people are afraid to retire while others hate broccoli! Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I’m just glad I reached a point where I can ask the question, notice the reaction, and not run away.
Have a great week and keep smiling!