Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Clearing Clutter to Create Clarity

Clutter lives here.  At least it tries to.  It fills up my closets, scatters its papers across my counters, pours its emptiness onto my calendar, spills out of my children's toy boxes, and buries my mind in its endless pursuits.

Clutter makes me antsy.  Forgetful.  Angry.  Irritated.  It paralyzes me; for with clutter as my companion, I struggle to accomplish the things I need to, while the tasks I want to do fall into the realm of regrets.  Clutter doesn't leave space for creation; it fills every nook with its uselessness, its busy tendencies, its acquisitions.  Clutter isn't a good friend, yet it has accompanied me, in one way or another, throughout my life.

I don't know where this idea comes from, the idea that life is about acquiring things.  I don't remember setting out to get more stuff, but as I look around, it seems this is the place almost everyone is headed.   The place of clutter.  It fills our homes, our cars, our schedules, our minds, our bodies.  It's everywhere.  Excess.  The desire for more.  The inevitable emptiness that comes with the things we expected would fill us up.  The cycle is never-ending, creating a numbing effect that ripples through the winding river of our lives.  Some people never recognize this feeling, they don't see that all their things are making them feel lost, out of control, fearful, bored, desperate.

Over the past few years, I made a concerted effort to declutter my life.  I fight the need to fill up every space, allowing instead for the beauty of bareness to shine its light into my life.  My shelves aren't stocked with things I've acquired just to fill them up, but rather, with things that I love, that inspire me, make me happy; things that actually mean something to me.  My closet isn't stuffed full of clothes I never wear, rather, it is sparsely filled with items that make me feel the most beautiful, the most comfortable, the most like myself.  My schedule isn't brimming with birthday parties, after-school activities, girls night outs, or adult-only parties, but rather, its often quite bare leaving room for the wondrous spontaneity of life to take over.  My counters aren't stacked high with papers and bills and magazines and last months receipts, rather, each of these has its own space so as not to take up additional space in my mind with each look.  My mind.

My mind - now there's a space that's more easily cluttered than any other.  Clutter burrows its way into my mind daily.  It's a constant struggle to keep things straight, to organize my thoughts, to keep my to-dos and want-to-dos accounted for.  I make lists.  I repeat things.  I sort.  I structure.  But I inevitably fail.  Clutter wins out.  Almost every time.  My mind is no match for the clutter that chaos creates.

So instead of fighting it, I decided to get rid of it.  Erase the chaos.  Or, when it can't be erased, embrace it instead.  Let go of the tendency toward perfection and float the river of my life, without regard to the end.  Let go of the clutter to create room for something far better.  The bare spots in my home, my closet, my schedule and most of all in my mind - the bare spaces leave room for me to see the beautiful, wonderful, magnificent things I cherish the most.  The things that I've collected because they mean something.  The memories.  The moments.  The mementos of times that can never be recreated.  The people I love most.  Clearing out the clutter leaves room for me to thrive.  I have room to create.  Room to breathe.  Room to relax.  Room to let go.  Room to be imperfect.  Room to become who I want to be.  I don't lose anything by giving up clutter.  I gain freedom to live a life worth living.  A life filled with things that truly mean something.  My life can be full of those kinds of things, if I choose to clear the clutter to leave some space for them to grow.

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