Hold your horses…I know what you’re thinking. It’s International Women’s Day. Why is she posting a piece on clutter? Just bear with me a minute. I’ll connect the two…eventually.
Each morning I read from the book shown in the picture above; “everyday mindfulness.” Both messages from yesterday and today referenced clutter. Actually, yesterday’s passage was titled DECLUTTER and encouraged the reader to set some time aside to declutter an area of their home or workspace. “Although it may seem overwhelming at first, doing this can actually be as peaceful as a meditation. Clutter is a way of holding onto the past, or fearing the future. Letting go of clutter is a way to live more mindfully and in the present.”
Yes, I agree!
So, yesterday as I was searching for all the papers I need to complete my taxes. Or more accurately all the papers my accountant will need to do my taxes. I came across a large box containing old documents from my divorce. Why in the world would I still need these? I’ve got the divorce decree. My kids are grown. It’s been years and my life is full of joy and blessings; why keep unnecessary reminders of a painful event or period? The only thing this box is doing now is taking up space and collecting dust. My chance to declutter a space. Yay! So I brought out the shredder. Wow…that felt good!
When I was younger my claim of needing a clean space in which to study or work was probably more of a procrastinator’s tool than that of a sophisticated mindful thinker. Once I got to college though, I had gained a better understanding of the concept and found I absolutely needed a tidy work space in order to get anything accomplished.
I’m still that way today. I write at the kitchen table. Which means I often have to move my things off the table in the evening when it’s time for dinner. But, I’ve found having a portable office space has only served to help me be more organized. I don’t like to have too many items around me, usually just my laptop, notebook and a pencil. All easy to move around. Oh and my coffee cup. That’s a must.
My efforts to declutter my home, and life for that matter, is an ongoing process. It will take time which is another reason I like working at my kitchen table. I sit facing the window looking out towards my backyard where there is a golf course just beyond. Open space and no clutter in sight. As I sit here typing this I am oblivious to the dishes which may, or may not, be sitting in the sink waiting patiently for me to notice. For at this moment I am blind to any bit of clutter stacked up behind me. All I see is this screen and the green grass beyond.
Now, what does any of this have to do with International Women’s Day.
I’ll admit I didn’t know it was today before logging in and checking out Facebook. That’s usually my first stop after checking my emails and my go-to for reminders about holidays and birthdays.
So, today is not only a day for honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world but a chance to recognize and honor the inspirational and incredible women in our own lives. Of course there have been many women I have admired and looked up to but the most influential and inspiring woman in my life was and always will be my Mother.
I say, was, because my mother is no longer living. She died when I was twenty nine, too young for both her age and mine. Her spirit lives on and not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and recognize and appreciate all she taught me. I am who I am today because of her.
My mother had many sayings. Like mother like daughter I suppose. One thing she told my brothers and me often, especially when we were feeling a bit out of sorts, stuck in our heads or perhaps less thankful than she knew we should be, was to go do something for someone else. Go volunteer, shovel the neighbor’s walkway, anything/something. If that wasn’t feasible at the moment. She told us to go clean something out, organize a closet, or straighten out a drawer.
At the time I’m sure we probably thought she was just trying to get us out of the house or trick us in to cleaning our rooms but as I grew older and wiser I gained understanding as to why she encouraged us to do these things. I’ll save volunteering and doing for others for another day. But by encouraging us to go clean something out she knew we would not only feel a sense of accomplishment once the task was completed but the chore would probably have taken our minds off whatever was bothering us. Clearing not only the clutter from the physical space but also the clutter from our minds…a win-win.
If letting go of clutter truly is a way to live more mindfully, and in the present, then all the kudos, with regard to my journey, go to my mom. She was, after all, the first one to introduce me to the “art of decluttering.”
I must say…the little bit I accomplished yesterday did bring me peace. Thanks mom!