All That We Carry/Part 2

Phase two of clearing. Phase one was putting everything in my art closet and trying to get the door closed. Phase two, today, was cleaning everything and bagging it and making any last minute changes as to keeping or giving away. I do take seriously all the stuff we leave behind when we leave this world, which I don’t plan on doing any time soon, but…it feels good to stay on top of the stuff.

The hardest is books. I enjoy books, reading and having them around but I do have many that I will not read again and then I bring more into the house. Of course, not everyone I live with agrees with my decisions. Sometimes I have gotten rid of something I later needed and had to buy it again. And, maybe the books aren’t the hardest. The hardest I think is my art closet which holds more than art. It holds all the paper memorabilia from kids and grandkids, photos that have not been catalogued, stuff from my former businesses, wrapping paper that needs to be sorted with all sorts of ribbons. It is amazing how much one can get into a closet. But I try to keep it in order and am waiting for a time when I have a week to really focus. It will take focus and willpower, because it will.

I like fall cleaning. In the spring, I want to get outside and not think about the inside of the house. Also, in the fall it is a natural time to empty before we enter the long winter ahead both physically with maybe a cleanse and emotionally with a good hard look. Let’s throw in mental as well. November is a time in many spiritual traditions when we attend to our losses for the year or maybe a lifetime. What still needs to be said, done, mourned, named?

The physical level of clearing can be pretty straight forward with dieting, cleanses, eating healthier. Spring and fall are the most important times to pay attention to clearing on this level. The emotional level is more of a challenge. Being willing to be honest with how we are feeling, not on the surface, but deep down. What adds to our emotional weight? What needs to be named, talked about, cried over? These are some of the probing questions. Sometimes we can do this clearing on our own and at other times we need to have a person at our side who can guide the process. And then we get to the mental level. Some of these thoughts just have to go. It can get awfully crowded in there with voices criticizing ourselves or others, wishing us well or telling us we can’t do this or that, worries or regrets that are so old we can’t even remember when. And some of this crowd may have a face from the past that is long over due to let go of.

It can be a tall order but again willpower and focus are needed, and time. As with the house, when we look at the whole it is overwhelming to think of sorting through and making decisions but as with the house, the freedom that results from clearing out unused and out of date stuff on all levels can be exhilarating. It can feel like we are full of unwanted guests who arrived and never left. Sometimes, just being straight forward and showing them the door is all that is needed. Other times, we need to have a good sit down discussion and come to a point of understanding, forgiving, with movement toward peace. In this way we make more room for our spirit, our heart of love and compassion, our kindness to self and others, and our creativity. We can then begin to stay on top of it so it is not a lifetime to look through and deal with as we move through our day to day living. We can begin to notice earlier when the closet is getting a bit full.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Carl Jung

Stuff that is headed for the door.

The space that is open and waits.


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