CLUTTER: Somewhere, Right Now, Someone is Playing Music
Photo By: Rubén Bagüés
This past year I completed what has essentially been a four year project of managing the build of a new addition to our house, and then having the exterior and interior painted. That project in itself is cause for a separate musing…
In any case, as you walk into the house you are greeted now by earthy hues that sing with warmth and resonate with invitation. Coming down the curving staircase onto the first floor, what then awaits you in the middle of the dining room is a pile of neatly organized boxes, smack in the midst of this welcoming beauty. I decided to pull all of the boxes out of the closets and the office and basically, out of hiding.
Rather than make believe I have it all together I now introduce the pile to our visitors as “And here’s ‘My Stuff.’ This is actually my life. I trip over it. Eventually I will organize it and let go of these old belongings and ‘My Stuff’ will no longer be here in the dining room.”
By the way, just behind this heap of valuables is a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay Area. However, I no longer really notice that as there is so much other “stuff” to see which is blocking the music of this stunning vista.
I was reflecting on this state of affairs over the weekend, and what I began to see was that every time I walked through the house I really resented that I had to deal with this mess. It took my time, it got in my way, and I felt that I couldn’t actually get to the things that I wanted to get to because I had so much stuff to sort through.
I felt that I had to go through every piece of paper; turn over every stone, so to speak, in case I might miss something and that if I didn’t save it I would be heart-broken, or worse, that something terrible might happen.
A feeling of overwhelm comes over me when confronted with this stack of stuff. Incidentally, this pile of boxes is just the first string. There’s a whole storage unit under the garage full of the past, again – stuffed in boxes, and most of this doesn’t belong to me – it belongs to our children. And oh yes, the garage … well, that space just fits the cars plus all the valuables that aren’t even in the organized boxes yet. And then there’s my closet …
So – I saw how overwhelmed and distracted I was with the clutter I had accumulated. I also know that Life Itself is always humming, always Joyful, and somewhere, at any given moment, someone is tapped into that Resonance that is Life and is listening, allowing, or playing music, either literally or figuratively.
Then it hit me! These boxes that I have dragged around from place to place, full of perfectly good stuff, by the way – not junk – are the perfect metaphor for how I have been living my life. I had a challenging and unhappy childhood. I learned to read the psychological undercurrents of every situation in order to be safe. No stone unturned!
Over time this developed skill has created in me a brilliant capacity to diagnose what is troubling in certain circumstances, situations, people’s lives and personalities. This need to turn over every stone gave rise to an inner tenacity of perception that had me do quite well in getting my Ph.D. in psychology: driven to know the truth of the matter! Not a bad deal actually, and has been quite a contribution in many ways. However, what I saw this weekend is that I have been living my whole life with a need to ferret out every piece of information that might otherwise trip me up, all so that I could be happy and fulfilled. The arduous nature of going through the boxes is just a representation of the arduous way I have been living my life!
Now you wouldn’t necessarily know this from looking at me or sitting down for a good session or even a chat. However, inside my head lurks the same never-ending monologue that goes on pretty much inside every human being’s head that I’ve ever met, read, or heard of. Human beings are designed to think. Endlessly. Without ceasing. We are indeed thinking creatures!
SO – what if I just grabbed a latte and opened a box and perused it as if I was shopping? Took out of the past collection just what I wanted to keep and tossed the rest, without having to look through every item, check every detail.
And what if I started living my life in the present moment – singing, already happy, taking from the past only those items and memories that have contributed to the amazing and wonderful life that I am living today? Everything else has been grist for the mill, really, and thus the portal for my transformation.
Let go of the rest!