If you have ever cleared away clutter, you know what a pick-me-up it can be.
The things we own can either help us or drag us down.
These days, we face the strange predicament that it is easier to accrue things than get rid of them.
Clutter clearing is the practice of basically getting rid of everything that doesn’t serve you. Doing so takes some discernment.
Karen Kingston was my reference for learning some of the basics of how to clutter clear my own space.
We tend to accrue clutter because of old notions or beliefs. In situations like this, we need to trust the experience of the present moment to help us see more clearly. One of the techniques of clutter clearing is to tune in to each object and ask “How does this make me feel?”
I found it easy to get rid of clothes or ordinary things, but it was hard to justify getting rid of books. I had amassed a library full of books.
My first experience of clutter clearing my books was a real awakening. I’ll never forget it. It was late evening when I started, and I had been doing construction work all day. But as I started going through, tuning in, and chucking books, I felt exhilarated. It was a rush, and I kept doing it until the wee hours.
I had been startled to discover that many of my books actually made me feel bad. They were bringing me down. Plenty of books made me feel guilty because I hadn’t read them. Others left me feeling stupid for not understanding them or embarrassed because I hadn’t taken enough action from the good advice they contained.
Since then, every so often, I look for opportunities to chuck things and thereby have that feeling again. Yesterday I went through some of the things in my office. In the process, I came across a book that I knew it was time to get rid of, but before I did so, I wanted to skim through it again.
The book: Seven Years to Seven Figures by Michael Masterson
The book is great. I like and respect Mark Ford (Michael Masterson). And it was time for me to pass it on to whoever else might want it.
As I read back through the book, I was reminded how impactful it was for me to delve into learning about things like persuasion, sales and marketing. No doubt I have a lot more to learn there.
Initially, though, that whole category of experience (sales) triggered me. My inner artist felt disdain for the base materialism of just trying to make a buck.
From time to time in life, it has been necessary for me to make a hard exit from my comfort zone and take the plunge into a new domain.
My final year of grad school, I was reading poetry like everyone else pursuing an MFA in poetry, but I was also reading a lot about stocks and investing, sales and marketing and starting a business. That improved my writing more than the poetry.
Because it was different. Its style, content, and the way it portrayed the world.
Think of a spaghetti western where a stranger rolls into town.
Uh oh, an outsider. Something is bound to happen.
That same stirring-up happens inside us when we dive into a different domain.
The year after I graduated, I worked as a professor. I taught intermediate English Composition. I was also a certified personal trainer. The combination is uncommon, and it can be uncomfortable.
If you had asked me then how to reconcile the two, I would have said: BOTH ARE ABOUT LIVING FULLY.
That’s why the Thing That Made My Week this week is… reading outside your comfort zone.
If you only read the stuff that comes naturally, you aren’t as affected by what you encounter. It doesn’t make much of an impact. Each piece, each page. The artifice of the familiar is obscured by its familiarity.
It’s stimulating. Irritating in a good way.
What happens when we travel? Sometimes it is an assault on our senses. The sheer foreignness of it.
So here is your invitation to travel.
Find something both irritating and in some way alluring.
Grab it, let out a heavy sigh, crack it open and dive in.
Read for ideas but also writing style.
Perceive, don’t judge. Be witness to it and to yourself.
And share your experience!
See you next week.