Clearing my (psychic) clutter, Day 6: Getting away to clear away


I remember a story my first shrink-slash-astrologer told me about the sticky and useless nature of stuff.

She and her partner, who worked a Big Corporate Job, and had to move around for it, relocated to a spot which shall be unnamed, but that neither of them wanted to spend a hot minute in longer than necessary. So they stuck 90% of their stuff in storage, and moved to this unnamed location for roughly a year.

When they moved into their more-final destination in the Bay Area of Northern California, they had all this stuff shipped from storage to their new digs. And their reaction, box after newly-reopened box, was, "What the hell is all this crap?"

I feel the same kind of clarity when I get away from my stuff, both the mental and physical kind, for a bit. It happens whether I'm taking a walk or flying cross-country, but the most expedient clutter-scrubber is a good, long trip in the car. I start to see options and possibilities I just can't when I'm soaking in it, which can be great for creative problem-solving and devastating for my (mostly imaginary but no less powerful for it) feelings of personal security.

There was crying on this trip, as there has been on pretty much every longish driving trip I've taken in the past few years. I don't think it's because my life is particularly awful; mostly, I think it's about getting closer to the truly gnarly stuff. Let's face it: the first layers of crap, old magazines, useless kitchen utensils, that sheaf of resume paper you bought in 2002, are pretty easy to let go of; photos of Mom and Dad and baby You are an order of magnitude more difficult to deal with, as are looking at gnarly truths. And, if past performance is indicative of future results, when you strip away the core layers and grapple with gnarly truths without having some sort of ongoing practice in place to manage forward motion, crap rushes in to fill the startling emptiness. Nature and vacuums and all.

I feel the pull back into being lulled and numbed, here in my comfy, "safe," regular-usual life. Only I remember this time that I do not want a life that is regular-usual, unless I can redefine "regular-usual" as "constantly addressing fears and embracing change."

So we're clear, one of the pulls is toward work, toward the constant doing doing doing I'm so good at, versus the not-doing I pretty much suck at. And, because I would like to choose my not-doing, rather than have it chosen for me by illness or infirmity, I'm decluttering my actions for the rest of the day and checking out. And then after a brief, few days off from clearing physical clutter and this half-day of (we hope) pattern-breaking clutter, I'll be back at it tomorrow. With a (gentle) vengeance.

Wish me luck...


Image by Phineas H via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.