I took a Facebook quiz the other day about 5 things I could grab from where I’m sitting and the answer is pretty much, everything. Silky, multicolored ribbon tutu anyone? I also have a TERRIBLE potty training book (hint, just because it’s written by someone famous DOESN’T mean he knows how to write, it means he has a good publicist.) I keep trying to make the book disappear but the Baby keeps finding it.
My IN box is just a STAY box because nothing ever moves to the OUT box. I need to just recognize that the IN box is my filing system. When it gets full, I simply move it to a “To Be Filed” folder in the office I cannot get into. I have a dozen “To Be Filed” folders. Guess what, that’s as “filed” as the papers are ever going to get. I just need to accept that fact and move on from there.
And you know what, this is stressful! I’m constantly worried about bills because I’m afraid I’ve forgotten something in the IN box. I can’t find my son’s camp paperwork so I will download and fill out the form AGAIN and hopefully get it into the mail before it gets swallowed by the black hole.
I actually stopped using my office because so much clutter is growing in it. What happened is, my neat, organized 10X10 foot office moved into the old kitchen once our addition was done. The problem was some of the things in the old kitchen (like all the cabinets) didn’t move out. Then my husband moved his computer into the kitchen/office, arguing that he needed more space. While he did move the computer, all the clutter in his computer armoire stayed and bred so that it is now full of clutter and doesn’t fit into our “shared” office. And it’s not as though I’m blameless. We’ll just leave out the whole yarn storage system. All I can say is, at least I don’t store it behind my couch or under my bed. Yet.
Oh, my husband didn’t leave all his clutter behind, he brought just a tiny bit with him, but unfortunately, it was male and female clutter and they started breeding like the ground ivy (creeping charlie) that is taking over my yard. From what I hear, both the creeping charlie and the office clutter pretty much require Napalm to destroy them. And if one tiny piece of paper or a tiny rhizome of stem exists, both the clutter and the creeping charlie return with a vengeance.
I seriously cannot think with all the clutter around me. It stifles my creativity and I want to clean rather than write. That’s just sad. In 10 years, the stuff on my desk and things in my office aren’t going to matter. In 10 minutes they won’t matter. They don’t even matter now. Okay, the phone bill and electric bill will matter if I don’t pay them but the Spiderman chap stick and chewed up Nerf dart won’t.
And I know I’m not the only one dealing with clutter. We all have the disease to various degrees. Some of us are better at hiding it than other people. I knew one person who just put everything in copier boxes and put the copier boxes in a closet when anyone came over. Her house looked so pristine and neat but she had 20 copier boxes hidden from view. Some of us work very hard to have the surface look clean but every drawer in the house is a junk drawer. We’d die before we’d let anyone into our car. And at least where I live, there is a reason everyone parks their cars in their driveways. Because the garage is too full of clutter.
I think that physical clutter is an outward manifestation of inner clutter. We try to calm our inner chaos by buying things we think we need. We hold onto things past the point we need them because we are afraid of doing without. What if I NEED that melon baller and I don’t have it. It’s a perfectly good melon baller that I got for free/cheap/gift, I couldn’t possible give it away. We argue that saving things is good for the environment–why should we throw away one of our 40 plastic cool whip containers? What a terrible thing to put in the landfills. And I’m no better than the rest, I’ve confessing about my plarn problem, so I’m certainly not casting any stones. We are so afraid of lack, of needing something to fill us INSIDE that we fill our houses instead. Then we justify it as “saving” money/environment/rainy day activity.
But all that justification isn’t saving anything and it certainly isn’t helping fill us. It just stresses us. I love the Will Rogers saying, “We spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” A lot of times, we don’t like ourselves and we cover that up with clutter.
I find that when I calm the clutter inside me–when I just breathe and let go of the chatter in my head (I know, it isn’t easy–even when the chatter in my head is quiet, there is usually chatter in the house), the stuff really doesn’t matter. Let go and let God.
Last night, I spent the night at my church with families participating in the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance. I met two wonderful families who are staying at our church for the month of August. I love my church, but I certainly wouldn’t want to live there. My family may THINK we live there for how often we are there, but we get to go home and sleep in a bed each night. Without giving away any privacy things with the families, one of them was there because the woman went out on maternity (unpaid but she saved for it) and found her job gone when she went back. She couldn’t make her rent so she got evicted. With a 4 month old. She’d had a job. A home. A life. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest life, trying to make ends meet with kids and all, but it was her life and now it is gone. Makes the clutter in my life (and mind) seem pretty silly.
If we never get rid of the clutter in our house, we won’t have room for new stuff. If we don’t get rid of the clutter in our hearts and minds, how can God fill us with joy and energy? Holding onto clutter is holding onto our old lives, but we are new in Christ.
There is something called Karma yoga which is actually working and meditation combined. It is the act of “selfless service” to the universe. Karma is a Sanskrit term that means action or deed. Any physical or mental action is Karma.My 15 minutes are up, but I’m going to take another 15 (or 30) minutes to practice some Karma yoga by cleaning up the clutter on my desk. And I’m going to be mindful about it. I’m going to ask myself why I feel the need to collect things on the outside and what I really need on the inside.
God wants to fill us with so many blessings, but first we must first empty ourselves in order to be filled.