The sound of silence on this blog this weekend was the thud of garbage landing in my dumpster.
Yup. I went there. I rented a dumpster. A big one. What those in the dumpster biz call a “15 yarder”. Its the kind of dumpster that made the neighbors inquire about renovations I had in store? Was I ripping out the kitchen? Adding a new addition? “No,” I said. “I am just throwing stuff out.”
Three years ago, when I discovered feng shui, the very first thing I needed to do was declutter the house. I have been on a three year odyssey to clear it out. Its a journey that has no end.
“Hello. My name is Meg. And I am a pack rat”.
I am a funny breed of pack rat though. I am not the type that wants to hold onto the stuff. In fact I hate stuff. Can’t stand it. It makes me edgy just being around it. But I am in a reluctant marriage to the junk as I just somehow forget to let it go.
Take papers. I read them and then place them on the counter. Not because I want them, or even because I need them. But because I get distracted sometime after I read them and before I made it to the recycling bin to throw them away. And then, I will rush by those same papers on my way out the door, leaving them on the counter only to get buried beneath more papers. And so it goes.
Tasks that are half-finished get left out in my house–I work at them here and there. The bills are almost always spread out on the table. I sit down with full intentions of getting them done but the phone rings, the boy needs something, the time comes to run an errand. I am not done. And so it is left with the hopes that I can complete the last 5 minutes in some little bit of stolen time. All week. And so it goes.
Clothes I no longer wear, toys Max no longer plays with are shoved to the side, maybe even bagged for the shelter but we forget to take the next step. The shelter was the last stop in the weekend’s errands–the one that didn’t get done. So the bags get left in the hallway and we step over them, each time making a mental note to go tomorrow…tomorrow…tomorrow…
And after awhile I go nutty–crazy even. I rush around like a mad woman and try and put it all in order. I curse the fact that I have so little time, even as I think about all the things I would rather be doing. Honest truth– I do have the time to keep my house clutter free–I just choose to spend that time practicing guitar or writing or playing with Max or watching Weeds with Jackie while we eat dark chocolates under a cozy blanket after the kids have gone to sleep.
And so it goes until I look up and realize that I am choking with abundance. That I am swimming. That I am being besieged with the energy of 100 uncompleted tasks all beckoning me to pay attention. That I am being taunted by the papers I forgot to let go of. That I am so surrounded by the energy of things past and future that I have no still space to be here.
And so I fall into a practice of sorts. A meditation. An emptying out. I splurge on a dumpster. I fill up bags for the Women’s Shelter. I practice letting go. And letting go again. And not forgetting to let go.
I will spend two weeks with my dumpster. She is a bell calling me to let go. To finish. To empty and empty some more. When the dumpster arrived I had no idea how I would fill her but now she is almost three-quarters filled and I am looking around the house and I see so much that needs to go. I can’t believe that so much stuff has survived these frantic purges. I am shocked at what has continued to survive.
No matter how much I empty out, I see so much more that needs to go.
I have recently noticed that my fear, my attachments are onion like. I peel away a layer, only to realize a hidden one. A memory. A word. A hope. An expectation. It is all stuff–tying me to the past. Tying me to the future. Keeping me from fully experiencing the present.
This too must go.
So I try and declutter my heart. I meditate and sit. I whisper mantras. I throw away the moldy furniture that is piled up in the garage and at the same time try toss out the heavy furniture that weighs down my heart. I sweep out the dusty corners. It is empty and still and I can be present if only for a moment before the dust settles down and the papers find their way again.
Three years ago, I foolishly believed that I with the help of feng shui, elbow grease and a little determination I would turn some magic corner and live a simple clutter free life without ever a need to see a dumpster again. But I realize now it is a life long practice. Not a destination. Just a way of being. It is a practice I sometimes followbut all too often ignore, a practice I need to…well…practice. It is the ritual emptying out. It is spring cleaning in September….and October…and November…
It is my practice…