Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Am Going Through My Stuff

I am going through me stuff. Seemingly endless papers, chewed up pencils, frayed business cards, dusty folders, outgrown clothes, and worn out toys. I have been dreading it for years, clearing out my stuff. In my heart, I know it's the best thing for me and my family, to get rid of the piles of stuff that weigh on our spirits and make it difficult to navigate through rooms. Still, I've been dreading it and putting it off as long as possible.

Now I am forcing myself to rip the staples out of old homework papers and toss them in the recycling bag, to wad up childish artwork made of construction paper, glue, and uncooked macaroni noodles and throw it in the trash. I have no choice. The workers will arrive within the month to begin tearing down walls and building a small addition onto our house. We've been looking forward to this for years, and we are so excited. Still, I have to go through my stuff.

The irony is that although I've been dreading it, now that I've gotten started, I can't seem to stop. I'm being pushed by an irrational panic to see bare floors and walls, and we seem to have a lot of stuff to clear out. Yet it is also therapeutic. It feels strangely satisfying to haul bags to the trash, knowing that the stuff I've been hoarding is gone forever. I am so pleased with myself when I walk away from the thrift store empty handed after dropping off my give away bag. (No shopping!) Even better are the discoveries, the lost books, the misplaced addresses of friends who have fallen out of touch, journals I never finished writing in. "I've been looking all over for this for months!" I'll exclaim and rush to give my newfound treasure a home.

The secret is in the willingness to let go of the past, the willingness to start the clearing out, and the willingness to stop in time to heat up supper. Once I start, I feel compelled to continue, but I won't let myself. If I spend hours clearing out my stuff every time I start, I won't be able to convince myself to start when I have only half an hour to spare.

So I continue going through my stuff. I tell myself I'm being ruthless, but I'm sure when we move back into our newly rebuilt rooms, I'll wonder why I kept so much that could been easily tossed. And I'll go through my stuff yet again.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Early February is the time of year many of us have long since broken or abandoned our resolutions for the new year. I know I have. Still, I have kept the spirit of my resolutions in that I have resolved to give up on self-improvement. That may seem odd, as resolutions are supposed to be all about self-improvement. I decided at the end of last year that I'm just fine the way I am, thank you very much, and that instead of clinging to the idea of becoming a better person, I'm simply going to let the idea go.

This allowed me to discover how rigid my thinking is, how my narrow my ideas are when it comes to the business of daily living. I decided to greet each day without towering expectations of myself and just appreciate myself for who I am and what I do. The unexpected result of this freeing concept is not that I have become lazier or more complacent. Instead, I feel as though I have more energy, and that I am happier and more productive. Best of all, I am learning to accept any moments of backsliding, of list-making, of critical self-talk as more opportunities to practice my new way of thinking.

Let go, is my new mantra. Just relax and let go, knowing that everything will be just fine in the end.