When my mother died and then my aunt a year later I was tasked with cleaning out their homes. This was not an easy task. Not only were there things that hadn’t been seen in many years but also things that brought back memories and tears. This was back around 2003-2004. I still remember the agony of that job.
For this reason I am trying, little by little, to make cleaning out my things easier on my family. I have written about getting rid of things but this is the underlying reason. I am moving slowly but making progress. This is another thing that strangely enough is on my bucket list. I know, this is not a fun thing but it matters to me.
Little by little, bit by bit I am going through papers and personal items. Many things can be discarded but others need to have a place, with explanations, where they are kept. I hope I don’t die soon as this may take me until my death to do. For my children’s sake I hope not. For me this is not a macabre task but a loving one.
It seems that we spend the first half of live accumulating things, the next quarter enjoying them and the last quarter letting them go.
Each part of life has its demands. Too many people leave a huge disaster for others to clean up. I hope I can do better than that.
Today my husband and I traveled to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up. As we traveled I notice the number of storage facilities we passed. What is wrong with us? We have so much stuff that it is big business to store it away. Surely this is the height of the ridiculous.
As a society we hoard. There are many stories about hoarders lately and most of us don’t have a house so full that we can’t walk through it. However, maybe we would if we didn’t have it stored away in a facility.
If the “stuff” is not wanted then we need to take it to the Salvation Army. They have the highest rating for actually helping instead of paying CEO’s. There may be people who need it.
I have recently been trying to clean out and pare down. I have way too much in my house. Quite a bit can be classified as trash and should be thrown or recycled. Some of it is going in boxes to take to help others. It is amazing what we can accumulate.
Seeing all of this reminds me that not only is my home in overload but that I can be too. What am I holding on to that I need to let go? So while I am searching through stuff I will also be opening doors in my mind to sweep out what is cluttering my mind.
Today I have been feeling stressed. I started obsessing about dec 18th through 21st when we have to go back to Mayo clinic for therapy for my husband. We have no one to keep the dogs and so if all works out will take my friend’s 27 ft, camper. It is a real luxury but easy to drive since it is not one of those ones that looks like a bus. It looks more like a truck and has all the bells and whistles that we need. She bought it recently and has not used it so we do have to check everything out and be sure it all works.
I can’t say that I am looking forward to those days with the dogs. I don’t know how two bassets will respond to the trip. However, bassets are not know for their energy but are know for their incessant talking. (read that as barking). I will also have no internet to blog unless I can find a hot spot.
I should take this as “time out of time” and relax into it but I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. Maybe I will after we get the camper all set up. I can spend time reading and walking the dogs. If it is not cold I would love to walk them on the beach.
Today I began something new and it really helped me to back down off my anxiety. I watched “the great bell chant” on you tube and another video that taught how to use the bell. Since I have a bell from Tibetan monks I used that and found that the sound is very calming for me. Another tool in my tool chest. Something I will continue to work with.
I have been so good about my meditation, prayer and writing time and that has helped also. The place I have failed utterly is cleaning my office and my house in general. I don’t do well with cluttered space and usually my office is my “sacred space.” Right now it is filled with Christmas presents that need wrapping. Oh well. My mother used to say that I don’t have to worry that the elves will come and clean it for me and that after I rest or go out it will still be there for me to take care of. A very wise woman, my mother. She lived to be 95 and was wise ’til death. I hope I am that blessed.
Advent continues to slide toward Christmas. I have decided to live by the prayer I use each night before I sleep. Hope you enjoy this prayer as much as I do.
From “Night Prayer” in the New Zealand Prayer Book
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
This quote set me to thinking. We can easily be too busy about nothing. Does the busy-ness cover our inability to stop? Are we busy about things that have no meaning?
It is so easy to get caught up especially in this season. Shopping, baking, decorating seem to take up all of our time. Our minds are on overloaded trying to juggle everything. We don’t take time to stop and think. Unfortunately we have turned this holiday season into a nightmare. Many of us spend more than we should on things that may not even be appreciated. We need to rethink this season and find a middle ground that works.
In the last few years I have backed off from some of the stress I created during the holidays. I have a much more relaxed attitude. Things don’t get done as fast and if they are not done at all that’s ok. I used to be whirling dervish…running everywhere….making sure everything was perfect…driving myself crazy. When the holidays actually arrived I was too tired to enjoy them.
We can set ourselves an impossible task. We can end up exhausted and burned out. Try to decide the things that really matter and let the rest go. You will reap the benefit of enjoying a joyful season.
I have spent the day cleaning my office. It goes downhill quickly. I just can’t seem to keep things neat. It has something to do with creating a place for everything. Just when I think everything is going well something appears that I don’t have a place for. I need a “No place for” file. I have tried putting those things in one file where they just sit until I either realize that it was a bill I should have paid or I don’t need it at all and it is just cluttering things up.
The same is true for my life. I hold on to things that I should let go. Eventually I realize that it is time to move on. It is so easy to clutter up our lives with people who are not good for us. We usually can’t see it until they have made us unhappy. There are some people who are just plain negative. Their bad energy can push us down into depression and despair. We think that we need them to make our life livable but the truth is we need to let them go.
Then there are the memories of the things people have done that we resent. We can hang onto those too and when they crop up the anger and resentment comes with them. You can feel yourself living in that moment.
It is just as important that we let go of the clutter in our minds as the clutter in our physical space. I don’t do it enough. After cleaning my office I feel refreshed. After letting go of anger and resentment I don’t have to feel such bad energy again. It lightens the load.
Remember that both our minds and our spaces have to be cleaned out periodically. Whew! What at relief!