Finding Courage and Wisdom on the Path to Wholeness
Happy Wednesday, Dear TSJ “Peeps,”
Today, however, I am pondering a difference between simple clutter and accumulated “stuff.”
I confess I do not tolerate my own clutter very well-or at least not for very long. However, I have been learning to realize there is a difference between “stuff” and simple clutter. When we are working on projects a room almost certainly will be cluttered. For example, when the grandkids are around, the room they happen to be in at the moment often becomes cluttered. Our sweet granddaughter is very creative and artistic and makes beautiful things. She will often be hidden behind a pile of necessary supplies for her project. The results are worth it. Buried in the apparent clutter is a work of art waiting to emerge. Another example is when she and her brother and I make cookies in their great-great grandma’s mixing bowl. At those times, our kitchen gets very cluttered and it is good. And it is temporary, so long as we clean up after the work is completed.
Clutter is an inevitable part of life. SJ has learned being creative is part of expressing ourselves in unique ways. Clutter is neither good nor bad. We all respond to it differently. Solomon (master of heart wisdom) has taught SJ that God made us to be creative and sometimes life is just plain messy.
Sigmund, our little Mr. Psychologist, has been talking with SJ though about our inner “stuff.”
As Mr. John and I clean out years of people’s accumulated things, we are finding ourselves looking at how easy it is to “stuff” things in attics, garages and closets. It is also easy to avoid cleaning out and making decisions about what to do with things stuffed away. For example, I have kept years of presentations I have given. I know they are outdated and I will not use them again. “But I put so much work into them at the time.. .” my mind says. Then other emotions follow. Holding on to what-once-was can complicate the process that ultimately leads to freedom; not only does the cleaning out process free up outer space, but more importantly it opens up inner spiritual and psychological space which allows room for new growth. In a way sorting through past things is like pruning.
Sorting out mental stuff is the greater challenge. I am learning that clutter itself is neutral, but “stuff” is a burden on both mind and heart. Physical clutter only becomes problematic stuff because of our mental attachments to things, events, people, and beliefs. Sigmund says that our greatest challenge in life is listening to our own inner narration about things. Our own thoughts, beliefs and attachments become a drag on our energies and happiness. What we tell ourselves confuses ourselves. That is the nature of our minds.
Today I am actually experiencing my own “stuff” that is hindering a free flow of ideas. Like John says, “stuff ” is really a drag on our lives. It feels like what some have called “writer’s block.”
So what do we mean by our “stuff” when it comes to our minds? I sure know what it means when it comes to our closets, garages and attics.
I have chuckled over a common phrase one can hear in psychological circles, “Oh I know that is ‘my own stuff’ or ‘That is just her stuff so, don’t let it bother you.'”
This morning I heard myself tell John that I often live in a prison of my own making. (I was talking about my tendency to resist trying things I do not believe I am good at because I fear looking foolish) but I do believe it speaks to our mental “stuff” too. We all have some. It comes from accumulated assumptions of our need to be successful, attractive, competent, perfect etc. in order to be happy and secure. In fact my inner prison cell does have a window, but it has quite a few bars on it to give me an illusion of safety when indeed it is quite the opposite. It keeps me a slave to my own “stuff.”
I do believe that finding time in chaos to meditate, pray, share with others and especially listen to our inner narration (the story we tell ourselves about things) is the first step in removing the bars on our self -created prison window. Then we can taste the freedom of sunlight and fresh breezes – which for this blog can symbolize the light of love and compassion sent gently our way by Chief Shepherd so we can actually play in the “pastures” of our work and home lives.
What stuff would you like to be free from?
Solomon says turning worry into trust takes care of a lot of it.