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Facing Your Clutter

Last week in my post I talked about the Interstitial Spaces where salmon lay their eggs. What are those spaces in our lives where new things can be born?

I want to stay with that theme this week from a bit of a new angle.

Clutter is the opposite of spaciousness.

Decluttering is the act of creating space for something new to emerge.

Why don’t we deal with the clutter in our lives? Our mental clutter. Physical clutter. Time clutter. Emotional clutter. Relationship clutter (meaning unresolved issues that clutter the space between us).

I believe we don’t face it because it often feels too overwhelming. And yet what we may not realize is how much it is costing us. And we haven’t spent the time (taken the space) to step back and ask “What is the life I want to live ten years from now? And how do my actions now lead to that or take me away from that vision?” (This reflection will give us energy to face the clutter in our current life.)

What would be possible if you faced the clutter in your life? In your home? On your computer? In your schedule? In your work projects?

What fresh energy would be freed up? What hidden resources would be unlocked that could be repurposed towards your passion?

In early January I started an experiment to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering a small space in my house/office. You know, like many of us, I’m figuring out how to hold the home and work space together. And I’m a creative, generative person who loves people, so when faced with the choice of dealing with clutter versus connecting with people or creating...... Let’s just say it’s an easy choice to not face the clutter.

I’m a creature of habit, and if I have a daily rhythm set, it’s much easier to do something than leaving it to happen “whenever I get around to it”. So I decided that every weekday from 1-1:15pm I would sit down in my living room chair, play some relaxing music on my phone, light a candle and set a timer for 15 minutes.

I had decided the day before what small, focused area I would work on, so that way I could get right to it.

Here’s what I’ve come to discover:

*Having a small time box of 15 minutes, helps me focus. When I think of another task (aka potential distraction) and then see that I only have 7 minutes left, I find it much easier to stay on task.

*Having a small, focused area helps because I have a sense of completion.

*Now when I see a cluttered small area, I think, “It’s only a matter of time, and I’ll get to it.

*And when I pass by a space that I’ve just dealt with that week, or multiple spaces, I feel so energized!

I think the biggest lesson is what my body/mind/spirit has come to viscerally learn, namely, I am able to face things that have been stuck. I am able to focus. I am able to boundary the time and space. I am able to build momentum as I do this daily.

Now I can take these embodied lessons and translate them into my life. And the good news is that translation happens naturally.

When we need to make a shift, whether it is freeing up cluttered space in our home, or shifting the culture of our organization, or experimenting with remote/hybrid work for our staff, it’s really about starting small, building muscles, and practicing over and over and over until it comes second nature.

Next week’s blog theme

“What kind of future are you practicing for”

- adrienne marie brown

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