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Disorderly Conduct

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar

I'm going to take you backstage at the Barbara L Cummings production this week and let you in on some of the details of what goes into putting out my broadcasts every week ...

Usually, about once a month or every four to six weeks, I accumulate a bunch of Monday Quotes (MQ's) and I send them off to my assistant. Sometimes all the stars and planets line up just right and I'll get a lot of "downloads". They really feel like they come out of the blue (or, maybe the pink, green, yellow ...??) and I'm always grateful for them because it means I've had my inspiration and I can relax for a few weeks. The funny thing is, my VA (she's a Virtual Assistant) makes the quotes pretty and adds an appropriate picture and then, sends it to me for approval the weekend before publication AND I often feel like I'm seeing that quote for the first time! Apparently I have "teflon brain" when it comes to MQ's -- what I come up with doesn't always stick! It also makes it fun because I never know what's going to show up.

Whatever comes up for that Monday is the topic for me to write the blogette that week and it's uncanny how often the MQ will dovetail exactly with what's going on in my life right at that moment. This week was no exception to that! Just to remind you, this is what I shared on Monday:

"Is there order in your life or, could you potentially

be charged with being disorderly?

No judgement -- just look around you and see

what might need a little cleaning up."

As I'm writing this I look around my apartment and I'm in the middle of stacks and piles and boxes. For the last several years I haven't had a home base. I've let go of many of my possessions, especially furniture and even some shoes (ever since my mother bought me some gorgeous shoes that I didn't "need" when I was quite young, I've been hooked on glamorous footwear -- Carrie Bradshaw is my hero!). I still had some books and buddhas and other items in storage at one of my son's places, but now he has to move and I need to get my things out. It's actually a good thing because it helps me re-evaluate what I need in my life and it's not much. It also removes that annoying pressure that I have things just sitting somewhere else and they are demanding that I address them. Oh, but, what do I want to hold onto?!?

When I still owned a home in Massachusetts, I had quite a collection of beautiful buddhas and other statues that defined my spiritual side and also decorated my living space. When I first opened up that box in which they were stored, I couldn't imagine getting rid of them. However, as I realized I didn't have a designated space for them and I didn't want to stick them in some other storage area, it felt easy to move them along. In fact, when I first looked at them all, I was filled with anxiety and as I found new homes for them, I felt more and more "free". You see, that's the thing about having too much stuff...the clutter around us invades our peace of mind. It's hard to think clearly and feel like there's spaciousness in our existence. Instead, it's like trying to walk down a crowded street -- it's slow going and at times stops all together. This, in itself, is not a bad thing until we also recognize that we've run out of options and we're being driven and controlled by the mob.

Anytime we find ourselves in a cluttered space we tend to shut down a little. It might be that we are actually aware of the extra items taking up our living area, yet we might not notice how much energy we are using to try and ignore their invasion of our space. Or, we might not even be truly conscious of the toll taken on our psyche by so many things that are vying for our attention. There are some wonderful quotes about this. Here are a few:

"Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions."

Barbara Hemphill

"Storage is not a solution.

Just because it's out of sight,

doesn't mean it's out of mind.

Your clutter is still there ... lurking

in the dark corners of your home."

"Clutter in your physical surroundings

will clutter your mind and spirit."

"When we clear the physical clutter from our lives,

we literally make way for inspiration and good,

orderly direction to enter."

Julia Cameron

As a Midway Woman, I'm also thinking about the topic of a book that's currently in the buzz, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson. It might sound a bit morbid and it's focus is on helping our children and others have an easier time of dealing with whatever we leave behind when we die. It's a wonderful way to think of others, however the true benefit is really practical. As Magnusson writes, "It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth. Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation."

Photo by Bench Accounting

As a mindfulness and meditation mentor I've been concerned with stress in our lives and getting rid of clutter is truly a sure-fire way to eliminate some of that. Clutter has been shown to raise cortisol levels, the stress hormone. If the process seems overwhelming, throw a party with a few friends. Tell them what you want to do and ask for their help. Chances are, they might want you to do the same for them after you take care of your own over-abundance.

Don't get a citation for "disorderly conduct". Clear the way, get rid of the chaos, make space and see what magic happens. This is what I wish for you.


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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