Toss It

A Pile of O's

Today’s Inspired Homemaking Report: Information Clutter

I was saving these O Magazines until the day I had an article published in one. Then, my daughter said, “Mom, why don’t you just save the ones you are published in.” Good idea, kid. And we moved to California- so I took my pile of O’s, along with my attachment to them, and donated them to a battered woman’s shelter. Now, I read my O and into recycling it goes.

When I taught classes on clutter, the biggest gripe was paper clutter. Mail. Bills. And piles of magazine and newspaper clippings, with the mental attachment title of “someday.” Someday, when I have time I want to read that 1975 article on how to knit a poncho. Why….?

Toss it. Here are the reasons I believe we accumulate information clutter:

~We believe we are dumb. Not smart enough. Why? School. Sure, some teachers knew the wise souls we are, and awakened and facilitated that part of us, but many others looked down on us in our tiny little desks and talked to us like we were nothing- blank slates needing to be filled with the knowledge only they could give.

Now we are all grown up physically, but mentally still think we are vacant containers needing filling. This is why all the experts do so well. We need them. Some of the information out there is wonderful-and needed. Look at me. My information is useful and wonderful, right? So I am not dissing on this. But- I want us to be clear on the why we are seeking the information. What is the intent? What filter is bringing this new information in?

~Distraction. Are we a little addicted to keeping our mind busy? Do we not like space? Time to just be with ourselves?

~Fear & Lack. If I don’t read this, I won’t know it. I want to look smart. I want to fix my flaws. I want to prove I’m okay.

~Superstitios. We believe if we save magazines, someday we will get published in them. Okay maybe that’s just me.

Here is my tip to help clear out the information clutter….

Inspired Homemaking Tip of the Day:

Get clear about your intention. If it captivates your curiosity- read it. If it resonates, it will stick and surface when needed. If you are only reading it out of fear and lack of not knowing something or to keep up with others or sitting alone with yourself with nothing to read or think about freaks you out- toss it. 

>Investigating Time

>I am back in the classroom working as a Teacher’s Assistant for special needs kids, and now that I am back, the concept of time is prodding my existence(and why I haven’t been blogging as much). My aunt, who was an elemenatry school teacher, told me how teachers are always watching the clock. And how right she is. It is important to make sure the kids get through their lessons in time for the next lesson, or for lunch. But how important is time really? Does it interfere with in-the-moment living? Does it cause anxiety, and if so- why?

The other morning my husband took my daughter and I out to breakfast after a meeting we had discussing the selling of our home, and the purchasing of another. I was excited, and optimistic for the future, and wanted to talk about it at breakfast. My husband didn’t seem as excited or ready to do so. I took offense and soon my enthusiasm turned to disappointment, and than the future didn’t look so bright.
I found out later, he had an agenda. My husband has a very efficient way about him, and because of his work, and the lunch meetings they have, he thinks it is more efficient to order first, and talk after. He wanted to talk, but just not when I did. His agenda: order first, talk after- because we didn’t have a lot of TIME. I don’t want to start an argument again (Chuck) over this, about who is right and who is wrong. However, it is an example of time, and the lack of it, which often leads our experiences. And when the belief of “a lack of time” leads, anxiety and chaos ensue, and siphons out the magic, mystery and spontaneity of being in the moment.
I see it happen in the classroom all the time. And interestingly I saw it clearly in my own life, when yesterday I had to quit writing this blog because I ran out of time before the next activity. The rest of the day I felt anxious and irritable because I knew all that needed to be done before the work week began again. I say it is interesting because I hadn’t noticed such intense anxiety about time in quite awhile.
That’s because recently I’ve had a shift in regard to time. I suppose it comes from my own agenda, which is to be free of restrictions, and time has been one of those restrictions for me. I work a full time job. I have two children. I want to be a published author someday. I have my own business where I coach people and give presentations. I like to keep my home clear and clutter free. I have to cook meals for my family. There is a lot on my plate and for a long time I would always say, I don’t have enough time. I would worry and think, how am I going to get all of my work done.
Little by little I see these anxieties dissipating in the space of my own gentleness toward myself and the small actions I take everyday. For instance, because of going back to work, it would be really easy for me to get into the worries of not having enough time for my writing, and I haven’t had as much, to be sure, but after I drop off both girls at school, I have an hour before I have to work. I have been using this hour for my writing. This first week back I was really tired and I told myself gently it was okay if I didn’t get any blogging done. That I would recover and find the time. At night, when I realize I didn’t do all that I had planned, I say to myself, “you’ve done the best you can.” And remind myself I am at my best when I am not under pressure.
Gentleness creates space and freedom.
Before the first day of school began, we had two days of training and meetings. One of the agenda items was showing us the “Fish! Philosophy.” It is a philosophy based on Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle. The principles are:
  • Play
  • Make their day
  • Be there
  • Choose your attitude
When I look at these principles the common thread I see is being present. To play, we must let go of whatever restrictions we have about letting loose and having time. To make their day, we must be present to feel we have enough time to know what might make their day. To be there, we must be there, and not be thinking about what has to get done. And to choose our attitude we must be present to ourselves, and not the fear of not enough time, to know how we are going to behave.
To live from the philosophy of being present means we have all of these opportunities for play, for making someone’s day, and for uplifting our own state. However, if we live from the philosophy of there isn’t enough time, or I must do this, or I must do that we cannot be in the moment.
I propose we begin to consider letting go of time as an obstacle and restriction, and expand into the now. I can’t say I exactly know how to do this, but here are some suggestions from my own life where I trust this is happening:
  • Cut back on your media absorption. Everything “out there” in the world unconsciously reminds us about time. When we free ourselves from “out there” time we move into our own time and space. And this is true power.
  • Meditate. Getting into the space between the thoughts facilitates the awakening of our own rhythm.
  • Pick a Mantra. When ever you feel out of the moment, repeat a sound or word. For example I use the mantra Rama.
  • Go into nature. There is a natural rhythm present there, which resonates with our own.
  • Begin noticing anxiety and forcing behaviors when doing tasks. Is your stomach tight? Is your brow scrunched? Are you shoulders to your ears, and your head forward?
  • When you notice forcing behaviors, take a moment to breathe, and slow down the pace a little.
  • Notice if you have unfinished projects all over your house, or in your mind. Take time to deal with them. Are they still important? And if they aren’t, can you let them go? If they are can you create space in your day to do a small step toward finishing it? For example a friend of mine sets a timer for 10 minutes and uses this time to declutter areas in her house. Just 10 minutes can melt the anxiety and give way to space and opportunity.
  • If you are surrounded by people who push and force, stay grounded and present within your own time. Don’t allow the agendas of others to dictate how you will behave. You might be percieved as not begin efficeint, especailly at work, but you can choose to trust you will get things done the way YOU get things done.
  • Live with the perspective that all things, which are important to you will happen. Therefore there is no need to worry about time. We can be aware of time because it is a basic function of our society right now, but we do not have to allow it to own us. We have our own time right inside of our soul, connect to this and let what does not resonate go.
  • And give yourself gentle reminders throughout your day, you are doing the best you can with the time you have.
In time, time will becoming less like a small stiffling pocket of anxiety, to an ever-expansive space of opportunity. Time really has nothing to do with the clocks ticking, even though we know they tick. Time is within us, and we can choose how we experience it. And it begins with clearing up the space where we believe there is a lack of time. It begins with having a true desire to be free of restrictions of all kinds, and with a dedicated effort move toward that freedom. In that movement we will discover pockets of this expanded opportunity where we can play, make someone’s day, choose our attitude, and just be present and full in the moment.
And right now it is time for me to go to bed. When I entered the writing space this evening after another full day of work and family life, I did not think I was going to be able to write. I was so tired, but little by little, I became inspired, and let go of time, and I realize my most precious resource is not time. It is energy, and that is available anytime I open to it. And this, will be a blog post to come- on energy as our most precious resource- when I have the time, I mean energy to write it.
Thanks for spending your time-and energy with me.
The Soul Reporter