With the school holidays here (for only two more weeks – not that I’m counting!), my normal routines have been rather disrupted. For example, it’s hard to practice dance when the stereo and/or DVD player are in use by smaller mortals and when the lounge floor is, um, well, also in thorough use by those smaller mortals! Blogging is made more difficult by same smaller mortals requesting their turn on the computer at intervals slightly shorter than the time it takes to write a coherent, well-typed sentence. And so on.
So, I’ve been doing other things. At least partly in reaction to the state of the lounge floor, de-cluttering has taken on new urgency for me. Determined as I am to set the smaller mortals a good example (not just to have a moral high ground to nag from – honest), I’ve been working on my own clutter, especially in my workroom. Now, because I have done considerable work on this over the last year or three, I’m finally getting beyond the throwing things out stage and into the deeper work, including not just asking the question “why do I have this stuff?”, but trying to find real answers to that question.
Some of it may be blamed on my socialisation within modern Western society, where we are consumers before we are citizens. It is very easy to let stuff decide our life for us : must own new gadget, must own new yarn, must own new car, must own, must own, must own… all of which costs money, which costs us time spent working at jobs to earn that money, so we can stay trapped with our stuff.
Some of it might be about finding security in things: they are here and I can touch them, therefore I am here and real.
Some of it may have to do with mistaken thinking about identity expression: if I don’t have this stuff, then I’m not really a true ___ [insert subculture/label of choice]
I am not yet sure how much any of these apply to me and my stuff, and I’m sure there’s plenty more bubbling below the surface!
This year, as I endeavour to sort my way out of the trap, I am determined to let who I am decide what stuff I keep. I dance, so there will be some dance stuff. I knit and crochet, so there will be some yarn stuff (actually there’s already plenty of yarn stuff, so this year I will not be accumulating more but using what I already have, with the earnest hope of having only ‘some’ yarn stuff!) I enjoy reading and music, so there will be books and CDs. I may even buy some more stuff this year! But only after much consideration of my motives for buying it.
Essentially, I am endeavouring to shift my focus beyond stuff, to think more about my life and what I can do and be. As well as sorting my stuff, this includes consciously assessing how I spend my time as well as my money, what my core values and priorities are, what I actually enjoy doing – not just what I think I should enjoy doing – and more. Obviously, meditation and deep thinking is required to do this, so I rather suspect I will make only limited progress before the term starts! But any progress on this quest has got to be good 🙂