Monday, March 9, 2009

Mantra Monday: Really, it's all just stuff. Nothing more. Nothing less.

When Aristophanes proclaimed himself a "Tawny-Headed-DemiGod" after completing his final push to sort and clear out the remnants of clutter from his place, I started thinking. There was a subtle change in our conversations and a lightness that surfaced which was not previously apparent.

Then I started noticing.
All the
stuff that has accumulated over the last 5 + years here in DC.
I was just going to start with a box. One box.

It was
that box (that probably everyone has or had at one point), filled with extraneous / superfluous cables and wires that go to nameless electronics delicately bundled like a rat's nest. My rationalization, if I needed a cable I could always go to RadioShack.

To get to the box, I had to pull* everything out of my hallway closet.

That was the closet full of crap that broke the camel's back, armed with a healthy dose of pop music and kitted out in shorts, tank-top and bandanna in my hair - I was a woman on a mission. A whirling tornado of a dervish. One and a half days, 8 garbage bags, 2 packing boxes of trash, 3 loads of laundry, and 13 cups of tea later:

I can see the floor in all of my closets.
My apartment feels fresher.

I feel much less encumbered.
I feel drained. I feel rapturous.

I'm not going to deny it, going though some stuff was hard. It never ceases to amaze me at how much emotional stock a piece of paper or a dried flower from 10 years ago or an empty chocolate tin can carry. All this stuff that we and others put weight on, place emotion and value on, really do become a burden.

Really, it's all just stuff. Nothing more. Nothing less.

On the phone with Aristophanes last night, he asked me: How does a designer know their piece is completed?
Me: Um...after...How?
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. It was Saint-Exupery who said that.
Me: (pause) Yes. I can see that now...

There's still a lot left to be done, but this all happens slowly and in it's own time -

opening the way for more experiences.

This, my friends, is only the beginning.

*pull is loosely defined as topple here.


The Mathematician said...

Does this means there's hope for the house in RI?

Sasso! said...

When my Mom visited me recently she helped me clean out my closet in my apartment...we came up with 2 bags of trash, 2 bags for Goodwill, and a bunch of stuff to give back to my landlord. In the weeks since, I've felt so much happier and bouncier it's almost ridiculous. Some feng shui consultants say that clearing your closet is like purging your soul and that cluttered closets are the physical manifestation of emotional blockage. While their terminology is a bit melodramatic for me, I think they may be on to something!!

Sasso! said...

ps to the room in RI is also full to the brim with boxes from grad school. Portside isn't the only one!!

Capital Spice said...

I love spring cleaning. Every since I've started really paying attention to the news and economy, I've had itchy fingers to clean out and organize closets. As though we'll need to be lighter on our feet for any given announcement. Still, why live with more than you need?

And FYI: The DC public library, which is always in the most pathetic condition, accepts book donations. We took a whole stack last weekend.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is hope for the house in RI - at least with my "stuff" that has accumulated. I realized this past weekend a lot of the "stuff" up there in RI is really tethering me to the past. I'm really liking making space - physical, mental, and emotional. It's quite liberating. Next time I'm up there.

And thanks Sophisticate for the book recommendation - the things is I have always had a hard time letting go of books. Dvds, electronics, clothing, "stuff" no problem. Books are another matter. I could wax poetic here but it really comes down to the fact that I'm already picky enough about what I read and will willingly let go a book I really didn't enjoy, but the potential to easily slip into a favorite book - it's like lingering in a warm bed on a Sunday morning or Moonday.