Monday, October 24, 2011
There is something to be said for clearing away clutter and those things that take up space without offering anything to the aesthetics of living. Lately, I have sold or given away boxes of books, clothing, crayons, clay, and a variety of other items. They have been taking up space in the attic, the closet, the shelves, etc. And even though I am cleaning a space that is rarely seen by anyone, it feels good to be rid of the stuff and to know that those spaces have room, that those things are gone, that those things are no longer attached to me. It feels liberating and spacious. Those things no longer own me.
It is no secret that our living space is a reflection of our person, our inner space, our likes, our values, our attitudes, our concerns, our views of life. But mostly, our external space is a reflection of our internal space. So when I keep a particular thing, I have to ask myself, "What am I holding onto? Is it worth the attachment?" Many of the Christian mystics talk about detachment. That state of being that is attached to nothing or that state of being that is detached from everything. It is an inner position that allows nothing to own their being except Jesus.
So I guess this cleaning kick feels good because it is my way of saying, "I won't let you own me anymore." I want a simple inside and a complicated outside seems to rub against this desire for simplicity. I've noticed how ads and TV and visits to any number of stores all scream, "Buy, buy, buy, have this, have that, need this, want that." It is a kind of madness that drives us to believe that we must have a gadget, a toy, a tool, a new this or that. And we collect and collect and collect.
I wonder what it would be like to just once (or more) see ads, hear ads, or visit places where we were encouraged to "let go, give away, and have less." Perhaps ads like that would become meditative practices that would encourage clearing the inner space, making room on the inside, de-cluttering the internal noise that distracts us from knowing ourselves.
This is the challenge for me. As I clear away what fills my external space, I have moments of reflecting on those things. I choose. I can attach or detach. And whichever choice I make becomes a point of reflection. I can ask, "Why did I make that choice?" And then I know something more about myself.
Posted by Lisa Gonzales-Barnes