Saturday, December 22, 2012

Calling Out the Clutter

some of the contents of my former office
now cluttering up the kitchen

Meditation To End Clutter:"First, prayerfully choose the space that needs your undivided attention.  Do nothing today but bring it to prayer."

I should never have attempted the "Meditation To End Clutter." 
By some law of inverse ratio, instead of disappearing or even decreasing, the clutter in my house has grown exponentially.  It's as if I called out the clutter to meet me in the street for a showdown, and the clutter won.

The clutter invasion began in earnest the day my adult son moved back home.  I never knew he had accumulated so much stuff in the seven years he lived away.  First, my office had to be cleared as a living space for him.  In the picture at the top of this post, you can see some of the contents of my former office, now shoved into a corner of the kitchen.  The rest of the contents can now be found in boxes on the enclosed upstairs back porch.

My former office space, now turned into my son's studio apartment, holds a large chest of drawers, a full-sized futon mattress, a 46-inch flat screen TV (on the desk where my laptop used to sit), a stereo, a coffee table, a shelf full of DVD's, two 30-pound barbells, a 7 cubic-foot freezer, and a newly constructed toddler bed for my grandson.

Step 2.  Do nothing today but bring to prayer the space that needs your attention.  

I might as well write off my former office (there is no reason to give it any attention since it is off limits to me now).  Also, I might as well write off the space that was formerly known as the cellar, a space de-cluttered by me six years ago, after a flood left a foot of water in our basement, and I spent days on my knees, shoveling out wet clutter and hauling it to a rented dumpster.  This formerly clutter-free space is now packed with my son's overflow possessions-- a bicycle, something that he calls a work bench that is as big as an entire department in a furniture factory.  Two electric saws.  Wood left over from the construction of the toddler bed.  And other things I don't even know the names of.  But never mind.  None of this needs my attention.  I will put it out of my mind, the way sinners are said to put Hell out of their minds until the day when it is too late to do anything about it.

I might as well also write off the space formerly known as my attic.  On two different days I witnessed Michael and his friend hauling more of Michael's possessions to my formerly uncluttered attic (I cleaned it out at the same time as the flood six years ago).  After Michael left for work one day this week, I checked out the space formerly known as my uncluttered attic.  There I found some sort of exercise contraption known as a gym, an air conditioner, a fancy chess set, boxes of I-don't-know-what, Pfaltzgraff dishes, stainless steel utensils, pots and pans, my college diploma, and a needlework picture of a circle of grandchildren that I made for my mother-in-law nearly thirty years ago.  I was thankful that at least the stand-alone basketball goal wasn't present amidst all this clutter, but I was discouraged to see my own two-bike-stand-alone bicycle rack lying on its side on the floor, banished from its place in my office, leaving my bicycles to clutter up other spaces, on the porch and in the yoga room.

"Let there be a space of four or five days so that you can prepare spiritually by inviting your Whole and Holy Self to this beautiful spiritual event."

I soon realized it was going to take more than four or five days of spiritual preparation to convince anything whole or holy to show up at my house.   I will need to put in as much time giving my undivided attention to prayer as this Hindu Holy man apparently has.

I had to skip the next seventeen steps in the "Meditation To End Clutter" because they all involved doing things I could not possibly do such as LABEL BOXES TO BE GIVEN AWAY OR TAKEN TO GOODWILL.  I wish!

This left me at step 20: "See your Whole and Holy Self as an Emptying Vessel waiting to be filled, not with more stuff but with the freedom and joy that will overflow from you." So that is what I will attempt to do.

     Here I am at Step 20, a very good place to be.

             No clutter in sight.


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