I made it into the third bedroom for an hour or so yesterday, and threw out a full garbage bag full of stuff. Then it became overwhelming. This is the room we refer to as “the den” and it’s a catch-all room for my dollhouses, dolls, craft stuff, and my card deck collection.
Today I woke up at 6 a.m. worried about mildew getting at things I have stored in there and on it went from there. I know the rule about declutter and how if you haven’t used it for a year, get rid of it, but I saw another rule yesterday that made even more sense. It was to ask yourself “Would I buy this today?” and the answer for me in many cases is “No, I wouldn’t” but then where do they go? I can’t throw them out because they are new things, but they are a burden because I have no place to store them.
Worrying, I decided to pull a random Lojong card.
Photo: A Canada gosling munches on the seeds of Bahia grass.
That made me smile because I am sure getting a workout in uncertainty, change, the ambiguity of being alive and letting things go. Pema Chodron makes the point that training yourself every day in the small things will eventually filter in so that when a big thing comes along to cope with you will know what to do.
Like this baby Canada Goose gosling, we fall and get up, we teach ourselves how to find things to eat, but we keep going, falling and getting up. Norman Fischer calls this “Be wholehearted” and says pay attention, don’t worry, don’t forget, don’t complain—all these things. Come home and feel your breathing and your heartbeat.
We make excuses for not keeping up with our mind training, but more than that we don’t practice. Here I have a perfect opportunity in selling the house and moving 4500 kms, to keep up, to train each day, to recognize emotions and face things I’ve kept in a room. BUT if I open the door and wholeheartedly get to it, I get to all the stuff I’ve avoided for years, which is fear, sadness, disappointment, a wall of emotion, lingering and festering.
Judy Lief says:
“Pay attention to the boundary between wholehearted practice and a more vague and lukewarm approach. Notice your thinking process, your bodily sensations, and emotional undercurrents. What happens at those moments in which you click in and are really practicing?”
I can tell you what happens, the emotions dissipate, I feel relief and hope and I think to myself “This isn’t so bad.” But it requires some discipline to do it, to practice wholeheartedly.
Time to munch some seeds.