Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pare back, pare back, pare back!

'Our life is frittered away with details. Simplify, simplify, simplify.' - Henry David Thoreau

A word I have often used to describe myself has been scattered... another is disorganised. Sometimes I have self diagnosed myself as ADD. I'm probably not hyperactive, but who knows? What I do know is that I am my own worst enemy - and that whilst I long for inner peace I often contribute to my 'cluttered' state. 

Sitting peacefully in church yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany. Though I had a role assisting the priest, I was calm and at ease. Comparing my recent feelings at home and the ones at church - I realised that at church my mind is focused, my role is clear and I feel I am doing something I am called to. Everything at church is simple and clutter free - physically and mentally. All is well with my soul. 

At home, a place I love to be above all places (except perhaps nature), I have recently struggled to find sanctuary. Clutter is creeping back into my home. Not just 'stuff' or 'things' but piles of paper, long to do lists, letters to reply to, books to read and review and other writing 'round to-s', boxes of photos and letters, newspapers, clutter in the kitchen cupboards, wardrobes bulging, newly washed and dried clothes are piling up on our spare bed, the dishes breed every time I turn my back.... mess, disorganisation. Clutter! And it makes my head hurt. In fact I felt so overwhelmed by it the other day that I woke with these awful words on my lips - 'my life hurts'. What was I thinking? What AM I thinking? It is all self induced!!! 

I feel I need to pare back, pare back, pare back... or in Henry Thoreau's words - 'simplify, simplify, simplify.' 

When I simplify - all is well with my world. I know this - so why do I self sabotage?

This journey of simplifying has its ups and downs. It is a process. Lately I have had some fabulous wins. I am certainly saying more 'no-s' than 'yes-s'. (But maybe I should say no 'yes-s' for a while.)  I feel I take one step forward and two steps back. But all I really need to worry about is keeping one foot in front of the other. All I need to do is to keep going. And that is something I am doing. 

The picture at the top of this post was taken just moments ago. It is the result of some serious purging this morning. It is a step in the right direction. 

I know that external clutter affects the mind and the soul. Thankfully I can do something about that. Now I am off to go through the clothes I have left in my keep pile to see if I can give away some more! I keep thinking of that tip for travel - pack your suitcase, then go back and take half out. Wow. Can I do that? Just maybe. And if I can't, that's okay. 'One more step along the way I go'. (Do you know that hymn? Love it.)

Asta x


  1. That's wise advice. Your description of how it is around your place sounds very familiar. I've been heard to say that I have to give up the tyranny of feeling I must do housework straight away, yet when I don't, that head-hurting clutter has a way of accumulating incredibly fast.

    1. Yes Paula that head hurting clutter is no fun. Going in to work on my paper pile now. Wish me luck. A x

  2. In The Height .Asta, your number has pared itself and is hiding. Please ring me. i have a new e mail address. Meanwhile, I am standing on my head, with intermittent approaches at making encroaches on the necessary editing of my accumulations.
    Upside down gives all the stressed organs an excellent relief from the sense of the weight of responsibility . Ha!.
    Caroline in wickepin, going in to Holy Mass this arvo. Oh Perfect Cure!

    1. Yes I will ring you Caroline. Standing upside down would give you a different perspective. A x

  3. Asta -- Your words are so true: "I know that external clutter affects the mind and the soul. " However, as I read this post I realized that I experience you as an extremely organized and directed person, you never feel "cluttered," but maybe that is because you make such an effort to keep your inner and outer experiences aligned? Maeve and I are going to church today to say a prayer & light a candle, I know that peaceful "all is right" feeling of being in church, and we will say a prayer for your pare down efforts, and for my desperate get organized and motivated efforts! (ps: I wanted to post this under your blog...but it won't let me :0/ ) - Posted by Asta from Kate's comment on The Simply Living Challenge FB page.

    1. I should have said which Kate that was from - the lovely Kate Forman Ortiz.