I keep coming back to stuff

When I started this blog I spoke a lot about my journey to rid myself of my excess of stuff so I could “get somewhere.”

I had sold my successful business that I’d opened and run for nearly 18 years with no idea what I was going to do next. I only knew that whatever was next for me – I couldn’t do it with all this stuff! I couldn’t get where I wanted to be and drag all this stuff with me.

Flash forward a bunch of years. I got rid of a lot of my possessions, created a career whereby I help others do the same. Took a longed for road trip of just over 15,000 miles (around the US – by myself!) and came home from that road trip ready to pack up my home and move on from the life I’d been living. I still didn’t know what I was moving towards, I just knew that I was ready.

Then I met a high school sweetheart and fell in love.

I packed up my house alright, I left behind the life I’d been living and I moved my (now much fewer) possessions into his home. Just about 20 minutes from where I’d owned my business all those years.

I began to work on my writing, (it’s what I do, it’s who I am, and I never quite stop doing it,) with a little Personal Organizing and decluttering on the side.

That’s when I started getting into Life Coaching.

I had become living proof that you can get where, and do what, you want in life. You are never stuck. It’s just a matter of finding your way from where you are.

Flash forward another couple of years, (Holy moly how time flies!)

I’m not at all unhappy with my life at the moment.

I life coach, and I help people declutter to find their way to the life they want. I write and have found my way to my first big book project. I’ve made new connections and I enjoy the space where I reside.

My sweetie isn’t so much into decluttering.

He likes to buy stuff. He likes to keep stuff.

And while I’m not unhappy with the life we share here, I want more.

Life is short – yes?

And I keep coming back to stuff.

I think there’s too much stuff in this house.

I feel like it is holding he and I back from the life we both say we want.

Decluttering still seems all the rage. There are always books coming out about the joys of it or the how to of it. I’m reading yet another new and hot one now.

(Someday I hope I’ll write one.)

But it’s making me itch.

It’s making me itch to get rid of the old china hutch in the spare room (He doesn’t love it but it belonged to his mother.) It’s making me itch to get rid of the twenty cookbooks I kept when I first downsized from 80 or so that I used to own. It’s making me want to get rid of the 15 tiny decorative dishes, trays, and bowls both he and I seem to adore. Sure they are pretty and all but they are a pain to keep dusted and I don’t think they are adding much to my life. He, of course, doesn’t agree. He thinks they are tiny, barely take up any room, aren’t unpleasant, aren’t in the way and that there is no reason to get rid of them.

I keep coming back to stuff.

I have too much stuff.

I am surrounded by too much stuff.

Too much stuff gets in the way of moving forward.

A blog used to be

When blogs were new they were a place (I seem to remember) where a writer shared what they found as they searched the web – a web-log.

Along with this sharing of links was some rumination on the content contained therein.

I think perhaps I might need to try to revive that tradition, for trying to treat a blog as some form of journal or diary has too often left me feeling as if I am cheating on my handwritten notebooks, and trying to write articles, while interesting and sometimes achievable for me, is not a form I am drawn to or compelled to write.

However, sometimes I read wonderful articles on physics (hey physics intrigues me!) or watch inspiring TED Talks and while I often share them on my facebook page, it doesn’t afford me the longer form of sharing why I chose to try to bring this article to the attention of others.

I have a tendency to open more tabs than I can read at a sitting. Then, some mornings, like this morning, I decide to clear some tabs. Some get closed right away for the subject at hand no longer holds any interest. (This is a useful skill I’ve acquired while turning myself into a Personal Organizer and Life Coach – to know what matters and what does not.) And others, like this piece about Eugene Delacroix and his thoughts on the balance an artist needs between solitude and social distraction make me cheer inside.

“Delacroix began to formulate what would become a defining concern of his youth and one of increasing urgency for us today, amid our age of exponentially swelling social demands and distractions — the challenge of mediating between the allure of social life and the “fertile solitude” necessary for creative work, ”

So much of our world is comprised of the outer. I worry that my friends and loves do not take the time to remember that what matters is not what you see on the surface. We rush through the days skimming the surface, forgetting the depths. Too many people I know do not even know what it is that makes their hearts sing, do not know what will bring them true joy and a feeling of a a full and worthy life.

Sure, Delacroix writes from the perspective of an artist, but when he says to himself in January 1824 – “Poor fellow! How can you do great work when you’re always having to rub shoulders with everything that is vulgar.” I see this reflecting on everyone. How are we to know what will actually bring us contentment when we spend all our time rubbing shoulders with all that is useless or counterproductive to who we are in our hearts and what we want from the experience of life??

I had this conversation with a friend just yesterday. That there is so much humanity teeming as they run their errands, which we must encounter as we do our own errands, that it’s tiring just to contemplate the enormity of emptiness we fill our moments with.

When Delacroix says in March of that same year, “How can one keep one’s enthusiasm concentrated on a subject when one is always at the mercy of other people…”

I think of soccer moms racing between the deli and the dry cleaners and the playing field, so distracted by the perceived immediate needs of the surface world that she barely sees the game. I think of the people who trade 2 or 10 or 40 hours of their time for a glowing bauble. I think of the people who sit at their desks subjected to the barrage of customer service calls from people unhappy that their new sneakers, their iPhone cases, their kitchen gadget, their new bedding, hasn’t arrived in a timely manner.

Maybe this stance is more reflective of me than of the rest of the US, but if so – so be it.

I do not love the game.

The article calls Delacroix a restless mind. Perhaps that’s a malady I too suffer from.

 

 

 

Because my hugging friend said “The world needs art right now”

It truly is rather nightmarish.

The way this Neolithic evil clown came plodding towards me in an expensive business suit,

dragging a foot in the last century,

and gnashing his teeth like a homophobic bully troll.

He wasn’t really a threat. And I was not yet scared.

As he got closer and closer, he got uglier and uglier.

I could see there was a list in his tiny hand.

My name wasn’t on the list. (But it was no consolation.)

Still this knuckle dragging monster came persistently towards me,

single minded and unhinged.

He said he could save me.

I looked away.

I do not enjoy the taste of bile.

He was slow, I could stay out of his path.

He was too much a caricature to be really afraid of.

His weird mouth and fake hair

like a cliché Disney Monster with a hunch back and crooked nose.

It made me made me point and laugh (this nightmare is just silly!)

Yet onward he came… unstoppingly

inching ever closer to me,

saying under his hateful breath,

“I’m comin for ya, I’m comin for ya.”

Months upon months upon months (a recurring nightmare,)

“I’m comin for ya, I’m comin for ya”

In my nightmare he whispered that he would take away my heathen neighbors, and my Mexican judges, (what the fuck are you talking about?) and beat my uppity blacks,

and I laughed.

I am American. You are no threat to me! (the illusion of safety)

A buffoon, not a monster.

He had a bullseye on me – “Comin for ya, comin for ya.”

He said he’d grab my pussy, imprison me inside a wall.

I tried to ignore him.

He got so close I could hear his knuckles scrapping the pavement of modern America.

I wanted to wake up from this nightmare.

I looked away (desperately) and waited (prayed) for daylight.

Months upon months of unending pursuit and veiled threats.

And yet….

I still felt blindsided when he landed on me.

Like 270 steampunk spiders found me sleeping in my own cozy web.

Like I was innocently crossing a street and a semi truck filled with deplorables came outa nowhere and mowed me down.

I woke screaming

I feel like I got hit by someone else’s dream bus filled with 1950s dinner-making wives,

and I can’t shake this feeling of dread and danger.

 

(That the American dream left me with.)

 

I saw a friend I love.

He’d had the same dream.

We held each other like two who had lost a beloved parent or close friend.

There were no words.

And the mere fact of being held by him, in the face of all that is horrifying and surreal

brought the first tears to my eyes.

Apparently our love was not enough to stop this vile thing.

The color of everything seems different now.

My beautiful purples gone sickly grey.

My vibrant reds look like drying blood.

My painting is ruined.

 

It cannot end on this note.

There must be a….

a….

a….

a thing to do

a way to work

a light to shine

Find it.

Find it ASAP