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Creating a vacuum

Creating a vacuum

March evokes to me spring and spring, among other things, evokes spring-cleaning and that is a great opportunity to create a vacuum. Imagine a clutter-free life, the peace and the freedom it may bring. I am always amazed at how much I can accumulate and that even on a short period of time. Over the last decade, I moved around a lot for personal and professional reasons. Sometimes I would stay in place only for a few months and yet when time came to pack up and leave I would need to throw or give away an incredible amount of objects.

There are the things that I was given and did not really know what to do with. The things that I keep because I tell myself that it may be useful someday, except that “someday” never really comes but the “thing” continues to haunt my closet. There is also the thing that I bought but that did not really work out the way I wanted to and it joins forces with the thing that could be useful someday. I get caught between “I am going to get this and it will make my life so much better” and “I cannot get rid of it that would be such a waste”. As a result, my space gets all cluttered.

How Clutter can weigh us down?

How Clutter can weigh us down?

Therefore, to me, spring-cleaning is not only about dusting, vacuum cleaning and washing all the little corners that I do not bother with on a regular basis, it is also about sorting out and reorganizing. When I am done I feel freer and so much lighter. Things that I need are easier to find. It makes me more efficient. I believe there is also a mental dimension into this process. As I clear up the physical space around me I also clear up my mental space. And as much I am not fond of moving because that means a lot of adapting to a new environment and so on and so forth but it is also a chance to get a fresh start with the “things” that were valuable enough that I selected them to come with me.

The funny thing is that when I really apply myself to this cleansing exercise, newer and better things come along. A while back a friend of mine said to me: “if your hands are full you need to put something down so that you can pick up something else”. Since I cannot push the walls nor do I function well when stuff is all over the place and I do not want to pay for extra storage the only alternative is to sort out my belongings on a fairly regular basis or at least as needed. I am also far more selective in my shopping and I got better at saying no to people, which helped a lot. I am pretty sure I am not the only one to deal with such issues. I read that more or less 60 % of the content of storage units end up on flea markets or at good will because people just forget about them or stop paying for their storage.

Although it is still a process for me I can honestly say that I have made some progress. Then I saw that there were other forms of clutter in my life. As much as I can clutter space I can also clutter time with an endless list of meaningless details. When I was between two jobs I noticed that after a week of not working I was so busy that I wondered how I managed before to study or work. My days just filled up incredibly fast. The same occurred on vacation. I start off the week thinking that I have plenty of time to relax and do all the other things I did not get to and before I know it I cannot find an hour to have coffee with a friend.

Clutter comes under all shapes and sizes.

Clutter comes under all shapes and sizes.

There too I had to create a vacuum. It was somewhat scary. In a way, if I stopped running around my thoughts would catch up with me and then what would happen? I could get bored. I could feel lonely. So, at least if I am worn out I am too tired to think but it only works for some time. Actually, it could last for a long time it is just that it did not feel quite fulfilling. I believed there could be more to life than this constant running around and I found out that there is. This also is a work in progress for me. I am learning to find balance between chores, work, self-care and fun.

Last month I talked about self-care. In my coaching classes I was given an assignment: Implement 10 daily habits. It was an interesting exercise. I got to see that I could really make time if I chose to and that when I implemented these habits into my routine it made my life more enjoyable and I felt I had more energy. Over time I modified this exercise. I now have 25 habits on a grid and my goal is to achieve at least ten of them but this way it brings some variety and I can be more flexible with my schedule and it leaves me some space to deal with unexpected events.

One thing after another.

One thing after another.

For me, the cue is when I start to feel constricted, asphyxiated or overwhelmed. I make the time to take a good look at how I can create a temporal or spatial vacuum. I can promise that it always came through for me. The result is that it makes my life more enjoyable and richer with the activities, objects and people I really want around me.

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