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.
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.
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.
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.