"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cleaning out the Clutter

My life is in a constant state of gathering, scattering, shattering and regathering of clutter. I know it's an american thing, first rate consumerism. Clutter seems really hard to avoid, especially for we artistic types. Our creative expressions alone generate a great deal of clutter.

Last night I continued in the ongoing project of cleaning my room. In addition to going through receipts and mail on my desk, I switched out clothing, curtains, bedding, etc to change it from one season to another. I purchased a large antique cabinet to put my growing number of art books in and quickly filled it to capacity with books accumulated in just the past few months! As I share a 1400 square foot duplex with a family of four, you can imagine that I don't have much discretionary room, and yet I seem to be to clutter what dust was to Pigpen! Multiplied by 4 and we have an issue!

Clutter and it's management robs me of time and the emotional energy to create. I could be playing with my images, but if it takes me 2 hours to just clear a path to my computer, the time that I could have spent creating, has now turned into cleaning. In addition, if I do "part the waters" and manage to make it over to my work space, the piles around me send my brain reeling and focus is gone.

We all know this - the way to a clearer mind and a more productive day is organization and do to away with clutter. There are plenty of websites and books that deal with this if this is your issue but a good reminder sometimes is all we need. If you are a hopeless case try www.lifeorganizers.com for more help.

What I'm thinking about today is "brain clutter". This comes from storing too much information in your brain such as "should do's", or "have to remember to's" or emotional baggage. Do you ever feel like you are a walking magnet for drama, work or trouble? I think we all do at times. Sweep that brain clean so that you can put something of value in there.

So how does one clear the clutter out of their brain? The answer is as individual as the person but there are a few universal aids that can help.

1. WRITE - Every morning just write whatever comes out of your mind - it doesn't have to be legible and it doesn't even have to make sense. I call it brain-sweeping. No one else should read it and you may not want to re-read it yourself. This isn't a journal for you to save and savor - this is for you to get what's on your mind - out! It's like a daily shower for your mind. When I write there are no complete sentences - I may start one thought and when I get interrupted go in a completely other direction. I like to think of it as ADD writing - I'm just getting it all out. Word vomit of sorts.

2. Speaking of word vomit - talk to a friend. You might need many friends to talk to if you have a lot to get out... but let it out anyway. If you have bigger issues, finding a good therapist can be a life changing experience.

3. Take a nice long walk.... it really does help clear your mind.

4. Go to the gym... play a sport ... ride your bike. Exercise is a marvelous thing! Hard to start but it feels great when you are done!

5. Go on a mini-trip or a vacation. This can be a 1 hour trip to your favorite store, a camping adventure or a planned dream vacation. A new set of scenery can clear the head in marvelous ways.

6. CREATE!!!  Any creative venture will do, it can be painting, playing an instrument, taking your camera to the park or cooking. Put some music on and dance.  Just express yourself!


1. Drink.... it's ok to go on the occasional outing with friends and have a few drinks because it's really about the conversation. Sitting alone in your home with a bottle - not going to help.

2. Sitting in front of the TV and eating ice cream and pizza. Ok, guilty as charged - I do it sometimes and I'm afraid I've taught the same great act to my daughters.... it may make you feel better for a few hours of distraction, but in the end it will fix nothing and you will still have the humming in your brain along with a few more pounds and problems.

3. Leave the drugs alone.... nuff said about that one.

I've said nothing new today.... no big revelation. But if we are to live a fulfilling and creative life, we have to learn to manage the ca ca that accumulates on a regular basis. Yesterday I spoke of weeds in our garden. With daily attention to writing, exercise and other spirit-enriching disciplines, we are able to weed our garden and make room for a more rewarding life.

Ok, then, I'm heading up to finish cleaning my room. What are you going to do today?

No comments:

Post a Comment