Monday, May 5, 2008

Mind Clutter and Control

There’s a theory out there that clutter is bad. And when clutter is cleaned up, here comes a joyful state of deliverance, control of the present, and release from the past.

Sounds great, but for me, it is more my mind than my physical environment that is in confusion and disarray. So maybe, what I need to do is reorganize my mental arena.

I’m thinking this way because right now my writing efforts are stalled and I strongly suspect it is because I have too much clutter and disorder in my mind. Perhaps the time has come for me to sort all that mind debris into organized categories of rank and reason.

So, referring to my De-Cluttering Guide. Step one: ‘Set aside what you will keep.’

That would be my emotions. And so I pluck those out and toss into the Discard Bin all the trivia of my daily realities. It’s not as if I’ll ever use them again. Sure, all that trivial data may help me win an argument, but so what. Winning an argument has little to do with contentment, joy, or spiritual fulfillment.

So I will closet and keep faith, values, loves, and tenders. And I will chuck and burn all my stretched, warped, and torn trivial and incidental recalls. And then, of course, soon after, I expect my head to clear and my thinking to become concise.

Still, I am well aware that discarding stuff can be painful. I am still plagued, twenty years later, by the deep pain and guilt I felt when I watched my old doll and that big old teddy bear curling up and screaming with pain in the burning barrel. That, alone, was enough to make me into a hoarder with a preference to live in clutter, revel in clutter, and marinate my soul in the intoxicating whimsical atmosphere of that clutter.


But although today there is no hungry burning-barrel with tongues of flame, still there is a snag. The snag is that all the emotions I plan to keep become meaningless without the little realities in my life that preceded them. The insignificant sigh, the backward look, the sideways glance, the brushing touch, the awkward pause, or barely perceptible ripple. These are the things that form those themes that dissolve into emotion when I write.

Would it not be foolish for me to discard and burn the small event that caused anger and, in doing so, render worthless the emotion that reached out to calm my agitation? And would it not be foolish to discard and burn those unique situations that wove pleasurable emotions when people were congenial and kind to me?

I have more trivia in my mind than anything else. In my mind are mountains of trivial-matter. It is responsible for most of the clutter. Mountains of it that mimic a dumping ground for things as useless as 4002 plastic cottage cheese containers. But amazingly, this debris, when mixed with ‘dirt’, and routinely rotated, composts into that which I write.

It is surprising to me, and probably to you as well, that the endless clutter of inane trivia is what simplifies my thoughts and signifies my needs. And in the span of any life, it has always been meaningless trivia anointed with human emotions that have forged pathways of conceptual abstractions (and aberrations) that were never before realized.

So I guess, for me, living and writing is simple and beautiful atop an inspirational mountain of meaningless ‘junk’. And if re-organization and de-cluttering is going to happen, I’ll have to start in my basement Craft Room.


joared said...

Just pluck that trvia out there and create a collage. Oh, is that what you've been doing? Better not throw that stuff out, 'cause sure as shootin' you're gonna want to dip in for something once you get those writing gears oiled.

Pauline said...

I like your analogy of mind-trivia and compost. The same thing works for me :)

Roberta S said...

Hi joared. Thanks for that note of understanding.

Roberta S said...

pauline, I'm quite amazed that this process works for writers of excellence like yourself. Thanks for commenting.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh my that what's been happening to me lately Roberta? My head needs to be de-cluttered? Like my garage and my basement storage room? Although, as you know, I've made some headway with my garage lately. Sometimes I sit at my computer hoping to write a nice juicy post...and nothing will come out. That's why I've been posting less frequently lately. Well that and an over abundance of work. Is that what's been happening with you? I know I've got a lot of 'stuff' stored up there just waiting to be used and reorganized for future reference....Cripes, it IS just like my storage room and garage.

Roberta S said...

Hi joy. Glad you found time to chat. Perhaps your clean-up is what inspired this writ.

Yes, spring is a busy time and the distraction of all that needs to be done makes blogging a bit more of a chore than it is during the winter months. I empathise totally with anyone in that predicament.

Again, Thanks for commenting, cause every remark provides a bit of badly needed encouragement to git outta the garden dirt and write another blog. :D