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I seem to have overdone it a bit on Project Empty.

Consciously, I love everything about my two-thirds decluttered space. It looks nice, it feels nice, it's simple. My mind feels tranquil when I'm at home, and I've noticed that tranquility flowing into other areas of my life, notably food, family relationships, and money.

I haven't missed any of the things I've gotten rid of. In fact, I'm conscious of a real sense of relief in having most of them gone. I'm eager to finish clearing all 79 areas.

And yet, I've been feeling panicky again. I've been oversleeping and getting to work late. I've been more susceptible to cold than normal. I've spent several entire evenings watching comfortable, old, familiar DVDs. I forgot to put the garbage and recycling out last night. Though I'm losing weight, my body (not to put too fine a point on it) seems reluctant to let go of what I put into it.

In short, part of me is scrambling to retain something in the midst of all this getting-rid-of.

It's all very well to clear spaces and pile up giveaways on the porch. But then the charity actually comes and takes the stuff away forever.

And it's all very well to devise tidy new strategies for everyday things like laundry and recycling, except that they're everyday. Every day, I have to remember the little changes in routine, some of which I haven't worked out yet and are kind of annoying.

It looks like there's a danger that--all unconsciously--I'll start building my clutter-nest again, and I don't want that to happen. I still imagine an empty room.

So I think I'll give myself a break over the next week or two. Maybe just clear out the fridge and freezer. Spend some time and energy ironing out the wrinkles in my new recycling collection system...

Maybe I'll plant that new gingko tree I've been wanting out on the parking strip.

Pacing is more important than I realized.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Dieting is probably a very good analogy on several points. Not least of these is that losing weight too fast almost always results in regain, and I'm thinking now that de-cluttering too fast has the same effect.

I'm not sure I agree that either action, however, is preparation for a new life. Or maybe what I mean is that I'm sensing that "a new life" had better not be the driving reason for doing either thing.

Both will change some things profoundly, but as the saying goes, "No matter where you go, there you are." What's increasingly revealed in both exercises is The Real Me. No volcano necessary, but yeah, better be ready to see that.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 18th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Very true. There's no thrill--or terror--like the one that comes from radical change. The trick may lie in knowing that one radical change leads to another, and in not resisting the next one.

I've seen people try to define themselves permanently on the basis of one radical change, and it's always a bit like continuing to wear the styles of your youth. First it's cool, then it's unremarkable, then it's pathetic, sad, and stagnant. The idea that "I'm done changing" is completely antithetical to life.
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
I'm reading Eckert Tolle's new book "A New Earth". In it, he talks at great length about how most of us attach ourselves to our stuff. Not necessarily in an emotional way, but in an ego way - 'I am my stuff / my stuff is me". He goes on to describe a life without such attachments - and he's not necessarily promoting 'no stuff', but a detachment from the stuff we do have. Letting go is freedom (or something like that) is what he says.

Follow your instincts, your gut. Try not to listen too much to your mind. Fear not! You are way past the point of returning to clutter! You have found sanity, and returning to insanity would be, well...insane!
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Sanity is a good thing. I don't feel like I'm in imminent danger of cluttering my house up with new stuff. I will say, though, that at a slightly earlier time in my life, this state I'm now noticing would have remained entirely unconscious, and I would have acted on it without even knowing what I was doing or why.

I'll have to have a look at this Tolle material. It sounds good.
Mar. 19th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
I think you have no worries about re-entering the world of clutter. However, I also believe there is wisdom in taking things at a reasonable pace. You broke your home into very small chunks for a reason. And, truely, of late you have taken on much bigger chunks than you intended in the beginning. One chunk leads into or is connected to another. Either way, too big a bite is unchewable.

So, give yourself that break, take on some, or even just one, small area next weekend. See what feels right. It's like the efforts we have been learning with eating, if you listen to your body it will tell you how much you really need or when you have done enough for the day.

By the way, speaking of Eckhart, I watched chapter three on Oprah's live SkypeCast. He had a caller that asked about how to stop having the internal war of eating the right things verses eating the wrong things. His answer fit so much into what we have come to discover ourselves. That was, there are no wrong foods really, and if you always eat "in the now" your body will tell you when it has had enough. He said to practice eating like it is a meditation. One bite, tasting it, smelling it, experiencing it, being in the present with it. When it is done ask you body if it needs more of that. And so on, stopping when your body has signaled enough. The eating mindlessly is the ego telling you that you are deprived or without or you deserve... what ever that voice tells you to win the battle. So, acknowledge that it is just the ego voice and then make a point of eating in the now or present. Just wanted to pass it on...
Mar. 19th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
I've long felt what Eckhart advises here, and I've also long felt that it's "nice work if you can get it."

That is, it makes perfect sense, but until you can do it, you can't do it--you know? Suddenly, I can do it, at least to some extent, for the first time in my life, and it's a very different world than any I've been in before. I can't say exactly how I got here, only that "something shifted" and here I was.

I'm almost to ten pounds down, by the way.
Mar. 19th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I had to take a mini break too, whereas I really thought I'd be zooming through my list in no time.

It felt good to get back to it today. :-)
Mar. 19th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
Good for you for seeing the need. "Easy does it," as the saying goes.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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