A millstone is an incredibly heavy stone, used for the purpose of grinding grain. So, why would I begin a blog article about ‘clutter’ by talking about a millstone? Here’s why. I’ve often thought of clutter as a heavy weight that bogs us down. When I am overwhelmed by piles of clutter, I feel as if I’m wearing it, like a millstone necklace. Clutter takes up valuable real estate on the landscape of life. It shackles us by its constant demand for attention, wasting unrecoverable time, binding us with heavy, invisible chains of unrest.
It is fairly simple to see the stacks of clutter that can accumulate on the surfaces of our homes. It’s not so simple to identify the clutter that accumulates in the corners of our minds…and beyond.
Life can become buried under clutter
Many of us have seen the value of de-cluttering the excessive “stuff” that lies in heaps around us. There are multitudes of self-help articles on Pinterest boards and in top-notch magazines, such as Simplify that are dedicated to helping us find strategies for sifting and sorting, and tossing or keeping the stuff of life. Identifying the things that are truly life-enhancing, and then ditching the rest, is the cornerstone of that process. Dealing with the physical manifestation of clutter can be a time-consuming process, but cultural awareness around the benefits of living simply has brought much support for those, who are seeking a clutter-free life.
Removing “invisible” clutter is when the magic happens!
There is a trickier side to de-cluttering life, which calls for a process of elimination that is not so easily identifiable…nor so painless to achieve. All sorts of intangible things cross our life’s path. Experiences. Conversations. Relationships. We are inundated with stories, ideas and philosophies from various media platforms. We are assaulted by the negative news and unwanted, graphic images of our time. Our brains soak it all up and we are impacted. Our minds store tons of information, and we subconsciously draw from those storehouses in our day-to-day experience of life. Some of our perceptions serve us well. Others do not. Those that do not, create mental clutter.
Mental clutter can be a roadblock that keeps us from living our best life
Fully unclasping the millstone necklace requires us to explore all of the areas of clutter in our lives. Sweeping chaos from the corners of the mind requires an acute awareness of our thoughts. Taking a good, hard look at what we’re actually thinking can be a surprising experience. Most of us are unaware of what runs amuck on the mind’s freeway, and yet, those very thoughts control our words, actions and experience of life. Identifying and then releasing toxic thinking makes room for powerful, life-supporting meaning, which helps us find and embrace our very best experience of life.
Relationships can be messy
Relationships can be a source of clutter. There is a certain amount of give and take, as relational difficulties arise and are worked through. That’s life! But, there is a difference between the normal ups and downs of relational interactions and dealing with an on-going, abusive situation. Abusive people can be encountered in every corner of life. Knowing when to walk away from toxic people can be difficult, and the steps away can be painful, but sometimes it becomes necessary, in order to preserve the health and integrity of one’s journey.
Any experience that consistently challenges mental/emotional well being is clutter
Social media is an interesting paradox. It can be a positive venue for keeping in touch with friends, and it can bring a not-so-positive experience to people. Figuring out how to stay in the social game, while maneuvering the mental/emotional landmines, takes an intentional, savvy, awareness. Besides the obvious negativity that can run rampant on that platform, there is a sneakier (and common) pitfall that comes with peering into someone else’s world. Of course, people like to present the best, the prettiest, and the most appealing parts of their lives. And that’s what we see. The best parts. Our brains soak up those tiny slices, creating an outlandish, unrealistic thought-collage of those ‘best parts’ and then proceeds to compare that made-up version of someone else’s world with its own perceived experience of life. That process can easily pull us outside of the boundaries of gratitude, thrusting us into the arms of discontent.
Social media is here to stay. For better or for worse. Understanding the deeper nuance of that experience helps us stay aware of our own thoughts, as we learn to interact within it from an intentional position.
The heart knows when it’s time for spring cleaning
Everything has a lifespan. Things change, including the deep calls of the heart. Heeding the inner yearnings that point us toward a different way can be confusing and even troubling, but holding onto something that has run its course can create mental and emotional clutter, which can weigh us down.
In a beautifully written blog article, a good friend of mine poignantly recounts her journey through that type of sorting process, “Why I Resigned My Job at Age 52”.
There are times when we feel the pull toward something new, but fear of the unknown renders us immobile. And sometimes, our desire to “do the right thing” or our wish to make others happy, overrides our desire to act in our own best interest. Changing a life course is challenging -and risky- especially when we have enjoyed success on that long journey, but heeding those deep, inner tugs toward our truest destiny is a vital part of experiencing life’s best, instead of life’s regret.
Unclasping the millstone necklace is not an easy process.
It takes an intentional effort to roll up our sleeves, purposefully shine the light of awareness into the deepest recesses, and then sort through, disposing of the things that weigh us down. It isn’t an easy process. In fact, it can be downright difficult. But, when the clasp opens and the millstone drops, it is like walking on air. Just be sure to watch your toes…that sucker is heavy!