Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pedalling backwards?

The BeMoreWithLess website once posted this list of things not to do, regarding clothes:
"22. Hold on to clothes that might fit someday. (that haven’t fit in years)
23. Save clothes for sentimental reasons. (take a picture instead)
24. Worry about what other people will think
25. Buy stuff to organize your stuff.
26. Worry about trends.
27. Wait for a better time.
28. Keep things just because they are expensive. (or you will just keep paying)
29. Let your clothes speak for you.
30. Stress … this isn’t brain surgery.
31. Just move things around.
32. Compare.
33. Act on the impulse to fill up the empty space."
Courtney Carver, "33 Things to Do and Undo When Simplifying Your Wardrobe"
But, like many good lists, most of this can be applied elsewhere. In our home recently, we have cleared out enough things (including the couch that went sproing) to create some empty spaces. We're not in a hurry to fill them in. I try not to buy too much stuff that just organizes other stuff, if we don't need that other stuff. And no, we're not really worrying about trends.

In the area of education, there is also some good advice here. Leave spaces in your scheduling. Don't hurry narrations; wait for the answers. (As a friend once said, don't talk over the music.) Don't hold onto what doesn't fit: not just the math your children didn't connect with, but the bits of institutional-schooling eggshell that may still be sticking to us. Do certain practices serve a real purpose, or do we do them just because everybody does or everybody did? And don't wait for a better time to introduce "the riches," to take time outside, to read the book together, to go somewhere and make memories.

And then there's the rest of life. We stress to get it right, to think we're finally on top of our game. We think we are voyaging, to quote T.S. Eliot; we think we've gotten somewhere. In the big picture, that may be about as far as our Apprentice used to go on her first little tricycle; and she didn't understand that you have to pedal forwards. Someone out there must be chuckling (I hope kindly) at our small, busy endeavours, and our frustrations over the failures.

In God's upside-down Kingdom, sometimes the meaning is in the emptiness and the quietness. We are told to consider birds and flowers that know they are cared for, and to remember that each day has enough trouble of its own (so we don't need to draw any in advance). We are told that where our real treasures are, our hearts will be as well.

There is practical value in decluttering a closet. But there is also a serenity in finding that truth in the deeper places.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I like what you managed to extract from a list of not to do's! Good stuff.