January always moves me to reflect. While reflection, in western culture, is a natural part of the year’s rollover, my birthday and the sheltering that comes with the cold and snow seems to drive the instinct further. First, I’m moved to clean and rearrange my stuff. In my world there is a lot of digital stuff to consider on top of the physical stuff. In preparation for our trip to Nepal, I tried to get rid of the physical accumulation; clothes, books, files, trinkets, electronics, and such. And with all our travel across the country, I’ve tried to continue to simplify the stuff. The digital is much more difficult to dive into. With gigabytes of photos and old backups (and duplicates), it is a minefield of sorting and culling.
Ever since my adolescents I’ve employed cleaning my physical world to straighten up my mental world. My young mind was over stimulated and sometimes splintered from rushes of hormones, brain growth, and relationships. On top of all that “normal” adolescent dynamics there was experimentation with states of consciousness – religious and chemical. Somehow, I always felt more grounded and at peace after a good purge and organizing.
My messy room is still a reflection of a distracted mind. While life isn’t as novel and over the top as when I was 16, I continue to find solace in outward order. In this solace, I settle in to the wisdom of my spiritual teachers. I can hear their instructions for looking beyond my relative, self-centered way of being. I realize that my inclinations toward grasping and my impulses to react are only one reality, not THE reality. These thoughts and emotions can be acknowledged without being engaged. This requires practice of course – a daily routine of mental hygiene 🙂
Letting go of stuff.