Whenever I begin to feel cluttered in my head, I can see the telltale signs in my environment. It starts in my car – a piece of paper left in one place for too long. A plastic water bottle that never gets put in the recycling bin. Then it travels to my office, where a pile of things I need to deal with accumulates in the corner, on the desk, on quickly jotted Post-Its stuck to the iMac and files on my desktop unsorted. Sometimes figuring out the rabbit warren and getting back to calm is like unraveling a piece of thread.. long, laborious and seemingly unending.. until you undo the one little knot that was holding you up and away you fly.
But when I find myself stuck on a knot that I just can’t figure out.. I have one solution, with three simple steps that always helps me to ‘unstick‘ it.
- I throw away anything I can’t justify.. (I have become a minimalist ever since realizing I own more books and glasses than anything else, therefore everything else must be minimized).
- I rearrange the furniture.. (Sometimes rearranging my bed or desk at home, re-organizing a cupboard or re-orienting the lounge furniture is exactly what I need to give my brain and habits a fresh perspective.
- I start or finish a creative project in my feels-new, clean, de-cluttered, rearranged space and let the beauty of the moment sink in a little.
The Art Of Moving Furniture.
Some people easily think about the design and functionality of interior spaces by determining the logical placement of furniture and utilities around the room. If I put this coffee table here, can I reach it from the sofa and the chair? Can I get past the dining table if I’m serving from the liquor cabinet? But I always think the better way to arrange furniture is to start by how you want to move through the space that exists before you create boundaries with furniture. Where should this chair go, so I can see the sunrise and let the light fall on my eyes as the sun rises? Now, let me orient the rest of the room around that perfect moment that starts or finishes my day.
So.. today I got rid of the clunky & unnecessary furniture taking up space in my bedroom, then reoriented the bed so that the light will wake me naturally in the morning. I cleaned the floors, threw out some incidentals that had crept their way in over the last month and then began the process of finishing a canvas idea I started last year. These are all signs, that I am actually moving furniture in my head, getting ready for a new perspective and a new view on things.
- a new view on the business and a new season of success with some aspects of my work
- a revolution & watershed in another project I’m working on
- a re-awakening of creative and compassionate desires & expression
And why? Because today is Ash Wednesday. This day has been part of my natural calendar so long that I wouldn’t know how to miss it or avoid it if I tried. The beginning of Lent, a 40/46 day fast. The annual rearranging of the furniture in my head, de-cluttering, reorienting, reawakening.
In it’s most simplest form, Lent is a very basic examination of the self, searching for places that require more or new self-discipline. In it’s most profound expressions, people of faith find moments of empathy by sacrificing pleasures to as to seek clarity and simplicity. In the protestant tradition, one easily might give up sugar or alcohol, and in the Catholic tradition more likely you would find yourself adhering to a simple diet, fish on Fridays and Sundays off. I like this idea of willful sacrifice – choosing to forgo pleasures and indulgences for the sake of a richer understanding of being fully alive, fully human, fully engaged. I also like the idea of Sundays off.
So here’s to 40 days, however you spend them.. starving yourself of chocolate and wine or, like me.. rearranging your headspace.