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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tiny Resolutions January 7th: Tidying Up with Speck

Ed. note:  Today's very late post would have been MIA if not for guest blogger Susan Peck stepping in to the rescue just moments ago.  Thank you, Susan, who in addition to being a mountain climber and composer and poetrix and singer and piano teacher and and and-- is also a very good friend.   -js

speck on the rocks
Susan writes:  I’ve had so much fun the past few years, participating in Jana’s January exercises and meditations. I’ve been sporadic this year. I have several major projects up and running, and more coming down the pike (I know, so do you. We all do.) For some reason, people tell me “you’re so organized, Susan.” They don’t see me going through my nightly panic that leads me to bed with a wee dram o’ scotch whiskey and a book, any book (but trying to give up the iPad so’s I can sleep better). Then there’s the morning panic when I wake up slowly, groggy with lingering dreams, with too many messages and tasks left over from the day before. I don’t know what to start with, so usually I end up on Facebook or Counterpunch for a while. (Counterpunch.org—good journalism, but really not best first thing in the morning.) If I’m good to myself, I go for a walk up Mt. Tabor and stop by Petite Provence for un café et croissant.
(here Susan inserted the following dance break)

        There are mid-day panics as I scramble to find and assemble whatever books, papers, or computer files I need for the next appointment/lesson/rehearsal/conferencecall/class/meeting/worshipservice. I scribble notes to remind myself what’s coming tomorrow. I collate and recopy notes from the multiple notes scribbled in the past week. I’m reliably 5 minutes late to wherever I’m supposed to meet someone.

        But then I relax a bit, because for an hour or two, all I have to do is be in the moment with the folks in the room or on the other end of the line. I can usually pull it off. “You’re so organized, Susan.” If only they knew what a façade that is. And it’s been going on longer than I can remember. I’ve gotten very good at fooling people.

        So, last month, whilst wasting time on the damnably addictive Facebook, I read about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. The KonMari method is hot right now, in Japan, England, and the US. I’ve read the book, and begun the decluttering project (about which she says “do all at once. it may take 6 months.”) Because it is clear to me that the physical clutter of my tiny American (or gigantic Japanese) apartment is directly related to my quotidian panic. “Your apartment is so neat, Susan.” No, it’s not. I have stuff stowed away—in drawers, closets, boxes, cupboards, under the bed—that I will never use, and just can’t figure out how best to get rid of it. Because I can’t just throw things away. They must be recycled, donated, gifted, shredded, edited, repurposed, sold. The KonMari method is to work by category (starting with clothes), get everything out of storage, handle each item, and learn to trust your true feelings of joy (as opposed to attachment or anxiety). Keep only what brings joy now, and get rid of everything else, after thanking each item for its gift to you. I realized quickly this means throwing away old unfinished projects that I always meant to finish. And releasing heartaches from relationships that fizzled or crashed and burned. Endless….

        It isn’t easy. But I’m gonna do it. I haven’t been following the method properly yet, but my initial efforts already feel freeing. KonMari promises me I will find the “click” point where I will know that I have exactly as much stuff as truly brings me joy. And that my life will be shiny and joyful. Well, she has to say stuff like that to sell books, right? Wish me luck in the letting go, making room for only the things and projects I need in my life right now. And let me know what kinds of things and projects bring you true joy, and what kind of things and projects you could release for a shinier now.
--Susan  Peck

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