Friday, February 5, 2010

Containers of Controlled CHAOS

OMG, I am totally psyched! I took this picture...and I loaded it into my computer...and I got it to appear here. I'm lov'in this technology!!!
In an ideal world, the optimal way to pare down one’s possessions and clear clutter is to have boxes ready and labeled as:
SELL (garage sale, online, etc)
Place your stuff in the appropriate container and re-organize keepers in the new space you’ve created.

When I do this I:
- begin with a goal in mind, i.e. I want to cull 1/3rd of my stuff in a particular category.
- limit myself to a category at a time.
- keep sorting sessions short so as to keep sentimentality from getting in the way and bogging down the process.

Though life doesn’t always unfold in such an organized fashion, the stages of culling still remain the same: keep, throw out, give away or sell.

“I have containers of controlled chaos everywhere.” Candy says with some dismay.

My sister is having some floors sanded in her house which has necessitated moving stuff from the upstairs rooms to the first floor. “I just threw stuff into bags to get the rooms cleared.”

“Wow, I’ve got them too,” I proclaimed with the enthusiasm of one who has found a kindred spirit. “I have containers of controlled chaos.” I had never thought of it quite like this before and her phrase cracks me up.

This perfectly describes what happens when one is forced by necessity to throw things into a box, bag or bin without sorting before hand. Such was the case when I had to clear the basement to make way for the renovation.

The reno is now complete and I love, love, love my space more than I can say. I also love the sense of space and peace that the uncluttered affect has on the room and all who enter.

As I cleared the space I chucked a lot stuff (see the domino effect) into my trusty little car. I am happy to announce that Alf is finally free of these items:
- Mattress and humungous piece of luggage – bit the bullet on these, gave up trying to get any bucks for them, both went to Goodwill.
- Mom’s coat – went to a women’s shelter
- Rods leather coat – went to my sister-in-law’s brother, fit him like a glove!

The juggling clubs are still knocking about, no longer underneath the drivers seat but, as you can see (I'm so thrilled that you can see this) now placed on top of a container ready to go to the reuse centre. When I mentioned this to Candy her response, “Aww, you’re getting rid of your juggling clubs?” elicited an incredible sense of guilt despite the fact that I am hopeless at them and am quite happy juggling balls instead. I want them to fly in the air as they were intended to, but sentiment is rising and fond memories are flooding my heart right now…so the verdict is out on this one.

The filing cabinet, filled with files from the crates that once resided on top of the trunk, got put on wheels and sits in the space at the bottom of the stairs as does the yet untouched trunk. Archives remain under the stairs yet to be sorted.

For months now a ton of other stuff has resided in the laundry room and I haven’t missed any of it, in fact I find the clutter claustrophobic which makes sorting much easier! I have already reduced the lot by 2 containers – much of their contents ended up in the garbage. But the books and tapes that were in them, as you’ll soon see, have all been sold or given away to charity.

Tapes were relatively easy for me to let go as the technology is becoming obsolete and I realized that, since I got my ipod, I haven’t listened to any of them for well over a year. They are on meditation and Buddhism. Though dearly loved they have been played over and over again so much so that they contain info that I now have absorbed on some level.

Of course I can always glean more each time I listen to them, but the tendency of human nature is to crave new stimulus. As I sorted I realized that I can let this stuff go because I am ready to release this subject matter as new interests are coming to the fore. Not that I won’t use the principles I learned about meditation or Buddhist philosophy; just the opposite. Some aspects have become part of my life and will come along with me on the next stage of my journey.

This was quite a revelation! I wouldn’t have really acknowledged all of this had I not asked myself, “what purpose do these items serve me?”

I found it easy to let go of books on asana practice as, now that I’m no longer teaching, I don’t need these resource materials. I’ve come to a point where I enjoy my practice far more than teaching yoga (and believe me I loved teaching!). The poses and modifications found in the books have been part of my practice for decades now. Most of them I first learned during workshops with many masters. If Iyengar is like ballet and ashtanga is like jazz then my practice has evolved into free form for which there are no guidebooks.

I kept some classics like Light on Yoga book by B.K.S. Iyengar I used that book to teach myself the “new” method just breaking through in my neck of the woods, all those years ago, in the 60’s. I didn’t realize it at the time but his work along with the ashtanga approach (which I studied in the mid 90’s) of his contemporary Pattabhi Jois would be the forerunners of all of the systems of asana that are practiced in the west now. If you do yoga today in Canada you have these guys as well as their teacher Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya to thank. (While researching this I found out that the author of Yoga Self Taught, Andre Van Lysebeth was a student of his – so his influence on my practice occurred from it’s inception as this was one of my first books on the subject, what do you know.)

I displayed my books for sale in my treatment room and some clients bought them for a reasonable fee. And just this week I made a timely discovery. Akasha’s Den in Oakville sells used books and CD’s for $3.00 a piece with the proceeds going to small dog rescue. They gladly accepted the donation of the rest of my books and tapes. Feels good, not only will they get used by others but little dogs will benefit from their sale – a far better deal than letting the books/CD’s remain unappreciated.

Through this process I’ve discovered that I love the idea of things being used more than I love having them as repositories for memories (with the possible exception of juggling clubs).

Instead of holding on to the past, by clearing old stuff out I’m redefining who I am. And, I think the laws of attraction might agree. I’ve now cleared a path for the energy of a new future filled with possibility to come through to me as I’m no longer hidden behind all that clutter.

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