While I was teaching in Sacramento last week, I got to do lots of fun Sacramento things.
And I dragged some of my clients to the awesome park where there’s an alien spaceship. On a giant pole!
But the best, as always, was going to Beer’s.
It’s a bookstore. Called Beer’s. They do happy hour, when books are cheaper.
Once a month it’s happy hour all day.
And they have a cat named Raffles who basically owns the place.
If it weren’t for the fact that I live in Portland, home to the unbelievable place that is Powell’s (heaven!), I’d probably never leave.
She had this brilliant bit about how we put all this pressure on ourselves to declutter.
But it’s all pressure and nothing else, because then we wait for that perfect expanse of unscheduled weekend to make it happen.
Her solution is:
Get rid of ten things. Whenever you happen to remember.
Of course it is.
I love this because it’s so Barbara. She goes right to the practical and the deguiltifying.
And because it’s like what I already do — just one thing.
Except, you know, ten.
Here are my ten.
- The red rainboots that don’t fit and have a hole. Goodbye, rain boots!
- Disgusting fish oil capsules from my acupuncturist that I am never, ever going to take. Goodbye!
- Oh, so many past-expiration-date vitamins.
- Cushions that do not really belong in Hoppy House. They’ll go to the Playground. Bye, cushions! See you soon!
- A gift I didn’t need: to someone else.
- Old, falling-apart slippers from when I still lived in Germany. That is a long time ago.
- Keeping half a box of matzah for sentimental value does not really make sense. Ooh, pasta consolidation too!
- Tea supplies we don’t use: to the Playground where the Rallygators will enjoy them!
- The first ridiculous bottle opener (bless the Tiki Plumber) must stay. We need him. Not so much for bottles as for sheer fabulousness. But the second one? Angry shark can go to the Playground too.
- Yoga mat ties: to a friend.
So much more challenging than I expected.
But also more fun than expected.
The giant permission slip of “just ten for now, not the whole damn house” made it into more of a game.
I can easily see how this could become the best habit ever.
Most surprising to me was how hard it was for me to figure out what things, even though I only needed to find ten of them.
This was both terrifying and tremendously reassuring.
Mostly because it made something clear:
The narrative in my head about how the house is a disaster and when are you going to take the time to take care of things is obviously and demonstrably false. False and ridiculous.
I have a pile or two that need de-piling, and that’s pretty much it. What?!?!
What a crazy thing to realize. This thing I think to myself at least once a day is not accurate, useful, helpful or relevant to real life.
Because catching unexamined assumptions and proving them wrong is delightful.
Plus, now if that mythical, magical, empty weekend ever shows up, I can use it for cat-napping.
Play with me?
Ten things or three things or one thing. Or no things. It’s all fine by me.
Thinking about any of this counts.
We all have our stuff. We’re working on our stuff. We let everyone else have their stuff.
As Paul says, people vary. The only constant is that we’re committed to nonviolent change. And that trumps everything, including the “people-vary” rule.
In other words: whatever works for you is cool, up to the point that it doesn’t involve self-abuse. If we try to change our patterns through hurting ourselves, that is the pattern that needs loving attention.
More on that some other time.
In the meantime, play with me! If you like! What are we keeping, recycling, giving away, saying goodbye to? Noticings welcome.