It’s Boxing Day, a day for slowing down and taking stock of my surroundings. (This is much easier when it is sleeting/snowing/raining outside) I spent several hours tackling jobs that have been yelling at me for the past few months (or is it years?). Every so often it’s important to de-clutter a portion of my life, even if it is the drawers and cupboard in my bathroom. It’s quite remarkable just how much stuff I accumulate that’s designed to make me feel better, look better and smell better. So every couple of years I spend a day throwing out the remainders of herbal “remedies”, musty smelling bandages and shampoos that definitely do NOT make may hair shiny and manageable.
I am notoriously messy. Not dirty, just messy. My office, my studio and my brain are filled with huge swathes of things that can only be filed under “miscellaneous”. I come by it honestly, some time I may write about my mother, the “saving pig”. I actually am a very good organizer (as she was), I just don’t seem to have the desire to put things away after using them. It is frustrating when I can’t put my hands on a particular screwdriver or a tape measure. The problem is, I still have a hard time with this even when things are put away, there’s always something missing from it’s spot and I find this even more frustrating than when everything is scattered all over the room.
My good friend and amazing artist Melinda Byrd says that one of the ways she deals with this problem is to set the timer for 15 minutes before she starts working. During this 15 minutes, she just cleans. Nothing else. She just puts stuff away, wipes down the counter and prepares an area for work. Perhaps this isn’t such a bad way to do things. I should try it out. I wonder if it will work on my brain as well? For instance, I could spend fifteen minutes thinking of all the things I don’t want to be thinking about while I work. Like my 91 year-old dad and his problems, the petty annoyances of marriage, the crazy world we live in, my fears of failure/success/rejection, etc.
When I was a girl and I was scared of the dark or I didn’t feel well, my mother would say “Just think pretty thoughts and it will go away.” So perhaps I need to clear out the clutter in my brain and fill it with pretty thoughts, positive thoughts, thoughts that are conducive to creating something amazing. I don’t mean live in a “Peace, love and puppychow” world. I mean just throw out the musty bandages in my brain, the ones that don’t work anymore, and replace them with useful, clean ones. And then close the drawer and get to work.