Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday Musings - Clearing Spaces

My home is a metaphor for my life in many ways.  It's divided into fragments or, rooms, if you will, (in fact, as my life has become more fragmented we have coincidentally acquired more rooms) some of which I am more willing to invite you into than others.  Some are (um..sometimes) clean, neat and well decorated (relative term!) and others are sad and neglected.  There is inevitable damage from the wear and tear of life (often brought about by the same boys, ehm, people in both cases). It grows fuller by the year and contains my greatest joy.

I was reminded yesterday of yet another way in which the maintenance of my home parallels the maintenance of my life.  It is so hard to clear spaces.  One of the disadvantages of living in home bigger than you really need is that there are all these random spaces that are not actually necessary for containing things.  For example, there are some cabinets at the top of our stairs along what would be the balcony of the second floor.  I am obliged to set something decorative on top though my limited choice of objects has produced something far from interesting to look at.  I assume these cabinets are meant to contain the linens of people who have more linens than are presently being used in bedrooms and bathrooms. (which is not us).  What this counter top-type space is good for however, is the piling up of all kids of random objects set there by 4 people who shall remain anonymous as they travel up and down the stairs.  Its ornaments often include, in addition to the too few and too small shabby (not chic) picture frames intentionally put there,  a showering of miniscule lego parts, open tubes of lip-gloss, dirty laundry, week (some even older!) old dishes and cups that have been hiding under beds and in closets (or in plain sight on someone's desk!) awaiting their voyage to the dishwasher (or trash!) piles of trash or other items to discard and of course, poopy diapers.  Keeping this thing clear is impossible.  It is my nemesis when it comes to housework.  It attracts clutter with a magnetism that is beyond my strength to conquer.

Come to think of it, this is a lot like life in general.  I often mindlessly fill up spaces in my life with meaningless tasks just to be doing something.  The stillness which often precludes the realization of emptiness is fearfully avoided.  I long to clear out space in my life; in my heart and in my mind; space that will allow me to move with greater freedom and less discomfort.  But too often there is clutter. It seems that as soon as I muster up the energy to clear it away, another batch comes charging in, just like at the top of my staircase.

Sometimes it's even hard to want to make or clear out space in my life.  I previously wrote about an article that discusses our inherent tendency to abhor emptiness and spaciousness.  (This was in my post on FOMO or, fear of missing out, for you newcomers - where I mentioned my fear of emptiness, be it of mind, heart or schedule being related to my fear of missing out on some experience to be had)
There was a season of my life during which stillness, silence and emptiness sat well with me.  If you haven't already guessed, this season was prior to my becoming a mom.  These days with all the stuff and the noise and activity anything else feels so foreign.  One would assume the opposite would be true; that the crazier things get the more we would need silence and calm but sadly, their perceived value diminishes the less they are known.

In recent weeks my heart, my head and my schedule have been as full as ever.  My heart is heavy for friends who are grieving and tired from fiercely working toward a sustained connection in my marriage.  My head is swirling with thoughts, facts, observations, standards and a bigilloin other things related to schooling my child at home as well as aching from thoughts related to the future of a failing business.  My schedules is double, even triple booked on some occasions and the next few weeks bring no relief.

There is no space.

Lord, help me clear some.

In the meantime, I am not sure how much photo uploading I will be doing.  So this is the perfect time to include some overlooked shots that should have been posted months ago.

Here they come...

Sweet Sisters

Last Day Of School

Here we are at Halle's last day of preschool

Elena had to do EVERYTHING the other kids did, including take a turn in the middle of the circle.

And climb up the very, very, tall tree house 

Hal with her buds Ashlyn and Merin

Fourth of July
I have always loved this holiday.  There are some many fun festivities and it means my B-day is only 4 days away (not nearly as exciting these days).  We are not always super celebratory but one thing we always do is eat a breakfast of champions at the fire station.  We love firefighters for many reasons but especially because they know how to cook up a mean pancake breakfast.  This year we decided riding our bikes to the station was a good idea.  Not so much.  Not pictured here are the many tearful and frustrated faces we encountered as a result of unwanted helmets, drastically varying bike riding paces, tired legs and overly thirsty mouths thanks to the artificial juice and copious amounts of syrup we all consumed.  It made for some cute pics though.....

E is NOT into her helmet.

Just out of the driveway - things still looked good.


So cute (and rare)

NOT into the backpack either

VERY into the bounce house and giant blow up slide though.  I took her down a few times with me but then as I was distracted talking to a friend, I see her at the very top all by her self and before I could say anything down she went.  Oh well, she survived (and begged and begged to go again)

Until next time...........


Shiloh and Samantha Sorbello said...

Good stuff, Erica. Life seems to have gotten busy for everyone this summer... hopefully we all find the time to listen and ponder and wonder a little bit more... and soon!

Mama G said...

the term i use for the clutter that piles up on every horizontal surface in my house is "surface abuse" and i hope that someday i am able to overcome this problem :)
i've been musing about mind clutter of late, too. the act of sitting still long enough for a thought to form in my head seems impossible right now because somehow, "sitting still" doesn't ever make it onto one of the many, many lists of tasks that i need to accomplish.
thanks for your thoughts!

Linda Z said...

You have such beautiful, poignant thoughts, Erica. I'm learning to declutter, too. Simplifying is such a big task, but it brings such peace. :)