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I came to a realization today.   Nothing earth-shattering, like having an apple fall on my head or something.   It was more like a leaf that had been drifting around me for 48 years that just decided to settle.

What was this quasi-epiphany?  Well, I realized today that in my determination to fight clutter, both physical and mental, at all costs, I am in fact fighting the wrong enemy.   Actually, it’s the fact that I’m fighting it at all that’s the problem.

Fight denotes stress, and stress in turn sparks emotion.  Not a good thing when we’re trying to be emotionally austere.

Today – the day after a 12 hour marathon work session in front of my computer – I realized that clutter is not the issue, but how I allow it to impact my life.   I returned from a very busy meeting last week, with what seemed like a thousand different priorities cluttering my mind, not to mention a one week timeframe within which to get them all done.   I began yesterday with my guts a-knotted, my mood in the crapper, and my muscles so tensed I must’ve looked like the Charles Atlas equivalent of a 100-pound weakling.

But that stress so kicked my ass into gear that by the time my day was done some 12 hours later, I’d not only dealt with all of my priorities for this week, I’d planned for the next three as well.

But what else had I “achieved” during this “productive” day.  Well let’s see…

1) I flared up at Sarah for no reason, displaying a behavior that I would’ve given my ten-year old shit for.

2) My shoulders now ache like hell because I spent the day hunched over my computer like Quasimodo, dealing with all of that “high-priority clutter”.

3) The afternoon ended, and my date with Hot Yoga first got delayed and then cancelled for good.   I don’t think she’s too happy with me.   So much for my committed “practice”.

4) I did not step outside once yesterday.  Not once.  A beautiful spring day.  I opened my window at least, but I don’t recall hearing any birds singing out there.   I’m sure they were there, I just didn’t happen to hear them.

Pretty productive stuff, huh!  Yeah.  Really proud of that.

In this case, I allowed clutter to overwhelm and control me.  No.  Correction.  I allowed my emotional response to clutter dictate my actions.   Was it really hyped up adrenalin that had driven me to more than finish what I needed?  Or would I have completed it anyway, even if I’d approached it calmly?  In the end, all I succeeded in doing was living a hell of a lot less, and even pulling others down in the process.

So, my lesson for today?  It’s high time for once that I cease to fight what appears to be the cause of my angst.   Don’t let it control me, and don’t even try to control it.   Drop the control bit altogether and just BE. Easier said than done, of course.  But no one said that this Emotional Austerity bit was going to be easy!

Gotta go now.  My back is killing me.

Glenn

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