For years at the beginning of every year, I found myself in the position of Le Penseur (The Thinker), the iconic bronze sculpture by the eighteenth-century French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. While other people made New Years’ resolutions, I went into deep thinking mode for the last hours of Old Years’ Eve and the few hours at the beginning of the New Year. No kidding, that was my figurative pose for hours. I spent every second, being angry at the time I had wasted or regretful for poor decisions I had made. Two days later into the New Year every decision I had made to better my life went out of the window, and I would go back to the usual confusion and clutter of my life. Becoming depressed and angry and resentful and doing everything else besides doing what I should do.
After being forced into a literal corner, where I was pressured to make decisions to change my life for the better, for my emotional and mental health, a light bulb went off; unbeknownst to me, this was the prelude (for me) to move to another level in my life. If I took the chance and just jumped, what would be the outcome? Considering that I had come up short so many times based on my apprehensions, there was nothing else for me to loose. The fact is that for me, with any life altering decision that had to be made; moments of crippling fear ensued. This fear of change had me stuck in the unrelenting pose of The Thinker.
In her book Declutter Your Life , the author Michelle Stewart confirmed that ; ‘The key to recognizing your clutter is recognizing that you play a role in creating it…. Whether or not you realize it, clutter has a price in your life. It could be costing you in areas of productivity, finances, emotional well-being and physical health.’
It behooved me to make a decision. I had to get rid of the clutter that was keeping me stuck, the normalcy, the reassurance of thinking that at least I knew what to expect, which was eating me alive. I had outlived so many of the things and people that kept me in my comfort zone.
I had to declutter. To Declutter? Here is a simple definition I found on Dictionary.com: ‘remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place.)’ Namely, my life. If you are like me, we like to horde people and things, become overly attached and get sucked dry, because letting go is difficult. It throws everything out of whack. You should not have to guess; I went back into thinking mode, the fear to rid myself of the people and things I had become used to was tangible. But to encourage growth and peace of mind, I was obligated. Some of the people in my life that I had ‘collected’ over the years were no good for me. I let them overstay their welcome; who knows they were probably thinking the same thing about me?
I mentally stretched, coming out of The Thinker pose. And like Michelle Stewart affirmed, I had to own up to the role that I played. Decision made, I ceased blaming other people and took charge for the change I wanted to see in my life, and of course, decluttered. Dropping the people and things that blocked my growth. I began to practice being mindful, which was a difficult concept for me at first. I am still in the growth phase.
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Genesis chapter 19 tells the tragic story of Lots’ wife, the bible does not mention her name. But the gist of the story is that God asked Lot to take his family and leave Sodom and Gomorrah. He was going to destroy the city because of the moral decay. God spared Lot and his family the fiery death that was the citizens’ punishment. Needless to say, Lot had to convince his wife and daughters to leave. This was the place they had called home; they were afraid to go out into unfamiliar terrain. But Lot was not worried; he knew God would take care of him. He was being mindful.
Lot, his wife and his daughters, did escape the inevitable destruction. However, they were cautioned to not look back no matter what; if they disobeyed, they would suffer the same fate as those left behind; death. His wife could not help but glance back and was turned into a pillar of salt. I am sure Lot, and his daughters must have been tempted, nevertheless they obeyed and had to move on without her, fearing being stuck literally in the pose of looking back.
What I have grasped, through trial and error, is that living in the past is living in regret, worrying about what might come is fretting about the future, both actions are useless. Furthermore, it is counterproductive when practicing to be mindful, and like the lesson in the story of Lots’ wife, it is detrimental. Besides while life moves on, we do not want to be faced with the tragedy of forever being mentally and emotionally stuck in the pose of The Thinker or Lots’ wife. The most productive thing to do is to live in the moment, that is all that we have.
‘Essentially, personal development is impossible without self-awareness…By practicing mindfulness on a day-to-day basis, you will start thinking about whatever it is that you are doing…Self-awareness is a kind of introspection and the starting point that leads to self-improvement’ (P 9.365 Days of Mindfulness To Declutter, Jamie Stewart).
Now is the time to take that bold step into becoming your true self, moving into your purpose, and taking care of YOU. You don’t have to be mean, or spiteful to drop people who are no good for you; appreciate the roles they played, learn from it, and move on. Moreover, be grateful to have acquired the wisdom to know when to let go, declutter, move on and being mindful.
YOU are your number one priority!
by Barbara Handfield