Sorting and Sifting
This is a great time to look around and do a bit of sorting and sifting. Whether we call it Spring cleaning or not, what good things will happen when we clear out some of the things we no longer need? Not just the physical things, but some of what we’ve been holding inside us as well?
Join me this week as we consider physically de-cluttering, and also clearing out some of our mental and emotional debris. What a relief that will be.
[ brief pause as theme music fades ]
Photo: Scott Lennox
Along with the peace I find when I’m walking out on Texas ranches, I’ve always loved the openness and the sense of things being in their right places. It’s time to do whatever it takes to bring that same serene sense of physical and mental spaciousness into the rest of my life.
For several weeks, I’ve been asking myself beautiful questions about the things around me and what to do with them. I don’t live extravagantly and I’m certain no one would accuse me of being a hoarder. While I don’t want to live as a minimalist, during the past year I’ve been feeling increasingly constricted by the sheer number of things in my combined work and living environment.
I’ve begun taking a good look at what’s in my house and studios and whether or not it really serves me. What do I really need to live comfortably and beautifully? What things might I easily get rid of? What things could I donate to charity or give away without even missing them? How much of what I’ve been holding onto is no longer useful or no longer serving me?
Furthermore, what things are in my way or simply taking up space? How much more space will I gain as I let go of what I no longer use or don’t need? In what ways might I bless others by passing some of those things along?
As I started asking these questions, the answers naturally began to present themselves. So, I’m going from room to room and closet to closet, dealing with one space at a time. As I do, I can feel a freshening and a new sense of spaciousness. I’ll take my time, but I won’t stop until I’ve finished. It’s funny, just knowing that I’ll keep my word about it brings a sense of accomplishment and quiet satisfaction. I’m already envisioning the difference I’ll experience in a month or so.
[ brief pause ]
As an added bonus, beginning the process of decluttering physical things has me asking questions that make me look inward instead of outward.
For example: How might I do some internal house cleaning? What can I let go of as a way of bringing greater ease and clarity to my heart and mind? Conversely, how will decluttering some of the ways I think and feel—not to mention some of my habits—help to improve the way I live? More to the point, what thoughts, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, habits, behaviors, or emotions have been blocking me or slowing me down? And what can I do to either get rid of them or change them for the better?
In essence, I’m asking us (myself included) to challenge the habitual ways we’ve been thinking and feeling and behaving. Among them, what needs to be eliminated or radically changed?
And if we’re going to be really honest with ourselves, what damage to ourselves and others are some of our habits creating?
[ brief pause ]
When I think of the years I lived with anger and an unspoken refusal to forgive myself or anyone else, it gives me pause and makes me take a long, deep breath. Looking back, I can clearly see that my selfish attitude took a powerful toll, not just on my relationships, but on my wellbeing. It was only when I was willing to stop and face my attitude head-on—letting go of the negative aspects of it and building more positive ones—that I began to heal and live with a greater sense of peace and contentment.
The philosopher Socrates is quoted as having said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” That’s certainly true of our mental and emotional habits. During my “angry years,” I spent precious little time being consciously aware of what I was thinking and feeling. And I gave no real consideration to what had shaped my habits. In retrospect, I’m stunned by how unconscious I was about the things I did or the reasons behind them.
I’m reminded of the story of the woman who always cut the ends off the hams she cooked and set them aside when she made Sunday dinners. When her husband asked why she did it, she said, “I don’t know. My mother always did it that way.”
To shorten a much longer story, the woman and her mother were doing the same thing the grandmother had done since the days of the great depression. It turns out that the old woman routinely cut the ends off her hams because the only baking pan she had was too small for a full-sized one. Never questioning why, the following generations pointlessly did the same thing. The same kind of lack of awareness is one of the reasons I’m challenging us to re-examine our habits and do some radical sifting and sorting.
[ brief pause ]
And so, with that in mind, let’s turn to this week’s three Beautiful Questions.
One: Without any pressure about the time it takes, what might you do to clear or reorganize the physical spaces you live and work in, and what will happen when you do?
Two: What internal habits have been in your way, harmful to you, or taking up too much space in your internal environment, and what self-honoring things what will you do to replace or eliminate them?
Three: What are your external and internal visions for yourself as you move forward, and what simple changes will help you bring that vision into reality?
As you mindfully sit with these questions and then take the actions you know to be right for you, write and tell me about them. I’d love to hear about your progress.
[ brief pause as music fades]
As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light
[ theme music rises ]
Thank you again for joining me in these podcasts as we keep doing everything we can to respond to life in increasingly effective ways. As always, I’m open to your comments and feedback.
If you find these podcasts useful, don’t hesitate to share them or tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.
[ brief pause ]
I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.
[ brief pause ]
The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.