Stuff alone does clutter not make

Some time ago I read an awesome blog post over at Nancy’s blog (Spirit Lights the Way) called Ziggy’s Problem…Too Much Stuff! Though it was about Ziggy the Zebra having too much stuff , reading that post got me to reflect on myself.

Out of the many, many quotes about the state of our inner selvesΒ  or mind, there is one that states: The state of your space, reflects the state of your mind. For the most part it is used for stuff cluttering up our space, be it our rooms or our homes. There are also quotes / wisdoms which connect the state of our lives / relationships / health to the same.

You see, I’m not too much of a hoarder nor do I have much stuff. I’m also not the type that keeps things for “donkey’s years” because I think that it’ll come to use some day…in some distant future time. I’ll be honest and say that on rare occasions it’s given me a little grief when I suddenly requireΒ  the very thing I tossed out 2 days prior , but not so muchΒ  that I start keeping stuff.

However, I *do* have clutter. It’s the type that you can’t see. In fact, I can’t see it either. And what *is* this magical clutter that’s invisible to the naked eye? Well…I clutter my mind (and my life) by wanting to or feeling the need to do or achieve too many things…at the same time. Maybe there are other proper names for what I do but to me clutter is clutter, no matter what form it takes. Having too much on one’s plate is also clutter-y. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it : A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

How and why does this happen?

Have you experienced a time when you have walked into a store and wanted to grab everything there was on a shelf because you just felt that you NEEDED them? Well, I do that. I impulsively grab at everything and anything that even remotely touches on my interests because I fear that if I don’t, I would lose the opportunity to know more, to experience more, to achieve more; it’s this sense of needing to be doing something and that something has to amount to a tangible outcome or accomplishment, so I had really better do this and that and that other thing..oh and this too.

The everything and anything I am referring to here ranges from books (which thankfully isn’t as bad) to attending workshops and classes. It stems from this great need to want to know everything which in turn stems from this fear of feeling inadequate, redundant, unworthy and not “special”. When I used to hear of someone going for a workshop on connecting with their animal guides, I could actually feel my mind (or maybe it would be more appropriate to say the Goblin in my mind) running around in anxiety, wringing his hands going “Oh dear! Oh wow! You’ve completely missed this. Now everyone else can communicate with their animal guides and you can’t! Oh Lord! What are you going to do?!” – complete with him stretching the “do” into a howl. Also notice that ONE person has now turned to EVERYONE? Yea, I’ve an awesome little Goblin with me. Though I must also point out that I wrote “used to” πŸ˜‰ I still do it, at times, just not as frequent.

But why this fear,Β  this Goblin called Clutter Monger?

I think it may be safe to say that most of us have grown up in families and societies that stress upon us from an early age the importance of ” being better than”. Being the best that we can be usually isn’t enough. We needed to be better than Mr. Siva’s son who scored an A for his Maths test. We need to score a distinction in the piano exam because Mrs. Wee’s daughter got a distinction too. You can’t go to art school because being an artist isn’t “a real job”.

We were constantly told and programmed to not only keep up with the Jones butΒ  we had to be better than them. A better education, better job, better car, better home, better spouse, better children…and the cycle then repeats itself. It’s this huge complex we build about and within ourselves that we are not special or important enough unless we can physically / tangibly show some big outcome that brings awe to the masses or at least the relatives.

So we cultivate Clutter Monger within us. Clutter Monger then sets to work. If you’re lucky he picks just one of either materialistic stuff or piling “the plate” on. If you’re like most then he decides more the merrier.

Gollum
Gollum (Photo credit: WhiteThesis)

And then the clutter piles up…

We lose focus. We lose the joy in just enjoying the process of doing. We keep putting more and more pressure on ourselves to “get things done” that we lose all sight of what is really important in our lives.

I still catch myself at times thinking, “I have to go for my morning walk, then I have to exercise, then I have to write-up blogs, then I have to meditate and then I have to read….” It doesn’t stop there. Even within that, I can’t stop at one blog post it has to be more! I can’t just meditate, I must have an experience better than everyone else s experience. It doesn’t matter that I’ve just started compared to those that have been doing it for years because Clutter Monger says it’s. not. enough.

Oh but what do we do about Clutter Monger?!

Well, I personally think we need to grab him by his shoulders, look him in the eye and tell him NO. Firmly.

The thing for me is, the fact that I have become aware of his presence is a step in the right direction. That I can catch myself and tell myself “Whoa! Slow down. Breathe. It’s okay.” It gives me something to look out for. It makes me more aware of my thoughts and the motivation behind my wants and perceived needs. It makes me stop and look at the plate seeing that it’s already pretty full.

It takes a conscious effort to say “Wait a second. Do I really need to volunteer to take on that extra project? Do I really think that delegating my work makes me look incompetent? Or would sharing it with my project team actually bring more quality into the project?”

It takes constant supervision of Clutter Monger to keep him in check. It’s a process and the more we learn to do that, I think it makes it easier.

It takes for us to realize that we all matter. In the greater scheme of things everyone plays a part and however “big” or “small” we used to view that contribution, it makes the whole, just like in an orchestra. Every single instrument is just as important to make or break the symphony.

We don’t need to be a “better than”. We don’t need to be extraordinary. We don’t need to be the saviours of the world or everyone in our lives.We just need to be us in our truest potential and be responsible for our lives.

Do you have a goblin much like Clutter Monger?

23 thoughts on “Stuff alone does clutter not make

  1. I really like this post. I am constantly spouting orders to myself regarding productivity and I also agree with this point: “The everything and anything I am referring to here ranges from books (which thankfully isn’t as bad) to attending workshops and classes. It stems from this great need to want to know everything.’ I do not want to know because of inadequacy though. I just want to know! I am first born and was raised to excel – these traits play a large role in this need for knowledge. Yet for me its more about the search, seeking the correct path on this spiritual journey I signed up for. I do want to be extraordinary. However it has come to my attention that we all are programmed to become extraordinary.

    Namaste

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    1. Hey Linda! Yes, what you say is true and I understand where you are coming from. There is this streak of competitiveness in me as well and the want to become extraordinary is there too, but as you said we truly are all extraordinary. The search for wisdom and seeking the correct path and making sure that I got it all right probably makes this quite bad. The thing I am learning is that when it comes to the “spiritual path”, there really is no path that is suited best for us bout our own! And the knowledge and wisdom is actually already within us, we just need to be reminded. It can be scary, for me it is anyways…I’m letting go of that fear.
      I am a part of the Divine and I am perfect for my purpose in this life (that’s how I remind myself..hehe)

      BTW, did the editing, so have deleted your other comment πŸ˜‰

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  2. I do not do this anymore, but I did “once upon a time.” So I know where you’re coming from and, given the wisdom of this post, I know where you’re headed ~ to a saner, simpler, better life using yourself as the yardstick, not everyone else.

    The goal of life is not to be better than anyone else . . . but instead to be better than our previous self. When we accept who we are, we have the energy to become ”the best” that we can be.

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    1. Thank you Nancy πŸ™‚ and yes, that is true. I’m glad that I am learning it now and not later. It’s hard work to pull away the chains of constant comparison when you have grown up with it, but it isn’t something impossible to do πŸ™‚

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    1. I know! When I do my semi annual de cluttering exercise I feel so light, less pressured! And now with pacing myself and not worrying too much about doing EVERYTHING and just enjoying what I am doing right now, it feels…well, it’s a new experience, but it feels good!

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  3. internal and external de-cluttering, Shree,like you say, we all seem pre-programmed to want that bit extra, or need that knowledge to make ourselves happier. Chasing the dream sort of thing, but to me it’s always someone else’s dream, as somehow along the way we lose sight of our own goals and aspirations. As you said in the closing words, we just need to be ourselves, it’s just that we need to recognise this and be happy with who and what we are.
    Hope this posts my friend, but more than likely it’ll go into your spam folder until you let Aksimet know I’m not a spammer. Sheesh!! I never thought I;d become one of those eh? Now there’s aspiration for you πŸ˜‰ hugs to you xPenx

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    1. Yay Pen! Your wonderful comment came through…even if I had to teach Askimet a thing or two πŸ˜›
      What you say is very true, Pen. We do lose sight of our own goals and aspirations because we are inundated with what everyone else expects us to be or do! Parents wanting to live their dreams through their children comes to mind. It’s so obvious though isn’t it? That we just need to be happy with who we are, and just be…but like most things simple, we tend to make it ever so complicated because we think too much!
      Take care lovely Pen and hang in there! The glitch will be resolved!

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        1. Guess what? This time Askimet learned his lesson! Your comment got through immediately πŸ˜€ And of course..you are well worth making totally legitimate again, though you all have been πŸ˜‰

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  4. I guess I have a lot of physical clutter, and even more mental clutter. I tend to think of everything I have to do all at once, and then it all seems overwhelming. And it seems when I’m busy and don’t have any time to do anything more, I try to do something more.

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    1. Hehe…yup that’s quite cluter-ry alright! But you know, most of us do that! Maybe it’s the conditioning of what we think is expected of us…or maybe it’s just us wanting to be too busy so we don’t have to reflect..and just be?

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  5. Hi Shree,

    I enjoyed the blog. I too seem to have a personal “clutter monger,” so I feel your pain. And I think you’re right — the best way to defeat this fiend is to expose him to the light of consciousness, to really ask ourselves why we do things before actually doing them.

    Keep up the good fight.

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    1. Hello Phil! Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting πŸ™‚
      I’m actually kinda “glad” that I’m not the only one to clutter my life with things I feel I need do, have do, must do..lol.
      I’m figuring things out as I go along, and I just realized a firm NO help with Clutter Monger, or like you say, being aware of him is half the battle won! πŸ™‚

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