A few years ago I went to visit my friend who is a Buddhist priest in San Francisco. During morning meditation we all sat quietly on our zafu pillows and enjoy the simplicity of the zendo. Only one ornament adorned the altar, a single orchid. In its simplicity and singularity, it was extraordinarily beautiful.
In this age of stuff, we often adorn our homes with endless decorative items. We pine for the latest thing, whatever that may be. When my kids tell me they want the latest thing, I try to remind them that their satisfaction lasted about twenty-four hours the last time they bought a toy that they “had to have.”
In this world of hyper-stimulation, can we really appreciate the amount of stuff that we desire—or maybe the stuff even we already have? Maybe subconsciously, we as a society struggle with having empty spaces.
When purging items we no longer need, we may hold this thought: clutter is anything that doesn’t add value to our lives. Further, if we rid ourselves of the hot rollers, ice cream maker, and waffle iron, we may want to be vigilant not to slowly “replace” these items with a yogurt maker, ab roller, and ice tea maker.
In the book Walden Pond, Thoreau struggled (for three long pages) as to whether or not to accept a welcome mat which was a gift from a neighbor. He reflected on what the mat would mean to him. Would he have to clean it? Be concerned someone would take it? … Did he really need it? He had a dirt floor after all … Maybe we don’t have to be as intense as Henry David Thoreau was about simplicity, but it may serve all of us to be more deliberate about our acquisitions.
For further support in fearlessly moving into empty (or emptier) spaces, call your friendly clutter coach, for a free first session!