My sister came over yesterday and pointed out that my kitchen table was a bit unruly. It was, actually, piled with stuff.
I tend to create piles — and I’ve come to realize that they are part of my thinking process and the way I move through the world. I focus on this over here, and then a little on that over there, and I collect and sift through lots of feelings, thoughts, and information as I do. My piles are the physical manifestation of this flow from one thing to another and back, integrating it all as I go.
So I don’t try to eliminate my piles, as I once did. I simply set an intention to keep them on the small side.
My sister’s comment yesterday caused me to notice that the kitchen table piles were becoming a bit monstrous. So today I set about doing some clearing there.
When you have a task like this, it always seems worse once you begin it, and then after you’ve put about fifteen minutes into it, and can see some progress, you realize it’s not going to be that bad if you just work on it a little at a time.
I didn’t end up clearing off the entire table today (I got it down to one tiny pile and one medium-sized one), but what I did achieve freed up so much space, and I was able to sit there with my journal and feel a lightness I haven’t felt since … well, since the last time I did some clearing of the kitchen table.
This got me thinking about how, on a grander scale, we can 1) become blind to the clutter in our lives (it can become part of the landscape, whether it’s clothing we no longer wear or a group we no longer want to be a part of);
and 2) that quote attributed to Einstein about how you can’t solve a problem from the same consciousness that created the problem. The mind that sees all kinds of obstacles is not the same one that sees all kinds of freedom, all kinds of possible solutions you’ve never tried before.
The problem-seeing mind tends to keep on trying to solve things in the way that didn’t work — sometimes for years.
The mind that sees all the ways it is already free of the problem is coming from an entirely different space. This mind has more space. It sees space.
So one of the things we can assign our problem-seeing mind is the clearing of space.
What I noticed as I cleared my table today was that I changed. As I focused my attention on the task at hand, I began to engage my more creative, space-seeing mind. My body began to relax — I could feel space opening up on the table, but also within me.
How often do we try to stuff something into our lives without clearing space for it? How often do we try to know the unknowable — try to see our way into our future — without first creating an opening for the new?
When I went through those piles on the table this morning, I found coupons that were long expired, sketch paper I’d forgotten I’d purchased, a card from a friend I’d forgotten to put in a folder I have labeled “nice things”. The piles were composed of the past, and unmade past decisions. Small ones, to be sure, in this case, but never the less, the piles on my kitchen table were like a holding station that zapped some of my energy every time I glanced at them.
I’d become blind to this, however, until my sister’s comment alerted me to it. I’d have seen it eventually, but it was good, today, to face it.
And how do I feel? Like there’s that much more space in my life for my creative brain to do its thing. When I look at the kitchen table now, I see possibility instead of a problem.
Clearing space might also look like:
- Questioning your “have-to’s” and choosing to let them go
- Letting go of a draining relationship
- Being ultra-selective about where you focus your time and attention
Where in your life can you clear space and allow your creativity to enter? What do you notice about how clearing physical space makes you feel? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I have a fun new offering for one-on-one coaching clients — if this blog post resonated, you may find it of particular interest! You can learn more about my Living Space Discovery Sessions on my Ways We Can Work Together page.