Spring, Stuff & Space

Today is a rainy day.  Today is also the first day of Spring.  Today I’m filled with hope, trepidation and wonder.  All those feelings – all at once.  I’m feeling like I have just lived through a massive storm and the bits and pieces that have scattered are starting to settle at the bottom of sea.  Kind of like someone shaking a snow globe to watch the all the turbulant white bits rage on like a storm only to land softly  in little piles until someone comes along and shakes the globe again.  Maybe that’s what life really is like – a big ol’ snow globe.  We get all shaken about then settle softly into our lives only to have someone (or something) come along and shake things up again!  We are constantly fighting storms, but in between the shake ups, we are able to see with complete clarity and identify with life and its sparkling beauty.

Spring.  A lovely season that lasts for about two seconds here in the Midwest.  We get a blast of winter then all the flowers pop out, everyone scrambles for morel mushrooms then BAM! we have summer and are swatting flies and cursing the heat!  As a child I can remember spring lasting longer.  Picking violets for May Day baskets, feelings the cool grass on my bare feet, watching the trees bud and waiting with anticipation for those first leaves to come bursting out.  My family would be out in the black dirt planting our huge garden – rows and rows of green beans, sweet peas, tomato plants, potatoes and onions.  We go in when the sun was going down and scrub down our black feet and jump into our bed while the sky was still pink.  Bedtime was 8:00 pm in my house. No problems falling asleep when you had nothing to worry about.  *sigh*

Spring.  The season even sounds pretty, doesn’t it?  Almost like you can see pastel colors and flowers growing out of every corner of the word.  Unfortunately, around here Spring means you never know if we are getting snow or rain from one day to the next.  The wind howls and knocks the dead branches from every tree in your yard – the yard that is squishy from the snow melting then the rain falling for days after.  Everything is gray for days and dark and muddy.  March and most of April just smell like mud.  That is the reality of Spring.  You know it.  I know it.  The whole of the Midwest knows it, but everyone just keeps hope alive with thoughts of warm, sunny days.  We buy flowers and plant gardens and wear pink just to feel like Spring is somewhere.  Maybe it is somewhere:  just around the corner?  For now, I will keep my rain boots handy and just open my curtains.  Can’t hurt to let the sunshine do what it can!

Seasonal change always brings with it a need to reinvent, reorganize and renew.  People want to do their “Spring cleaning!” now.   There are articles everywhere about throwing things out and how to organize your life, your closet, your kitchen, your bathroom, your dresser, etc., but no one ever discusses anything about what you need to grow in your life.  Spring is about new beginnings, but that doesn’t always mean throwing out things and organizing.  Spring is also about planting and growing – planting seeds and growing them.  Feeding and watering those seeds and watching them thrive.  Begin something new.  Be something new.  Even if it’s just a small thing…let it be your one new thing.  Pour your love and light into it and watch it flourish.  We all need growth.

I know.  Typically, we clean out the crappy, old stuff to make room for the new stuff.  No one, especially me, is saying that we couldn’t use some reorganization every now and then!  I truly believe that tossing out reminders of who we used to be and really, how many raggedy old bath towels do you need?  Oh, and those suit jackets with the big shoulder pads?  Hello?  The 80’s is calling – they want their fashion back!  Yes….shed the old skin!  Clean out the closets and get rid of the cobwebs!  I do, however, have a suggestion.  Don’t refill that space with more “junk”.  As a matter of fact, don’t fill those spaces up with anything.  Do you really need more “stuff”?

Many moons ago, George Carlin did an entire segment on “stuff” and I thought that I had heard the most brilliant monologue of my life.  He said, “A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!” (Carlin 1986)  He was referring to our materialistic tendencies and how we focus on identifying ourselves by how much “stuff” we have accumulated in our lives.  Believe me, I’m so guilty I should be in the electric chair for how much “stuff” I’ve got in nooks and crannies!  I’m bent though – I want to change.  I’m in my spring cleaning mode, so moving into this house has done more favors for me than I thought moving ever could.  I’ve just looked at some things and said, “I’ve lived this long without it, let it go.”  Slowly, making space…empty space.

Why should we have empty space?  A better question is: Why shouldn’t we have empty space?  Why do we need to fill every corner of our lives with emotions, things and people?  Why can’t we just have space to breathe and just “be”?  Do you have an answer?  I don’t.  For instance, I used to wonder why it was so important to certain people that my walls were not empty.  I just didn’t understand their concern or rather, their discomfort with the emptiness.  I still like empty spaces on my walls.  I like to imagine what could be there…that changes day to day.  That emptiness drove them crazy!!!  Every time they would visit they would mention how lovely my bare walls were.  I would just shrug and say I haven’t decided what to put there.  To me, whatever I decide to put on my walls is going to be there for a long time, so I have to really, REALLY love what I put on there.  My second house had bare walls for three years…I was forced to put things up and I was never comfortable with that house again.  Space is important, but what you decide to do with it is just as important.

Organization and space is at the top of my list, but let’s get one thing straight:  I’m not going to be an overnight Marie Kondo convert.  I just know that I want to create more space in my life.  I’m sure Jerry is going to say that I could start by getting rid of some of my shoes, but I LOVE my shoes and we aren’t supposed to part with the things that we really, REALLY love, right?  Now, the zillions of pieces of paper that are stacked up in boxes in the office? I’m not in love with those, so I’m pretty sure I can part with them.  Also, I’m not so crazy about all the sample lotions, potions, and other beauty oddities that I have felt the need to keep for so long.  Seriously folks, I’ve moved the same “stuff” three times….THREE TIMES PEOPLE!  I have little tiny tubes of beauty “stuff” that I’ve had for so long that I can’t read the teenie tiny print on any of it now because my vision has not improved over the years!!  So, I’m pretty sure I can let go of all that crap!

I have an unnatural attachment to hats too.  I have them everywhere.  I love them and I wear many of them – sometimes.  I keep telling myself that I’ll display them in some “creative” way, but I don’t and they are just taking up space…everywhere.  I have hats in bins, boxes, closets, shelves, on top of dressers and under beds – it’s a REAL problem.  I suppose I could say that my “hat problem” is much like my “scarf problem”, but folks do we really want to get into all of my problems?  I didn’t think so.  Let’s just say, I have plenty of “stuff” that needs attention and I need to make some pretty hard choices in the coming weeks if I want to get to this new space.

“Space.  The final frontier…”  I don’t know.  Maybe by giving ourselves some space to breathe, to think, and to move we can give ourselves the opportunity to grow and become our best selves.  I know I have a long way to go – I mean, at this point, Jerry is going to have to pry my shoes from my cold dead hands, but someday I may not need so many hats.  I’d like to think there is hope for us all when it comes to finding our paths.

The universe changes with every breath we take.  We are connected by our energy – our life force.  Material things are not an extension of who we are as human beings.  “Stuff” is not a reflection of who we can be.  The space we live in and the space we make for our families and friends is where we thrive and grow.  That is where I want to be.  In that space…where love is.

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