What is your relationship with your garage? Are you sensitive to it? How about your closet? Do either feel crowded? Consider the two quotes below:
“I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world. Perhaps you’ve seen it.” Stephen Wright
“Shop till you drop.” Bumper sticker
Where does your garage or closet fall between these two extremes?
When you feel a lack in your relationships, either with yourself or with others, and feel a need to buy something, think NOW and ZEN.
Stories from Zen Monasteries follow a similar pattern. An eager seeker arrives and asks the Zen master, “What’s the meaning of life?” or similar significant questions.
The Zen master replies, “If you ate breakfast, wash your bowl.”
In other words, cleaning up where you live is the meaning of life because it forces you to concentrate on the here and now instead of what you lack.
I admit it’s hard to avoid wanting more stuff when you see it every where you look. Advertising copywriters know that all purchases are emotional. They zero in on feelings of lack in niche markets. If you are a golfer, every once in a while, especially if you’ve just duffed all over the course, you feel a need for a new golf something or other.
I tend to clutter my nest periodically. At least my closet.
Every time I don’t like what I see in the full length mirror, I go shopping for new clothes. Too often I have purchased a pair of jeans or cutoffs or a sweater, get home and discover that I now have two identical items.
I donate bags full of new clothes to the thrift stores every year.
Obviously, I’m not lacking in clothes. When I live moment to moment enjoying what I do, like confessing this to you, I don’t go clothes shopping. I don’t feel a lack.
Zen masters tell us to lighten our burdens by cleaning up. If we pay enough attention to what we are doing, we enjoy our chores.
After we un-clutter a closet or clean up the garage we feel what Miles Kundera called, “The Incredible Lightness of Being”.
Isn’t that a great title for a novel?
I made a promise to myself to clean out one junk drawer plus the linen closet if I get so caught up in the busy-ness of things I neglect what I’m doing at the moment and forget the purpose of life.
A whole garage cleanup would make you feel so light you might fly away.
So be careful.
If you feel any lack, start cleaning. (Include your hard drive.)
Evelyn Cole, The Whole-mind Writer
P.S. While you’re cleaning, sweep your brain, too. I’ll show you how.
Copyright 2006 Cole’s Poetic License