Hey you. Yeah, YOU! C’mere. I wanna share something with you but you gotta promise not to judge me. You won’t? Good. Cause I wanna tell you what I did yesterday. But you gotta promise you’re not gonna judge me……..!
Yesterday, I did something I’d never done. Yeah, sure, I’d avoided it for decades. People were on my back about it. Some might say that I was even running from it. All I knew was that the not doing it was like having a monkey on my back, clawing at me, depleting my force. I had to do something about it. And real quick-like.
You ready to hear this?
‘Cause this is something big.
I put my computer files in order.
Mmm Hmmm. That’s right.
Before yesterday, all my files were lumped together in disparate disarray, filed under “documents” or “downloads”. I’d reached a point where I was tired of looking for my damn files. All my own writings were mixed in with files of a major project I’m currently working on with a partner, random downloads, obsolete scripts.
My excavation revealed an acting articulation exercise I’d completely forgotten about, multiple files of the same submission manuscript, five versions of resumes.
Two courses popped up that I’d completely forgotten about and I felt like a kid on Christmas morn. One, a copywriting course, worth $3000,was gifted to me by a friend. Another, “Learning to Love Yourself” lay fallow. Maybe that’s why my files had been disorganized for decades. Maybe I didn’t love myself enough. Yikes!
My favorite part of all of this? Hitting DELETE.
Some people have a hard time letting things go. Not me. I love throwing things out and giving away superfluous stuff. I believe there’s a metaphor here that goes along with my being a trusting person. I always know that at the moment I need something or someone, it/they will appear.
On the contrary, a horder who’s created a fortress of unused, unusable, superfluous or obsolete objects within with they reside harboring all their neuroses, is likely a person who trusts little, if at all.
Halfway through my task, I realized that having my files all lumped together like that had created a chaos, a buzz of underlying aggravation (of which I was utterly unaware) that accompanied me every time I sat down at my computer to work.
That cyber mess in my laptop was the equivalent of having a pile of old papers, current papers, junk mail, important mail, books, projects, file folders (the manila ones), magazines and unfolded laundry piled on my desk. Then comes the time when you have to go looking for something…
You know that that one thing lurks somewhere in Mount Miscellanea. You might even know approximately where it is. But the thought of having to go after it is stressful. It causes you to procrastinate. It stokes a sudden desire to clean the refrigerator, eat a pint of ice cream while watching any, random episode of Game of Thrones or start getting your boot collection ready for winter.
Living with mess and a clutter is a surefire signpost that you’re avoiding something in your life. (I keep saying YOU but I mean ME. I don’t know what YOU do, really.)
Methodically, I plodded on. Upon placement of each file into its own folder, my energy level mounted. I’m not kidding. Those of you who’ve ever done spring cleaning, had a yard sale, given away a bag of old clothing, thrown away a broken appliance, sewn on a button or cleaned out your car know what I’m talking about.
Several months back, while taking a Landmark seminar, the leader casually mentioned that, at the onset of a leadership course that he was taking, he was directed to look at every area of his life: his finances, his car, his body, his possessions, his work ethic, his relationships; then, to put it all under a microscope and examine it through the lens of integrity.
Because I was listening, I took that in. And, because I took it in, I started looking around my life. A couple weeks back, I got the willingness to get a handle on my online shopping distraction and ceased that, cold-turkey. Suddenly, my mind was filled with ideas of creative projects and how I was actually going to accomplish those projects.
I found that I was out of integrity in my relationship to my writing and chose to embark on this 30-day spree. Guess what? Here I am at Day 28, having established a daily writing practice and ready to move on to the completion of a memoir project that’s been on ice for way too long.
I’m looking at my relationships with people and how I conduct myself in them, choosing to take 100% responsibility for their level of quality and workability.
There’s a book written by a Japanese woman about how uncluttering your life ultimately creates a better life. I never read it and I’m going to recommend that you don’t, either. Why? Because then you have to spend your precious time reading about the benefits of uncluttering your life when what you really ought to be doing is uncluttering your life.
It’s simple. Just pick one area and devote a certain amount of time to it until it’s complete. Start with a minimum of 15 minutes if you have to. Stop after 15 minutes, or keep going. But it you choose 15 minutes and complete those 15 minutes, you’ve kept an agreement with yourself that you can feel good about.
It’s the keeping of agreements, with ourselves and others, that builds integrity in our lives.
And it’s the building of integrity that creates the better life.
But don’t believe me.
Try if for yourself and see.