It’s been almost a month since I’ve sat down and “pressed” out a few words! I didn’t intend to be so long absent from my blog, but I have been completely sidetracked by a personal project. Every spare moment since the beginning of this year has been devoted to the ongoing work of de-cluttering the environments in which I work and live.
I’ve ditched (oops, RECYCLED!) all manner of paper with reckless abandon, simplified the look of my parish office by removing most of the visual clutter and cleared shelf space at the office and at home by giving away (so far) almost 100 books in the past three weeks. In the meantime, I’m now 16 days into a 90 day “book fast” in which I have pledged to purchase no new books (either paper or electronic) until at least April 9, 2012. As of today, I’m seriously thinking about extending the “fast” another 90 days…until July 8, 2012.
Well, I’ll talk about my “commodification of knowledge” tendencies in the next few days, but in the meantime, I’ll simply enjoy the feelings of peacefulness derived from being able to see my desktop and easily open the now empty lateral file cabinet and credenza drawers. I still have one major filing unit left to empty in my work space, but I’ll get to it soon enough.
And to what do I owe this little conversion toward simplicity after a lifetime of collecting “stuff”?
I can’t say, exactly…except that I was tired of feeling hemmed in by unread books, unfinished projects, unanswered e-mails and unused files. I was overstuffed with paper stuff and I needed to take drastic “paper weight loss” action. With the establishment of my clutter-free zones, I am experiencing, for the first time in years, a sense of order and a feeling of calm that is a bit difficult to describe.
I think the seeds for this work were planted while on sabbatical. For two and a half months, I didn’t worry about papers and e-mails and files. Sheer bliss. When I returned to work, within two weeks I was feeling “overwhelmed”. And honestly, why would any parishioner want to confide in a priest who is harried, stressed and/or chronically disorganized? Aren’t clergy called to model a different way of life for those in their care?
I don’t know how long the cleaning mojo will last, but I’m going to hold on with all my might. I’ll keep you posted! Promise.