Marilyn D.

The Clearing

We came home one week ago from a 3-week stay at a friend’s ranch in southern Oregon.  It was a glorious retreat for us. Just me and my husband in a great house with his writing and my quilting, lots of hikes, sleep, and good food, and, because of great internet access, I was able to participate in the class without any distractions whatsoever. 

So when we finally came home, the first thing I did, before unpacking suitcases and doing laundry, was go right into my studio to begin the clearing.  I was really excited to get started.   I’m essentially tidy person.  I hate clutter and pride myself on the order I can generally pretty quickly bring to a room.  In my studio, a standard-size bedroom in a modest 3-bedroom ranch style home, I’ve tucked stuff away in baskets and bins and drawers; all labeled etc.   It’s a warm and cozy space, small, but workable, and it’s packed like a sailboat, using all possible storage options. But underneath the facade of order is a monster - way too much stuff that I’ll never use - and I now recognize that it’s a barrier to actually getting things done.  That stuff has energy, like a buzz in the background that you just can’t bear hearing another minute.

I decided to take on the clearing bit by bit as Jane advised, and wanted first thing to clear my work tables and create a place to write.  I have two waist high work tables but no writing desk, with writing/drawing/painting supplies at hand.  In the process of making that space, I emptied two file cabinets full of maps and clippings, multiple copies of this and that, and got rid of two drawers worth of paper, freeing that space for writing materials and stuff that serves my art.  I also cleared off the two work tables of anything that didn’t serve my projects.  I like to have little treasures around me (rocks, candles, cards and photos, and flowers) but that stuff had taken over one of my tables so much that I really couldn’t use it for anything but piling more stuff onto.  It was hard for me to get rid of this stuff because of the sentimental and emotional value in each item, but I sifted and sorted and made decisions about what was essential and what I could be rid of.  I let go.  Now, I walk into the room, see two clear work tables (see photo) and my new writing desk, and am encouraged to complete the clearing.  It feels good. I’ll tackle the contents of the bins and baskets and drawers in the weeks to come, and I’m convinced that I can make a clean and relatively spare workplace for myself.  Thanks for the push.