Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pruning in Progress

I decided yesterday when it was cool, when I didn't have to teach, and when I had some energy, that I would tackle my den, a room that, like my garden, had become a jungle.  That decision involved trimming back the enormous plant that had covered the window, getting rid of several pieces of unfinished furniture for children, sweeping up mounds of dog hair,  moving almost everything in the room to a different location, and generally creating far more chaos than had been there originally.  The hallway and my bedroom also became involved.

I now have a much more civilized Paw plant in my bedroom and several pieces rooting on a tiny round table in front of the den window.  Two bookcases have migrated to the large walk-in closet in my den, and several books have been consigned to boxes to be sold or given away.

I am not finished yet... I suspect I will still be at this on Wednesday, but I am past that first awful indecisive stage, past the absolute chaos of everything sitting in a pile in the centre of the room , piled on a bed, or shoved out into the hall.

Coincidentally, while I was immersed in my own cleaning process, a woman was being interviewed on CBC about her book Thrifty, which is all about pruning your life down to its essentials ... not to just what you need but to the things that truly enrich your life.  She got rid of books she had kept since university, and photos that babbled at her.  She recommends clearing 1/3 of the stuff from every room so that you gain a sense of peace rather than busyness.  I think I will look for the book.

My reading lately has been omnivorous.  This will fit right into the eclectic mix.

I used to think that I was a pretty good person.  Now I realize that we all make mistakes, that we are all just doing the very best we can ... at any particular moment.  Sometimes we mother, teach or behave better than at other times ... but we are simply human so we are imperfect beings.

I have just finished re-reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, a woman born a year earlier than I was.  She understands.  And everyone who deludes herself into thinking she is doing everything right should read this novel ... and some of her others like A Slipping Down Life.  She writes beautifully ... no preaching ... just revelation of truths.

I have just started reading An Imperfect Offering by James Orbinski of Medecins sans Frontieres ... he too writes well, and he also understands that we just give what we can ... we just do our best ... and sometimes our best is not perfect.

So ... back to my still very imperfect den cleaning ... who knows?  Maybe by the weekend I will be able to start civilizing the garden. Or maybe not :-)


Tamarak said...

I have read Breathing Lessons and Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler and remember enjoying them...

Not a single one of us is perfect...and all we can do is the best that we can do with what we have on hand - knowledge, resources, time, etc - at the time...

I am still feeling very overwhelmed by the massive de-cluttering I have been trying to do...ugh...

Oma said...

The problems with de-cluttering are based on the fact that it is your LIFE you are sifting through and deciding whether to save or pitch things. As a result, it takes a lot of time ... and you really have to work alone to be efficient.

I find it is easier to get rid of things now that I am old ... I know damned well that once I am dead, the people sorting through my stuff are not going to let sentiment sway them; they will make their decisions based on sound practicality and available space!

Barbara Carlson said...

Ah, one of my favourite subjects -- clutter. I find it enervating in the extreme. My gay friend Sandy calls it
"having a wild tidy".
Another friend, whose desk at work was so laden with papers and books, he eagerly bought a book on my recommendation called "Making Time Work for You" which dealt with messy offices but he lost the book somewhere in his desk mulch. He said he just went out and bought another one. Problem solved, he laughed.